from left- John Griffin, Mary Fraser, Father Junray Rayna, Helen Fowler, Rom Hayes and Anne Tecklenburg. Photo; Andrew Perryman.

BY NICHOLAS NAKOS

Bendigo’s St Kilian’s is encouraging the Catholic Church to consider welcoming members of the LGBTIQ community, divorced or remarried people and those of diverse cultures as part of a submission to the 2020 Plenary Council.

St Kilian’s spent nearly a year engaging in dialogue and preparing information that could set the agenda for Australia’s first Plenary Council in more than 80 years.

The first of two Plenary Council sessions will take place in October 2020, with parishioners given the opportunity to submit suggestions and topics for discussion to the Catholic Church, at a forum that was once only privy to those in the clergy.

More than 200 responses taken from a parish forum and group discussions at St Kilian’s formed the basis of their submission.

St Kilian’s Parish Plenary committee member Mary Fraser said that while the issue of inclusivity in the church wasn’t the most common theme, it was a strong one.

“We had an amazing consistency across the responses and some issues were raised often,” Ms Fraser said.

Optional celibacy, married priests, female participation in leadership in the priesthood and an honest recognition of the trauma caused by sexual abuse from priests were just some of the reflections the Parish included in its detailed submission.

Parish administrator and priest , Father Junray Rayna said next year’s Plenary Council is about letting everyone’s stories be heard.

“It is about a story not only coming from the priest, but all people from around the Catholic Church,” Fr. Rayna said.

“We are in a modern day and we have a lot of modern issues we have to tackle. Everyone has a story to be told and we need to have an attitude that listens,” he said.

The first of two sessions of the Plenary Council takes place in October, 2020 in Adelaide, with the second session to be announced at a later date.