The Plenary Council will bring hundreds of Catholic leaders together to discuss how the Catholic Church in Australia can continue its mission in a society that is changing and evolving. This is only the fifth time in Australia’s history such a council has been held. Whilst the Plenary Council will not affect matters of doctrine, it will have legislative power to mould practices within the Australian Catholic Church.
Our school community here at St Edward’s, invite you to reflect on the question, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” What is the current context of the Catholic Church in Australia and how is the Church meeting the needs of its own people, as well as the place it holds in the context of a wider secular society?
The culture we now live in would be unrecognisable to someone living in 1937, when the Catholic Church in Australia held its last Plenary Council.
We, at St Edward’s, are taking time to raise the Plenary Council with the College community, because as members of a faith community, we often feel we do not have a say or do not have an impact on the Church to which we belong and the faith we follow. Not only is this an opportunity to set directions and shape the nature of the Catholic Church in Australia, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to affirm and consolidate much of the great work already undertaken by our Church.
As members of the College community, I am asking those who have not been involved or who have not participated in the Listening and Dialogue Encounters within their own Parish or local faith community, to make their own submission to the Plenary Council by following this link: http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/resources/have-your-say/.
It is a sad reality that for many of our students here at St Edward’s and other Catholic schools across the country, the only exposure to Catholic practice and tradition is through their school community. All Australian Catholic schools are involved in the important effort of engaging their young people in their Catholic culture in a relevant and meaningful way. Of course, much of this takes place formally in religious education lessons, liturgy and retreat experiences. But it also takes place in a much more informal manner – in the language we use, in the nature of our relationships, in being advocates for the marginalised and oppressed and in the expression of our own individual spirituality.
Please, have a voice in this very significant opportunity given to us.
Plenary Council Prayer
Come, Holy Spirit of Pentecost.
Come, Holy Spirit of the great South Land.
O God, bless and unite all your people in Australia and guide us on the pilgrim way of the Plenary Council.
Give us the grace to see your face in one another and to recognise Jesus, our companion on the road.
Give us the courage to tell our stories and to speak boldly of your truth.
Give us ears to listen humbly to each other and a discerning heart to hear what you are saying.
Lead your Church into a hope-filled future, that we may live the joy of the Gospel.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
bread for the journey from age to age.
Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Mary MacKillop, pray for us.
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, forever.