For several years the Australian Bishops have been reflecting on how they might refocus their lives on Jesus Christ, both in their prayer and their daily activities, and how they might invite the whole Catholic Church in Australia to join them in this task.
Part of their response was to engage again with the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium) of Blessed Pope John Paul II. This letter (hereafter, NMI) recalls the events in Rome during the Jubilee Year of 2000, and the Pope's challenge to the whole Church to "contemplate the face of Christ", (NMI 16) and to "start afresh from Christ" (NMI 29).
In our own words, we believe we should ask the following question of all that we do: "What's this got to do with Jesus?"
Back in May 2010, as our plans took shape, we noted:
This is a call to conversion more than education, to prayer more than to study, though we never enter upon a spiritual path which is not also intellectually challenging and satisfying.
It needs to be a call more to a retreat, in the broadest sense, than to a discussion program in the narrower sense.
At our Plenary Conference in May 2011, we committed ourselves to what we have chosen to call: A Year of Grace – Starting Afresh from Christ. This is its full title, though we will often refer to it more briefly as A Year of Grace, or just Year of Grace. As we wholeheartedly accept this challenge as individuals, we now ask the whole Catholic Church in Australia to join us in this journey. Read more.
+ Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn
+ David Walker, Bishop of Broken Bay
+ Michael Putney, Bishop of Townsville
+ Timothy Costelloe sdb, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne