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Communal discernment and listening to the Spirit is key to upcoming Brisbane Assembly in October

Looking ahead: Brisbane archdiocesan Plenary Council co-ordinator Eric Robinson (front), with (from left) Peter Pellicaan, Troy Tornabene, Sr Kari Hatherall and Melissa Ledwich, want Catholics from across Brisbane archdiocese to get involved in Brisbane Assembly. Photo: Mark Bowling

BRISBANE Assembly is less than a month away and Brisbane archdiocese plenary council co-ordinator Eric Robinson said he was excited to see everyone there on October 4 and 5.

The assembly will be held at St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane, and registrations close on September 20. 

Mr Robinson said he was looking forward to the assembly as a chance to explore a large-scale discernment experience as part of the Listening and Dialogue phase of Australia’s Plenary Council 2020. 

He said he hoped participants might come away from the assembly with a passion for discernment – “with an understanding of the value of it, but again also that their involvement in the plenary council through each stage is integral to its success”.

“I also hope they get to meet with, mix with, converse with other people from across the archdiocese and encourage that connection across our diverse body of people that make up this archdiocese,” he said.

Mr Robinson said Brisbane Assembly had a line-up of high-calibre facilitators for the break-out listening and discernment sessions, drawing on people from the archdiocese and the national team like Jesuit Brother Ian Cribb and Columban Father Noel Connelly.

“There’s going to be some really intense discussion, conversation and listening,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the fruits of this Listening and Discernment experience, (and) what tools it provides for the archdiocese even beyond the plenary council.

“(It’s) an opportunity to come together for communal discernment, make decisions and look at ways forward on challenging issues.”

Mr Robinson said it was exciting to hear the many voices and the way the Holy Spirit was going to work through them.

High calibre line-up

The assembly was also a chance to hear directly from the plenary council national facilitation team like national facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins.

“I think it’s going to be great for those people who already have an interest in the plenary council and already engaged in that first phase and looking to take part in the second (phase),” Mr Robinson said.

He said Br Cribb would also be speaking on the importance of discernment and communal discernment, and the difference between the two.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge would also address the assembly.

Mr Robinson said taking part in discernment sessions with national facilitators would bear fruits in parishes as participants could bring back methodologies they learned at the assembly.

“You don’t necessarily have to send everyone to Brisbane Assembly … but even if you can send some members along just to experience this, that will help people in the rest of your parish community,” he said.

Unique time for Church

It was also a chance for Brisbane archdiocese to reflect on the unique opportunity of the plenary council.

“I think you’ve just got look at the questions the plenary council is asking people and when has the Church ever formally on this scale ever asked the people of Australia to engage on those questions,” Mr Robinson said. 

He said the assembly was about the future of the Church in Australia. 

He said that alone should bring optimism to those who had had trouble engaging with the Church in the past. 

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