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Advent Plenary Hearts: A 4-week outline for the Advent/Christmas period


The Listening and dialogue phase of the Plenary Council concludes on Ash Wednesday (6 March) 2019. The Advent/Christmas period offers another wonderful opportunity for evangelisation. For some parishes, Advent may provide an opportunity to animate the Plenary process.
 
This short guide offers some suggestions for how a parish may invite a response to the Plenary Council question in Advent including:
  • Sample notices for the bulletin
  • Weekly Plenary prayer of intercession
  • Advent plenary prayer cards and PowerPoint slide
 

Advent Week 1

Bulletin notice
Ensure that a short notice about the Plenary Council is included in the bulletin. For example:
 
Plenary Council 2020: What is God asking of us in Australia at this time?
  • The Plenary Council 2020 is a gathering of the Church in Australia to make decisions for the future.
  • All people are invited to contribute to the Plenary Council agenda by sharing their experience of faith and of the Church. 
  • The Plenary Council agenda will be developed from the stories you share and the questions you raise. 
  • Our questions about and our hopes for the Church will arise from hearts that listen to the Spirit. This week, we are inviting all our parishioners to pray the Advent Plenary Council prayer each day as a way of preparing to share our stories. 
Print copies of the Listening and Dialogue Encounter discussion guide and have available in the Church (See www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au). 

Prayer of the Faithful
 
For the Plenary Council: that our hearts will be open to the work of the Spirit in our lives and our world:
Let us pray to the lord. 
 
Plenary Council Advent Prayer
Include the following prayer in the notice sheet or download these ready-print prayer cards and PowerPoint slide:
 
Be still
Be still and know
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I am your God.
God of this Advent time
As we watch, wait, long and hope,
Awaken our hearts to your presence
Encourage us in our efforts to listen humbly to each other
Inspire in us the words to speak boldly with each other
Create within us a spirit of discernment
Give us hopeful hearts as we continue our journey to the Plenary Council.
We ask this in the name of Emmanuel - God-with-us.
Amen.
 
 

Advent Week 2

Create opportunities for people to gather and to have a listening and dialogue session at:
  • Advent small groups
  • End of year meetings 
  • After Mass on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning
  • As part of an Advent prayer/carol service
 
Bulletin notice
Ensure that a short notice about the Plenary Council is included in the bulletin. For example:
 
Plenary Council 2020: What is God asking of us in Australia at this time?
  • Our questions about and our hopes for the Church arise from hearts that listen to the Spirit. Having spent time in prayer over the past week, this week, we are inviting all our parishioners to share their hopes for the Church. Parish groups that gather during the week are encouraged to enter into a listening and dialogue process, responding to the question of ‘What is God asking of us in Australia this time?’
  • See www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au for more information. 
Print copies of the Listening and Dialogue Encounter discussion guide and have available in the Church (See www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au)
 
Plenary Council Advent Prayer
Include the following prayer in the notice sheet or download these ready-print prayer cards and PowerPoint slide:
 
Be still and know
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I am your God.
God of this Advent time
As we watch, wait, long and hope,
Awaken our hearts to your presence
Encourage us in our efforts to listen humbly to each other
Inspire in us the words to speak boldly with each other
Create within us a spirit of discernment
Give us hopeful hearts as we continue our journey to the Plenary Council.
We ask this in the name of Emmanuel - God-with-us.
Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful
 
For the Plenary Council: that the Spirit will enable us to listen deeply to each other as we think about what we are being called to in Australia at this time.
Let us pray to the Lord
 

Advent Week 3

This week is an opportunity to gather responses. A Plenary Wall at the back of the Church may help. Provide post-it notes so that people can place their responses on the wall and/or invite them to upload their responses directly to the Plenary Council (www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au).
 
 
 
Bulletin notice
 
Plenary Council 2020: What is God asking of us in Australia at this time?
  • Our questions about and our hopes for the Church arise from hearts that listen to the Spirit. Having spent time listening to each other’s stories over the past week, this week, we are inviting all our parishioners to share what it is they think God is asking of us at this time. 
  • You can respond via or by writing on a post-it note and placing it on the Plenary Wall at the back of the Church.
Print copies of the Listening and Dialogue Encounter discussion guide and have available in the Church (See www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au)
 
Plenary Council Advent Prayer
Include the following prayer in the notice sheet or download these ready-print prayer cards and PowerPoint slide:

Be still
Be still and know
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I am your God.
God of this Advent time
As we watch, wait, long and hope,
Awaken our hearts to your presence
Encourage us in our efforts to listen humbly to each other
Inspire in us the words to speak boldly with each other
Create within us a spirit of discernment
Give us hopeful hearts as we continue our journey to the Plenary Council.
We ask this in the name of Emmanuel - God-with-us.
Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful
 
For the Plenary Council: that the Spirit will enable us to respond with a discerning heart to the question of What God is asking of us in Australia at this time.
Let us pray to the Lord
 

Advent Week 4

An opportunity to prepare to engage our Christmas visitors in the Plenary Council 2020. 
  • Have a notice about the Plenary Council in the bulletin
  • Provide Christmas Plenary Council prayer cards for all
  • Have a Plenary Wall at the back of the Church and enable individuals to respond to the Plenary question
Print copies of the Listening and Dialogue Encounter discussion guide and have available in the Church (See www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au)
 
Bulletin notice (Christmas and 4th Sunday in Advent)
  • The Plenary Council 2020 is a gathering of the Church in Australia to make decisions for the future. 
  • All people are invited to contribute to the Plenary Council agenda by sharing their experience of faith and of the Church. 
  • The Plenary Council agenda will be developed from the stories we share and the questions we raise. 
  • Our questions about and our hopes for the Church will arise from hearts that listen to the Spirit. Everyone is invited to be part of this process.
  • Information about how to be involved is available at the back of the church of via www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au
 
Prayer of the Faithful
 
For the Plenary Council: that the Spirit will enable us to respond with a discerning heart to the question of What God is asking of us in Australia at this time.
Let us pray to the Lord
 
Christmas Plenary Prayer

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and celebration
Open our eyes to the songs of the angels as they tell of Good News
Give us joyful hearts as we sing and pray and celebrate
Awaken our hearts anew to your presence
Encourage us in our efforts to speak boldly and with prayerful discernment
Lead us in our work toward the Plenary Council 2020
That we may continue to proclaim ‘Joy to the world, the Lord is here!’.
Amen