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Plenary Council: ‘Being prayerful and Eucharistic needs complete participation and inclusion’


Sr Kerry Willison RSM, Director of Centre for Liturgy, spoke at one of the six Plenary Council seminar on Thursday 5 November. Photo: Max Hoh.

By Theresia Titus

The Plenary Council is a “mission of love”, said Mercy Sister Kerry Willison RSM, Director of the Archdiocesan Centre for Liturgy as a keynote speaker during one of the six Plenary Council seminars held recently on 5 November at Newman Siena Centre.

Reflecting on the question: “How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church in Australia that is ‘Prayerful and Eucharistic’?”, the seminar explored ways for the Church to be prayerful and Eucharistic through complete participation, inclusion and celebrations of the Sacraments within the community across the six Plenary Council papers.

“[The process of Plenary Council] is never going to be perfect, we're not going to have all the answers, and some of the things we might or I might want to be changed or reviewed, may not happen and that's okay. As long as together, we are looking at becoming that community of love that is always on a mission that is Christ centred,” Sr Kerry said.

Sr Kerry also believes that the Christian mission – following Christ, proclaiming the Word, and celebrating the Sacraments within the community – is “at the heart of the Catholic Church.

“We go out to others, I send you out on a mission of love. Go out there and be Jesus to others.”

Speaking about participation in the Church, Sr Kerry began the presentation with a section of a video by Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge titled ‘Why Jesus Matters’.

In the video, Archbishop Coledridge reflects on the importance of truly knowing the essence of Jesus.

  • Encountering Jesus as a power in my life and following him wherever he leads me and they may be some strange places, seeing him through the eyes of faith.
  • Dying on the cross Jesus enters into a dark place, as we might in our lives; He is always there with us, but can we see Him.
  • Encountering Jesus in the Resurrection.
  • Death doesn’t have the last say, life does.
  • Finally, remembering that the least do matter because that is where you will find Jesus in a society that applauds success.

“God is calling us to be a Christ-centred Church that is Prayerful and Eucharistic through being a community which participates, is formed and is on mission and that is why we need to truly know Jesus in our lives open to the Holy Spirit leading us in places we may never have thought we would go, because we see the world through the eyes of faith,” Sr Kerry said.


Held at Newman Siena Centre, the seminar explored the question: “How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church in Australia that is ‘Prayerful and Eucharistic’?”. Photo: Max Hoh.

Sr Kerry also explained that not only in the Prayerful and Eucharistic paper but throughout all six papers we hear the echo that participation needs to include the realities of people's lives, as well as being relevant and life-giving.

Sr Kerry emphasised that participation means that we are not just spectators in liturgical rituals, but that we actively participate in the “lives of the people we interact with”.

“Jesus was never a spectator. He was eating a meal with somebody, he was having a conversation with someone, he was healing someone, he walked along side people, he was never a spectator,” she stated.

“Jesus is present in the Sacraments. The Eucharist is not an event, something we do. It is a lifestyle, a way of being. All the words and actions of our Sacraments call us to action.

“To spread the message of Jesus Christ in the way we live our lives.

Sr Kerry also said there was a need to “ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the Eucharist and enriched by its effects”.

“The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation of the liturgy.

“It is their right and duty by way of their baptism. We are not spectators in the Eucharistic prayers, The Eucharistic prayers use the words  we, our and us…this is our prayer  to God as a Christian community gathered together and offered to God through the priest acting in the Person of Christ.

Speaking about inclusion, Sr Kerry outlined a number of liturgical ministries that are open to both women and men but work still needs to be done in this area. Participation and inclusion are paramount to developing  full active, consicious participation in the Church where all are welcome and eveyones gifts are acknowledged and received.