One Year to Go to Australia’s Biggest Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney

acyf17-logo_200One year from today, thousands of young people will gather for the final Mass of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival to be held in Sydney from 7 to 9 December 2017.

The three-day Festival is a youthful and energetic celebration hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in partnership with the Archdiocese of Sydney. The surrounding dioceses and Catholic agencies are generously supporting this whole of Church celebration.

The event will be held at Sydney Olympic Park and at other key locations in the city. It is expected to attract 15,000 young people who will celebrate their faith together while also acknowledging ten years since Sydney hosted World Youth Day in 2008. 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

Bishop O’Regan launches the ACU Centre for Liturgy

Bishop Patrick O'Regan

Bishop Patrick O’Regan

The Most Reverend Patrick O’Regan, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy officially launched and blessed the new Centre for Liturgy at the Australian Catholic University on 21 November 2016.

The launch took place during the Spring Plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in North Sydney.

Speaking at the launch, Bishop O’Regan said, ‘It is my privilege to officially launch the Australian Catholic University Centre for Liturgy. In doing so it brings alive the dream of Sacrosanctum Concilum #44 in its section on The Promotion of Pastoral-Liturgical Action which decreed that there be liturgical commissions in every territory and that, “So far as possible the commission should be aided by some kind of Institute for Pastoral Liturgy, consisting of persons who are eminent in these matters…” 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

Catholic Church in Australia Launches New Company to Protect Children and Vulnerable Adults

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Sr Ruth Durick OSU and Archbishop Denis Hart.

A new independent company to be established by the Catholic Church to develop, audit and report on compliance with professional standards to protect children and vulnerable people was announced today by church leaders

Catholic Professional Standards (CPS) Limited represents a new national Church response to the importance of safeguarding vulnerable people. It will be responsible for setting the highest standards to ensure the safety of individuals involved with the Church at all levels and engaging with Catholic service providers.

CPS will:

  • Develop new standards for the protection of children and vulnerable adults across Church entities particularly in areas where there are currently no current relevant standards
  • Audit and report on the compliance of each Church authority against the new professional standards
  • Provide education and training regarding the new standards

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

Church Welcomes Government’s Refugee Resettlement Deal with United States

bigstock-american-immigration-110906003_200“The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will offer those on Manus Island and Nauru a one-off deal to resettle in the United States of America.”

“The ACMRO is grateful to the USA for accepting to resettle asylum seekers and opening its doors and welcoming those who have been awaiting settlement after many years of detention.”

“The ACMRO, however, is disappointed that Australia did not take the step of settling at least some of those on Manus Island or Nauru in Australia, showing other nations that we are accepting our fair share of the current refugee crisis. 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

Media Statement from Bishop Vincent Long ofm conv

bigstock-hundreds-of-immigrants-are-in-102784622_200“The announcement by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton that the Government will introduce proposed legislation banning those who have arrived to Australia by boat from 19 July 2013 onwards from ever being able to apply for a visa to Australia is deeply disappointing.”

“Seeking asylum even by boat is not illegal. It is a basic human right. Yet not content with demeaning them, the Australian government now want to introduce laws that will ban them from ever coming here.” Continue reading

Bishop Brady Celebrates Mass for Holy Father’s Jubilee for Prisoners

yearofmercy200x200Celebrating the Jubilee for Prisoners on Sunday 6 November, Bishop Terry Brady, the Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Prisoners, preached the homily below during Sunday evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. 

Pope Francis has set aside this 32nd Sunday in the Church’s year; throughout the World as a special day of recognition for Prisoners and their families.

This jubilee day for Prisoners occurs within another special period in the Catholic Church – the Holy Year of Mercy; a time of grace, prayer, forgiveness and compassion. Both these jubilees are to remind us that God’s love is unconditional.

Many people have spent time in jail, including saints and even Jesus himself. The Holy Father’s message is for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, because we all possess human dignity.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2011-2012 “Building Bridges, Not Walls”, raised similar concerns as Pope Francis. Both urged us all to think about the conditions in our prisons, and to ask who are most likely to find themselves there. 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