Parishes and Dioceses tasked with continuing to listen to the Spirit

By Mary Brazell, 9 July 2022


As the Plenary Council comes to a close, our dioceses and parishes are invited to listen, hear and discern what happens next.

The final video of the series produced for the Second Assembly hears from our Diocese of Parramatta Plenary Council Members about the realities for our Church’s future.

“[The Plenary Council] gives us hopefully some direction about where to go,” Fr Wim Hoekstra, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Parish Priest of the Parish of Baulkham Hills, explains.

“There will also be an opportunity for each individual diocese and parish to determine how they implement those motions or decrees that emerge.”

Fr Fernando Montano, Episcopal Vicar for Social Welfare and Parish Priest of St Bernadette’s, Castle Hill, hopes that when the documents from the Plenary Council are published, parishes get involved in reading through them and making them “come alive” in their contexts.

“I hope the document will be broad and everyone can feel they can bring something down to their own parish group, or parish or diocese and will get us to continue this process of consultation, participation and listening at different levels,” he said.

Due to the richness of the cultures of our Diocese, Fr Paul Marshall, Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary, hopes that the Plenary Council process shows the need to be embracing of these cultures into our wider faith.

“Pope Francis talks about a ‘change in era’, and an ‘era of change’ and we’re living it right now. We need to embrace the issues of the day and the issues of the Lord speaking to us in the signs of the times.”

Wendy Goonan from the Parish of Baulkham Hills added, “I want the Plenary Council to provide that hope for the Church to become a beacon of hope for us in all our troubled times, to show the way to better faith, of relationship with God and with each other.”

The video encourages people across the Diocese to take up the mantle from the Members and continue the journey of the Council.

Reflecting on what they hope will be carried into the future, Fr Peter Blayney, Episcopal Vicar for Migrant Chaplaincies & Pastoral Associates and Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Matters and Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Guildford hopes that parishes adopt Pope Francis’ call to listening, hearing and discerning.

Fr Peter Williams AM, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, adds, “If there’s one positive thing that’s come out of the Plenary process, I think it has made people aware of the need to pray and listen.”

Carol Teodori-Blahut from Our Lady of the Nativity Parish, Lawson, encourages people to bring their thoughts to the table – wherever it may be – which can then produce “amazing things”.

“When people sit around and have significant conversation and ask questions that may seem a little threatening, [it can] open people up to the possibilities of real care.”

Find out more about the members of the Plenary Council from the Diocese of Parramatta, and more about the Plenary Council at 


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