A listening church is the aim of ACU committee members
Published: Monday 24th July 2017
Four of Australian Catholic University’s (ACU’s) finest will work with the special Bishops’ Commission for the Plenary Council to prepare and implement the historic meeting in 2020.
Dr Gemma Cruz, Rev. Dr Ormond Rush, Dr Nigel Zimmermann and Mrs Sally Hood were among the 14 diverse Catholics appointed to the Plenary Council Executive Committee, following an extensive process of consultation across the Australian Church.
In making the appointments the Bishops Commission, has recognized the considerable gifts, knowledge and experience all four possess and how they can contribute to the plenary council that is all about planning for the future of the Church in this country at a very complex time.
ACU Brisbane Student Pastoral Associate Sally Hood said the appointment is a true privilege and she is enthused about the opportunities that lie ahead.
“I will personally bring my own concern for discussion around the advancement of youth and young adult ministry, evangelisation, and lay leadership within the Church. While much of our work is still yet to unfold, I pray that our service may be fruitful and aid in the building up of the Church and her faithful,” she said.
Dr Cruz is honoured by the appointment and said “at the same time it is a great responsibility given the tasks involved. I look forward to being able to contribute to the work of the committee.”
Dr Zimmermann said to help in the hard work of preparing for the Plenary Council at this moment of cultural change is a responsibility.
“I don't take it lightly, and I view it as a quiet means of service to the Church at a moment of transition. We will need to articulate prudently how we can act inclusively and creatively mindful of what has been shared with us. There will be no moment when it all comes together perfectly; it will be a journey of deliberation and an exercise in community-building, and I dare say, a kind of pilgrimage,” Dr Zimmermann said.
Rev. Dr Rush believes that in calling for a Plenary Council in 2020, the Australian bishops are deliberately following the call of Pope Francis for “a synodal church, a listening church.”
“The Plenary Council will be an opportunity for us all to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit by listening to all the faithful from the different dioceses of Australia on a variety of issues. How we do that will be a challenge. It will be hard work, but I believe the whole synod process will be a time of rejuvenation for the church in Australia,” he said.
The 2020 Plenary Council is only the fifth in Australia’s history, and 83 years after the previous plenary council meeting.