You can be a Local Animator for Plenary Council: Listening and Discernment

The Diocese are seeking Animators to assist the diocesan community in the second stage of preparing for the Plenary Council, through Listening and Discernment.

The national data from the Listening and Dialogue has now been collated under six themes, while asking the question:

How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church that is:

  1. Missionary and evangelising
  2. Inclusive, participatory and synodal
  3. Humble, healing and merciful
  4. Prayerful and Eucharistic
  5. A joyful, hope-filled and servant community
  6. Open to conversion, renewal and reform

It is from this local communal Listening and Discernment that the agenda for the first session of the Plenary Council in October 2020, will be developed. The discernment process also involves establishing Writing and Discernment Groups for each of the National Themes for Discernment.

In this second phase, we are continuing to listen to what the Spirit is saying as we move from listening and dialogue, into listening and discernment. This is a process of Communal Discernment, rather than individual discernment. As such, we are called to work together as a group. The process that we will be using is built upon the practice of Spiritual Conversations. It is a process of prayer, contemplation, sharing with one another and seeking God’s direction. As the Holy Spirit guides the Church in Australia, all are welcome to participate and discern together.

Once again, local animators will be trained and asked to assist in the listening and discernment process associated with both the Plenary Council and Diocesan Synod.

The Diocesan Plenary Council Core Team have identified two ways in which the people of our diocese might participate in Phase 2: Listening and Discernment to prepare for the 2020 Plenary Council and our own Diocesan Synodal Process.

Option One: Parish/Organisation - Listening and Discernment

Local Animators will be trained to offer six Listening and Discernment sessions, in small groups, over six weeks, covering each of the six themes in their parish, school or organisational setting. It is anticipated that each of these sessions will take about 2 hours.

Option Two: Local Conversations - Listening and Discernment

We acknowledge that some busy people may not wish or be able to participate in a six-week, weekly two-hour discernment process. A discernment guide is provided along with a print-out for each of the six themes. These documents are available on our website. People will be invited to consider one of the themes during each of the six weeks of the diocesan Listening and Discernment process and gather with people at a convenient time to them, maybe after Mass, to respond to the questions.

An important part of discernment is listening to the voice of God within each one of us.

No matter the process chosen, people will be asked to respond to the following questions:

What actions could really help us to move toward becoming a

Christ-centred Church that is (insert National Theme for Discernment):

              At the National Level

              At the Diocesan level

              At the local Parish level

              Personally

National Level – through the Plenary Council process. Groups will be asked to send the outcome of their Communal discernment (maximum of 150 words) to the Discernment and Writing Group who are considering the same National Theme for Discernment that the group has focused on.

Diocesan Level – through the Diocesan Synod process. Groups will be asked to send the outcome of their Communal discernment (maximum of 150 words) to the Diocesan Synod Working Party who will consider each of the National Themes for Discernment.

Parish and Personal Level - through the Parish process. A form to be downloaded from our website for people to complete to give to their Parish Leader.


Below are dates for local animator training and formation sessions.

Fill in the submission form online at Local Animator Training Registration .

 Locations – Local Animators Training

 To assist in the breaking open the Phase2: Listening and Discernment process, local animator training and formation for the Plenary Council process will be conducted in the following locations:





Core Team




10 September


St Paul’s Parish

10 Young St


Plenty of street parking

Session 1 – 3.30pm – 5.00pm


Session 2 – 6.00pm – 7.30pm





12 September


Holy Name Parish Hall

33 Lake Street, Forster


Street parking or carpark in front Parish

Session 1 – 3.30pm – 5.00pm


Session 2 – 6.00pm – 7.30pm





17 September


MacKillop Pastoral Centre

11 Milson St, Charlestown


Street parking or carpark near pastoral centre

Session 1 – 3.30pm – 5.00pm


Session 2 – 6.00pm – 7.30pm





18 September



Cathedral House

Toohey Room

841 Hunter Street


Plenty of car park space near Cathedral

Session 1 – 3.30pm – 5.00pm


Session 2 – 6.00pm – 7.30pm





19 September


St Joseph’s High School


49-53 Segenhoe St


Carpark off Segenhoe St. Overflow next door to school with driveway adjacent to church

Session 1 – 3.30pm – 5.00pm


Session 2 – 6.00pm – 7.30pm




For more information, contact Teresa Brierley – Director Pastoral Ministries

E: or P: (02) 4979 1157.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Teresa Brierley Image
Teresa Brierley

Teresa Brierley is Director Pastoral Ministries of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.