Author Archives: ACBC Communications

Migrant and Refugee Sunday 27 August 2017

 

FacebookBy Fr Maurizio Pettenà
National Director, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

Next week the Catholic Church in Australia will be celebrating the contribution Migrants have made in our communities. This week-long celebration culminates with Migrant and Refugee Sunday, on 27 August 2017.

Each year the Universal Church commemorates the contribution migrants have made to our communities. The Catholic Bishops of Australia have selected the last Sunday in August each year to be the date where Masses are celebrated for the enrichment these communities have provided in the Church.

Every year, for over 100 years, the Holy Father has chosen a theme to be the focal point during these celebrations. For 2017, the message for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis chose the theme, “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless”.

Pope Francis draws our attention to the needs of child migrants globally. He encourages by pointing out that, “Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”

In Australia, schools and parishes have many successful programs that have assisted in the integration of migrants. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) has produced a Migrant Kit, a parish and school resource to assist in the celebrations. Contained are stories of resilience and success in the integration of migrant communities in Australia. Copies of the kit have been sent to schools and dioceses, and electronic copies are available for download on the ACMRO website, www.acmro.catholic.org.au.

As part of the week-long celebrations, the ACMRO and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, have organised a free public lecture on “Freedom of Religion in a Multi-religious Society: the Contribution of Migration”, at the Philippa Brazill Lecture Theatre, ground floor, Daniel Mannix Building, 8-18 Brunswick St, Fitzroy Vic. at 7:00pm.

Statement from the President of the Conference

“Confession in the Catholic Church is a spiritual encounter with God through the priest.  It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognised in the Law of Australia and many other countries.  It must remain so here in Australia.  Outside of this all offences against children must be reported to the authorities, and we are absolutely committed to doing so.”

Archbishop Denis J Hart
Archbishop of Melbourne – President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Archbishop Denis Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homelessness Week 7-13 August

Media Release from Most Rev Terence Brady
Chairman, Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life

On any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people are homeless.

While the media storm continue Untitled design (6)around the tent city in Martin Place in Sydney, Homelessness Australia has revealed startling statistics around the rise in the hidden forms of homelessness, such as sleeping in cars and couch surfing.

The rate of homelessness in Australia has been increasing and extends beyond our major cities to rural and regional Australia.  Day-to-day stresses on families and individuals such as insecure and low-paid employment, high costs of housing and general living costs, mental health and domestic violence contribute to homelessness.

Many individuals and families, for a variety of reasons, find themselves homeless and rely on increasingly stretched support services to assist them find a secure place to call home.  However, without a secure and affordable place to call home, other stresses in the lives of individuals and families cannot be addressed.

Catholic Social Teaching, based on the dignity of the human being, asserts that everyone deserves respect and protection – everyone has the right to food and shelter.

Homelessness is not just a housing problem, it has many drivers and causes including the shortage of affordable housing, long-term unemployment, mental health issues, substance abuse, and family and relationship breakdown.  Among women, domestic and family violence is the main reason.

The Catholic Church in Australia has been involved in helping people who are homeless for many years and will continue to support people to overcome terrible disadvantage.

Manus Island Refugee Death

Media Release from Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees

bishop-Long“It is with sadness that we have heard of yet another death of a refugee on Manus Island. This death could have been prevented. The Australian Government has been removing support services on Manus Island since the announcement of the closure of the detention centre.”

“Those in the care of the Australian Government whilst in offshore processing, who have come to Australia for safety and a better life, deserve more.”

“I urge the Australian Government to provide support services for those who are on Manus Island, awaiting a resolution to their current situation. The Australian Government needs to listen to the concerns of these people and treat them with dignity.”

“People seeking asylum are currently some of the most vulnerable members of our global community. It is imperative that they are treated humanely and with dignity. These people must be provided with options for settlement in safe countries free from further persecution.”

“I urge the Australian Government, to be committed to its international obligations, and continue its work within the region and with non-government organisations to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum.”

“Whilst it is important to prevent the loss of life at sea, it is equally important to provide adequate care for those in offshore detention. The Australian Government needs to provide adequate amenities, and provide quick resettlement options.”

“I urge the Australian Government, to provide adequate amenities to those on Manus Island, and to endorse programs that both protect lives at sea and in its care.”

Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council Announces Appointment of Plenary Council Facilitator and Facilitation Team

LT 200x200The Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council today announced the appointment of Ms Lana Turvey-Collins as the Plenary Council Facilitator.  She will work in partnership with members of the Formation Team of Catholic Mission, forming a Plenary Council Facilitation Team which will comprise Fr Noel Connolly SSC and Mr Peter Gates, Deputy National Director of Catholic Mission.

Ms Turvey-Collins and the Facilitation Team are humbled by the opportunity.  “We look forward to collaborating with leaders and their teams across the diverse ministries and works of the Catholic Church and all people in Catholic communities across Australia.  Over the coming years, we hope to support local Churches to lead and facilitate authentic and open dialogue about how we are, and how we can be, a community of missionary disciples in Australia.  Pope Francis’ writings, teaching and witness are inspiration for us, as he reminds us what Jesus in today’s society looks like.”

Plenary Council 2020 and the process of consultation and dialogue is an unprecedented opportunity for the Church in Australia.  It’s an opportunity to engage with all Catholics in Australia – those who lead, those who work in Catholic organisations, those who may feel they don’t have a voice, those who feel they are outside the Church and those who show up every Sunday for Mass – a process inclusive of all.  It’s about becoming the kind of Australian Catholic community which Pope Francis is calling us to be: “a community of communities…” (EG§28).

After considerable deliberation, the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council made the decision to move away from the more typical Executive Secretary position, which had been previously advertised, and have instead appointed a Facilitator and engaged a Facilitation Team which will be better equipped to respond to the realities of preparing for and celebrating the Plenary Council.

Ms Turvey-Collins has a wealth of experience in senior leadership, strategic planning, facilitation and stakeholder engagement. She has been seconded from Catholic Mission, where she has been leading the mission formation team and adult formation program.  She brings to this role a passion for God’s mission and believes there is great strength and wisdom in the diversity of the Australian Catholic community.

The Bishops Commission welcomes Lana Turvey-Collins to this new role and asks that you pray for her, the Facilitation Team and the Executive Committee as preparation for the Plenary Council 2020 gathers pace.

Call for Australia to ensure safety of those seeking asylum in our region Media Statement from Most Rev Terence Brady, Chairman, Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Bishop Terence Brady“Mr Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, yesterday made the statement that, ‘Australia’s policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru…has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long.’”

“Those remaining in offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, attempting to come to Australia for safety and a better life, deserve better.”

“People seeking asylum are often vulnerable members of our global community. It is imperative that they are treated humanely with options for settlement in safe countries and where no one is sent to a country or place where they may face further persecution.”

“Australia, if it is to be committed to its international obligations, must work with countries in the region and non-government organisations to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum in our region.”

“Whilst it is important to prevent the loss of life at sea, it is equally important to provide adequate care for those in offshore detention. Australia needs to take responsibility for those in offshore detention and provide them adequate amenities, and provide quick resettlement options.”

“I urge the Australian Government, to assist in the quick resettlement of those in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, provide options for families to reunite, and to endorse programs that both protect lives at sea and in its care.”

For media enquiries, please contact Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director ACMRO, on info@acmro.catholic.org.au

 For the UNHCR media release, http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/news/press/2017/7/597217484/unhcr-chief-filippo-grandi-calls-australia-end-harmful-practice-offshore.html

 

Catholic news looks to the future with new ideas, fresh faces, informed support

200_CNCathnews, Australia’s leading faith-based website, has a new home and a new independent editorial board to lead it into the future, following recent changes to its operations.

The changes at Church Resources in September 2016 included the withdrawal from management of CathNews, and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s subsequent divestment of the Church Resources operation, heralded the changes for CathNews.

During a thorough consultation process, three options were considered, including ceasing publication; outsourcing to an external contractor; and finally, transferring operations to the ACBC Communications Office, with the latter option being accepted by the Bishops across Australia.

CathNews will now be managed in collaboration with a new external advisory board that has been established to provide oversight of the publication, under the governance of the ACBC’s Bishops Commission for Administration and Information.

The board members who will serve a term of three years are : Australian Catholic University’s Research Ethics Manager, Susanna Gorman; Archdiocese of Perth Communications Manager, Jamie O’Brien; Australian Catholic Media Council Chair, Debra Vermeer; Good Samaritan Sister, Patty Fawkner; and Financial Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, Helen Delahunty. Continue reading

Parishes encouraged to celebrate the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Mary_McKillop_Med_Res-298x300_200The Council for Australian Catholic Women urges parishes and groups to celebrate the feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop (1842–1909) on August 8 this year.

As a significant Australian woman, the Council would like to see the inspiration of Mary MacKillop alive.

The Chair of the Council for Australian Catholic Women, Mrs Lyn Horner said, “St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia’s first saint, lived her faith in very practical ways. She relied on God to provide what was needed while she reached out to neglected children, the elderly, the poor and women in need. She is remembered and loved for her contribution to Catholic education across Australia and New Zealand.

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop exhibited courage, trust, openness and deep faith through many trials. I hope that all Australian Catholics, especially women, will continue to be challenged and encouraged by Mary’s way of life.” Continue reading

Sourcing bread and wine for the Mass, bishops reminded of their duty

bigstock-Hands-Of-The-Pope-Celebrated-T-151787903_200The Bishops of Australia received a reminder this week, 8 July, from the Vatican about their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration of Mass.

The letter was issued to all bishops around the world from Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Cardinal Sarah wrote that until recent times, many religious communities took responsibility for “baking the bread and making the wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. Today, however, these materials are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet”.

Eucharistic bread and wine

Eucharistic bread and wine

In order to remove any doubt about the “validity of the matter for the Eucharist”, the Dicastery suggested that the bishop should designate “a competent authority in actually guaranteeing the genuineness of the Eucharistic matter by producers as well as those responsible for its distribution and sale”.

It suggested that the bishops conference could mandate one or more religious congregations or another body capable of carrying out “the necessary checks on production, conservation and sale of the Eucharistic bread and wine in a given country and other countries to which they are exported”. Continue reading

Giving thanks to seafarers around world

Fr Roger Manalo

Fr Roger Manalo

As Catholic parishes throughout Australia prepare to celebrate Sea Sunday on 9 July 2017, it is timely to reflect on the vital work of the tens of thousands of seafarers who visit our ports each year – and the ministry of the Apostleship of the Sea which supports them. Lindy McNamara* reports.

Life at sea for crew members aboard a cargo ship or fishing vessel can be a lonely existence at times. Separated from family and friends for months at a time, often working in dangerous weather conditions, there is little wonder that feelings of isolation and depression are common.

However, the Apostleship of the Sea Catholic ministry (AOS) offers a ‘beacon of light’ to seafarers around the world by providing pastoral support for their ‘spiritual, social and material’ welfare. In Australia there are 15 AOS port chaplains / centre managers and more than 160 volunteers supporting the estimated 130,000 seafarers who transit the nation’s 25 ports each year through these centres. Continue reading

Parishes called to acknowledge the vital role of Seafarers “in the midst of the storm”

ACBC_Seafarer Banner 200 x 200 px v.2Parishes across Australia are called to support the work of Seafarers as part of the annual Sea Sunday Appeal on 9 July. Every dollar raised will help to provide pastoral support for seafaring men, women and their families through the works of Stella Maris centres across Australia.

Seafarers commonly face mental health challenges such as; depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide given the nature of their work; long hours in highly pressured environments with quick turnarounds at port before heading back out to sea.

Working as crew on board a cruise ship or industrial container tanker can involve long journeys being away from home and unable to see family for weeks and months at a time. As a result, Seafarers often experience isolation, cultural barriers with fellow crew and fatigue.

The Bishops of Australia and Sea Chaplains recognise that loneliness and the mental health of Seafarers is a serious concern and a recurring theme amongst those working in the industry. Therefore the theme of this year’s Sea Sunday Appeal is ‘In the midst of the storm’ focusing on the importance of addressing mental health concerns and providing the necessary emotional, psychological and spiritual support to Seafarers who may well be experiencing ‘stormy times’ mentally.

In advance of Sea Sunday, Bishop Bosco Puthur, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Seafarers highlighted the importance of supporting Seafarers who may be experiencing mental health challenges, ‘Our Sea Chaplains know that many Seafarers struggle with mental health conditions. In many cases, loneliness and isolation can be contributing factors to feelings of anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide. It is important that our Sea Chaplains are resourced to support those working on board. The Sea Sunday Appeal helps us to provide some of the necessary support.’

Currently, ninety per cent of Australia’s trade involves shipping with more than one million Seafarers on the world’s oceans at any one time. While life at sea can be exciting, Seafarers can encounter poor and dangerous working conditions, mental health issues, family isolation and piracy with crews and ships being held hostage.

There are 25 ports operating across Australia supported by 15 Apostleship of the Sea Chaplains or centre managers. The Apostleship relies heavily on generous volunteers, of which there are approximately 160, who live out their faith by welcoming the stranger.

To make a donation supporting the Sea Sunday Appeal, simply transfer funds online to: Stella Maris Seafarers Centre, BSB: 083-347 and Account Number: 649518680 with the reference, ‘Sea Sunday Appeal’.

The Strength and Blessing of Indigenous Family Life is the focus for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

ATSI_Sunday_2017 210 x 210 (1)Despite the devastating effects of colonisation, the dispossession of families in rural areas and the accompanying social dislocation, the strength and unity of Aboriginal families has survived, Bishop Eugene Hurley, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, said at the release of the 2017 pastoral letter to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ASTI) Sunday.

‘All Australians can learn and benefit from the kinship model of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.’

The Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, drafted the statement titled, “The Strength and Blessing of Indigenous Family Life” on behalf of the Commission to mark ATSI Sunday across the Church in Australia on 2 July 2017.

Continue reading