16 Apr 2019
Plenary listening to 222,000 voices
The Southern Cross newspaper – April 2019
Plenary Council 2020 president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says he and his fellow bishops have been “amazed” by the engagement of people across Australia in the Council’s opening stage.
The Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase ended in March, concluding a period of almost 10 months for people to share their stories and consider the question ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’
The National Centre for Pastoral Research has compiled statistical data and reported that more than 222,000 people participated in the Listening and Dialogue phase and made either individual submissions or had their voices captured through a group response.
“The bishops knew the time was ripe for a defining moment in the life of the Church like a Plenary Council. What we didn’t know is how the people of Australia would embrace a process that hasn’t taken place for more than 80 years,” said Archbishop Costelloe.
“We have been thrilled and amazed by the generosity of people and their willingness to speak about their experiences within the Church – both positive and negative – and to invest such energy in this first stage of the process.”
Analysis of the more than 17,000 individual and group submissions is underway. It will be completed over the next two months, with the national themes for discernment that have emerged to be announced in early June. Working groups will then be established to consider the submissions and help prepare discussion papers.
Visit the Plenary Council website for more information at www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au