As Pope Francis prepares to launch the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, an Australian lay woman assisting the process says the Church in Australia has been a key supporter of the Synod. Source: ACBC Media Blog.
Susan Pascoe has held a number of senior roles in the Church and in government in Australia, including as head of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
Earlier this year she was appointed to one of four commissions supporting the work of the Synod, and she has travelled to Rome for the global launch this weekend.
Ms Pascoe said with the Synod’s theme as “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”, Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council of Australia is seen as something of a model.
“The emphasis on involving as many voices as possible through the Plenary Council submission writing process, the integration of prayer and spirituality as foundational to the listening and discernment phase, and the live streaming of the first assembly all witness to a process of the People of God in Australia journeying together, which is central to synodality,” she said.
In practical ways, key figures in the Plenary Council process have also offered advice to the Synod of Bishops secretariat and its commissions on how the Church in Australia prepared for and is now conducting the Council.
Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on October 10 to formally launch the global process, with dioceses set to have local launches the following weekend. A period of local consultation will take place over several months, which will then be gathered nationally and later discussed within regions of the world.
The Synod of Bishops will culminate in a gathering at the Vatican in October 2023.
Fr Ormond Rush, associate professor of religion and theology at Australian Catholic University, was earlier this year announced as a member of the theology commission.
He is currently in Brisbane serving as an adviser to the Plenary Council’s first general assembly.
Find out more about the Synod of Bishops and the Australian consultations at: www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch
Australia has helped shape Synod of Bishops (ACBC Media Blog)