Category Archives: Special interest

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

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

British Actor Liz Carr brings Assisted Suicide: The Musical to the Aussie stage

Liz Carr

Liz Carr

Assisted Suicide is not the most common subject for musical comedy shows – and that’s exactly why British actor, comedian and activist, Liz Carr, was so passionate about bringing the topic to the stage.

“It’s a serious subject, and I just wanted to create a space where people can talk about it,” she says.

“Comedy is how you open things up and through the ridiculousness and the banality and the laughter, we can ask the questions. And I wanted it to be a musical because firstly, I love musicals, and secondly, music allows us to explore emotions and different ideas in ways that are far more palatable than just doing a lecture for an hour and a half.”

Liz, who has lived with disability since childhood, knows all about the limitations of the lecture circuit, because before she brought Assisted Suicide: The Musical to the stage, she spent years speaking out against euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) in lectures, articles and on news and chat shows. 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

Group of palliative care practitioners speak out against euthanasia & assisted suicide

More than 30 of Australia and New Zealand’s top palliative care practitioners have joined forces to oppose the introduction of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, describing the practice as “unnecessary and unsafe”.

A letter, authored by Professor Douglas Bridge and co-signed by 32 other palliative care specialists and medical professionals was published in this week’s edition of the Medical Journal of Australia’s MJA InSight.

It was a response to an opinion piece recently published in the MJA by Palliative Care Specialist, Professor Emeritus Ian Maddocks, who asked whether it was time to consider an integration of palliative care, euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide (EPAS).

“As palliative care practitioners, we know this supposed common ground is both a contradiction in terms and contrary to sound medical practice,” the letter from the 33 practitioners says.

“Supporting people when they are dying is utterly different to intentionally causing them to die. What Professor Maddocks calls ‘a single effective intervention’ is in fact an act of killing.” Continue reading

Statement from the Truth Justice and Healing Council to the Royal Commission as part of Case Study 50: Catholic Church authorities in Australia

logo-TJHC_200Statement read by Francis Sullivan, CEO, Truth Justice and Healing Council on 6 February 2017

Introduction

Commissioners I make this statement on behalf of the Truth Justice and Healing Council.

When the Truth Justice and Healing Council made its first major submission to this Royal Commission in 2013 it included a nine-point Commitment Statement by the Catholic Church leadership.

This in part said the leaders of the Church in Australia committed themselves to repairing the wrongs of the past, to listening to and hearing survivors, to putting their needs first and to doing everything the Church can to ensure a safer future for children.

Over the past four years, as the Church has been through what many would say has been the most intense and unforgiving examination of almost all aspects of its operations in Australia, the Council has worked hard to hold the Church leadership accountable to these words.

But more than that – to put these words into action.

And having been involved with this Commission from the word go I have seen the Church leadership rise to this challenge. Continue reading

A Month of Sundays named Australian Film of the Year

Anthony LaPaglia

Anthony LaPaglia (Image Credit, Brisbane Times)

The jury of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting has awarded its annual prize to Matthew Saville’s A MONTH OF SUNDAYS, released April 28, 2016.

This beautiful, gentle Australian film is about a lonely man, Frank, trying to find a fresh purpose in life. One day, he receives a phone call from an elderly widow, Sarah, who carries on a conversation with him as if she is his mother. Sarah’s wrong number leads to a friendship that gives meaning and purpose to Frank’s life in unexpected ways.

The film is a tender, dramatic character study of a man who reaches out to form an attachment to a woman, who becomes the means for his discovering the humanity he thought he had lost. 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

Catholic Bishops of Australia Extend an Invitation to the Year of Youth 2018

acyf2015_day2_241_200The Catholic Bishops of Australia invite Catholics across the country to join in celebrating a Year of Youth from the beginning of Advent 2017 to the end of 2018.

The Year of Youth celebrates ten years since World Youth Day was hosted in Sydney during 2008.

It will focus on the theme, ‘Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy: Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment’. The emphasis is on local discussion and dialogue in parishes, schools, youth groups and dioceses.

Delivering the invitation, Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, ‘In 2018, we want to engage with youth in new ways and they with us, helping young people to encounter God in Jesus Christ and his Church. Open your hearts to the life God intends for you and so make a real difference in the world’.

On behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Hart said, ‘As Bishops we invite you, the youth of Australia, to open your hearts to Christ. You are deeply loved by Jesus and the Church. We appreciate your gifts and contributions, and we want to journey with you. Continue reading

The Catholic Church Walks Alongside Aboriginal Rebirth

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

Archbishop Prowse, Elder Tony and Archbishop Yllana.

HOMILY at St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra on the First Sunday of Advent and the 30th Anniversary of St John Paul II’s Speech at Alice Springs.

We have now entered into a new Liturgical Year focussing on the Gospel of Matthew. We begin today our Advent Season.

The Gospel calls us to STAY AWAKE in anticipation for the Lord’s coming. We are to be ‘READY,’…for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour’. It is a time of hope.

Not only is Jesus to come unexpectedly in time, but he comes unexpectedly in appearance. Who would have expected the Almighty Son of God to come unexpectedly as a fragile child in a Bethlehem stable, at an unexpected time of Roman Imperialism in the chaotic religious culture of Judea.

Also today, we welcome Pope Francis’ representative in Australia, our Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency, Archbishop Yllana, as our Principal Celebrant. He is with us because it is a special day for all Australians. We look back to the Pastoral Visit 30 years ago of St John Paul II to Australia. In this 1986 visit, the Pope visited all States of Australia. It was however, his monumental speech in Alice Springs (29th November 1986) that we recall today. Continue reading