Category Archives: Bishops Commissions

Calling young Australians to be part of an international conversation

ACBC----Youth-Synod-2018-Survey-Facebook-Ad-650px-v200Young people across Australia are being called to share their views about life, faith, and their experience of Church through an online survey published today by the Australian Bishops.

The survey seeks to capture the opinions and perspectives of young people as part of a national consultation process that will inform an international conversation in Rome next year.

Australians aged between 16 and 29 years are encouraged to complete the survey. The questions cover a range of topics including: the experience of being listened to, using social media and technology, friendships and influences in today’s world, opportunities for engagement with Church activities such as, outreach programs, youth masses, community leadership or parish events.

At a recent gathering of young people in Rome which has informed and helped to prepare this process, Ashleigh Green, a young social worker from Sydney said, one of her hopes for the Church in Australia is that ‘we can better engage our most disadvantaged and marginalised young Australians’.

‘I hope that we can use the common yearning for social justice as an avenue to engage youth and I hope that we can create new spaces for community within the Church,’ Ms Green added. 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

Statement from the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education: Federal Government Funding Proposals

bigstock--169540202_200The Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, speaking on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, has expressed concern at some elements of the Federal Government’s budget announcement regarding Catholic school funding.

As Bishops, we acknowledge the difficult financial situation currently faced by the Government and the nation. We are fully aware of the need for restraint and responsible stewardship of the nation’s resources. We also acknowledge the Government’s recognition, in its funding proposals, of its responsibility to facilitate parental choice in the matter of education. It is this principle that undergirds the now well-established practice of funding a Government education system and a Catholic education system, as well as hundreds of Independent schools.

We are encouraged that the Government has now announced that there will be a minimum funding indexation for all Australian schools in the medium to long term. The Government’s proposed floating indexation rate had been creating uncertainty for schools, school systems and families. 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

How should we care for migrants and refugees?

Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson

The care of migrants and refugees coming to Australia is one of the most divisive issues in Australian public debate.

Pastoral care of migrants and refugees will be top of the agenda for the Church in Australia later this year as Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo from the Philippines arrive in Melbourne to give keynote speeches at a national conference on the issue.

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, will host this timely conference at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus, on July 19 and 20.

Cardinal Turkson will deliver a keynote address focusing on his role as Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development within the Roman Curia. The Dicastery is in effect a department to promote the care of vulnerable and marginalised people. The Ghanaian Cardinal will also reflect on his work with Pope Francis. Continue reading

Youth leaders fly to Rome to plan Synod 2018 and World Youth Day 2019

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green

Australian Catholic youth leaders will fly to Rome next month to help plan two major events for young people.

Ashleigh Green, a young woman from the Broken Bay Diocese and Malcolm Hart, Director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Youth, will head to Rome in the first week of April, to participate at an international meeting about World Youth Day (WYD) and the upcoming Synod on young people.

The five-day gathering will focus on the theme, From Krakow to Panama – The Synod Journeying with Young People. It will include an evaluation of WYD in Krakow during 2016 and will look ahead to WYD in Panama during 2019. Time will be spent on the pastoral and logistical preparations required. Members of both the Polish and Panamanian organising committees will be present.

Ashleigh Green was part of the Diocese of Broken Bay’s WYD pilgrimage to Krakow. Continue reading

Human Trafficking – Be Informed about its reality and consequences

St Bakita

St Bakita

On the Feast of St Josephine Bakhita today, 8 February, bishops and religious leaders across Australia support the call from Pope Francis to end the injustice of human trafficking against all people, in particular children.

‘They are children! Not slaves!’ is the theme for Bakhita Day this year. Pope Francis has designated today a world day of prayer, reflection and action against human trafficking.

St Bakhita is the Patron Saint for victims of slavery. The United Nations estimates that one in every three victims of human trafficking is a child. It is estimated that 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years. Annually, millions of children are trafficked into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage, illegal adoption, forced labour, and to become child soldiers. Continue reading

Politicians should respect the right of people of faith to hold a different view on marriage

Parliament House, Canberra

Parliament House, Canberra

All members of religious groups deserve the right to not participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they hold a traditional view of marriage, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) said in a submission released this week.

The Australian Senate has established a select committee to examine draft exemptions for ministers of religion, marriage celebrants and religious groups so they do not have to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, should the law be changed. The Select Committee on Same-Sex Marriage is expected to report on 13 February 2017.

“Changing the definition of marriage would have an impact on all the members of the Catholic Church, but perhaps the most significant impact would be on ordinary parishioners trying to live their Catholic faith in their daily lives,” said Archbishop Anthony Fisher, chair of the ACBC’s Commission for Family, Youth and Life. Continue reading

Building for the Liturgy

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

Fr Stephen Hackett MSC and Mr Harry Stephens

A seminar on the relationship between architecture and liturgy in Catholic church design took place at the Secretariat of the Bishops Conference on January 11 and 12.

The two day seminar, ‘Building for the Liturgy’, surveyed the history of church architecture, with particular emphasis on architectural principles and the evolution of the liturgical setting. The Seminar also addressed the challenge of reordering older churches for the celebration of the liturgy today.

The seminar focused on the foundations of Christian architecture, liturgical architecture from the New Testament to the 20th century liturgical movement, the challenge of contemporary architecture for designing churches and liturgical architecture after Vatican II.

IMG_2489

Seminar participants gathered at McGilvray House, ACBC Secretariat, Canberra on January 11

The seminar is an initiative of the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board, an advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Liturgy. The seminar was led by Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and Mr Harry Stephens, a partner of Sacred Space Architects, designing and consulting on liturgical architecture. 

Bishop of Rockhampton, Most Rev Michael McCarthy joined ten clergy participants for the small group seminar. A number of case studies with particular architectural designs were reviewed during the seminar including, the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, Chartes, France, St Benedictusberg Abbey, Vaals, Netherlands, St Joseph’s Church, Malvern, Victoria and St John the Baptist Church, Woy Woy, NSW.  Continue reading

Church Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s visit to Alice Springs

30th-anniversary-mediablogOn Sunday 27th November 2016, church leaders, parishes and Indigenous communities will gather together to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s (JPII) visit to Alice Springs in the heart of Australia on 29th November 1986.

The theme of the commemorations is, ‘Walk Tall and Command Respect. The time for this rebirth is now’.

Bishop Eugene Hurley, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (BCRATSIP) said, ‘It is appropriate that we celebrate and observe the thirtieth anniversary of the visit of John Paul II as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in Advent. As with both, the theme is one of hope and rebirth’.

‘This timely theme is an invitation and call to us to create and ensure a change in societal attitude and promote not only rebirth and hope but justice and equal rights of indigenous peoples.’ Continue reading

Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinators gather as a community

youth-ministers_200The Australian Network of Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinators (ANDYMC) was established in 1998 to support and advocate for the specific needs of Diocesan Youth Ministry and those ministering within it. Close to 20 years later the network works throughout the year to share ideas, resources and formation opportunities with its members.

Once a year ANDYMC gathers as a community specifically to share our joys and challenges of youth ministry, to collaborate on fresh initiatives and participate in professional development. Continue reading