The Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council 2020 process has changed the way people within the Church communicate with one another, three key figures have explained. Source: ACBC Media Blog.
The Plenary Council’s opening phase concluded in March, with more than 220,000 people sharing their stories and considering the question, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
Plenary Council coordinators from the Diocese of Sale, Archdiocese of Brisbane and Diocese of Darwin – part of a network of more than 40 local coordinators across the nation – told Media Blog the Listening and Dialogue process has had a profound and nourishing impact on people in their communities.
Sophy Morley, diocesan coordinator for liturgy and pastoral ministry for the Sale Diocese, said it had been encouraging to see people in her diocese take up the opportunity to get involved.
“I think that the Plenary process to date has really emphasised the wonderful and sometimes challenging diversity of all of us who make up the Church in Australia. Our culture, ethnicity, faith experiences and life circumstances all provide a rich tapestry for various views and concerns to be expressed,” she said.
“It has also highlighted the urgent need for clergy and laity to engage deeply with each other and to acknowledge that the involvement of lay people should be a given, as co-responsible partners in the mission of Christ.
“I think that the whole process, from information meetings through to training of Plenary animators and local Listening and Dialogue gatherings, has been a wonderful catalyst for prayer, reflection, sharing and renewal.”
Clalia Mar and Lindsay Luck, the Diocese of Darwin’s Plenary Council 2020 coordinators, said they had seen some wonderful first steps during the Listening and Dialogue process.
Ms Mar likened it to when a child first starts walking – a “bit wobbly and unsure, but slowly growing in confidence”.
“To start with, people were a bit wary of the openness of the process, but as they became engaged there was a feeling of being empowered and perhaps more open to the fact that they were genuinely being called to be a part of the process, not simply accept the decisions post the Council.
“We believe that people will feel more confident and affirmed when they see their contributions reflected in the themes to be collated.
“It is our hope that this Plenary process strengthens our collective resolve to become a more synodal Church. This is an opportunity to make the Church more Christ-like.”
Eric Robinson, Brisbane Archdiocese’s Plenary Council 2020 coordinator, has observed the beginnings of a shift in the way people are “Church”.
“I think this change that has started will take time, and my hope is that the Plenary may one day be acknowledged as the moment that a shift was felt nationwide,” he said.
Plenary Council changing how the faithful communicate (ACBC Media Blog)