Bourke family will represent ACBC at World Meeting of Families

The Bourke family with Bishop of Darwin Eugene Hurley

The Bourke family with Bishop of Darwin Eugene Hurley

Hailing from the Diocese of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Matt and Cathy Bourke have been named as the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference official delegate couple at the 8th World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia from 22-27 September 2015.

From St Martin de Porres Catholic Aboriginal Community, the Bourke family with their four children, three boys and one girl, will travel to Philadelphia as part of an Australian pilgrimage. Matt and Cathy Bourke have been active members of the Community for a number of years.

Nominated on behalf of the Bishop of Darwin, Bishop Eugene Hurley, the Director of Youth in the Diocese, Benita De Vincentiis, and MGL Priest at St Martin de Porres Community, Fr Dan Benedetti, described the Bourke family as ‘a joyful, down to earth family that seeks to do God’s will in the midst of everyday life’.

‘Not only do Matt and Cathy have a sound understanding of the Church’s teaching, they also have the courage to defend it and compassionately reach out to others, especially those on the fringes or outside the Church.’

Matt is the Assistant Principal of Religious Education at O’Loughlin Catholic College, a leading Catholic Secondary College in Darwin. He is responsible for bringing the Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia (CSYMA) program to the Northern Territory.

The couple are strong advocates for Catholic Education and encourage pilgrimage and opportunities for faith formation with students and young teachers. Matt and Cathy have led discussion groups on the Theology of the Body and its practical application in modern day life.

Bishop of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, described them as ‘servants of the diocese in so many ways. Their most precious contribution is the way they model family life in every aspect’.

‘Recently, I enlisted their help in preparing for the Synod on the Family. They responded immediately, although it meant cutting into their holiday and the need to bring their older boy with them, as he has a medical condition. Their contribution is very rich and inspiring,’ Bishop Hurley added. 

The Bourke’s will travel with the Australian Bishops Delegation to the World Meeting of Families, which will be led by the Bishops Delegate for Families, Bishop Michael Kennedy of Armidale.

Australian families can be in solidarity with the Gathering through their prayers and by reading and reflecting, privately or in parish groups on the preparatory catechesis ‘Love Is Our Mission, The Family Fully Alive’. This has been developed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family and can be purchased through the website:

Pope Francis will be attending the event for the Festival of Families on Saturday 26 September and the Papal Mass on Sunday 27 September 2015.

The World Meeting of Families is a triennial global event that seeks to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe and highlight its intrinsic value to the good of society. This is the first time the event is being held in the United States.

Media queries, please contact Aoife Connors on 0450 348 597 | 

Prayer for the World Meeting of Families

God and Father of us all, in Jesus, your Son and our Saviour, you have made us your sons and daughters in the family of the Church.

May your grace and love help our families in every part of the world be united to one another in fidelity to the Gospel.

May the example of the Holy Family, with the aid of your Holy Spirit, guide all families, especially those most troubled, to be homes of communion and prayer and to always seek your truth and live in your love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

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