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PLENARY COUNCIL: Delegates to officially assume roles this weekend


The commissioning of 12 Perth delegates for the Plenary Council process will take place this weekend, at 11am, St Mary’s Cathedral, as the community continues to “contemplate the face of Jesus” through their call and challenge of discernment. Photo: Feby Plando.

By Amanda Murthy

The upcoming commissioning of 12 Perth Plenary Council (PC) delegates this Sunday, 4 October, at St Mary’s Cathedral will be a great opportunity for Perth Catholics to embrace and give the delegates prayerful support and encouragement, as they receive their blessing and commit to their roles.

The 11am Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, who also holds two other significant roles as PC President – as appointed by Pope Francis – and Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for the PC.

In his recent discernment paper titled A Journey of Discernment – The Plenary Council, published in August 2020, Archbishop Costelloe reflected on the inevitable decisions made surrounding the postponement of events, namely the First Assembly, and encouraged the faithful to use the extra time to “enter more deeply into the process of discernment, which has always been at the very heart of the PC”.


The first meeting of the Perth Plenary delegates took place on Tuesday 4 August. The 12 delegates will participate in a Mass at 11am, St Mary’s Cathedral on 4 October where they will be commissioned by Archbishop Costelloe. Photo: Ron Tan.

“It is sometimes forgotten that the decision to hold a Plenary Council was taken after, and was the fruit of, the Year of Grace, which Australian Catholics celebrated in 2012,” he noted.

Archbishop Costelloe went on to say that the heart of that remarkable year was a deep conviction, certainly on the part of the bishops, that what Saint Pope John Paul II had written in 1999 in Novo Millennio Ineunte (NMI), the Apostolic Letter with which he led the Church into the new millennium, was absolutely true.

“Is it not the Church's task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make his face shine also before the generations of the new millennium?” the St JPII wrote.

“Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His face.

“At the end of the Jubilee, as we go back to our ordinary routine, storing in our hearts the treasures of this very special time, our gaze is more than ever firmly set on the face of the Lord [NMI 16],” St JPII added.


Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB challenged the Perth Catholic community to enter more deeply into the process of discernment, which has always been at the very heart of the Plenary Council. Archbishop Costelloe will be celebrating a Mass this Sunday, where he will be commissioning delegates at the 11am Mass. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Archbishop Costelloe added that at the heart of the PC – in its preparation stage (presently underway), in its celebration stage (the two formal forums) and its implementation stage (to be undertaken at both the national level and, more importantly, at the local level) – is the call to, and challenge of, discernment.

“Both the call and the challenge are captured very well in the fundamental question of the Plenary Council and in the foundational theme of the Plenary Council: ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’.”

With the appointments of the delegates made during the coronavirus-led restrictions period, the first local gathering of the Perth Archdiocese delegates with Archbishop Costelloe took place on 4 August.

During the meeting, Archbishop Costelloe took the time to explain his discernment paper, reminding them that discernment is the task in which they are engaged and to which they are called to commit ourselves.


The commissioning of 12 Perth delegates for the Plenary Council process will take place this weekend, at 11am, St Mary’s Cathedral. All are welcomed to join. Photo: Ron Tan.

The Plenary Council delegates who will represent the Archdiocese of Perth at the upcoming assemblies in October 2021 and July 2022 are:

  • Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB DD, Archbishop of Perth;
  • Most Rev Donald Sproxton DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth;
  • Very Rev Peter Whitely VG, Vicar General;
  • Very Rev Brian McKenna EV, Vicar for Clergy;
  • Very Rev Vincent Glynn EV, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation;
  • Rev Fr Phillip Fleay, St Charles’ Seminary Rector;
  • Rev Fr Michael Moore SM, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector;
  • Professor Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of Notre Dame University;
  • Dr Marco Ceccarelli, Centre for Faith Enrichment Director;
  • Ms Emily Hardbottle; UNDA nursing student;
  • Dr Angela McCarthy, UNDA senior lecturer in theology; and
  • Mr Damian Walsh, The Shopfront Director.

All are encouraged to attend the Plenary Council Delegates Commissioning Mass this Sunday, 4 October, at St Mary’s Cathedral.