Plenary preparation engaging Tasmanians

Tasmania’s Catholics have had the opportunity to further engage with preparations for Australia’s fifth Plenary Council through a Preparation Day held in Launceston.

About 40 people from around the state attended the event at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Riverside on April 24. A second Preparation Day will be held on May 8 at Guilford Young College’s Hobart campus.

The Preparation Days were initiated by Archbishop Julian, and had been planned for 2020 but had been postponed due to continuing COVID restrictions.

Archbishop Julian spoke to those at the Launceston gathering, noting that the Preparation Day provided the opportunity for him to better understand ‘what is in the minds and hearts of the people in the Archdiocese’ and that he had also read many of the written submissions from Tasmanians made during the first two phases of the Plenary Council process.

 “This Plenary Council is a special and important moment for the Church in Australia,” His Grace said.

“It will look at so many difficult and complex issues and will be a moment for the Church to come together and take stock of where it is, the environment in which it is now operating which has changed so dramatically in the past 50 years.”

His Grace said that the Plenary Council would look at current pastoral priorities and future focuses.

Archbishop Julian speaking at the Launceston Preparation Day.

The Launceston Preparation Day involved keynote speakers, lively discussion groups and lunch.

Participants heard from Daniel Ang, the Director of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation and one of the writers of the Plenary Council working document; along with Australian theologian Professor Tracey Rowland, who is a member of the International Theological Commission.

Mr Ang talked about the Plenary Council working document Continuing the Journey and the mission of the Church.

“The [working document] canvasses issues related to parish life, the shape of Catholic education, prayer, the vocation of bishops, clergy and families, recognises failures of governance and avenues of consideration that have been raised, and the need of religious freedom,” Mr Ang said.

“Other key themes include strengthening practices of discernment and synodality in our Church, the call to co-responsibility in mission and embedding our response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“Also within the document is a call to renew and support the ordained ministry, to promote not only participation but living discipleship in our parishes, in our families and among our young people, and forming prayerful and Eucharistic communities that are missionary and reach out to all those on the ‘peripheries’, as Pope Francis describes it, who lie under the bridges of life and circumstance.” 

Professor Tracey Rowlands spoke at the Preparation Day in Launceston. Photo: Wendy Shaw.

Tasmania has four delegates to the 280-member Plenary Council: Archbishop Julian, Vicar General Fr Shammi Perera, Dr Rachel Bradley, of Margate, and Daniel de la Motte, of Blackmans Bay.

Due to COVID, the first Assembly of the Plenary Council will take place in a multi-modal format, with delegates assembled in state-based Plenary hubs and linked virtually to those in other locations. It will run from October 3 to 10 this year.

The Second Assembly will be held in Sydney, from July 4–9, 2022.

Those wishing to register for the second Preparation Day at Guilford Young College in Hobart on May 8 can do so through Eventbrite at plenarypreparation.eventbrite.com.au and bring their ticket on the day. The free event will run from 10am to 2.30pm and include lunch.

At the Launceston Plenary Council preparation day are, from left, Dr Rachel Bradley, of the Huon Valley, Sr Margaret Chandler (Sisters of St Joseph), of Forth, Chris Reynier, of Westbury, and Scottsdale Parish administrator Fr Edwin Thundathil Xavier. Photo: Wendy Shaw.

Main image: Participants gathered in Riverside for a Plenary Council Preparation Day last month. Photo: Wendy Shaw.

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