Category Archives: Uncategorized

Government increasingly isolated in opposing Newstart boost

by Joe Zabar, Catholic Social Services Australia

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee’s inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart is now under way, with some 70 submissions received. The Committee chair, Senator Rachel Siewert, is by any measure one of the most seasoned and consistent advocates for disadvantaged Australians. As formidable a campaigner as she is, her committee is facing an enormous task in convincing the Government to lift the level of Newstart, regardless of the evidence presented.

The “Raise the Rate” campaign run by the Australian Council of Social Service – and supported by the sector – is seeking a $75 per week lift to the single Newstart rate. Senator Siewert’s party, the Greens, have publicly supported a $75 increase. Labor supports a lift, but is not committing to a specific rate. Continue reading

New reports give dioceses pastoral planning insights

National Centre for Pastoral Research director Trudy Dantis says new reports published this week will help bishops and Church leaders respond to the needs of their local communities.

Drawing on Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the 2016 Census, the diocesan social profiles provide insights into the demographics of the Catholic population in all 28 geographical dioceses. The reports show that the lives of Catholics, individually and collectively, can vary widely in different parts of the country. Continue reading

Australian Catholic Youth Festival theme song released

Sandhurst priest and recording artist Fr Rob Galea has released the theme song for the 2019 Australian Catholic Youth Festival

The theme song for the largest gathering of young Catholics in Australia – the Australian Catholic Youth Festival – has just been released.

With up to 5000 young Catholics expected to converge on Perth’s Convention and Exhibition Centre from December 8 to 10, Fr Rob Galea, founder of FRG Ministry and a priest of the Diocese of Sandhurst, has created a new theme song and video clip for ACYF19. Continue reading

Bishops release mental illness, outreach guidelines

Sr Myree Harris RSJ, acting chair of the Australian Catholic Disability Council, with the new resource “Do Not Be Afraid”

Catholic communities across Australia are being urged to help shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness by supporting and welcoming those who suffer and their families.

With one in five Australians experiencing a mental health illness each year and mental illness being the third-leading cause of disability, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on Friday released new mental illness and outreach guidelines for parishes. Continue reading

Discernment and Writing Groups draw on Church’s talent

Seventy people from across the country – including a dozen bishops – will serve on the six Discernment and Writing Groups that will help the Plenary Council build towards its first session in October 2020.

As part of “Listening and Discernment”, the second phase of preparing for the Council, Discernment and Writing Groups will have the important task of preparing papers for consideration by Council delegates. Continue reading

Young Ministry Convention to embrace ‘the now of God’

Hobart will host the fifth Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention (Giovanni Portelli Photography)

The Archdiocese of Hobart will host the fifth Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention in July 2020, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Youth has announced.

Malcolm Hart, director of the Office for Youth, said the ACYMC will continue what has been a period of intense focus, both locally and internationally, on the place of younger Catholics in the Church. Continue reading

Bishop takes drought, Indigenous concerns to Canberra

Senator Pat Dodson and Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green

Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE has travelled to Canberra to urge federal politicians to address the difficulties many Indigenous Australians face, to talk about the challenges the drought brings to people in his diocese and to call for action on youth suicide.

Bishop Macbeth-Green, who is chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, met with senior figures last week, including Senator Patrick Dodson and Environment Minister Sussan Ley, one of the three local MPs in the bishop’s sprawling diocese, which covers 52 per cent of New South Wales. Continue reading

Church in Australia to gather around Christus Vivit

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green, centre, with members of the Australian Catholic Youth Council

Young people and youth ministers from across the country have met for the first time as the new members of the Australian Catholic Youth Council.

Meeting at the tomb of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in North Sydney, the council reflected upon the outcomes of the Year of Youth for the Church in Australia and the General Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. Continue reading

Time to ‘Listen and Discern’ for Plenary Council

Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB says the involvement of Catholics across the country remains critical as the Council’s Listening and Discernment stage ramps up.

The Council recently published the “Let’s Listen and Discern” guide, a tool to help people participate in the practice of communal discernment. A number of resources, including videos, have also been released to offer advice on how discernment has evolved in the Catholic tradition. Continue reading

Ministry to the Newly Married a ‘hidden treasure’

Since 1990, Ministry to the Newly Married has been helping couples in their first few years of marriage.

A special Catholic marriage mentoring program for newlyweds is increasing in popularity as the next generation strives to build strong, long-lasting and prayerful bonds.

Aimed at fostering relationship skills, broadening spouses’ understanding of each other and living out the sacrament of marriage for couples during their first five years of marriage, the Ministry to the Newly Married (MNM) has grown from humble beginnings in Canberra to dioceses and parishes throughout Australia. Continue reading

Chaplains vital as Australia’s prison population grows

The work of Catholic prison chaplains was celebrated at a conference in Melbourne last week.

Catholic prison chaplains have heard how their mission is becoming increasingly vital as Australia’s corrections system expands, conservatively costing the country $16 billion annually.

The two-day gathering in Melbourne, supported by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Catholic Prisoners Pastoral Care Council, focused on the theme “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Continue reading