Plenary Council of Inspiring Greater Love – Catholic Outlook
“What do you think God is asking of Australia right now? “
This is the fundamental question of Australia’s Fifth Plenary Council, which begins on October 3. For Len Cruz, parishioner of Mary Parish, Queen of the Family in Blacktown, this question has a simple answer: love, involvement and inclusion.
Related: A New Prayer and Resources in the Plenary Council Countdown
Related: Plenary calls on Catholics from the sideline
Len, who was born in the Philippines, immigrated to Australia with her family in 1987. Prior to that, she had worked for five years as a teacher in Nigeria, a time she describes as both beautiful and stimulating. When she moved to Doonside in 1990, she began attending St Patrick’s Church in Blacktown. She describes the parish as her second home. “When I moved to the area, I found it hard to feel welcome and I was just going to church for mass. But when my son began to prepare for First Communion and reconciliation, I became more involved in the ward. I love my parish and the people there are like my extended family.
Involvement in the life of the Church and the parish is so important to Len. During the planning process leading up to the first Council Assembly, she participated in several discernment meetings involving Council members from the Diocese of Parramatta. Listening to members’ thoughts and sharing, she wondered how they were going to handle Assemblies being officiated online. “In my heart, I wonder about the pandemic, how members are handling, if each ward has had enough time, and how the online gathering will affect attendance.”
Reading the topics on the agenda, Len felt they resonate deeply with her and hopes the discussion to come will be open and inclusive. “I hope there will be enough listening and sharing, so that everyone’s voice is heard and all groups are included. And I hope the subjects are not discriminatory, ”she said. She sees attentive listening as a possible challenge for the members present on the Board. “Listening is very important. And many people might feel speechless and not be listened to. “
As a person very involved in parish life and community ministry, Len is excited about the initiatives taking place in the diocese, in particular the interfaith initiatives, the HOME Ground online gathering program, the Alive in the Spirit conference and working with migrants and refugees. She prays that the Plenary will strengthen these initiatives and, above all, encourage more people, especially young people, to get involved in the Church and to take ownership of their faith. “Some people are just baptized Catholics and that’s it. But you have to practice your faith, participate, listen and welcome others. I hope people will return to churches once the lockdown is over and wards will work hard to welcome people back. And I hope that there will be a greater love for the Church, because the Church is us.
The first meeting of the Plenary Council will see nearly 280 members from across Australia’s Catholic dioceses, meet online to discuss Agenda issues from October 3-10, 2021.
You are invited to review the agenda questions and provide them with feedback by sending an email. [email protected]. Your comments will be forwarded to the members of the Plenary Council of the Diocese of Parramatta.
Find details about the Plenary Council, our diocese response, and other resources, including the diocesan prayer for the Plenary Council here.