According to the latest figures from the National Centre for Pastoral Research, more than 31,000 people have shared their stories and engaged with the Plenary Council since the Listening and Dialogue stage launched at Pentecost in late May.
Most of the 1,300 groups to have responded took part in a Listening and Dialogue Encounter, which is grounded in prayer and contemplation.
“While the sheer number of people demonstrating their interest in the future of the Catholic Church is impressive, we’re really pleased to see new groups of people participating as we prepare for the final three months of Listening and Dialogue,” said Lana Turvey-Collins, the Plenary Council facilitator.
In the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, 150 trained animators are continuing to meet with groups and submissions continue to flow. The submissions that are being collated from our Diocese will also direct our Diocesan Synod to be held in October 2019.
Ms Turvey-Collins said while the National Listening and Dialogue process will officially come to a close on Ash Wednesday (6 March), the fruits of this period of engagement are likely to last much longer.
“This Plenary Council process is already changing the way people from all parts of the Catholic Church, and even outside it, engage with their faith, their values, their beliefs, their experiences and their stories,” she said.
“What we’ve seen is that this process is most fruitful when time is given for prayer and silent reflection before we speak aloud. To truly listen to what the Spirit is saying, we must first invite the Spirit into our hearts and minds.”