Plenary lay delegates discuss their hopes, dreams for the process

17 Sep 2020

By The Record

  • Damian Walsh, Director of the Shopfront, will represent the Archdiocese of Perth at Plenary Council 2021. Photo: The Record.

By Eric Martin, Amanda Murthy and Theresia Titus

Two Plenary Council Perth lay delegates feature in The eRecord’s latest podcast recording on Friday 11 September for an in-depth discussion about their hopes and dreams for the process.

The Shopfront Director Damian Walsh and Applecross Parish youth coordinator Emily Hardbottle shared their thoughts in the latest Archdiocesan podcast episode.

“I’ve been really interested in the Plenary Council, especially how we can get young people involved. I think it’s important that our voices are heard,” Ms Hardbottle shared.

In her experience, talking with other young people at the University of Notre Dame Australia Fremantle Campus and St Benedict’s Church youth group, she found that many are still unaware of the process or have had little contribution.

“We’re the future of the Church and the changes that we make now are the changes that we are going to be living with for the next 60 to 70 years, so I think that it’s really important that we are involved,” Ms Hardbottle added.

For Mr Walsh, the biggest challenge of the Plenary is ensuring that it is a genuine vehicle for the growth and development of the Church, counteracting the fear that the process may be seen by some within the Catholic community as just “going through the motions”.

“The Church to me is such an important part of who I am… For me, I would probably say that I live my Catholicism through what I do,” the Shopfront Director said.

“If you’re going to be involved in this kind of social welfare work, you have to see the person opposite you with respect and dignity – regardless of what they look like, how they smell, or what they’ve done.”

The Plenary delegates need to be sincere, he added.

“The Church is about being on mission and we need to start with ourselves: am I a missionary in how I approach my own life?” Mr Walsh questioned.

“It’s when we get out of our own comfort zones and are prepared to face the hard questions and be honest with yourself and others, that people stop and go ‘wow’, because not many people do that.”

Click Here to read the full transcript of the podcast episode.