Holiness Reflections from Kylie Cullen, Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life

Year-of-Consecrated-Life-LogoThis year Pope Francis has dedicated the Year of Consecrated Life. I don’t know if any of you have been made aware of this? Remember how last year he dedicated the year to The Joy of the Gospel? It makes a lot of sense to me because joy is the first fruit of a consecrated heart.

Each one of us are called to be consecrated to God, as the call to Holiness is a universal call. Today, more than ever we are reminded of the state of our world, and how there is a great need for our world to become holy. The world will be holy when countries are holy, and countries will be holy when people are holy. So let’s be encouraged by the invitation to become holy and joyful men and women. Continue reading

Australian Film of the Year focuses on conversion and forgiveness

dreamstime_l_23222155The jury of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting has awarded it annual prize to Craig Monahan’s Healing.

Set in regional Victoria and inspired by a story written by journalist Geoff Strong, Healing narrates the bringing together of prisoners at low-security Won Wron prison (now closed) and birds of prey at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. Continue reading

Australia joins Global Catholic Climate Movement Catholic Earthcare call for prayer and action on climate issues amongst Catholic population

GCCM-Cross-squareToday marks the launch of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), an international coalition of Catholic organisations and leaders committed to a sustainable climate future.

At the launch, the group released a statement underpinned by Catholic teachings and calling for prayer and action among the world’s Catholic population to work together on climate issues.

Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, will present the statement to Pope Francis during his trip in the Philippines this week.

The coalition is comprised of laity and clergy, theologians, scientists and activists from around the world. This is the first time such a diverse global movement of Catholics have joined forces to work together on climate issues. All are united by their Catholic faith, commitment to climate change issues and a shared sense of responsibility to care for God’s life-giving Creation. Australia is represented by Catholic Earthcare Australia, the ecological agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Continue reading

ACU academics showcase music and literature talents

Maeve-and-Arch-2 (640x640)

Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge and Dr Maeve Heaney VDMF.

The ACU Faculty of Theology and Philosophy recently hosted the joint book and CD launch of two members of the University’s teaching staff.

Dr Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF officially launched a CD collection of her music called ‘Break the Crystal Frame‘. In addition, Dr Terry Veling launched his new book entitled ‘For You Alone: Emmanuel Levinas and the Answerable Life’.

Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge officially launched the CD and book. Prof Neil Pembroke, University of Queensland, was also present at the launch.

“One of the things that struck me, as I listened to one and read the other, is that between the two works and in each of them, there are tensions, and they’re fascinating tensions to ponder,” Archbishop Coleridge said. Continue reading

Synod’s Focus on Family and Life Reflecting a two-year listening process about the family

Ron and Mavis Pirola, Co-Chairs of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, presenting Pope Francis with a print from Aboriginal and religious artist, Richard Campbell while discussing the incorporation of Aboriginal culture and traditions in liturgies.

Ron and Mavis Pirola, the Sydney-based Chair-couple of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council (ACMFC), were one of 13 Australian couples who attended the recent III Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from 5 – 19 October 2014, in Rome. The theme of the Synod was ‘The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation’.

The ACMFC is a Council of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, which in turn is a Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Presenting at the Synod, the Pirolas commented on the “prayerful and respectful” way in which proceedings progressed and how “enormously privileged they felt in participating in such an experience of the Universal Church”. Continue reading

Australian Bishops Delegation to Lebanon and Iraq

Archbishop Prowse with members of the community

Archbishop Prowse with members of the community

On 14 December 2014, a delegation of Australian Bishops from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference as well as the Conference of Bishops and Representatives of the Middle Eastern Apostolic Churches in Australia and New Zealand departed to the Middle East to be with displaced Christians in Erbil, Iraq and refugees in Lebanon, offering spiritual support and humanitarian aid in this Christmas season.

The delegation comprises: Most Reverend Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Most Reverend Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart, Most Reverend Robert Rabbat, Eparch of the Melkite Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand, Most Reverend Mar Jibrael Kassab, Archbishop of St Thomas The Apostle Chaldean and Assyrian Catholic Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Most Reverend Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, Most Reverend Bishop Daniel, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Sydney and Affiliated Regions, Most Reverend Danil Bolis, Archbishop of the Ancient Church of the East. Continue reading

Mass for Victims of Siege at Martin Place Homily by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney

Archbishop Fisher delivering his homily

Archbishop Fisher delivering his homily

We are not used to hearing words like ‘siege’, ‘terrorist’, ‘hostages’ and ‘security forces’ associated with our city. Yet for the past day and night we were subjected to pictures and sounds we tend to associate with alien lands. In a café only two blocks away from St Mary’s Cathedral, only one block away from the Supreme Court, even closer to the New South Wales Parliament, the Reserve Bank and the Channel 7 studio, hostages were pinned for hours against the windows and forced to hold up a flag which blasphemously used the name of God as a threat.

The distress was visible on their faces, as was the relief of the first five to escape. We went to bed hoping to wake to good news. But despite patient efforts to maintain calm and negotiate there were, in the early hours of this morning, flashes of gunfire, intervention by our police to save lives, merciful escapes, but finally death. Hell had touched us. Continue reading

Global Climate Agreement

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis and bishops from around the world have called for a binding global climate agreement, written by Katie McSweeney, CatholicEarthcare Australia.

As United Nations leaders gathered at the COP20 climate summit in Peru last week, Pope Francis and Catholic Bishops from around the world called for a global climate treaty and an end to the use of fossil fuels.

“We can find adequate solutions only if we act together and unanimously”, Pope Francis said a written statement to Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s minister of the environment and host president of the climate summit. He encouraged the leaders to make the right decisions quickly, as they “affect all of humanity, especially the poorest and future generations”. He also urged them to work together, as “an effective fight against global warming will be possible only with a collective and responsible answer”. Continue reading

Disability and Euthanasia

Craig-WallaceWith a euthanasia bill tabled in the Federal Parliament, arguments on all sides of the debate are gathering steam, but there is one group of people who say they have more to fear than most from euthanasia legislation – those who are living with disability and battling a daily presumption from society that their lives are not worth living.

Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale, earlier this year tabled the Exposure Draft “Medical Services, Dying with Dignity Bill 2014”, which was then referred to a Senate Inquiry. Hearings for the inquiry took place in October.

Among those who appeared before the Senate Committee was Craig Wallace, Convenor of Lives Worth Living, a network of Australians with disability speaking about euthanasia and eugenics, not from a religious, ideological or pro-life position, but from a disability rights perspective.

Continue reading

A look back at 2014

Archbishop Hart

Archbishop Hart

Christmas message from Archbishop Hart, President of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

As I take some time out to reflect on the year that was, I realise that 2014 was a year of highs and lows for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC).

Many wonderful occasions have taken place throughout the year and the guidance of the Holy Spirit can certainly be seen through the dedicated work of our agencies, bishops commissions, councils and at the Secretariat.

Pope Francis asked us to be missionary disciples. In our work at the Bishops Conference we are called to take part in this new missionary ‘going forth’. Reflecting on the work carried out by the Conference and its staff over the past year, I think of the joy that Pope Francis refers to and which I have seen. Amid busy times with pressing obligations, the Conference and staff have worked with hearts full of faith. Continue reading