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By Fr. Joseph Lee, SDB

       Australia, 9 October 2021 -- Four Salesians have significant roles at the Plenary Council. A Plenary Council is the peak meeting of all local churches of a country. The purpose of the gathering is to discuss the future of the Catholic Church in Australia. The first Assembly of the Plenary Council is happening now, using multimedia from 3 to 10 October 2021.

       The Provincial of the Province of Mary Help of Christians, Australia-Pacific (AUL), Fr. William Matthews is a member as a leader of a religious institute. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, the Archbishop of Perth, is the President of the Plenary Council. Professor Francis Moloney is one of the Periti (Expert Advisers). The Plenary Council also has observers and one of these is Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Federation of Asian Catholic Bishops Conferences (FABC).

       The EAO Region is present through a number of countries and dioceses who have observers at the Plenary Council: Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington and President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, Most Rev Peter Loy Chong, Archbishop of Suva and President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania, Most Rev Anton Bal, Archbishop of Madang in Papua New Guinea and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Paua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, Most Rev Paul Donoghue, Bishop of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and President of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC).

       At the homily during the opening Mass, Archbishop Costelloe said, “As this week we consider our life together, our pastoral care and our outreach in education, health and aged-care, our social services, our structures and governance, and many others things besides, the Lord is inviting us to reflect deeply and courageously on how we can better, as individuals and as communities of faith, be this living image of the life-giving God who, in Christ, is always seeking to be present and active in our world. He seeks to do so in and through us.”

       There was a "Plenary Wrap" video halfway during the Council posted on Facebook. The AUL Provincial was interviewed. Father Will Matthews said, “I have experienced the Holy Spirit moving from different people, especially from the lay people, people from the professional backgrounds not just the religious and priests, so the spirit is moving. I am quite confident about the future of the Church in Australia. We’ve got a lot to do and we’ve got a lot of exciting things to come.”


 
 

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