Category Archives: ACBC agency news

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 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’.

Excitement builds towards biggest faith festival for young people in a decade

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with young people from Sydney at ACYF in Adelaide, 2015.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP with young people from Sydney at ACYF in Adelaide, 2015.

Blogging for the ACBC Media Blog this week, Archbishop Fisher continues to extend his invitation to the biggest faith festival for young people in a decade, the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, as more than 150 groups have already registered in just two weeks. 

The estimated group size of those registered to date has a combined total of over 10,000 participants! 

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Excitement builds as ?? 15,000 young people from all around ?? will gather in Sydney for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, December 7-9.

Pope Francis gave us our theme ”Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy” when he addressed young people at the WYD Vigil in Krakow. He gave us our subtitle ”Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment” as the theme for next year’s Synod on Youth. So you’ll be at a mini World Youth Day and a mini World Synod.? And ”Franky” is challenging us to get off our couches, lace up our runners, and get out there expanding our horizons and spreading the joy of the Good News.

So come to our 3-day horizon-expanding, joy-making, Good-News-spreading party! There will be concerts, presentations, expos, justice and service activities, oodles of options. ?Youth meet God. Faith meets fun. Church meets the City.?❤️

It’s for Years 9 to 12 schoolies, for Uni students, and for young adults up to 30.

A chance to go a bit public about your faith and ideals with 15,000 of your closest friends ???‍?‍?‍?. To ask your big questions❓ and have the Church listen to you ?. And lots of help working out what to do next with your life.

The Australian Catholic Youth Festival is for you, for Jesus, and for the future of our world.

Join me from our humongous opening Plenary on Thurs 7 Dec at Olympic Park till the Mother of All Masses on Sat 9 Dec at the Domain. Pope Francis’ words are for you: “Blaze new trails… open up new horizons… spread joy: the joy that is born of God’s love and wells up in your hearts with every act of mercy!”?

See you there!

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP?

More info, www.acyf.org.au

President of Conference appeals for donations for the East Africa food crisis

East-Africa-social-media-image_200‘I am shocked to learn of the harrowing plight facing millions of people in a number of countries in East Africa,’ Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said today.

‘Sadly, there has been little coverage in Australia of this emerging tragedy. Today, I am lending my voice and that of the Catholic Church in Australia to urge you to help if possible.’

‘Prolonged drought is causing widespread hunger across East African countries. Somalia, South Sudan and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are the worst affected.’

Caritas Australia, the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, through its international network, is working to support over 250,000 in the affected region. Continue reading

Harvester minimum wage case commemorated and invoked on its 110th anniversary

Minimum wageThis year is the 110th anniversary of the landmark Harvester minimum wage decision by Justice Higgins in 1910.

The basic objective of Harvester was to set a fair and reasonable minimum wage that would provide a decent standard of living for workers and their families. The Harvester minimum wage for unskilled workers came to be regarded as the Australian living wage.

Harvester was commemorated and invoked by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations (ACCER) in its recent submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review.

ACCER’s submissions traced the influence of Justice Higgins and others on the legislation and decisions that enabled the setting of the living wage. ACCER’s submissions also drew on the assessments of former High Court judge Michael Kirby and former Prime Minister Bob Hawke regarding the influence that Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum had on the legislation and policies that resulted in the Harvester decision.    Continue reading

Mentoring is a tool of empowerment

Andrea Dean and Christine Pace.

Andrea Dean and Christine Pace.

Mentoring is simply based on a friendship, a connection and a supportive environment focusing on a strengths based approach to learning, Christine Pace told almost 200 women gathered at the official launch of the Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program.

The Launch took place at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney on Saturday evening, May 20. The program is a service project of the 2015-2017 Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship participants led by Christine Pace from the Diocese of Broken Bay.

‘It may seem daunting but it’s an exciting journey,’ Christine explained that the program was not about being top of the corporate ladder but rather ‘this program sees mentoring as a tool of empowerment for women’.

‘Faith filled women on fire with the Holy Spirit are gods hands and feet in the world. We need spiritual nourishment. When you are supported in your faith, you can flourish in your faith and life.’

It’s common for women to underestimate their capabilities. However, women are developed with their own gifts and talents.’ Continue reading

New Executive Director appointed to National Catholic Education Commission

Christian Zahra

Christian Zahra

Following a thorough national search and the identification of a number of highly-qualified candidates, the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education announced today, 17 May, that Christian Zahra will serve as the next executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission.

Making the announcement, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, said, ‘Across a range of spheres – including politics, community development and business – Christian has been a major contributor to Australian society over the past two decades. In this new role, he will help to shape the educational opportunities of the one in five children and young people being educated in the 1,737 Catholic schools across the country. Continue reading

International Catholic megastar confirmed for Australian Catholic Youth Festival

MM-announce-hero-web_200Matt Maher is arguably the biggest Catholic name in global contemporary Christian music and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is delighted to announce he will be coming to Sydney for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival from 7-9 December 2017.

The internationally acclaimed Canadian songwriter and worship leader is heading to Australia with his band to join with 15,000 young people at the biggest Festival of its kind to be held in the country. He will perform, lead worship and provide engaging input on each day of the three-day Festival at Sydney Olympic Park including Sydney Showgrounds, Qudos Bank Arena and The Domain.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney and the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth made the announcement today.

‘Matt Maher’s music is a powerful tool to reach young people and we’re so pleased to be welcoming this highly acclaimed artist for the ACYF,’ Archbishop Fisher said. Continue reading

New Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program announces BBI as inaugural partner

Fellowship2015-group-300x200-thumbThe Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring program is delighted to welcome BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education (BBI) as its inaugural annual partner for 2017/2018.

Launching in late May 2017, the Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring program is a national program aimed at building the skills, confidence and networks of Australian Catholic women and encouraging them in their faith.

The program aims to empower women to use their gifts and talents to make meaningful and significant contributions to the Australian Church and, in turn, have a positive impact upon Australian society. Continue reading

Church needs to engage marginalised young Australians

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green

From 5th to 9th April, I had the great honour of being the Australian Youth Delegate at the conference, ‘From Krakow to Panama: The Synod Journeying with Young People,’ held in Rome.

Organised by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, the conference was attended by 270 delegates from 103 countries. Significantly, over half of the delegates were young people.

When we arrived at the conference venue on Tuesday afternoon, few of us knew what to expect. Some had travelled 30 hours to be there, others just one hour, but we had one thing in common – we had big dreams for the Church and we craved the opportunity to be heard. 

Two days were devoted to discussions about the upcoming Synod of Bishops on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment.’ I delivered a presentation on my hopes for the Synod and the Year of Youth, with my focus being the need to engage our most marginalised young Australians.

As a social worker, I work with young people in Out of Home Care and families in crisis. I urged that we create new and welcoming spaces in the Church that meet our young, disadvantaged Australians where they are at.  Continue reading

New mentoring program for Australian Catholic women set to launch

Christine Pace

Christine Pace

A new mentoring program, aimed at helping to build the skills and faith of Australian Catholic women so they can have a positive impact in both the Church and wider society, is set to be launched in May.

The Australian Catholic Women’s Mentoring Program is the initiative of Christine Pace and other members of the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship for 2015/16.

It will be launched on Saturday, May 20 during the group’s final residential gathering at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney. Senator Deborah O’Neill will be guest speaker.

Christine says the idea for the mentoring program sprang, in part, from the conversations at the last Catholic Women’s Colloquium.

“At the Colloquium, a lot of women were talking about the need for women to get together and support themselves and organise themselves to have an impact in the Church,” she says.

“And as I thought about that, I thought the answer to that is a mentoring program, which would provide a structured way for women to get together in faith and grow in confidence and skills in whatever area they are in.” Continue reading

Cosmos named ACBC Official Tour Operator for World Youth Day, Panama 2019

28164636443_5d1773f074_o_200Cosmos will be the official tour operator to coordinate the Australian pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) 2019 in Panama, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Youth announced today.

After facilitating a rigorous process of informing, identifying and selecting a company to support the Australian pilgrimage, the Australian Bishops selected Cosmos as the company that will manage up to 30 groups and over 1,000 pilgrims.

Cosmos managed the successful Australian pilgrimages to WYD 2016 in Krakow, as the ACBC Tour Operator. Cosmos is continuing to build on its extensive experience in offering affordable tours across the globe, which includes a range of pilgrimage experiences. Cosmos caters for over 40,000 clients each year and is part of the Globus Family of Brands, one of the world’s largest touring companies.

Archbishop Anthony said, “I am happy to announce the appointment of Cosmos as our tour operator for WYD 2019 in Panama as it provides young people and the Church in Australia a great opportunity to encounter the Catholic Church in Central America and to encounter Pope Francis through the WYD experience. Continue reading