Catholics in Australia encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Catholics in Australia are being encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, with the relevant Bishops Commission saying it is morally permissible to accept any vaccine.

In a document published today, the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement acknowledges that there are ethical concerns about the way some of the vaccines have been developed or tested. That includes the use of cell lines derived from an abortion in the 1970s.

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Geraldton faithful unite in wake of Cyclone Seroja

An example of the damage that Cyclone Seroja unleashed on buildings in Geraldton Diocese (photos supplied)

The people of the Diocese of Geraldton are remaining positive and supportive as they deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja, which caused extensive damage to church buildings last week.

Geraldton Bishop Michael Morrissey said he was thankful the strongest part of the Category 3 cyclone missed the city of Geraldton by about 25 kilometres.

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Church mourns death of Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy

Cardinal Cassidy, in a 1998 file photo (Catholic News Service photo)

The Catholic Church – in Australia and globally – is mourning the death of Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who died earlier today in Newcastle at the age of 96.

After being ordained to the priesthood, Cardinal Cassidy served in parish ministry in Wagga Wagga Diocese before heading to Rome for ongoing study. Once he completed his additional training, he spent nearly 30 years serving as a Vatican diplomat in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

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Consultation for Women provides hope for the future

Almost 200 Catholic women from around the country gathered online on March 27 for a national consultation organised by the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.

Twenty-six Australian dioceses were represented at the event, with Archbishop Christopher Prowse, the chair of the Bishops Commission, and Bishop Michael Morrissey, the Bishop Delegate for Women, also taking part.

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Young female leaders begin academic, formation program

Participants in the 2021 Leadership for Mission program participated in their first module last week

Twelve young women from across Australia gathered last week for a four-day intensive session as part of the acclaimed Leadership for Mission program, a postgraduate course for women aged 25 to 35.

The latest cohort for the program, which is a joint initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s National Centre for Evangelisation and Australian Catholic University, with the support of Catholic Mission, was set to commence last year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Leaders gather to consider Catholic policy response to COVID-19

Chris Richardson and Bernard Salt were keynote speakers at the ACU/Bishops Conference event

Leaders of Catholic agencies and a number of external experts gathered online on Monday to consider the challenges of the pandemic for Australians and what the Catholic community can contribute to public policy ideas to bolster the country’s COVID-19 recovery.

The roundtable discussion, “A Catholic contribution to public policy on COVID”, was co-hosted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Catholic University’s public policy think tank, the PM Glynn Institute.

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Catholic women invited to national consultation

Catholic women are being invited to participate in a national consultation with two bishops later this month and to mark their diaries for a national gathering in September.

The national consultation, which will take place on March 27 via Zoom, invites women to articulate and celebrate their contribution to and vision for the mission of the Catholic Church in Australia.

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Working document released for Plenary Council journey

The working document for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia provides a catalyst for the Church to renew the journey of prayer and discernment toward the first assembly in October, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says.

The document, known as an instrumentum laboris, draws heavily on the voices heard during the Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment phases of the Plenary Council, but also from other key sources. It is entitled Continuing the Journey.

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Care packages lift spirits of seafarers

Seafarers with their care packages, distributed thanks to Stella Maris Australia

Thousands of people working on the seas have received care packages in recent weeks following the allocation of Stella Maris Australia funding to port chaplaincies across the country just before Christmas.

The International Christian Maritime Association also contributed funding to support the provision of key supplies like toiletries, snacks, clothing and stationery.

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New Church protocol published for responding to sexual abuse

A new protocol to be introduced next week provides a framework for Catholic entities across Australia to respond consistently to people raising concerns or allegations of child sexual abuse.

The National Response Protocol, which was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2020 plenary meeting, is the product of two years of work and widespread consultation within and beyond the Church.

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