PLENARY COUNCIL: Discernment, an ongoing journey for delegate

12 Nov 2020

By Amanda Murthy

Saint John of God Health Care Group Manager Mission Integration West Tara Peters facilitated in a prayer, discernment and dialogue session with Plenary Council delegates on 4 November. Photo: Max Hoh.

Plenary Council delegates have gathered on 4 November for yet another opportunity to pray, discern and reflect as they prepare to represent the voices of the Perth Catholic community.

This comes with a challenge posed by Plenary Council President, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB to enter more deeply into the process of discernment, which has always been at the very heart of the Plenary Council, found his recent discernment paper titled A Journey of Discernment – The Plenary Council, published in August 2020.

The two-hour session facilitated by St John of God Health Care Group Manager Mission Integration West Tara Peters, who also sits on the Archdiocese of Perth Plenary Council Strategy and Engagement Reference Group – began with delegates sharing their experiences of personal and group discernment, before reflecting on Scriptural passages.

“Recognising that this is a newly formed group, this is one of many upcoming opportunities to come together as representatives of the Archdiocese, and participate in a shared discernment process with purpose and intentionality,” she stated.

Plenary Council President, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB addressed the delegates at a recent prayer, discernment and dialogue session, on 4 November. Photo: Max Hoh.

“Throughout the session, the group were invited to consider the matter for discernment, respond to some focussed questions in a spirit of prayer and recognition of the wisdom of the group. The delegates were also invited to enter into moments of pause, reflection, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

“The feedback received was that it was a fruitful session and foreshadowed opportunities for an ongoing dialogue that will contribute to how we move forward as a Church in Australia,” she added.

During the session, Archbishop Costelloe spoke briefly about the need to listen in this process of discernment.

“A group discernment provides the wisdom of, in one sense, the whole Church … we need the wisdom of other people to listen to that openly,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“That is a key part of listening to the Holy Spirit.

“The wisdom of women, young people, men, old people, people of disability, anybody, we have restricted our listening too much in the past, and this is one thing that we discovered during the listening and dialogue session phase of the Plenary Council,” he added.

Perth Plenary Council delegates spent an afternoon to continue the process of discernment as a group on 4 November. Photo: Max Hoh.

The delegates present for the session, who will represent the Archdiocese of Perth at the upcoming assemblies in October 2021 and July 2022, are:

  • Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB DD, Archbishop of Perth;
  • Most Rev Donald Sproxton DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth;
  • Very Rev Peter Whitely VG, Vicar General;
  • Very Rev Brian McKenna EV, Vicar for Clergy;
  • Very Rev Vincent Glynn EV, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation;
  • Rev Fr Phillip Fleay, St Charles’ Seminary Rector;
  • Rev Fr Michael Moore SM, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector;
  • Sr Lucy van Kessel PVBM, Presentation Sisters/Catholic Religious Australia;
  • Sr Lourdes Chitra Justin OSM, Servite Sisters/Catholic Religious Australia;
  • Dr Marco Ceccarelli, Centre for Faith Enrichment Director;
  • Ms Emily Hardbottle; UNDA nursing student;
  • Dr Angela McCarthy, UNDA senior lecturer in theology; and,
  • Mr Damian Walsh, The Shopfront Director.

Archbishop Costelloe’s paper can be accessed by Clicking Here.