PROCLAIM 2018 Conference launches Listen as Plenary Council song Plenary Council

Hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane for the 2018 PROCLAIM Conference yesterday witnessed the first screening of a new music video for the Plenary Council 2020.

PROCLAIM, the biennial national evangelisation conference, this year has a particular focus on the Plenary Council process and how it can help renew the Catholic Church in Australia. Continue reading

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.”


Bishops back efforts to eliminate modern slavery

Image with ACBC logo and 'Media Statement' written under itThe Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has supported new legislation to help eradicate the scourge of modern slavery.

The ACBC has been advocating legislation to combat slavery for a number of years. The bishops acknowledged the long-term and expert work of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Anti-Slavery Taskforce to achieve this outcome. Continue reading

Pope Francis appoints Bishop Comensoli to Melbourne Archdiocese

Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli Images by Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2018

Pope Francis has this evening appointed the Bishop of Broken Bay, Peter A. Comensoli, as the new Archbishop of Melbourne, with effect from August 1, when he will be installed in St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Archbishop-elect Comensoli was ordained priest for the Diocese of Wollongong and served as Auxiliary Bishop and Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Sydney before being appointed to Broken Bay in December 2014. Continue reading

Western Sydney gathering explores women’s leadership in the Church Office for the Participation of Women

Sixty women and men from Parramatta Diocese and beyond gathered last week to discuss the critical place of women in the life of the Catholic Church and the need for the female voice in leadership.

Our Lady of Mercy College, a school deeply committed to women’s participation in Church and society, was a fitting venue for the evening of formation and consultation with the Council for Australian Catholic Women. Continue reading

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

Women, including Mary, focus for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday ACBC and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

The role of women in families and communities and in the Catholic Church is the focus of this year’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, to be celebrated on July 1.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Because of her, we can” – which is shared with the theme for NAIDOC week, to be held from July 8-15. Continue reading

Bishops congratulate, welcome new Catholic Religious Australia president

Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge has congratulated Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ on her election yesterday as president of Catholic Religious Australia at the group’s National Assembly.

Sr Monica, currently congregational leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, was elected along with a number of other religious women and men to the Catholic Religious Australia Council. Continue reading

Townsville locals see great potential in Plenary Council by Neil Helmore, Diocese of Townsville

Lana Turvey-Collins explains the Plenary Council 2020 process to Townsville locals.

The northern Australia tour continued for Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins recently when delivered five sessions over three days in the Townsville Diocese, presenting to more than 130 people.

Geoff Gowdie, Church life and mission services director for the Diocese, saw the opportunity to gather as many people as possible together from a wide range of ministries to gain an understanding of how the Plenary Council will work. Those people can then serve as leaders in their specific ministry or parish.

Continue reading

Spirit of welcome imbues 2018 Sea Sunday celebration Apostleship of the Sea

Roslyn Rajasingam, national director of the Apostleship of the Sea

Dozens of Catholic chaplains and managers who work in Australian ports – and the tens of thousands of people who support their work financially – are being reminded of the scriptural imperative to “always welcome a stranger” in the lead-up to Sea Sunday next month.

On July 8, the Catholic Church will celebrate the work of those men and women who work on the seas and those Catholics across the country who minister to seafarers by providing spiritual, social and material support. 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