The first session of Australia’s fifth Plenary Council begins in October. As the people of God in Australia continue to journey towards this gathering—in which the Catholic community is undertaking a process of listening, dialogue and discernment—everyone is being called to prayerfully surround and support this important endeavour.

Pentecost 2021 marks the third anniversary of this journey of faith. Guided by the Holy Spirit, 280 members (formerly delegates), together with observers and advisers, will gather from 2-10 October in a multimodal way in five hubs across the country to consider the theme: ‘Continuing the Journey’. The Victorian and Tasmanian members will gather in the Melbourne hub, with COVID-safe measures in place, for a combination of online and face-to-face gatherings. The second assembly will be held in July 2022, in Sydney.

To help prepare people for the first session, the National Liturgy Committee for the Plenary Council has launched a suite of resources to be used in a range of contexts entitled, Fan the Flame. These prayer and reflection resources are designed to ignite hearts and minds as the church in Australia continues to listen to the Holy Spirit and prayerfully prepare for the Plenary Council.

The Fan the Flame resources include:

  • an introductory paper providing some background and outlining various ways to use the resources
  • inspiring weekly bulletin inserts, incorporating Scripture and other quotes
  • a selection of petitions for the universal prayer (prayers of the faithful)
  • music selections
  • weekly prayer reflections
  • PowerPoint slides and other audiovisual aids
  • three reflective prayer ‘experiences’.

Over the coming months, everyone is also encouraged to keep praying the Plenary Council prayer for the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit. Reading ‘Continuing the Journey’—the instrumentum laboris or working document of the council—is a good way for individuals and groups to gain further insight into the proposals before the Plenary Council and the areas for dialogue and discernment.

For more information and resources, the Plenary Council website is a good place to start, particularly the six thematic discernment papers for further reflection and dialogue.