Those gathered for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia are following in the footsteps of the early Christians, Cardinal John Dew said at Mass on Thursday evening.
The Archbishop of Wellington, one of the observers at the Plenary Council, was the homilist for Mass celebrated on the memorial of Blessed Peter To Rot, Papua New Guinea’s first Blessed.
In his homily, Cardinal Dew (pictured above) spoke about the faith and devotion to Blessed Peter, a lay catechist and martyr who suffered persecution during the Second World War.
In spite of everything, Blessed Peter knew that “with God on our side, nothing can be against us”, he said.
Citing St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Cardinal Dew said to know the love of God is to have the unshakable conviction that “nothing can come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
In gathering as a Plenary Council, Cardinal Dew said the Members are taking their cue from the early Christian community, who “gathered under the leadership of the Holy Spirit” to discern “how they were to live faithful to the experience of Jesus”.
Discernment is “integral to synodality”, he said, and what the Members are discerning is a future where everyone else has the opportunity “to approach the mystery of God”.
“When we know, when we know deep in our hearts that every hair on our heads has been counted,” he said, then “we know that there is no need to be afraid and that we are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.”
Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli of Melbourne celebrated the Thursday evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral.
During the day, the Members discerned and voted upon more motions from the Motions and Amendments document. The details were published on the Plenary Council website on Thursday evening.
On Friday, work will continue on Part 5, “Communion in Grace: Sacrament to the World” and also take in Part 6, “Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry”.
Revised text for Part 4, “Witnessing to the Equal Dignity of Women and Men”, will also be considered. The text was published online on Thursday evening.
Mass on Friday will be livestreamed from 7.45am AEST, with Friday’s opening session also to be shown online from 9am.
Find out more about the Plenary Council and follow the second assembly at:
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.