Sr Chris Schwerdt gives an insight into the Plenary process at the local level after attending the Adelaide Diocesan Assembly, held over 17 and 18 September.

The Adelaide Diocesan Assembly was a very hopeful and enriching experience, involving more than 400 people, including seven Josephites and two Covenant Josephites. Parish representatives, migrant communities, schools, clergy, religious and Catholic agencies listened and shared their stories.

We gathered at Cabra College, a beautiful facility, and heard a moving Welcome to Country by John Lochowiak.  The group was filled with great energy, and the goodness and enthusiasm of those present was evident and inspiring.

Those assembled broke into groups after choosing two topics of most interest. These sessions highlighted the value of deep listening, withholding judgement, noticing our own biases and feelings, discernment and community.

The topics were:

  • Inclusion and Healing
  • Leadership and Leadership Formation
  • Faith Formations and Spiritual Development
  • Parish Life and Liturgy
  • A Church that responds to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor
  • Outreach and Accompaniment of Children. Families and Young People.

The groups, through the discernment process, came up with 144 recommendations for our Archdiocese.  These were presented on 23 September at the closing session, which can be viewed here:

The recommendations from the Assembly will be then forwarded on to the Plenary Council.

I, like many others, went to the Diocesan Assembly without a lot of hope for a positive outcome. However, meeting such vibrant and committed people gives me so much hope for our church.

There are so many committed people who love the church that Jesus gave us. Perhaps at the next Diocesan Assembly we may not be required to wear masks!

Chris Schwerdt rsj