Archbishop Philip Wilson
In an address to Pope Benedict during the Ad Limina visit, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Philip Wilson, has announced that the Church in Australia will celebrate a Year of Grace.
In his address, Archbishop Wilson said:
"In this our first meeting with you in Rome since your election as Universal Pastor, we look back across the years since our last Ad Limina visit in 2004. Those years have been marked by two great graces given by God to the Church in Australia.
The first of these was World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008, when it was our joy to welcome you to our shores.
The second was the Canonisation last year of the first Australian to be recognised as a Saint, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop."
He adds, "How are we to build upon these two great graces in order to build the future of the Church in Australia at a complex and challenging time?
Different voices are heard among us, voices that interpret the past differently - especially the Second Vatican Council - and voices therefore that understand differently how we should move into the future.
In such a situation, the ministry of unity which is ours as Bishops - and supremely yours as Pope - is not always easy," Archbishop Wilson writes.
"In the attempt to 'start afresh from Christ' (Novo Millennio Ineunte, III), in the communion which is in Jesus, we have decided to call the whole Church in Australia to celebrate A Year of Grace from Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013.
"Through this time we will seek to contemplate the face of Jesus and to listen to his voice at a new depth, in the belief that only he can lead us into the future, that only he can make us one in faith, in hope, in love.
"Through this year, we will implore a new sending of the Holy Spirit, who alone can breathe new life into the Church."
Archbishop Wilson statement to The Holy Father (Media Release)