Pope Francis appoints Fr Timothy Harris, Sixth Bishop of Townsville

Bishop-Elect Timothy Harris

Bishop-Elect Timothy Harris

The Holy Father has today appointed Fr Timothy Harris, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, as the sixth Bishop of Townsville.

Bishop-Elect Harris is currently the Parish Priest of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Speaking about his new appointment, Bishop-Elect Harris said, ‘I’m very conscious that the Diocese of Townsville has been without a bishop for three years. It has been on all of our minds. If the bishop is a sign of unity, which he is, I hope that I can strengthen the unity of the vast Diocese of Townsville and build on the work of Bishop Michael Putney and, since his death, on the efforts of Diocesan Administrator, Fr Mick Lowcock, the Parish Priest of Mount Isa. Continue reading

Human Trafficking – Be Informed about its reality and consequences

St Bakita

St Bakita

On the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita today, 8 February, bishops and religious leaders across Australia support the call from Pope Francis to end the injustice of human trafficking against all people, in particular children.

‘They are children! Not slaves!’ is the theme for Bakhita Day this year. Pope Francis has designated today a world day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking.

St Bakhita is the Patron Saint for victims of slavery. The United Nations estimates that one in every three victims of human trafficking is a child. It is estimated that 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. Annually, millions of children are trafficked into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage, illegal adoption, forced labour, and to become child soldiers. Continue reading

Statement from the Truth Justice and Healing Council to the Royal Commission as part of Case Study 50: Catholic Church authorities in Australia

logo-TJHC_200Statement read by Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Council on 6 February 2017

Introduction

Commissioners I make this statement on behalf of the Truth Justice and Healing Council.

When the Truth Justice and Healing Council made its first major submission to this Royal Commission in 2013 it included a nine-point Commitment Statement by the Catholic Church leadership.

This in part said the leaders of the Church in Australia committed themselves to repairing the wrongs of the past, to listening to and hearing survivors, to putting their needs first and to doing everything the Church can to ensure a safer future for children.

Over the past four years, as the Church has been through what many would say has been the most intense and unforgiving examination of almost all aspects of its operations in Australia, the Council has worked hard to hold the Church leadership accountable to these words.

But more than that – to put these words into action.

And having been involved with this Commission from the word go I have seen the Church leadership rise to this challenge. Continue reading

Politicians should respect the right of people of faith to hold a different view on marriage

Parliament House, Canberra

Parliament House, Canberra

All members of religious groups deserve the right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they hold a traditional view of marriage, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) said in a submission released this week.

The Australian Senate has established a select committee to examine draft exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious groups so they do not have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, should the law be changed. The Select Committee on Same-Sex Marriage is expected to report on 13 February 2017.

“Changing the definition of marriage would have an impact on all the members of the Catholic Church, but perhaps the most significant impact would be on ordinary parishioners trying to live their Catholic faith in their daily lives,” said Archbishop Anthony Fisher, chair of the ACBC’s Commission for Family, Youth and Life. Continue reading

A Month of Sundays named Australian Film of the Year

Anthony LaPaglia

Anthony LaPaglia (Image Credit, Brisbane Times)

The jury of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting has awarded its annual prize to Matthew Saville’s A MONTH OF SUNDAYS, released April 28, 2016.

This beautiful, gentle Australian film is about a lonely man, Frank, trying to find a fresh purpose in life. One day, he receives a phone call from an elderly widow, Sarah, who carries on a conversation with him as if she is his mother. Sarah’s wrong number leads to a friendship that gives meaning and purpose to Frank’s life in unexpected ways.

The film is a tender, dramatic character study of a man who reaches out to form an attachment to a woman, who becomes the means for his discovering the humanity he thought he had lost. Continue reading

Building for the Liturgy

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

A seminar on the relationship between architecture and liturgy in Catholic church design took place at the Secretariat of the Bishops Conference on January 11 and 12.

The two day seminar, ‘Building for the Liturgy’, surveyed the history of church architecture, with particular emphasis on architectural principles and the evolution of the liturgical setting. The Seminar also addressed the challenge of reordering older churches for the celebration of the liturgy today.

The seminar focused on the foundations of Christian architecture, liturgical architecture from the New Testament to the 20th century liturgical movement, the challenge of contemporary architecture for designing churches and liturgical architecture after Vatican II.

IMG_2489

Seminar participants gathered at McGilvray House, ACBC Secretariat, Canberra on January 11

The seminar is an initiative of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board, an advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Liturgy. The seminar was led by Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and Mr Harry Stephens, a partner of Sacred Space Architects, designing and consulting on liturgical architecture. 

Bishop of Rockhampton, Most Rev Michael McCarthy joined ten clergy participants for the small group seminar. A number of case studies with particular architectural designs were reviewed during the seminar including, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, Chartes, France, St Benedictusberg Abbey, Vaals, Netherlands, St Joseph’s Church, Malvern, Victoria and St John the Baptist Church, Woy Woy, NSW.  Continue reading

Pope Francis appoints Fr Gregory Homeming O.C.D. as sixth Bishop of Lismore

Bishop elect Homeming

Bishop elect Gregory Homeming O.C.D.

Pope Francis has appointed Fr Gregory Homeming O.C.D as the sixth Bishop of Lismore and accepted the resignation of Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett today, 20 December.

Bishop Jarrett has served the Diocese of Lismore for the past 15 years.

Fr Homeming is currently the Regional Vicar of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Sydney, Australia. Speaking about his appointment today, he said, ‘I am humbled by the news. I knew that I had to say yes after the past 31 years as a Friar. There is a lot that I have to learn. I hope that the people and the priests of the Diocese of Lismore will teach me how to be their bishop.

I have travelled to the Diocese of Lismore many times as Superior of the Discalced Carmelites visiting the Carmelite nuns at Goonellabah, New South Wales’.

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, congratulated Fr Homeming following the announcement. ‘I join the bishops of Australia in rejoicing at the appointment of Fr Homeming as Bishop of Lismore. He brings wide experience as a retreat-giver, spiritual director and leader. His gifts will be a great enrichment to the Church in Australia.’ Continue reading

Archbishop Hart delivers a message for Christmas

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

Dear Friends,

Christmas is a special time when we remember God’s closeness to us and our responsibility to become peacemakers. In this season of peace and goodwill we see our God, the maker of all things visible and invisible, reduced to the most vulnerable of creatures; another little Middle Eastern boy caught up in homelessness, poverty and a cruel cycle of violence. Yes, our God gave up everything in order to become one with us. You cannot get closer than that! He comes to us, and stays with us, especially in times of difficulty and loneliness. Continue reading

One Year to Go to Australia’s Biggest Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney

acyf17-logo_200One year from today, thousands of young people will gather for the final Mass of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival to be held in Sydney from 7 to 9 December 2017.

The three-day Festival is a youthful and energetic celebration hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney. The surrounding dioceses and Catholic agencies are generously supporting this whole of Church celebration.

The event will be held at Sydney Olympic Park and at other key locations in the city. It is expected to attract 15,000 young people who will celebrate their faith together while also acknowledging ten years since Sydney hosted World Youth Day in 2008. Continue reading

Catholic Bishops of Australia Extend an Invitation to the Year of Youth 2018

acyf2015_day2_241_200The Catholic Bishops of Australia invite Catholics across the country to join in celebrating a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018.

The Year of Youth celebrates ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during 2008.

It will focus on the theme, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups and dioceses.

Delivering the invitation, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, ‘In 2018, we want to engage with youth in new ways and they with us, helping young people to encounter God in Jesus Christ and his Church. Open your hearts to the life God intends for you and so make a real difference in the world’.

On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Hart said, ‘As Bishops we invite you, the youth of Australia, to open your hearts to Christ. You are deeply loved by Jesus and the Church. We appreciate your gifts and contributions, and we want to journey with you. Continue reading

Bishop O’Regan launches the ACU Centre for Liturgy

Bishop Patrick O'Regan

Bishop Patrick O’Regan

The Most Reverend Patrick O’Regan, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy officially launched and blessed the new Centre for Liturgy at the Australian Catholic University on 21 November 2016.

The launch took place during the Spring Plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in North Sydney.

Speaking at the launch, Bishop O’Regan said, ‘It is my privilege to officially launch the Australian Catholic University Centre for Liturgy. In doing so it brings alive the dream of Sacrosanctum Concilum #44 in its section on The Promotion of Pastoral-Liturgical Action which decreed that there be liturgical commissions in every territory and that, “So far as possible the commission should be aided by some kind of Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, consisting of persons who are eminent in these matters…” Continue reading

The Catholic Church Walks Alongside Aboriginal Rebirth

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

HOMILY at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra on the First Sunday of Advent and the 30th Anniversary of St John Paul II’s Speech at Alice Springs.

We have now entered into a new Liturgical Year focussing on the Gospel of Matthew. We begin today our Advent Season.

The Gospel calls us to STAY AWAKE in anticipation for the Lord’s coming. We are to be ‘READY,’…for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour’. It is a time of hope.

Not only is Jesus to come unexpectedly in time, but he comes unexpectedly in appearance. Who would have expected the Almighty Son of God to come unexpectedly as a fragile child in a Bethlehem stable, at an unexpected time of Roman Imperialism in the chaotic religious culture of Judea.

Also today, we welcome Pope Francis’ representative in Australia, our Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency, Archbishop Yllana, as our Principal Celebrant. He is with us because it is a special day for all Australians. We look back to the Pastoral Visit 30 years ago of St John Paul II to Australia. In this 1986 visit, the Pope visited all States of Australia. It was however, his monumental speech in Alice Springs (29th November 1986) that we recall today. Continue reading