Listening. Hopefully.

By Lana Turvey-Collins, 14 September 2018
Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie, Ms Lana Turvey-Collins, Plenary Council Facilitator, and Fr Noel Connolly SSC, Plenary Council Facilitation Team. Image: ACBC.


In a society and an environment of instant gratification, a 24-hour news cycle, 140-character text messages and click-bait headlines, asking everyone to create some time and space for a conversation about how we experience God in our lives, what hopes and dreams we have for our Australian society and how faith is an inspiration for that is something I realise is challenging, to say the least. But the more we continue this journey, the more I am convinced that it is essential.

During the week, we interact with tens or even hundreds of people. We have conversations and interactions about topics of varying levels of importance, but how often do we intentionally create time to be present to another person and listen deeply to the story that is being shared? How often do we delve deeper into their experience by asking questions, and then reflect on that experience and what it might mean together?

Listening deeply to a person’s story without the need to solve a problem or seek an immediate resolution is a habit that, if practised, can build relationships and, over time, rebuild trust. Trust borne of fledgling relationships can be foundational for hope, which can lead to faith. All of which is greatly needed for people in our communities throughout Australian society and, indeed, throughout the Church.

Last week at the Catholic Communications Congress in Brisbane, Archbishop Peter Comensoli said that the simple gesture of a handshake can be a first step to connecting with one another – a bridge that can build relationship and open a doorway to understanding one another and developing trust. This week, let’s see who we can reach out to shake hands with and what stories I might have the opportunity to listen to as a result.

With thanks to the Plenary Council.

To find out more about Plenary 2020 in the Diocese of Parramatta, visit our website or contact Richard or Tanya on


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