First Assembly of Plenary Council "has been a monument to grace and faith" says Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Archbishop ColeridgeThe First Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council closed on Sunday 10 October with Mass celebrated by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

In his Homily, Archbishop Coleridge reflected on his week as one of 278 members, seeking to capture how they felt at the end of the assembly.

“Weary and a bit ragged, because it was very hard work; relieved, even slightly surprised, because so much could have gone wrong; satisfied, because it has produced real fruit; grateful to God and to each other, because it has all been more gift than hard work; intrigued to see what happens between now and the second assembly in the middle of next year,” he explained.

“It’s all been a marvel of technology; a mountain of superb work from so many people, and a maelstrom of words, insights, feelings, convictions and resolutions all with deep respect for each other, even and perhaps especially when we disagreed.

“But, above all, the assembly has been a monument to grace and faith – God’s grace and the Church’s faith in this fraught time.”

Archbishop Coleridge drew on the Gospel for Sunday’s Mass to see how the protagonist had similarities with the Council’s members.

“Through the journey of the Plenary Council and this week’s assembly, the Word of God has come to us as a call, every bit as much as it did to the rich man in the Gospel we have heard,” he said.

“Rich he may be, but he is also a searcher, as we have been through this week.”
That searching will continue in the period between now and the second general assembly in July 2022.

“As we turn from this week, we look to the months till the second assembly where we will – please God – gather face-to-face in Sydney,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“Our discernment will continue intensely through the months of fermentation, so that the seeds sown in the first assembly may finally bear fruit in the second assembly, equipping us well for the journey beyond the phase of the Council’s celebration to the long phase of implementation of its Spirit-shaped decisions and decrees.”