In coming together in Sydney, the Members of the Plenary Council were living out in practice the way of being the Lord’s Church in our land which Pope Francis assures us is the call of God to the whole Church at this moment in our history, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has highlighted this week.
In a Pastoral Letter to the Perth Catholic community released Wednesday 27 July, Archbishop Costelloe emphasised that Pope Francis sums up this call in one word: Synodality.
“In the end, of course, as members of God’s holy Church we must have only one aim: to live fully and faithfully our vocation as disciples of Jesus.
Archbishop Costelloe also highlighted that in the two formal Assemblies of the Plenary Council, and in the many years of preparation, there has been a recognition that, in spite of the many failures and limitations of individual Catholics and of Catholic communities, the Church remains a powerful force for good in our society.
“This is true in a number of ways. From an institutional point of view the Catholic Church in Australia, including here in WA, continues to be engaged in the work of the education of the young, in the provision of healthcare in our Catholic hospitals, in the care of the elderly in our many aged-care facilities, and in our outreach to those in our society who are disadvantaged or marginalised,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“In a less spectacular but no less important way the gospel is being lived out in the faith-filled lives of so many people in our parishes and in other Catholic faith communities,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe expressed that he is personally privileged to see this very clearly, for example, when adults who seek to be baptised or received into full communion with the Catholic Church gather together in the Cathedral during Lent each year to be welcomed by the community, represented by the bishop.
“More often than not it is personal encounters with faith-filled Catholics which has led people to recognise a call from God to enter into the community of the Church,” Archbishop Costelloe noted.