Prayer for the Synod on the Family 4 – 25th October 2015

Prayer SynodJesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalised find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Nuncio receives a warm welcome from Filipino Catholic community

Archbishop Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia

Archbishop Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Australia

Filipino Catholics in Western Sydney turned out in force to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, on Sunday 26 July 2015. A Mass in St Michael’s Church in Blacktown was followed by a celebratory lunch.

The Archbishop was greeted by Fr Ruben Elago MSP, Coordinator of the Filipino Chaplaincy, and Deacon Leon Decena.

The gathering was an opportunity for members of the largest migrant community in the Diocese to greet Archbishop Yllana, who was born in Naga City in the Philippines.

The 68-year-old has served in the diplomatic role of Papal Nuncio for more than 30 years, spending time in at least 15 countries. Continue reading

Join Caritas to cycle in solidarity for justice

1Cycle in SolidarityCaritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, challenges you to help conquer global poverty by cycling kilometres for compassion across the rural countryside in Cambodia, in solidarity with marginalised communities.

Caritas Events Coordinator, Penelope Frew says challengers on this trip will witness grassroots community development in action and see how programs founded in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching can transform communities and champion the inherent dignity of every member of our human family. Continue reading

“Same-Sex ‘Marriage’: Evolution or Deconstruction of Marriage and the Family?” Defence of the Faith Lecture, Order of Malta NSW Branch - St Mary's Cathedral Hall, 22 July 2015

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Chairman, Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, Chairman, Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life.

My thanks to the Order of Malta for inviting me to address a topic of vital importance for the Australian community today.

The campaign to redefine marriage has recently gained such momentum – with now three and soon four bills before the Commonwealth Parliament – that many think it is inevitable; this can leave those with misgivings feeling that they are already losers in a done deal. Some think it’s the inexorable progress of liberty and equality – which leaves the doubters ‘on the wrong side of history’.

In this context supporters of classical marriage are presumed to have no real arguments to offer. So tonight I want to offer some reasons – not decrees from on high or from the past, not expressions of hatred or prejudice – but reasons I hope anyone can understand. I also hope you find these reasons persuasive and helpful in proclaiming and witnessing to true marriage among your families, friends and colleagues. But even if you disagree with me on this matter, I hope tonight’s talk will help you understand why Australian law has always held, and many people still hold, that marriage is for people of opposite sex.

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Beauty and Our Biblical Calling to Peace, Justice and Sustainability Catholic Social Justice Series

IMG_1470The beauty of the just community, the beautiful stranger and tending Eden’s beauty are among the topics discussed in the latest publication from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

Written by Professor Patrick McCormick and edited by David Brennan, the latest paper brings a fresh perspective on the Bible’s account of Creation. We are reminded that God’s vision for Creation, as conveyed to us in the book’s first chapters, is one of justice and peace. We are reminded too, that we are called on to rebuild and nurture this vision every day.

‘The Bible inspires us to build and become just and peaceful communities of peace, justice and sustainability where all of God’s creation is cared for and tended to by uncovering and reminding us of the extraordinary beauty of the whole and every part of that creation,’ Professor McCormick wrote.  Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years of Mission Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

Fr Maurizio Pettena, Director, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, meets Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Fr Maurizio Pettena, Director, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, meets Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Welcoming the stranger, a characteristic of the early Church, thus remains a permanent feature of the Church of God. It is marked by the vocation to be in exile, in diaspora, dispersed among cultures and ethnic groups without ever identifying itself completely with any of these.

Welcoming the stranger is thus intrinsic to the nature of the Church itself and bears witness to its fidelity to the gospel (Erga Migrantes, 22).

The Catholic Church in Australia has long been at the forefront in the pastoral care of migrants and refugees.

In 1944, the Australian Episcopal Conference created a sub-committee on Immigration. The sub-committee chaired by Bishop McGuire was appointed to look after the interests of Catholics with regard to immigration. Continue reading

The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate The Past, Present and Future of the Christian-Jewish Relationship

2015 International Conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews | Rome, Italy, 28 June – 1 July, 2015

Dr Raymond Canning, Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, meeting Pope Francis.

Dr Raymond Canning, Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Towards the very end of the final session of the Second Vatican Council, the document Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions,” received definitive approval from the Council Fathers meeting in Rome.

At the heart of the declaration is the relationship of the Church to the Jewish people, “the descendants of Abraham” (NA 4).

As the Jewish French historian Jules Isaac had demonstrated in his book The Teaching of Contempt: Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism, Christians had throughout history presented a distorted image of the Jews and their religion. So Pope John XXIII’s meeting in audience with Jules Isaac on 13 June 1960 was ground-breaking in that it was there that the Pope agreed to the request to raise the question of the Jews during the coming Council. Continue reading

Catholic agencies join in unique response to historic encyclical

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 11.34.53 am (2)In the wake of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, released in mid-June, three Catholic agencies are among the first to respond to its urgent call to action.

In coming weeks, Catholic Earthcare, Catholic Religious Australia and Catholic Mission will together release the second book in The Francis Effect series. Entitled The Francis Effect II: Praised Be You – on Care for Our Common Home, the book will analyse the encyclical’s key themes on ecology and creation, with insights from Catholic theological and ecological experts.

The Francis Effect II: Praised Be You will be among the first comprehensive responses to Laudato Si’ when it is released in July. Twelve prominent Catholic leaders, including Catholic Earthcare Director Ms Jacqui Rémond, ecological theologian Father Denis Edwards and Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council Ms Thelma Parker, will join to offer their perspectives on Pope Francis’ encyclical. Continue reading

The Australian Catholic community’s generous response to global poverty

rIdfX-4B_crOYjjACBmuYpRMVKfBWdYxzb-GLEKJmUICaritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, has thanked thousands of generous supporters, including schools and parishes across Australia. Together they helped to raise a record-breaking $11.57 million nationally during Project Compassion 2015, joining in solidarity with the world’s poor.

Caritas Australia’s major fundraiser is held annually for six weeks during Lent. Money raised will help thousands of vulnerable communities in more than 30 countries globally in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and Australia.

This year’s theme for Project Compassion was Food for Life and focused on Caritas Australia’s support for the world’s poorest people to establish sustainable food sources for life. Caritas walks with them as they free themselves from the burden of food insecurity and develop new, improved income streams for a better future. Continue reading