Today, more than 250 people have been called to attend the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, which will be held over two sessions.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has announced the names of four delegates to the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, to attend both the assembly in Adelaide (4-11 October 2020) and the assembly in Sydney (27 June - 2 July 2021).
The chosen delegates for Melbourne are Nimmi Candappa, Jonathan Antony, Vivian Alamo, and Michelle Goh RSM.
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli offered his congratulations to the four. ‘I have been humbled by the willingness and prayerful discernment expressed by so many in our community as we prepare for the Plenary Council.’
The role of the delegates is ‘not simply to represent particular causes, groups or issues,’ the Archbishop reminded those chosen, ‘but to act as delegates in service to the Gospel mission.’
Nimmi Candappa, who is a Research Fellow and PhD Candidate at the Monash University Accident Research Centre and Charism Coordinator for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, says she hopes the Plenary will lead to ‘a deeper understanding of how we can better reach and support the faithful in the current times, identifying ways in which we can better use the many gifts of others to bring Christ back into our centre.’
For Vivian Alamo, a parishioner of Resurrection Church, Kings Park, has been heavily involved in youth and marriage/family ministry for many years. As a parent to teenagers, she wants to use her experience ‘towards bridging that gap between young people and the Church. I pray for more young people to know the love of God and the reality of heaven.’
Sr Michelle Goh RSM
Sr Michelle Goh RSM, a member of All Saints Parish Fitzroy and a Dermatologist at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, hopes the Plenary will reveal ways to ‘support the faith lives of the entire people of God in order to live lovingly and hopefully in these challenging times in our globalised world,’ and provide guidance on how to be ‘a church that loves and serves God through our compassionate service of the poor and vulnerable in our earth community.’
Jonathan Antony, who is currently completing his degree in Education and Theology at Australian Catholic University, believes the Plenary Council is ‘an opportunity to re-affirm the Church's teachings and missionary character by supporting the charisms that already exist in the Church and are effective ways of bringing Christ to anyone, regardless of their situation.’
A total of 78 delegate applications were received by the Archdiocese. A Selection Panel recommended these four names people to Archbishop Peter, who accepted the recommendations. Of the 78 applications, 44 were from women and 34 from men.
Many of the diverse ethnic communities around the Archdiocese were represented as were the ages of applicants, ranging from 18 to 82 years old. The Selection Panel ensured the diversity of cultural identity, gender, age, and experience in the list of candidates to accurately represent the local Church to the national assembly.
‘At a time in our Church’s history we’ve not seen before, with the suspension of Masses across the country and around the world, the announcement of our Plenary Council delegates is a source of great joy for the People of God in Australia,’ said Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB.
The plenary process is not unaffected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Given the nature of the times we are currently in, the originally-set formation dates for delegates will now take place online through learning modules.’
Access the full list of Plenary Council Melbourne and national delegates here