The NDIS: an important choice for the election by Dr Brenton Prosser, Catholic Social Services Australia

Federal Budget week was another significant one for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It was a central feature in the speeches of both the Treasurer and the Opposition Leader.

Public debate centred on $1.6 billion of allocated (but unspent) funding going back into the Government’s projected $7.1 billion surplus. The Budget also allocated over $527 million for a Royal Commission into the mistreatment of people with a disability. But the question that remains with many of us is: Why was more not invested to improve choice and dignity for those in and around the scheme? Continue reading

CHA supports push for urgent aged care reform

CHA chief executive officer Suzanne Greenwood

Catholic Health Australia is part of a diverse coalition of aged care providers, unions, health professionals and consumer groups who are calling on candidates in the May 18 federal election to commit to “getting aged care right for everyone”.

Earlier this week, the National Aged Care Alliance, which comprises 52 national organisations, launched the Age Well Campaign, in anticipation of the election and in response to a disappointing Budget week for the sector. Continue reading

Vocational theme runs through Pope’s apostolic exhortation

Ashleigh Green participated as an Australian representative in events preparing for the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment

Pope Francis’ recent letter to young people, Christus Vivit, reveals the Pontiff’s preparedness to listen to the needs of young Catholics while providing guidance for all on vocations.

The apostolic exhortation, released last week, covers nine chapters that provide guidance to young people and the entire people of God on vocations and how to welcome young people more fully into the life of the Church. Continue reading

Young Catholic women exploring leadership pathways

The 12 young women who are participating in the Leadership for Mission program. From left: Polly Marriott (Hobart), Amelia Beckett (Sydney), Sarah Dixon (Darwin), Erin Gillard (Campbelltown), Ellie Betteridge (Gympie), Clare Atkinson (Wollongong), Leah Wilson (Newcastle), Sophie Cox (Brisbane), Ines Augustine (Sydney), Lauren Hall (Wollongong), Natalia Teguhputri (Melbourne), Rebecca Hall (Sydney).

Twelve young women from across Australia are “Reimagining Leadership” as part of a two-year program to help develop a new generation of Catholic leaders.

The women have just completed the third unit in the Leadership for Mission program. The unit – “Theology for the Future: Reimagining Leadership” – saw the students visiting different workplaces across Sydney to speak with women leaders in business, Church and the media. Continue reading

New Catholic social services body for NSW and ACT


Robert George (Centacare Bathurst), Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Terry Brady, Anne-Marie Mioche (Centacare Wilcannia Forbes), Michael Austin (CatholicCare Wollongong), Anne Kirwan (CatholicCare Canberra Goulburn) and Mark Philips (CatholicCare Sydney). Photo by Jacqueline McCormack/CatholicCare Wollongong.

A new peak Catholic social service providers’ group for New South Wales and the ACT aims to enhance collaboration while renewing their mission focus.

Speaking at the official launch at Mary MacKillop Place recently, inaugural chair Michael Austin said the association had replaced the original branch structure and now represented 16 Catholic social service organisations from dioceses and congregational orders. Continue reading

Peak marriage conference sponsorship available

The Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, an advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, is offering sponsorships for couples or individuals to attend this year’s Renaissance of Marriage conference.

As the peak gathering of professionals in the field of marriage preparation, support and enrichment in Australia, Renaissance of Marriage provides an opportunity to be part of the national dialogue on marriage and relationship education for the Catholic Church in Australia.

Continue reading

Rockhampton faithful gather to discuss future pastoral needs

Bishop McCarthy blesses the water at the Rockhampton Diocesan Assembly

Catholics from throughout the vast Rockhampton Diocese have gathered to discuss the needs of their communities with the view to drafting a 10-year pastoral plan.

The Rockhampton Diocesan Assembly 2019 was convened at St Joseph’s Cathedral last week, following a Chrism Mass attended by priests, parishioners, assembly delegates and students. Continue reading

Fusion of faith and culture for Central Australian church

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Alice Springs

Alice Springs parish is planning to mark two historical milestones while strengthening the fruits of reconciliation Pope Saint John Paul II spoke about during his visit there three decades ago.

Parish priest Fr Asaeli Raass SVD said the parish had much to celebrate this year with the 50th anniversary of their church – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – and 90 years since the parish’s first priest, Fr James Long MSC, celebrated the first Catholic Mass on the land of the Arrernte people. Continue reading

Slight drop observed in latest Mass attendance figures

Despite a drop in the percentage of Catholics who attend Mass, more than 623,000 people attended Mass weekly in 2016

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge says it would be “naïve” to ignore the role the child sexual abuse crisis has played in a slight drop in Mass attendance figures in recent years.

But Archbishop Coleridge said it is also important to consider other reasons affecting the number of people regularly attending Mass across the country. Continue reading

Plenary Council is listening to 222,000 voices

Lana Turvey-Collins speaks with Western Australian Catholic secondary school leaders during the Listening and Dialogue stage of the Plenary Council (Photo courtesy of Catholic Education Western Australia)

Plenary Council 2020 president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says he and his fellow bishops have been “amazed” by the engagement of people across Australia in the Council’s opening stage.

The Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase ended earlier this month, concluding a period of almost 10 months for people to share their stories and consider the question “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

The National Centre for Pastoral Research has compiled statistical data and reported that more than 222,000 people participated in the Listening and Dialogue phase and made either individual submissions or had their voices captured through a group response.

“The bishops knew the time was ripe for a defining moment in the life of the Church like a Plenary Council. What we didn’t know is how the people of Australia would embrace a process that hasn’t taken place for more than 80 years,” Archbishop Costelloe.

“We have been thrilled and amazed by the generosity of people and their willingness to speak about their experiences within the Church – both positive and negative – and to invest such energy in this first stage of the process.”

Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said while she observed enthusiasm for the Council when she visited communities across Australia, she couldn’t have predicted that would translate into 220,000 people participating in the Listening and Dialogue phase.

“From the beginning, it has been clear that the success of the Council would depend largely on people’s level of engagement, but equally on the movement of the Holy Spirit,” she said.

“This unprecedented – and quite overwhelming – level of response shows the people of God in Australia are deeply interested in shaping the future of the Catholic Church in this country.”

National Centre for Pastoral Research director Trudy Dantis said the process of analysing the more than 17,000 individual and group submissions is under way. It will be completed over the next two months, with the national themes for discernment that have emerged to be announced in early June.

“Each submission will be read and analysed by our team of research experts and we will use some of the best research tools available to assist that analysis,” Dr Dantis said.

“Prayer and discernment is at the core of this process, particularly in this next stage of the journey, ensuring the Plenary Council is guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Ms Turvey-Collins said once the national themes for discernment have been identified, working groups will be established – following an application process open to all – to consider the submissions and help prepare discussion papers that will be published.

“Listening has been a critical part of this opening phase and as we move into the ‘Listening and Discernment’ phase, it is necessary that we all continue to listen to God and listen to each other to allow the Council to be a pivotal moment in the life of the Catholic Church in Australia,” she said.

Visit the Plenary Council website for more information at www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au