The Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase ended earlier this month, concluding a period of almost 10 months for people to share their stories and consider the question “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
The National Centre for Pastoral Research has compiled statistical data and reported that more than 222,000 people participated in the Listening and Dialogue phase and made either individual submissions or had their voices captured through a group response.
“The bishops knew the time was ripe for a defining moment in the life of the Church like a Plenary Council. What we didn’t know is how the people of Australia would embrace a process that hasn’t taken place for more than 80 years,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“We have been thrilled and amazed by the generosity of people and their willingness to speak about their experiences within the Church – both positive and negative – and to invest such energy in this first stage of the process.”
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said while she observed enthusiasm for the Council when she visited communities across Australia, she couldn’t have predicted that would translate into 220,000 people participating in the Listening and Dialogue phase.
“From the beginning, it has been clear that the success of the Council would depend largely on people’s level of engagement, but equally on the movement of the Holy Spirit,” she said.