Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council meets

Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council meeting

On 19-20 October at St Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Baulkham Hills (Sydney) the first joint meeting was held of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, the Executive Committee and the Facilitation Team.  It was an important step on the journey toward Plenary Council 2020, which was announced by the Bishops of Australia early this year.

The purpose of the meeting was to allow the three groups to meet each other and to share personal stories and hopes for the Plenary Council.  It was also a time to start building a shared sense of the Council journey with its three phases – preparation, celebration and implementation.  This was done in an atmosphere of prayer, which was interwoven through the two days with input and sharing sessions in small groups.

The meeting looked at the prehistory of the decision to move to a Plenary Council, reaching back to the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte at the end of the year 2000, through the Year of Grace in 2012, the Royal Commission which began in 2013, the coming of Pope Francis in the same year and the Synods on Marriage and the Family in 2014 and 2015.  It also looked at what a Plenary Council is and is not and the history of Plenary Councils in Australia.  There was also input on the synodality of the Church and the nature of the sensus fidelium. Continue reading

Australia’s economy must serve every one of us Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

‘Australia now has the second-highest net worth per person in the world. But we cannot justify this wealth if, in accumulating it, we have left behind those who are most in need’, says Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC).

Bishop Long writes this in his foreword to the latest publication from the ACSJC, An Economy that Works for All by Joe Zabar, Senior Director, Strategic Operations and Economic Policy at Catholic Social Services Australia. Continue reading

World Mental Health Day Message from Bishop Terence Brady

Mental Health Week logoWorld Mental Health Day is observed annually today (October 10). This year, the Church has sought to celebrate this day as an opportunity to encourage a truly pastoral view that embraces our total community as the living Body of Christ.

To be authentic, this view must include every member of the community acknowledging their call, their gift and their presence. We cannot claim to be truly disciples of Jesus unless we are totally engaged in honouring His presence in each one and in building and nurturing this community to be a living witness of that presence. Clearly this is a revealed truth that is fundamental to our sense of our own real value. Just as clearly this truth should be so evident in our lived experience that others are drawn to know, understand and experience the Father’s love that Jesus reveals. Continue reading

Women deserve better: Doctors debate future of reproductive medicine at Melbourne conference National Fertility Conference 27-28 October

Press Release from the Australian Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine (AIRRM):

Untitled design (11)Renowned Chilean gynaecologist Professor Pilar Vigil and the University of Newcastle’s Laureate Professor John Aitken examine the future of reproductive medicine at the Australasian Institute of Restorative Reproductive Medicine’s National Fertility Conference on October 27 and 28.

A free public forum opens the conference wherein a frank discussion will take place around the ever increasing use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as women delay pregnancy and seek quick solutions.

“We need to understand this headlong rush into ART is going to have a long-term impact on the
health and wellbeing of future generations,” Professor Aitken warns.

Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) offers a re-focused approach to diagnosing the underlying causes of infertility. Unique to RRM is the goal to restore optimum health allowing conception to occur naturally. Continue reading

A vital pastoral work in a vast industry Apostleship of the Sea - Supporting Seafarers Worldwide

Untitled design (10)On the first day of the 24th World Congress of Catholic maritime charity, Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), the continuing value of its support for seafarers and fishermen was affirmed.

Pope Francis in his message to the Congress urged delegates to be the ‘Church that harbours the mystery of God that can attract people to him’.

Opening the Congress, the Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), H.E. Chen Chien-jen said that the government of Taiwan appreciates the work of AoS, particularly that seafarers and fishermen are sometimes recruited from developing countries that do not have means to protect their rights.

In his opening address, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican, noted that 38 million people were engaged in fisheries, 90% of whom were working in small scale fisheries, largely located in Asia and Africa. Continue reading

Seafarers the focus in strengthening a Christ-centred Mission

Untitled design (7)On 18 – 20 August 2017, representatives from the Anglican Church’s Mission to Seafarers (Australia and NZ) (MTS) and the Catholic Church’s Apostleship of the Sea (Australia and NZ) (AOS) held an inaugural combined meeting in Wellington, New Zealand.

Motivated by Matthew’s Gospel and following Christ’s example to “welcome the stranger”, these two organisations from different Christian denominations and different countries are considering how to forge new ways to better-serve the changing needs of seafarers in this region, collaboratively.

With many critical issues facing seafarers and their communities it is imperative that Mission to Seafarers and the Apostleship of the Sea do all they can to raise awareness; advocate and provide support to this often unseen group of international workers who provide 95% of the world’s trade through shipping.

By strengthening ecumenical relationships and trans-Tasman links, national representatives from the Mission to Seafarers and the Apostleship of the Sea desire to strive together in the interests of seafarers to provide an even stronger Christ-centred Mission in this region.

The August gathering also affirmed other important entities such as maritime agencies, unions, and port authorities who work closely with the MTS and AOS on both sides of the Tasman.

While continuing their long and proud traditions in this ministry, national representatives from Mission to Seafarers (Australia and NZ) and the Apostleship of the Sea (Australia and NZ) plan to further- develop these conversations.

Pictured above:
AOS and MTS Leadership in Wellington, NZ: Rev Lance Lukin, Sr Mary Leahy rsj, Rev Canon Garry Dodd, Fr Jeff Drane sm.   (Absent from photo Fr Roger Manalo cs)

 Enquiries to: pastoral.life@catholic.org.au

Brisbane to host PROCLAIM 2018

Untitled design (5)For the first time, the Brisbane Archdiocese will host the national Proclaim Conference. PROCLAIM 2018 will focus on inspiring, equipping and encouraging parishes and Catholic communities to engage in Evangelisation and Renewal. The theme of this year’s Conference is “Make your home in me.” (Jn 15:4)

PROCLAIM 2018 will run across three days from 12-14 July, 2018 at The Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre (St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane).

PROCLAIM 2018 is organised and hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, in partnership with the National Centre for Evangelisation on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Following successful Proclaim conferences in 2012, 2014 and 2016, this important initiative of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation is expected to engage parishes in an ongoing conversation focusing on Leadership, Culture Change, Young People, Belonging, Hospitality and Evangelisation. This conversation will draw together over 500 participants for keynote presentations, facilitated conversation sessions, peer learning, expert discussion panels and future visionary planning. Keynote speakers include Cardinal John Dew (NZ), and Ms Lana Turvey-Collins (Plenary Council 2020 Facilitator). More Keynote speakers to be announced.

Throughout the Conference, delegates will be offered the opportunity to develop their own Proclaim Action Plan which they are invited to implement on returning to their local parishes and communities around Australia.

2018 will be a significant year, not only has Pope Francis named it as the ‘Year for Youth’, but also because it is a key time in the lead up to the Plenary Council 2020.

“Proclaim 2018 will inspire Catholics to explore new ways of contemplating the face of Christ in community and so empower them to set out on the new paths of mission which the Holy Spirit is tracing for us at this crucial time” said Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

To register for updates please visit www.proclaimconference.com.au

Early bird registration will be open from October 20 via the conference website.

A PROCLAIM 2018 Sponsorship Proposal is available for interested organisations. Such sponsorship will provide excellent exposure amongst the Australian Catholic community. For all sponsorship related enquires please contact Michael King, National Centre for Evangelisation Phone: (02) 6201 9833 | Email: mking@catholicenquiry.com

For more information on PROCLAIM 2018, please contact Evangelisation Brisbane,
Phone: (07) 3324 3440 | Email: eb@bne.catholic.net.au

Pope Francis Launches ‘Share the Journey’ Campaign

Untitled design (2)On 27 September 2017 Pope Francis launched Caritas’ Share the Journey Campaign during the Wednesday General Audience in St Peter’s Square.

Share the Journey has at its heart the vision of a united global human family. The focus is on our joint journey as people on the move in departure, transit and host communities. We want to contribute to the building of stronger communities and more inclusive societies. The campaign promotes “the culture of encounter”. The aim is to increase the spaces and opportunities for migrants and communities to come together and learn about each other. Share the Journey starts on 27 September 2017 and runs until September 2019.

Pope Francis has made numerous appeals to promote the culture of encounter in an effort to combat the culture of indifference in the world today. It means seeing through the eyes of others rather than turning a blind eye. “Not just to see but to look. Not just to hear but to listen. Not just to meet and pass by, but to stop. And don’t just say ‘what a shame, poor people,’ but allow ourselves to be moved by pity.” – Pope Francis. Caritas Internationalis’ ’Share the Journey Campaign’ will encourage people to rethink their preconceptions, by bringing migrants, refugees and communities closer together to change hearts and minds.

Pope Francis is lighting up the path for us, illuminating our journey to creating his ‘culture of encounter,’ a culture of welcome. In response to Pope Francis’ call to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate migrants and refugees, we are asking you to support the global Caritas ‘Share the Journey Campaign’.

In the lead up to the launch, Cardinal Luis Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis, released aUntitled design (3) video with the goals of the Campaign. Cardinal Tagle encourages us to look at those people around us, in our families and communities, who are migrants. Those who are often right in front of us but fail to see. Throughout the Campaign, let us talk to these people. Let us listen to their stories, and let us journey with them.

 

 

Fr Maurizio Pettenà CS
National  Director
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

Tell us how you get your Catholic News….

Untitled designIf you regularly or semi-regularly consume Catholic media, whether that be traditional newspapers, magazines or web-based publications and social media platforms, then the Australian Catholic Media Council wants to hear from you!

The Council has developed a short survey to find out what you value in Catholic media. Do you find that it helps to educate, form, challenge and deepen your faith, connect you to the local Church or to the universal Church? What is the particular character and role of Catholic media in Australia in 2017 and what might you hope it will be in the future? How can we strengthen Catholic media Australia?

Just click straight through to the survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CathMediaUsers2017. It will only take a few minutes (5-8 minutes).

Thank you and God bless.

Joint Initiative to Deliver Leadership Program for Women

Untitled design (17)The Council for Australian Catholic Women, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Mission and Australian Catholic University (ACU), are delighted to announce a joint initiative to deliver a specialised leadership program for women in the Catholic Church.

Leadership for Mission is an initiative that has been specifically developed by women and for women who are inspired by the Gospel vision of justice, freedom and the dignity of the human person.

During a time of renewed calls within the Catholic Church for the participation and diversity of women’s voices in decision-making, leadership and ministry, this graduate program seeks to further embrace, enhance, and theologically ground the leadership capabilities, skills and aspirations of women in the Church and the broader community.

Director of the National Office for the Participation of Women, Ms Andrea Dean, said, “I’m thrilled that this dynamic and practical partnership will enable another cohort of young Catholic women to be educated for leadership within and beyond the Church in a multi faith society.”

Executive Dean of the ACU Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Professor Dermot Nestor, said, “This program situates the practical and contextual leadership experiences, needs and aspirations of women within an academically grounded and collaborative environment.”

“The Faculty has developed a purposefully designed curriculum that at all times presents an opportunity for participants to deeply reflect on their own faith, their personal mission and vocation as a way of addressing the many challenges and opportunities of our world. This program, and the learning design that anchors it, is thus a direct contribution to the pastoral practice of a Church for the third millennium,” said Professor Nestor.

National Director of Catholic Mission, Fr Brian Lucas said, “I am delighted that Catholic Mission can join with the other sponsors so a new generation of young lay women can have a formation experience preparing them as missionary disciples for future leadership roles in the church.”

Leadership for Mission is a sponsored, two-year, part time program commencing in February 2018. It is structured across four residential sessions in North Sydney and supported through ACU’s online learning management system. Applications are being sought from women across Australia aged between the ages of 25-35, with diverse personal and professional experiences.

For more information contact: Ms Andrea Dean, Director, National Office for the Participation of Women, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at director.opw@catholic.org.au

Preparations and Hopes – Synod of Youth "We have hope, we have value - and we believe we can change the world..." Dorota Andrzejewska, Poland

20 young people from across the world have been meeting in Rome for the International Seminar of Young People – listening, preparing and actioning ways forward for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.

On the evening of 13 September, they gathered to share their hopes and dreams…

The following video has been compiled by Australia’s Ashleigh Green.

 

 

Preparing for the Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment International Seminar on Young People, Rome 2017

Untitled design (1)Blog Post by Ashleigh Green
Australian Representative

Day 2:

In John 1: 35-42, the disciples ask Jesus where He is going. Jesus doesn’t reply with a complicated explanation. He simply says, “Come and see,” and the disciples spend the day with Him. In this morning’s biblical meditation we were led through a reflection on this passage. The importance of ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ in our youth ministry was emphasised, but when we broke into small groups later in the day, I was struck by the comment of one my fellow delegates: “What happens when we don’t have anything attractive to show them?” she asked. “What happens if our churches, in fact, are places that turn our young people away?”

The key question, then, is how can the Church become more relevant to young people? It was Untitled design (9)agreed that relevance begins with a genuine understanding of the reality for young people and real engagement with contemporary social issues. Identity, employment and migration were the key issues that were discussed today, and the intersection of these issues with faith.

I was struck by the comment of one delegate who noted an increase in alternative economic models which put people before profits. However, many of the ground-breaking models we see are coming from outside the Church. She urged more Church-based organisations to live out Pope Francis’ concept of ‘integral ecology’. As a Church we talk a lot about ecology and sustainability, but a young Nigerian man put up his hand and asked why even the transcripts from this seminar were printed in Italian on one-sided paper. “Most of us don’t even speak in Italian,” he said, which drew some laughs, but which pointed to what many young people perceive as a disconnect between talk and action. Ultimately, young people are drawn to authenticity and desire a Church that lives out its teachings.

Untitled design (8)It is inspiring to be in the presence of such passionate, active, young Catholics. The 20 young people at this seminar have decided to take our contribution a step further, and we have arranged an impromptu, self-organised meeting tomorrow night. We will meet after dinner, and each of us will have one minute to answer the question, “Imagine you had one minute to talk to the Pope and Cardinals. What would you say?” We will compile our responses into a document of our own initiative, which we will present to Cardinal Baldisseri at the conclusion of the week. In the words of one of the youth delegates, “We have come so far from every corner of the globe. We want to make this week count.”

The day ended with a night of music and dance at a safe-house for refugees, run by Jesuit Refugee Services. We talked, ate, danced and sang with refugees our own age,  witnessing first-hand some of the great pastoral work of the Church in Rome. There were many encounters today that filled me with a profound sense of hope and a deeper experience of the body of Christ.

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Day 1:

“It is you who are to receive the torch from your elders,” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri announced as he opened the seminar, “and you are to deliver it to the world that is in the midst of the greatest transformation in history.”

Untitled design (3)Today I attended day one of the International Seminar of Young People in Rome, in preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. Cardinal Baldisseri explained that this week’s seminar is not only international in nature, but also multidisciplinary. I am one of 20 young people from around the world who were invited to attend this seminar along with specialists in the field of sociology, psychology, economics, computer science, pastoral care and the environment. Over the week we will engage with specialists from the various fields, but Cardinal Baldisseri explained that the key word for today was “listening.”

In my presentation I was honest about the reality of the Church in Australia today, which I described as being in the midst of crisis and transition. I drew on the results of the National Youth Synod Survey and I used personal experiences to illustrate this reality. As the theme of today’s seminar was “listening”, it was fitting that I shared some data from our National Survey where young people in Australia scored the Church’s listening ability to be a 6 out of 10. I shared my experience that many young people give up on the Church before even giving it a go, out of fear that they cannot engage in open, honest discussion about the issues that matter to them. I spoke about my involvement in the “Synod video booth” in my Diocese. The booth travelled around to various youth events in the Diocese, and young people were invited to answer the question, “If you had one minute to say anything to Pope Francis, what would you say?” As a facilitator of this booth, I remember one young person who, upon being asked this question hesitated and told me, “I’d better not say what I really think. My views are too radical to share at Church.” After five minutes of encouraging this girl to openly share her thoughts, she went ahead and shared her experience of topics such as homosexuality and transgender issues being shut down at her Catholic School. I was really struck by this young person’s experience of the disconnect between Church and the rest of the world. It was as if there were some matters that were out of bounds in Church settings, yet these were the issues that she was most passionate about and which gave her life. I stated that as a Church, if we are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we need to be a Church that engages with those on the margins, and which includes young people who may feel ostracised for their views and identity.

One of the other youth respondents was a 25-year-old young man from Milan, Italy. He stated Untitled design (2)that his upbringing in a culture focused on image and power meant that he turned to crime. “I turned 18 in a jail cell,” he said. “I was not used to trusting adults but I got to know a chaplain whilst in jail.” After being released from prison the young man started living with the chaplain in his community. He spoke about how in previous communities, before anyone even asked his name, the leaders would read him the rules. In the Kairos Community, “my freedom was taken seriously,” he said. “If I wanted to go out late, the priest would say, ‘You know the answer. You know what to do.’ This was someone who believed in my capacity to choose and who had faith in me.” The young man shared his belief that if we want to educate young people in the faith we have to let them ask the questions… “I feel like I am one of the people who Jesus meets in Mark’s Gospel. I ask the Church not to forget those who like me were abandoned and suffered in jail. We, too, can be a gift to others. Give us a Gospel that is alive and comes to us through the faces that are happy and real.”

Another highlight of today was hearing from Fr Giulio Michelini who is the author of many New Testament studies and was chosen by Pope Francis to lead spiritual exercises for Roman Curia. He broke open 1 John 2:12-14, where young people are described as strong, as bearers of the Word and able to overcome evil.

We were encouraged, this week, to become a “thinking community” and to view our community as an orchestra with each of us playing a unique instrument.

My hope is that our discussions this week will break new ground. Now is the time to be creative, to dream and to listen to the voice of the Spirit. I wait in eager anticipation for the discussions that lay ahead, and for the gelato along the way!

Read Ashleigh’s presentation here:  Presentation for International Seminar on Young People – Ashleigh Green

More about the General Synod and its connection to our Year of Youth in Australia here: http://youth.catholic.org.au/year-of-youth/synod