The agenda of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia calls those attending the assemblies to 'develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia'.
The Plenary Council agenda is the result of deep listening, dialogue and prayerful discernment. It is the next step on the journey toward the celebration of the Plenary Council for the Church in Australia.
The agenda’s preamble is drawn from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. It explores the Pope’s 'dream of a "missionary option"' and captures the essence of the agenda.
'That is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation,' Pope Francis wrote.
Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said that invitation and exhortation to be a missionary, Christ-like people is at the heart of the agenda.
'Through the Plenary Council, we are being called to consider how we can be a Church that goes out to the peripheries, that welcomes all into our communities and shows the face of Christ to the world,' Archbishop Costelloe said.
The agenda poses 16 questions, grouped into six inter-related themes: Conversion; Prayer; Formation; Structures; Governance; and Institutions. It challenges the members of the Plenary Council to develop “concrete proposals” in response to the questions.
'So much of what we heard during the Plenary Council journey related to this concept of "conversion" – conversion of hearts and minds, personal conversion, communal conversion and institutional conversion – with an ever-deeper renewal in Christ,' Archbishop Costelloe said.
'Each member attending the assemblies will bring their own unique gifts to the agenda on behalf of the People of God in Australia.'
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said the agenda, which has now been published on the Plenary Council website, asks questions with widespread relevance.
'These questions can be discerned by all of us: families, community groups, parishes, individuals,' she said.
'Everyone can continue the discernment for the Church in Australia by praying and speaking and listening deeply to one another, seeking the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide us forward.'
Archbishop Costelloe asked people to pray for the more than 280 Plenary Council members, who will attend three-day formation sessions beginning this week using Microsoft Teams – the platform that will support the assembly’s multi-modal format.
Melbourne Catholic19 May 2021
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)25 May 2021