Catholics for Renewal


Plenary Council 2020/2021

Plenary Council, 18 June 2021

As children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, the Members of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia are called to develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time.

‘I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.’Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 27.    

Download Agenda HERE

Plenary Post: Release of Continuing the Journey, the Working Document (instrumentum laboris) for the Plenary Council.
Extract from Plenary Post, 25 February 2021
There are just 219 days until the opening of the first assembly of the Plenary Council. And while there is a sense of deja vu about that, with significant preparations taking place early last year before the assemblies were delayed by 12 months, there's also renewed energy -- some of which is captured in the stories below.             As you will read, another milestone has been reached, with today's release of Continuing the Journey, the working document -- or instrumentum laboris -- for the Plenary Council. The document draws from the richness of the voices of the People of God, captured during the Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment phases, as well as papal writings, bishops' statements and key documents from within and beyond Church to inform the Plenary Council journey.          In addition to the document itself, a new podcast series featuring interviews with those on the writing team for Continuing the Journey and a reflection guide might be helpful. The reflection guide, which is a continuation of the guides at other stages of this journey, invites people to pray and discern with the document individually or in small groups. Our journey is national, but the local reflection has proven to be a source of great fruit.           There's much more to read about below. Keep an eye out for future editions of Plenary Post on the last Thursday of each month through 2021.......Plenary Post HERE.      Instrumentum Laboris HERE
Plenary Council 2020:
Final Report for Phase I: Listening and Dialogue - A Final Report to the Archdiocese of Melbourne 4 April 2020
Yesterday the National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) published the last of its 28 Diocesan Reports – the 596-page report on the 2440 Written Submissions to the Plenary Council from 1649 individuals and 791 groups living in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.       The report estimates that 58,031 people were represented through the 791 groups and that  the total number of respondents from the diocese was 59,680. The findings in this report are a summary of submissions that were received from the Archdiocese of Melbourne in  Phase  One  of  the  Plenary  Council  process  called  ‘Listening  and  Dialogue’. The report is available from the Plenary Council website  Here and the Plenary Council page of this website      Image:Final Report for 2020 Plenary Phase I: Listening and Dialogue. A Report to the Archdiocese of Melbourne 20200403
Submission to Plenary Council Phase 2 Themes
Catholics For Renewal, 1 January 2020
The Catholics For Renewal submission to the Plenary Council phase-two Theme Working Groups was submitted on 28 November 2019 and is available  HERE.  It complies with the 1,000 character limit for each of the themes.  
The Plenary Working Groups comprise: 
1.Missionary and Evangelising;  2.Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal; 3. Prayerful and Eucharistic; 4. Humble, healing and merciful;   5. A joyful, hope-filled and servant community; and 6. Open to Conversion, renewal and reform.
It is also published at Document 94 on the Documents page.  Details in support of this brief submission, and further major actions are included in our Plenary Council submission/book Getting Back on Mission (details HERE)
"Listen to what the Spirit is Saying"
FINAL REPORT for the Plenary Council
PHASE 1: Listening & Dialogue
28 July 2019
(this 314 page  is available HERE)
Summary of Plenary Submissions March 2018 - May 2019 HERE
National Centre for Pastoral Research, July 2019

Snapshot report of the Plenary Council   “Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal”  theme

Plenary Council Team, Sunday 23 June 2019

A link to this second Snapshot report of the Plenary Council theme  "Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal"  is provided HERE.       Included at the end of the Report is a schedule of the release of the other snapshot reports.

Previously published general details HERE on the overall 2020 Plenary 'themes' and on the "Mission and Evangelizing' theme.

Snapshot report of the Plenary Council  "Missionary and Evangelizing" theme

Plenary Council Team, Thursday 19 June 2019

A link to the Snapshot report of the Plenary Council theme of Missionary and Evangelizing is provided HERE.  

Included at the end of the Report is a schedule of the release of the other reports.


Invitation to apply for positions of Leaders and members of pre-Plenary Council Working Groups  (By 28 July 2019)

As previously announced The Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council is seeking people who are willing to be key partners and leaders in the process of discernment as the Church in Australia continues preparing for the Plenary Council in October 2020. The roles advertised are for Chairs and members of groups which will each reflect on one of the National Themes of Discernment announced at Pentecost 2019:

A Christ-centred Church that is: 
1. Missionary and Evangelising; 
2. Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal; 
3. Prayerful and Eucharistic; 
4. Humble, Healing and Merciful; 
5. A Joyful, Hope-filled and Servant Community; and 
6. Open to Conversion, Renewal and Reform

The groups will each engage in a process of communal discernment and reflection on one of the themes in order to draft a working paper by March 2020; the working papers will help to form the agenda for the first session of the Plenary Council. The bishops have described this as "a unique opportunity for visionary and open-hearted, faith-filled people who are committed to the faith, life and ministries of the Catholic Church in Australia and the mission of God."      The role of these groups as described should be critical to the development of the Plenary Council agenda, which in turn will be critical to the adequacy of discussion at the Plenary Council.  The  Member Role Description Secretariat For 'Plenary Council Discernment and Writing Group Member' may be accessed HERE .    The Chair Role Description Secretariat For 'Plenary Council Discernment and Writing Group Chair’ may be accessed HERE 

Announcement of national themes for discernment opens next phase for Plenary Council
Extract from Melbourne Catholic, Sunday 9 June 2019
The Plenary Council 2020 moves into its next phase of preparation today with the announcement of the National Themes for Discernment that emerged from a historic process of listening to the voices of more than 222,000 people.         Between May 2018 and March 2019, almost 17,500 submissions, from individuals and groups of all sizes, addressed the Plenary Council’s central question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”          Over several days of listening to what the people of God said, with intense moments of prayer and discernment, the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council and its Executive Committee, joined by the Facilitation Team, considered what people were longing for. Six National Themes for Discernment emerged.         “The National Centre for Pastoral Research was able to pinpoint more than 100 recurring subject areas from those 17,500 submissions,” said Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, president of the Plenary Council.      “In some ways, those subject areas described what one might call ‘the messy reality’ of Catholic life in Australia today. The 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.              "We worked to discern what people were yearning for as we move into this next stage of preparing for the Plenary Council.”      Archbishop Costelloe said there was a clear desire expressed for the Church to renew herself and focus on the person of Jesus Christ.        “Accordingly, the six National Themes for Discernment flow from that primary goal of being a Christ-centred community of people,” he explained.          The six National Themes for Discernment invite people to reflect, to pray and to consider how God is calling the People of God to be a Christ-centred Church in Australia that is:

    Missionary and Evangelising
    Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal
    Prayerful and Eucharistic
    Humble, Healing and Merciful
    A Joyful, Hope-Filled and Servant Community
    Open to conversion, Renewal and Reform
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said many topics relate to one or more of the National Themes for Discernment and this next stage of preparation – “Listening and Discernment” – is a time of prayerful consideration of the “big” questions that have been raised by the faithful.      The emergence of the National Themes for Discernment is an important moment in our journey towards the Plenary Council.....(MORE)
Catholics For Renewal submission to Plenary Council 2020/2021.  Published 20 March 2019 (HERE)
Plenary Update on Process, Sunday 10 March 2019
The Plenary Council Team website has published a clear and comprehensive update on the Plenary process ahead, among other things including an overall process CHART , and the extract underneath. The next phase of the Plenary process as it affects respondents launches the 'Listening and Discernment" phase on on 9 June providing the Plenary THEMES for discernment. The Agenda will follow from the Listening and Discernment phase

Based on the Chart The steps ahead are: 
  • Draft preliminary National Report (published early June) with emergent themes for the Plenary Council identified. Listening and Discernment stage (start 9 June)
  • Application and selection of Working Group Chairs and members – one Working Group for each identified theme – to develop council papers for discussion as 1st session (starts in June 2019)
  • Working Groups meet for first time and local group discernment begins (July 2019)
  • Nominations open for [selection] of lay delegates to Plenary Council (September 2019)
  • Diocesan qualitative reports published by NCPR (October 2019)
  • Draft Plenary Council papers prepared by Working Groups made available for download and discussion (April 2020)
  • 1st Session 4-11 October 2020 in Adelaide
  • 2nd Session May 2021 in Sydney

EXTRACT The Plenary Team website refers to the Listening and Discernment phase & what happens just before:
 With the Listening and Dialogue phase now complete, the National Centre for Pastoral Research will continue the deep listening process, conducting a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the submissions received and, using best-practice research methods, will identify key themes that have emerged.    

Then, in May, the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, the Plenary Council Executive Committee and the Facilitation Team will work together with the National Centre for Pastoral Research to finalise the National Themes for Discernment.  Those themes will become the focus for the Listening and Discernment phase and will be the foundations for the Plenary Council agenda.

    With the second phase of the Plenary Council process – Listening and Discernment – to begin in June, it is important to understand what discernment is. In the coming weeks and months, there will be a number of articles and videos created to help explain discernment."
Plenary Council 2020: Some Augmented and Complementary Resources
The Plenary Council website includes primary resources with an online opportunity to submit inputs to the Plenary Council agenda setting process.       To further assist Individuals, small groups, parishes, schools, deaneries and others input their ideas  to the Plenary Council the Yarra Deanery in Melbourne in collaboration with Catholics for Renewal has collated and indexed additional resources to augment and complement those on the Plenary Council website.           These indexed resources, together with those on the Plenary Council website are designed to support the People of God, of all ages, as we collectively listen, speak, discern and deliberate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit on our journey together in contemporary times. These additional resources further help us towards renewing and re-energising our Church so that it may be an effective instrument of God’s mission, and a credible sign pointing to and making present God’s Kingdom on earth.