Australian Catholic Bishops Press Conference in Krakow during World Youth Day

PCDuring World Youth Day this week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference hosted a press conference to officially launch a ‘Year of Youth’ in 2018.

The Year of Youth will be focused on empowering and local youth ministry teams as well as celebrating the tenth anniversary of World Youth Day 2008.

The press conference was held on Tuesday 26 July at the Mercy Centre in Tauron Arena, Krakow, Poland. Australian, Polish, American and Canadian media attended the press conference.

With the support of Xt3, a recording of the press conference is available to view below.

World Youth Day is a catalyst for renewal in youth ministry, Australian bishops say

Pilgrims at the Australian Gathering in Tauron Arena, Krakow.

Pilgrims at the Australian Gathering in Tauron Arena, Krakow.

World Youth Day in Sydney changed the landscape of youth ministry nationally, the Australian bishops said today during a national gathering of Australian pilgrims currently participating at World Youth Day (WYD) events in Krakow, Poland.

Today, the Australian Bishops joined more than 3,000 young people at a national Australian gathering during WYD Krakow that included a launch of the ‘Year of Youth’, building on the legacy of World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08).

The Year of Youth will celebrate the tenth anniversary of World Youth Day, Sydney and highlight how the Australian Church continues to tell the story of WYD08 in its local ministry.

Bishop Mark Edwards, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth and an MC at the national gathering said, ‘The years of preparation leading up to World Youth Day 2008 (WYD08) and its events have changed the landscape of youth ministry leaving a lasting impression on the Church. Local youth ministries have grown and diversified. The number of youth ministers has increased along with diocesan support structures. Continue reading

Pilgrims Walk in the Footsteps of the Saints

Siena_200Over the past few days, Aussie pilgrims moved to ‘Days in the Diocese’ hosted by Polish parishes and families across the country. Meanwhile, other diocesan and religious groups continued their pre-World Youth Day pilgrimages in Europe before arriving into Krakow over the weekend.

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are currently on pilgrimage in Italy following in the footsteps of the Saints from Milan to Padua, Assisi to Cascia; the resting place of St Rita, Saint of the Impossible.

There are 71 pilgrims journeying to World Youth Day from the diocese. Blogging about the experience, Joanne Isaac wrote, ‘On Sunday morning we visited the Basilica of St Anthony in Padua (Padova). In Italy, St Anthony is simply known as Il Santo (The Saint) as he is the only one to be canonised less than a year after his death in 1231. He turned his back on wealth to live in simplicity and dedicate his life to God. He was a great preacher and a Doctor of the Church.

Pilgrims from the Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Group.

Pilgrims from the Maitland-Newcastle WYD Pilgrimage.

The Basilica belongs to the Vatican so, as our tour guide Sal pointed out, “You’ll have one foot in Italy and one foot in the Vatican”. Every year 4.5 million people visit the church to venerate the relics of St Anthony – his incorrupt tongue, his jawbone and his vocal apparatus.’ Continue reading

Closing date for PROCLAIM 2016 approaches

2016 Proclaim eNewsbuttonDelegates have one more week to register for the PROCLAIM 2016 conference.

Registrations for PROCLAIM 2016 will close on 1 August. The event will features three international keynote speakers, 30 exhibitors supporting parish life and 35 practical workshops focused on one evangelising mission.

Hundreds of parish leaders from Australia and abroad  will gather together for the event hosted by the Diocese of Broken Bay in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The full conference program is available online.

Some of the workshop topics include: connecting parish and school, renewing sacramental preparation, family-friendly liturgies and evangelisation strategies.

Fr John Pearce CP & Paige Bullen will lead the workshop on ‘Connecting the Parish and School for Christ-Centred Mission. The relationship between the parish and school represents one of the greatest opportunities for evangelisation in the Australian context. Growing relationships and connections at various levels of parish and school life has been the key ingredient in the story of St Brigid’s, Marrickville. Continue reading

The Web connecting us all to Mercy

Mercy: A Way of Being in the World. Photo from BBI.

Mercy: A Way of Being in the World. Photo from BBI.

With Pope Francis drawing crowds all over the world under his vision of Mercy, there is little wonder this year’s eConference hosted by BBI, in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, is drawing interest across the Asia-Pacific region.

Titled Mercy: A Way of Being in the World, this year BBI is calling on people from within the Catholic community to share, via a video submission, a time when they have experienced Mercy, with a number of these videos to be played during the eConference.

BBI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Gerard Goldman, said creating a segment named Mercy Moments and inviting the public to submit videos was a natural progression of the eConference which is now in its twelfth series.

“We see the eConference as an extension of faith formation in contemporary times and in a contemporary setting.”

“As an educator in faith, theology and spirituality, we believe it is a part of our corporate social responsibility to provide a free resource for Catholics and all faith based communities,” Dr Goldman said. Continue reading

National conference heralds a renaissance of marriage

rom-thin-banner[1]_200In a world witnessing changing trends in marriage, the true depth and breadth of Catholic marriage has become cutting-edge.

Thus Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, with the world’s bishops, appealed for a renewed and revitalised approach to equipping young people for Catholic marriage and supporting married couples.

Marriage, he makes clear, is “more than a fleeting fashion; it is of enduring importance”.

The Church in Australia has heeded the Pope’s call, responding with a landmark initiative to bring together the best minds and hearts working in the area of marriage and family today.

More than 20 Australian and international speakers will share their expertise in the field of marriage and unpack the Pope’s exhortation with talks, workshops, and inspiring testimonials. Continue reading

Victorian students among 3000 Australian youth attending World Youth Day in Poland

Bishop Mark Edwards

Bishop Mark Edwards

First published in the Herald Sun on 20 July 2016.

More than 3000 Australian youth are brimming with excitement at the prospect of attending a Papal mass with 2.5 million devoted Catholics in Poland.

Among Victorians heading to World Youth Day in Krakow are five students from Catholic Regional College Sydenham.

Andrew Owen, 16, said he had travelled overseas before but this would be different: He had a spiritual purpose.

“It’s not a holiday. It’s not a time for us to relax. It’s time for us to build connections, to think, reflect and be spiritual with other people. It’s about understanding our faith better,” Andrew said.

The students agreed seeing Pope Francis and celebrating the open air mass would be the highlight.

Geraldine Vytilingam, 16, said: “It’s literally a dream come true. I’m really excited to meet Pope Francis. I think he is an incredible example of mercy.” Continue reading

World Youth Day: Modern faith gives young Catholics wings

Justin Faehrmann, 24, Asheligh Green, 24, and Laura McAlister, 27. Picture: Hollie Adams

Justin Faehrmann, 24, Asheligh Green, 24, and Laura McAlister, 27. Picture: Hollie Adams

First published in The Australian on 19 July 2016.

In the Middle Ages, Catholic pilgrims donned leather sandals and headed to the Holy Land, San­tiago de Compostela and other sacred sites in a rite of passage bringing them closer to their faith.

Centuries on, they’re continuing the tradition with a contemporary twist, clutching Havaianas, iPhones and inter­national air tickets as they head to Cracow, Poland, for World Youth Day, which kicks off next week.

More than 2.5 million young Catholics will attend the event — the largest in the Catholic Church’s international calendar — including a contingent of more than 3000 from Australia.

“It feels like no one’s left in town,” Ashleigh Green, 24, said as she prepared to head to Europe.

Ms Green, who studies social work in Ray Haven on the NSW central coast, will meet six members of her church for a week-long tour of Germany before joining more than 230 parishioners from the Broken Bay diocese.

Other Sydneysiders Laura McAlister of East Killara and Justin Faehrmann of North Strathfield also left at the weekend for the pilgrimage, which culminates in an all-night vigil and morning mass hosted by Pope Francis, attended by more than 2.5 million. Continue reading

World Youth Day 2016 pilgrimage experiences

Parramatta pilgrims carry out mission projects across Bohol, Philippines.

Parramatta pilgrims carry out mission projects across Bohol, Philippines. Photo from Diocese of Parramatta.

Over the past few days, Australian pilgrims, group leaders, bishops and chaplains have commenced their pilgrimage to World Youth Day.

There are more than 30 different Cosmos pilgrimages currently taking place with some groups visiting holy places while others complete a mission project in a place of need.

The ACBC Office for Youth provides a snapshot below of just some of the wonderful pilgrimage experiences taking place.

One of the Diocese of Parramatta’s pilgrimages to World Youth Day 2016 has begun on the island of Bohol, Philippines.

The Bishop of Tagbilaran, Most Rev Leonardo Y Medroso DD, formally welcomed pilgrims to the Diocese of Tagbilaran and spoke about the experience of mercy. Continue reading

Aussie Pilgrims Journey to the City of Mercy

Poalnd_200Thousands of Aussie pilgrims are departing from Australia over the coming days to join with millions of youth from around the world as they meet with Pope Francis in Krakow, Poland for the 2016 World Youth Day (WYD).

Of the 3,000 Australian pilgrims participating at WYD, 2350 are travelling with Cosmos, the official Australian Tour Operator designated by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for WYD 2016.

Cosmos are providing 37 different pilgrimage itineraries across Europe with 63 coaches, each with a dedicated tour guide.

Cosmos National Marketing Manager for Australia Chris Fundell said it was a huge honour to be chosen as the official tour operator for this task.

“This is an extraordinary event to be involved in and one of the largest group operations Cosmos has ever arranged,” said Mr Fundell. Continue reading

Travel Safety, World Youth Day

media-statement-200x200In advance of World Youth Day 2016, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is closely following the recent violent events in France and Turkey.

Over the past 48 hours, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has monitored the situation by checking the safety of Australian pilgrimage groups travelling throughout Europe prior to World Youth Day.

Communication is ongoing between the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding the latest travel advice updates. A high degree of caution must be exercised if travelling to France, Israel and Turkey. Continue reading

Dealing with abuse, theological and spiritual reflections

Fr Hans Zollner SJ

Fr Hans Zollner SJ. Photo credit news.va

On 28 July, Fr Hans Zollner SJ will lead a day of reflection for bishops and leaders of religious institutes across Australia about dealing with abuse.

Fr Hans is President of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The National Committee for Professional Standards will host the day of reflection in Sydney entitled: Dealing with abuse: Theological and Spiritual Reflection with an international perspective.

Fr Hans lectures at the Gregorian Institute in Rome and is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. He is visiting Australia for a short time in late July 2016.

The day will focus on exploring the personal and communal impact of child sexual abuse. There will be an opportunity to reflect on how we live spiritually and theologically in this time and to ask where God is calling us through this challenge. There may be an opportunity to share the experiences and lessons learnt from those in similar circumstances in other parts of the world.

The National Committee for Professional Standards is seeking to provide an important opportunity for our bishops and religious leaders to share and explore their own experience of dealing with abuse during this challenging time for the Church internationally.

Further details are available from:  timmsc@ncps.org.au or (02) 9669 6218.