Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 18, 2010 when a Centennial Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland (Waterbury) Church.
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20180319T1208 15529 CNS AUSTRALIA PLENARY COUNCIL 800
This is the official logo for PlenaryCouncil 2020, an Australian meeting in which decisions become binding on the church in the country. (CNS logo/courtesy Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

CANBERRA, Australia (CNS) -- Australian bishops expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for authorizing an Australian plenary council, a meeting in which decisions become binding on the church in the country.Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, chair of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, asked people to "join in prayer as we embark on this journey together as God's people in Australia."

"We sincerely hope the preparation and celebration of the plenary council is a time when all parts of the church listen to and dialogue with one another as we explore together how we might answer the question: 'What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?'" he said in a statement.

The Australia bishops had asked that Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe serve as president of the council, and Pope Francis endorsed the nomination.

Archbishop Costelloe said he was "committed to listening to the Spirit." "I encourage all Catholics, whether devout or disillusioned, fervent or frustrated, to seize this opportunity to speak what is on their minds and in their hearts," he said.

The council will begin in late 2020 in central Australia, but a series of listening and dialogue sessions will begin May 20, Pentecost. A second session of the council will be held in mid-2021 in a city on the eastern seaboard. On the council website, plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au, the bishops said it was time to look at where the church in Australia was headed and noted that Pope Francis had encouraged a church of dialogue.

"The Royal Commission Into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse has been a significant and influential event that requires deep consideration and response," it added

In December, after five years of hearings, nearly 26,000 emails, and more than 42,000 phone calls from concerned Australians, the Royal Commission released its 17-volume final report. Among its 400 recommendations, 20 were aimed specifically at the Catholic Church.

The March 19 announcement also preceded the announcement of results of a monthlong hearing into whether Australian Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy, would stand trial on decades-old charges of sexual abuse, which he consistently denied.

On the plenary council website, the bishops listed resources for people to begin getting involved in the process. It also listed the criteria, outlined in canon law, for picking delegates, including those who must be called and those who can be called.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.