First Assembly Proposals published in New Report.

Plenary FirstAssembly ProposalsIn October this year, 270 Plenary Council Members from across Australia, including Sandhurst Plenary members, Bishop Shane Mackinlay, Fr Brian Boyle, Fr Joe Taylor, Cathy Jenkins and Ruth Lawlor, gathered online for the First Assembly.

At the assembly, Members worked in small groups, according to their knowledge, experience and interests, to discern responses to the 16 Plenary Council agenda questions. Their discussions were informed by the hundreds of submissions put forward by Australian Catholics during the first phase of the Plenary Council.

“These dozens of pages cannot come close to capturing all that was shared in the First Assembly, but there is great richness in what is contained, including the many proposals the small groups and individual members have put before us,” said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Plenary council President.

“The report, as much as possible, “retains the original voice of those who spoke, without attempts to produce a harmonised or homogenous account,” said Archbishop Costelloe.

This is another document in our years-long journey that can help carry forward the hopes of the members of the Council and, indeed, the hopes of the People of God across the country,’’ he said.

The proposals already put forward will be used to identify thematic focuses for the Second General Assembly of the Council in July 2022. The Council’s drafting committee, supported by the expert theologians and other contributors, will lead that work.

Final versions of the propositions, which will form the agenda for the Second Assembly, are expected to be published in June. Reflection, prayer and conversation will precede final discernment and voting at the Second Assembly.

Plenary Council members have this week begun their reflections on the document and its proposals, and the wider Catholic community can now commence its own prayer and discernment in the report.

Archbishop Costelloe suggested one way that could happen is through the local consultation phase of the Synod of Bishops, which is considering how the Church is ‘journeying together’ to announce the Gospel.

“The complementary nature of the Plenary Council and this Synod of Bishops process is quite clear, and I encourage people to be as engaged with the Synod as they have been in the Plenary Council,” he said.

Archbishop Costelloe asked the People of God to continue to keep the Plenary Council in their prayers as they have done for the past four years or more.

“I am confident that we will continue to walk together as we share our experience of the First Assembly and as we reflect together on the ever present and pressing question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

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