Category Archives: Special interest

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.

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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

McGilvray House and Dougherty Centre blessed by Archbishop Hart

mcgilvrayArchbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, officially named and blessed McGilvray House and The Dougherty Centre in Canberra today, 15 November 2016.

The former St Patrick’s Convent was renovated over the past 18 months. It is located beside the Bishops Conference Secretariat. This home of the Mercy Sisters was officially named and blessed as McGilvray House after Mother Mary McGilvray.

Glenn Mowbray, Business Manager, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said, “Marie McGilvray grew up in a faith-filled family and entered the Sisters of Mercy on 25 March 1928. Mother McGilvray received her Habit later that year on 22 December. Her date of Profession was 27 December 1930 and Final Profession was 22 December 1936, taking on the name Sister Mary Ignatius. Continue reading

God’s Grace in Prison Chaplaincy

Bishop Brady chats to inmates at Silverwater yesterday

Bishop Brady chats to inmates at Silverwater on Sunday 6 November 2016

In the middle of maximum security Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, Sydney, a converted demountable classroom has been transformed into a chapel. Bishop Terry Brady, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Prisoners along with 50 inmates, volunteers and prison chaplains, gathered to celebrate Mass on Sunday 6 November, the Jubilee for Prisoners.

During a moving service, the inmates and the chaplains held up the struggles of life in prison to God’s care and sought help to endure. Through the hymns and prayers, the prisoners who came voluntarily, readily participated in the service and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity.

Bishop Brady assured the women there is hope for them, no matter what circumstance they find themselves in. Continue reading

Aussie Bishop attends assembly of European Bishops Conferences

Bishop McGuckin addressing the European Bishops.

Bishop McGuckin addressing the European Bishops.

As Vice-President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO), I represented FCBCO at the Plenary Assembly of Council of the Conferences of the European Bishops (CCEE) which was held in the Principality of Monaco, 6-9 October 2016.

Unlike our Plenary Assemblies, on the whole it was mainly the Presidents of European Bishops Conferences that are involved in the Plenaries. Even then the number at the Assembly was approximately 80.

Various reports were given and tabled at the meeting: Migrants and refugees; family and gender ideology; Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomes gave a report on behalf of the Latin American Conferences. There were also reports from Africa and Asia. I gave a report for Oceania. Continue reading

Breathing with two lungs, the Ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches

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Prof Philipp Renczes

On 1 November 2016, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches will host a special address by Professor Philipp Renczes, a Jesuit priest from Germany. Entitled, ‘Breathing with two lungs: The Ecumenical journey of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, in particular with the Antiochan Orthodox and the Oriental Churches’.

All are welcome to attend this special event hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations (BCEIR) and the Conference of Bishops and Representatives of the Middle Eastern Apostolic Churches in Australia and New Zealand. It will take place at the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle, Bossley Park, NSW, commencing at 7.30pm.

Fr. Renczes was born on March 15, 1964 in Stuttgart. He is Professor of Dogmatic and Patristic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Visiting Professor of Patristics at the “Augustinianum” and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute; Director of the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies and Head of the Department of Patristic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Continue reading

30th Anniversary of JPII’s Visit to Alice Springs

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JPII took a large gum branch, reached into a clay coolamon & blessed the crowd

November 2016 marks 30 years since (now Saint) Pope John Paul II issued his ground breaking address to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs.

On 29 November 1986, the Holy Father told the indigenous community, “Your culture, which shows the lasting genius and dignity of your race, must not be allowed to disappear. Do not think that your gifts are worth so little that you should no longer bother to maintain them. Share them with each other and teach them to your children. Your songs, your stories, your paintings, your dances, your languages, must never be lost”. Continue reading

Raiders make it all the way to the Vatican

James Parker, Archbisop V & Mons Woods.

James Parker, Cardinal Ravasi & Mons Woods with the Raiders jersey

Monsignor John Woods, Priest of St Christopher’s Cathedral, Canberra and Chaplain to the Canberra Raiders rugby team, attended the inaugural Sport at the Service of Humanity conference at the Vatican in October.

The conference was the first global conference on faith and sport, with the Vatican hosting representatives from across the world to affirm the power of sport for human good.

The purpose of the Conference was to unite people from every faith, nationality and culture through sport, in a common goal: To help the ones who need it most, especially the marginalised and the disadvantaged, and to encourage everyone to develop their life skills, character, values, and enjoyment of life itself, through sport.

Mons Woods’ experience will inform the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life who are in the process of establishing a working group to articulate a framework for a future Advisory Group on Sport & Health within the Bishops Conference. Continue reading

Guidance on burials and conserving ashes in the case of cremation

Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, Sydney

Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, Sydney

The Australian Catholic Bishops welcome a new document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published today, 25 October 2016, regarding burying the deceased and conserving ashes when cremation is chosen.

Titled, ‘Ad resurgendum cum Christo’ meaning ‘To rise with Christ’, the document provides details about the doctrinal and pastoral reasons for choosing a burial. It also explains what is appropriate when conserving ashes in the case of cremation.

The Congregation highlighted that the contents of the document, ‘To rise with Christ’, are intended as a point of reference for the Church.

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said, “The new instruction, ‘To rise with Christ’, affirms what the Church has always held with regard to cremation, reverence for the human remains in the body or in the ashes and the following burial”. Continue reading

Fr Bedi Asmon SVD using music for mission in Brazil

Fr Bedi Asmon SVD using music for mission at Brazil's Evangeliza Feira.

Fr Bedi Asmon SVD using music for mission at Brazil’s Evangeliza Feira.

Fr Bernadinus (Bedi) Asmon SVD, a young missionary from Indonesia, who undertook his formation in Australia, is now living and ministering in Brazil where he has discovered that music is the common language with the people he serves.

Fr Bedi, who spent five years studying in Australia, before his final vows and ordination in 2014, has been in Brazil since March 2015.

In that time, he has lived in a few different communities, including some very poor regions, and he is now busy learning Portuguese and working in a parish in the city of Feira de Santana, the second biggest city in the state of Bahia.

“The death rate here due to violence is very high, around 5-8 people per week, and many of the victims are young people,” he says. Continue reading