Australia's fifth Plenary Council officially gets underway this Sunday with the Opening Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Perth. Close to 300 Plenary members will then gather online for the first of two assemblies, discussing and discerning how to become a more Christ-centred Church.

It's been 84 years since the last Plenary Council and a few years since this journey towards the Council began (plus a pandemic interrupting the original schedule!), so you'd be forgiven if you're a little rusty on what's in store for this first Assembly. We've put together a quick Plenary Council refresher for you, and included the livestream program so you can follow along online.

Also in this week's round up of stories is a look at the Archdiocese's Take the Way of the Gospel project, which is an invitation to take up seriously Pope Francis' challenge that 'each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out ... to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel’ (Evangelii Gaudium, §20). As Fr Tony Kerin reflects, ‘It’s an opportunity for our parishes to go beyond themselves, to reach out to the unchurched and to bring the joy of the Gospel to them.’

“Listen to what the Spirit is saying”
Theme for Australia's Fifth Plenary Council
Revelations 2:7
Getting ready for the Plenary Council: A quick refresher
What is arguably one of the biggest events in the life of the Church in Australia begins on Sunday 3 October, so to refresh your memory on what the fifth Plenary Council is all about, what follows is a guide to the journey so far and a look at what's about to take place. It might commence on 3 October, but Australia's Fifth Plenary Council has been years in the making.

Highlights from the Plenary Council livestream:

  • 3 October: Opening Mass of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, 2pm AEDT from St Mary's Cathedral in Perth.
  • 4-9 October: Daily Mass broadcast at 9.30am AEDT and on demand afterwards.
  • 4-6 October and 8-9 October: Plenary session livestream starts at 11am AEDT and runs until approximately 12.15pm AEDT.
  • 7 October: Plenary session livestream starts at 12 noon AEDT and runs until approximately 12.45pm AEDT.
  • 10 October: Closing Mass of the First General Assembly, 11am AEDT from St Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane.
Jonathan Antony: Don't stop the work of the Holy Spirit
At 23-years of age, Jonathan Antony is one of the younger members participating in the Plenary Council. He’s also one of the few representatives who can speak from the personal perspective of being involved in a charism – the Neocatechumenal Way. For Jonathan, both his youth and involvement in the community is the very ‘experience and perspective’ that he hopes to bring to the plenary discussions. ‘The Church has been gifted with so many different charisms and groups, which are so effective in many parts of the world in terms of evangelisation and spreading the Word so we shouldn’t stop the work of the Holy Spirit.’
A Church on the way: Take the Way of the Gospel
The way of the Gospel—the path of missionary discipleship—has always been adapted by every generation to fit the local circumstances. How this is arranged has varied according to time and place, and the prayerful discernment of the local people of faith. Pope Francis has said that for pastoral ministry to truly be mission-oriented, it must abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”, and for everyone 'to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.' (§33)
Fr Tony Kerin: 'We’ve got to do something different'
For the past few months, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has been undergoing a process of discussion and discernment as part of an invitation to "Take the Way of the Gospel". Fr Anthony (Tony) Kerin has attended a number of the online information sessions held with parish communities and is encouraging parishes to embrace the call to be missionary, to ‘think outside the box’, and to see this as an opportunity for growth and revitalisation.
Synodality: A Guide for the Perplexed
From October 2021 to April 2022, the first phase of a two-year synod begins: The Synod on Synodality. The theme of this Synod is: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission. Pope Francis has long called for a more "synodal" Church, that is, a church ‘which listens, which realises that listening is more than simply hearing’. Around the world, Bishops and lay people alike will discern together how the Church as a whole can become more synodal.
St Vincent de Paul Parish in Strathmore, Keeping Connected during Covid
The Strathmore parish of St Vincent de Paul, nestled in the suburban streets of Melbourne’s north-west was established in 1941. Eighty years on, the community is described by its new parish priest, Fr Tony Doran, as a ‘highly connected’ community.
Stories you might have missed
Faith leaders seek clarity on Government roadmap
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli and other faith leaders in Victoria are seeking further clarification from the Government around access to places of worship once the 80 per cent vaccination rate is reached. The Archbishop said that while all Catholics are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the notion of a vaccine...
Earthquake damages 80-year-old marble statues
Geoscience Australia confirmed that a 5.9 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Victoria at 9.15am on Wednesday 22 September. The earthquake’s epicentre was near Mansfield, almost 200km northeast of the City of Melbourne. Fr George Feliciouz was getting ready to say Mass at St Francis Xavier Church in Mansfield when the...
2021 Archbishop's Charitable Fund opens
For the past 30 years, the Archbishop’s Charitable Fund has provided an opportunity for the Catholic community of Melbourne to support and encourage practical charitable activities within our Archdiocese. Applications for the 2021 grantmaking cycle have now commenced.
Why catechesis needs good art
The author C.S. Lewis famously said of The Chronicles of Narnia that they were stories that could ‘steal past those watchful dragons’ of human suspicion, inhibition and prejudice. Some things, he posited, simply get baked into us from childhood and it was important to strip Christianity of its usual associations...
Upcoming events
Leading a Missionary Parish — Signs of Hope with Ron Huntley
Thursday 23 September 2021
Missionary parishes transform lives and yield a growing army of disciples for whom worship and sacraments come to life and whose ministry and service flourishes. Hosted by Ron Huntley, this series of live online talks and interviews explores signs of hope in our Church – globally, nationally and locally. From...
The Carmelite Centre Melbourne presents Lectio Divina
Friday 30 April 2021
Brought to you by The Carmelite Centre Melbourne, these Lectio Divina sessions by Fr David Hofman OCarm present an opportunity for you to experience being with a supportive community on the spiritual journey. Away from your normal activities you can: take time to be still and attentiveenter into a quiet...
T@P — Suffering like a saint Facebook livestream with Fr Marcus Goulding
Monday 4 October 2021
T@P is back online with another live stream on Facebook. Our speaker this month is Fr Marcus Goulding on 'Suffering Like a Saint'. Grab a drink and join us on Monday 4 October, at 7.30pm. If you have any questions for Fr Marcus Goulding, send us a message on Facebook...
Mission Inspired Leadership Evenings
Thursday 5 August 2021
Catholic Social Services Victoria is presenting our 2021 program of Mission Inspired Leadership evenings online. Through a series of four connected workshops, it offers a range of inputs and opportunities for shared reflection with colleagues and leaders: 5 August: Leadership Practice in a Catholic Context2 September: Leadership Influenced by Catholic...
Celebrate the Season of Creation with Missionary Sisters of Service
Sunday 5 September 2021
All are invited to celebrate with the Missionary Sisters of Service and friends, the ‘Season of Creation’, from 1 September to 4 October. During this time, on each Sunday, we will host a 40-minute ‘pause’ at 4pm to reflect on the wonder of our Cosmos and its astonishing 14 billion...

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