Category Archives: Press Releases

Seafarers’ welfare must be supported: Cardinal Sea Sunday

As the Catholic Church in Australia and many other countries prepares to celebrate Sea Sunday on July 8, Cardinal Peter Turkson has called for international labor agreements aimed at supporting those who work on the seas to be upheld.

Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Human Integral Development, said some companies are not allowing seafarers time ashore when their vessel is in port, while others aren’t allowing chaplains and other support personnel to visit the ship.

He said that such behaviour is in breach of the spirit of aspects of the Maritime Labor Convention aimed at improving the wellbeing of seafarers.

“Crews should not be denied the freedom of coming ashore likewise chaplains and ship visitors should not be denied the right to go on board of vessels,” Cardinal Turkson said.

Cardinal Turkson said those who work on the seas — on merchant, fishing, passenger or war vessels — are also often subject to considerable dangers, not least from piracy.

He said piracy is inevitably related to political instability, but added that changes in a number of maritime industries, including fishing, had allowed “unscrupulous individuals” to convince people who were unemployed to become pirates.

Cardinal Turkson also lamented statistics that point to an increase in the number of seafarers who are abandoned. Statistics show more than 1,300 people were abandoned for a variety of reasons in the five years till 2017 — often without having been paid their wages, without food and without supplies for an onward journey.

In many such cases, Cardinal Turkson explained, the Church’s ministry to seafarers through its Stella Maris centres has been critical in providing material, spiritual, legal and psychological support.

Sea Sunday, celebrated on July 8 this year, includes an appeal to support the work in those centres and the chaplains and managers who work in Australian ports.

Many parishes will hold special collections on Sea Sunday for that purpose, or people can visit the Apostleship of the Sea website for information on the ministry and how to support its work.

Last month, Bishop Bosco Puthur, the Bishop Promoter for the Apostleship of the Sea in Australia, spoke about the critical work carried out in and from the Stella Maris centres.

“The men and women who spend weeks or months on end travelling the oceans have often left family and other loved ones behind, and they often don’t have access to their religious practices,” Bishop Puthur said.

“For those people for whom faith is integral to their life, being helped to access the sacraments after a long journey is a source of great comfort and joy.”

 

Adelaide priest Fr Charles Gauci named Bishop of Darwin

Darwin Bishop-elect Charles Gauci

Pope Francis has this evening appointed Fr Charles Gauci, currently administrator of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Adelaide, the seventh Bishop of Darwin.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge welcomed the appointment of a man who is known for his deep spirituality and real commitment to evangelisation. Continue reading

PROCLAIM sells out weeks ahead of conference National Centre for Evangelisation

The organisers of the 2018 PROCLAIM Conference have posted the “Sold Out” sign for this year’s event, with more than 600 people to come together in Brisbane for the biennial gathering.

Being held in Queensland for the first time, this fourth PROCLAIM conference is organised and hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, in partnership with the National Centre for Evangelisation – an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Continue reading

Educator joins Bishops Conference in executive secretary role

Louise Zavone, who has spent the past three decades teaching in Catholic schools and in leadership roles within Catholic education, has joined the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to serve as an executive secretary to a number of bishops commissions.

Mrs Zavone, who most recently worked as a religious education officer for Sydney Catholic Schools (formerly the Sydney Catholic Education Office), will support the work of the Bishops Commission for Doctrine and Morals, the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, and the Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life. Continue reading

Archbishop Coleridge elected president of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Archbishop Coleridge. Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2016

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has today elected Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane as president of the Conference.

Archbishop Coleridge was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and later became Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn. Since 2012, he has served as Archbishop of Brisbane. Continue reading

Youth Council offers prayer, encouragement to youth delegate Office for Youth

Archbishop Anthony Fisher with Ashleigh Green, left, and Angela Markas

Melbourne’s Angela Markas has been encouraged to “be yourself” as she prepares to represent young Australians at a Vatican gathering next month that will help inform this year’s Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.

Miss Markas, 22, met with members of the Australian Catholic Youth Council this week and shared the story of her faith journey and the faith of the Chaldean Catholic community of which she is a member. Continue reading

Catholics are Discovering Prayer with new resource National Centre for Evangelisation

The Catholic Enquiry Centre has launched a new prayer resource that can help people escape the busyness of their daily lives and find space to encounter God.

Discovering Prayer was developed as a complementary resource to other Catholic Enquiry Centre materials that serve as an introduction to the Catholic Faith. Continue reading

Feast day highlights realities of modern slavery

The Catholic Church in Australia and around the world will recommit to fighting slavery and human trafficking in the coming days as it celebrates the feast of St Josephine Bakhita.

Pope Francis, who has continued the papal tradition of clear denunciation of human trafficking and slavery, has designated February 8 as a day of prayer, reflection and action to end the injustice of human trafficking. Continue reading

New director leads Pastoral Research Office in Canberra

Experienced researcher Trudy Dantis has this week begun as the new director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Pastoral Research Office.

Dr Dantis, who has conducted research on behalf of the Catholic Church in Australia and India, will lead the Pastoral Research Office from its new Canberra office. Continue reading

MEDIA STATEMENT: Catholic Bishops, Religious Leaders respond to Royal Commission final report

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has today released its final report, which includes a large number of recommendations, many of which will have a significant impact on the way the Catholic Church operates in Australia.

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, said the release of the final report is the culmination of almost five years of intense examination of the way in which many different institutions, including the Catholic Church, have historically failed children. Continue reading

New Apostleship of the Sea director breaks new ground

The Catholic Church’s ministry to seafarers who visit Australian shores has a new national director, with Roslyn Rajasingam this week beginning as the first lay woman to hold the role.

Mrs Rajasingam, who has worked in Catholic and other faith-based agencies in Australia and overseas for most of the past 25 years, said the Church’s work through the Apostleship of the Sea is invaluable to those who work on the water. Continue reading

New Vatican publication highlights Indigenous art, culture

When people think of the Vatican Museums, minds turn to Michelangelo and Raphael. But a new book celebrates the prominent place of Indigenous Australian art and culture on display at the much-visited attraction.

Australia – The Vatican Museums Indigenous Collection, which features some of the earliest known documentations of Australian Indigenous cultures, was officially launched in Canberra last week. The publication was a joint project of Aboriginal Studies Press and the Vatican Museums. Continue reading