Plenary Council’s first assembly ‘inspiring, challenging’

Archbishop Costelloe, the Council’s president, adjourned the Council’s first assembly and summoned its 278 members to gather again in July 2022 for the second and final assembly.

Archbishop Costelloe said to members the first assembly had been an exercise in the process of “synodality”, which Pope Francis describes as “walking together”.

“We have been walking together this week – and in rejoicing in that, and thanking God for that, we can also ask ourselves how well have we avoided the danger of walking alone, or only in a small group of like-minded people?” he said.

As he closed the formal proceedings of the first general assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia Saturday evening, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB reflected on a week that had been “inspiring, challenging and sometimes unsettling”.

A Mass at 11am AEDT Sunday, October 10, livestreamed from St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane concluded the first assembly.

Archbishop Costelloe said the members of the Church are called to be “a sign and an instrument of communion with God and of unity among all people”, something he had spoken of in his homily at the Council’s opening Mass six days earlier.

“This week we have tried to discern together how we, the Church, can become more fully a clear, unambiguous and effective sign of this communion,” he said.

“We have done this because we are sure that it is as the People of God, the body of Christ in the world, that we can be God’s instrument for the establishment of God’s kingdom.

“All week we have been exploring together possible ways of re-casting ourselves, re-positioning ourselves, the Church in Australia, for this mission. And this exploration will continue.”

Among a rich variety of experiences during the week, which included time spent as a full assembly, many hours of small group discernment on the agenda’s 16 questions and times of prayer, Archbishop Costelloe acknowledged it had been “an inspiring, challenging and sometimes unsettling week for many of us”.

To watch Archbishop Costelloe’s closing address, click here.

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