Bishops lament scourge of suicide in message for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

A screenshot from the Australian bishops’ video message for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

Australia’s Catholic bishops have called for greater collaboration to stem the tide of the terrible loss of life through suicide among not only the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, but throughout the wider Australian society.

In their annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday message, the bishops have identified five key principles to help government, faith-based and other organisations to walk together with communities struggling to cope with and to prevent the further loss of young lives. Continue reading

Bishops carrying prayers with them on pilgrimage

The Australian bishops will celebrate Mass in the papal basilicas, including St Peter’s, during the Ad Limina visit

Australia’s Catholic bishops have arrived in Italy and are preparing for their pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul with a period of prayer and discernment.

Almost 40 bishops will be in Rome next week for the Ad Limina Apostolorum visit, translated as “To the Threshold of the Apostles”. Continue reading

Brisbane couple’s list of awards grows longer

Kevin and Gail Shorthouse during their time in Papua New Guinea (photo supplied)

A Brisbane couple who spent 40 years as volunteers for Catholic Mission services in remote northern Papua New Guinea have been awarded Queen’s Birthday honours.

Kevin Shorthouse, 79, a former Catholic Mission pilot and teacher, and his wife Gail, 76, were pleasantly surprised on Monday to receive the Order of Australia Medal for their service to the people of Papua New Guinea. Continue reading

Scripture offers rich imagery of God’s nature

Andrea Dean, director of the Office for the Participation of Women

Last week, Brisbane’s Sunday Mail carried the headline “Brisbane Girls’ Schools Go Gender Neutral”.

Not surprisingly, the story, perhaps intended to sensationalise, was about how these schools would refer to God during prayer. It was picked up by a number of aggregation services and discussion ensued. Continue reading

Queen’s Birthday awards recognise servants of the Church

Sr Mary Shanahan was among a number of prominent Catholics to receive Queen’s Birthday honours (photo supplied)

Queen’s Birthday honours have been bestowed upon a number of leading Catholic lay and religious leaders, recognising their decades of work as servants of the Church in Australia.

Among the many Queen’s Birthday honours awardees are: Sr Mary Margaret Shanahan RSCJ, Fr Robert (Bob) Sheridan and Sr Patricia Caroline Bailey OP. Justice Neville Owen, the former chair of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, who currently serves on the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors, has also been recognised in the awards. Continue reading

Announcement of National Themes for Discernment opens next phase for Plenary Council

The Plenary Council 2020 moves into its next phase of preparation today with the announcement of the National Themes for Discernment that emerged from a historic process of listening to the voices of more than 222,000 people.

Between May 2018 and March 2019, almost 17,500 submissions, from individuals and groups of all sizes, addressed the Plenary Council’s central question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” Continue reading

Bishops get insights into Indigenous health program

Bishops and members of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council visit St Vincent’s Hospital

A delegation of bishops has toured a Sydney Catholic hospital that is improving the health of Indigenous people via a range of innovative reconciliation and Closing the Gap programs.

Members of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) recently visited St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst. Continue reading

Discernment helps voices transform into Plenary Council themes

A combination of data analysis, prayer and reflection has helped the Plenary Council 2020 process move from the voices of more than 222,000 people across the country to a number of National Themes for Discernment.

More than 75 people met last week to listen to and understand the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the submissions received during the 10-month Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council. Continue reading

First Torres Strait Islander priest ordained in Cairns

Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett greets Deacon Kopel Gibuma at his Ordination Mass. (Photo supplied)

The first ordination of a Torres Strait Islander into the Catholic priesthood in Australia was celebrated with a culturally-symbolic ceremony in Far North Queensland last Sunday.

In St Francis Xavier Church in Cairns, Lismore Emeritus Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett ordained 55-year-old Fr Kopel Gibuma to the Catholic priesthood to minister in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC). Continue reading

Historic Broken Hill convent back in Catholic hands

The convent in its heyday, in the early 1900s. Photo: Courtesy of the Broken Hill Family History Group

After a 40-year hiatus, the historic St Joseph’s Convent at Broken Hill has finally returned to Catholic Church ownership.

The convent, which was built in 1889 for the Sisters of Mercy, was recently bought back by the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes in private negotiations that began after it passed in at auction. Continue reading

Long-time CSSA employee gets papal honour

Mary Jamieson (seated, second from right) wearing her Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal at a recent meeting of the CSSA board

A long-time Catholic Social Services Australia employee has been awarded a papal honour for her services to the Church and to the Pope.

Mary Clare Jamieson, CSSA’s director of corporate services, was bestowed the symbol of honour of the Exalted Cross – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for services to the Church and to the Pope), which is instituted for persons distinguished for outstanding service and zeal. Continue reading

Paul O’Callaghan steps down as Caritas CEO

Paul O’Callaghan, the chief executive officer of Caritas Australia, the Church’s international aid and development agency, tendered his resignation yesterday.

Mr O’Callaghan’s decision to step down comes shortly after the successful conclusion of Project Compassion, Caritas Australia’s major annual fundraising and community education project. Continue reading