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Bishops act to refresh Australian Church with Eucharist focus

Australia's Bishops have taken up Pope John Paul's call to tackle secularism in Australian society and to encourage the observance of the Sunday Mass, with discussions at their Plenary Meeting focusing on a broad renewal and education with regard to the Eucharist.

One important outcome of last week's Plenary meeting in Sydney was a decision by the Bishops to issue a pastoral letter on the Eucharist, together with other associated pastoral activities.

In an interview with Vatican Radio at the close of the Plenary session, Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Francis Carroll (pictured) said the meeting had been infused with the spirit of the Bishops' recent Ad Limina visit to Rome.

"Certainly the memory and even the spirit of the Ad Limina visit was very much with us," he said.

"We had very much in mind the Holy Father's speaking particularly to the observance of the Lord's Day and so, generally speaking, it was against that background, I suppose, of trying to combat the secularism in Australian society that many of our discussions were held," Archbishop Carroll said.

The Vatican's recent Instruction on the Observance of the Eucharist was also considered, he said.

"We see consideration of that as part of the wider area of the liturgy," he said. "We looked at the proposed translation for the new Missal and so-forth, particularly centering on the Eucharist.

"We're trying to give a broad renewal and education in regard to the Eucharist, which of course includes things mentioned in the Instruction."

The Bishops' media office yesterday issued a summary of decisions taken at this month's Plenary, including the following:

New pastoral document to promote participation in parish life for people with disability
Peace be with you - 2004 Social Justice Statement
National Liturgical Commission Executive Officer re-appointed
Australia's Ukrainian Catholic Eparch heads committee for new Catechism
Women's Commission reports priorities for next three years

Plenary News Briefs, May 2004 (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Archbishop Carroll re-elected Bishops' Conference President (CathNews 10/5/04)
Nuncio urges parishes and movements to work together (CathNews 10/5/04)
Pope backs Australian bishops on refugees, social justice (CathNews 29/3/04)

21 May 2004