There is no doubt that the Church in Australia is not in the best condition. The institutional Church is losing its credibility in many ways yet at the same time the Church is the community of those who, with more or less enthusiasm, create it week by week when encountering Christ through their participation in the Church’s sacramental life.

In this context and among the many colours and shades of Catholic Australians, the ACBC (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference) decided to bring the Church in Australia on a very special journey. The Catholic Church of Australia plans to host a Plenary Council in 2020. This was announced by the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge.

This would be the fifth major assembly for the Catholic Church of Australia and would take place more than eighty years since the last synod, which was celebrated in 1937.

19/20 October marked the first meeting of the Bishops Committee, Executive Committee (which I am privileged to be a part of) and the Facilitation Team. Two days were filled with getting to know each other, learning and understanding our roles, trying to understand the difference between being on a journey and wandering with no direction. It was a time of reflection, prayer and a lot of active listening.

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Many sticky notes and butcher paper was used to record big ideas and small details to ensure that every possible way of engaging one and all in the Australian church will be included in the preparation, celebration and implementation of the Synod.

Our hearts and heads were open for hope; our thoughts and concerns were grounded in reality.
With the vague but clear and only direction to “follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit” we started the journey – our direction and destination is only known to God.
Watch this space!


Sr Grace Roclawska

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