01 Apr 2020

Delegates named for Plenary assemblies

The Southern Cross newspaper – April 2020

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The Southern Cross   |  April 2020

Delegates named for Plenary assemblies

Four South Australians who represent the diversity of the Catholic Church have been named as the Archdiocese’s lay delegates to attend the fifth Plenary Council of Australia.

Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB wrote to more than 250 Catholics across the country last month calling them as delegates. The first of two assemblies to be held is scheduled to take place in Adelaide in October.

The delegation from the Adelaide Archdiocese includes Archbishop-elect Patrick O’Regan, Administrator Delegate Fr Philip Marshall and lay representatives Maddy Forde, Monica Conway, Ian Cameron and Julian Nguyen.

Ms Forde, 23, who works at Sacred Heart College in youth ministry, is hoping to be able to reflect the thoughts of young people at the Plenary.

“My belief is that the way forward for the Church involves listening to those most affected, our young people, but we also need to extend our thinking and listening to make sure the people on the margins, who are often under represented, are heard,” she said.

Ms Conway, who is the assistant director, Catholic Identity at the Catholic Education Office, expressed an interest in becoming a delegate as a “way to offer my passion, knowledge and experience” to the task of forming future directions for the Church in Australia.

“As a woman in the Church with the privilege of a role that connects me with the lives of young people, families and staff within Catholic Education I am committed to processes of listening and dialogue in ways that will help our Church move forward in confidence and fidelity,” she said.

Mr Cameron, who is a member of the Emmaus parish, said he enjoyed "assisting family, parish and others", especially now in retirement. He believes that "courage is needed to make rational, considered change" in the Church and said he was looking forward to examining the issues as a delegate and contributing to the outcomes of the Plenary Council. 

Mr Nguyen, 27, is a member of the Vietnamese Catholic Community and current president of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement in South Australia. As a delegate he said he hopes to bring the “voice of young people” and a “multicultural perspective” to the Plenary discussions. 

Archbishop Costelloe said bishops across the country had worked with leaders in their diocese to design a process to consider names of people who were nominated or applied to be delegates for the Plenary Council assemblies.

“Plenary councils have often been the domain of bishops and priests and while canon law still ensures they are the major presence in the fifth Plenary Council of Australia, the lay and female representation far surpasses anything seen before,” he said.

Plenary Council facilitator
Ms Lana Turvey-Collins said the steering committee was considering how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect the first Council assembly in Adelaide.

“We are watching advice from the Commonwealth and South Australian governments and the relevant health officials closely,” she said.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions about the first assembly when advice relevant to October 2020 is clearer.”

Ms Turvey-Collins said the preparation of delegates, including their formation as people ready to listen to the Holy Spirit, will be the next focus and will be delivered with the assistance of digital technology.

Picture: from top left – Julian Nguyen, Monica Conway, Maddy Forde and Ian Cameron.

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