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Dear Friends,

In October 2020, the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first Plenary Council to be held since the Second Vatican Council. In 2018, the entire People of God in Australia began preparing for this historic moment by listening to God, by listening to one another’s stories of faith. These voices of the faithful help all of us to understand something of the historical experience and the current reality of the Catholic Church in Australia. This gathered data also reveals some deeper hopes and questions, and the diverse yearnings, that we are now challenged to consider together. Recently, six National Themes were announced. They are inspired by the data and call us toward the future. These six themes are: Missionary and evangelizing; Inclusive, participatory and synodal; Prayerful and Eucharistic; Humble, healing and merciful; A joyful, hope-filled and servant community; Open to conversion, renewal and reform. As we move into this second stage of preparation for the Plenary Council, we continue to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

In coming months, through the discernment process and drawing on the six National Themes for Discernment, we will develop the agenda for the first session of the Plenary Council.

This discernment process will involve establishing Working Groups for each National Theme for Discernment. Also, people in faith communities across Australia will be called to participate locally in their own communal Listening and Discernment encounters.

The fruits of what is discerned during this time will shape the agenda of the first session of Plenary Council in October 2020. There will also be an Archdiocesan Assembly in October this year to bring a local flavor to these national themes and we will keep you informed about how you can be involved.

Please continue to pray for the important work of the Plenary Council at this important time in the life of the Australian Church.

Fr. Anthony

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