Choirs urged to be cautious over COVID-19

The group that advises the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on liturgical music has urged parishes and dioceses to review local health and government advice when deciding on the return of choirs.

The experience of choirs overseas suggests that COVID-19 can be spread easily within choirs, with large outbreaks in Europe and the United States traced back to choir members. In some instances, as many as 90 per cent of choir members were infected after practices or performances.

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Vatican document on parishes calls for ‘renewed vitality’

Sophy Morley, the coordinator for liturgy and pastoral ministry and Plenary coordinator in Sale Diocese

A new Vatican document on the renewal of parish life comes at a time when parish communities have been changed in ways recently unimaginable, according to a key diocesan leader in regional Victoria.

Sophy Morley, the coordinator for liturgy and pastoral ministry and Plenary coordinator in Sale Diocese, says the Vatican Instruction The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelising Mission of the Church diagnoses a critical shift in recent decades.

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Greek Orthodox, Catholic archbishops lament Hagia Sophia move

Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Archbishop Makarios

The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia say Hagia Sophia’s revised status as a mosque risks sowing division in a world seeking common ground.

In a statement signed by Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Archbishop Makarios released today, the two leaders “join our voices to the many around the world who have expressed deep regret at the recent decision in Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya”.

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Supporting Australia’s First Peoples is a year-round task

“Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. That’s a commandment not often repeated in public debates, perhaps because it seems obvious. Perhaps also because it is difficult.

But could it be that the reason non-indigenous Australians have not achieved reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people is we don’t love each other enough?

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Sea Sunday celebrates those who work on the oceans

In his message for Sea Sunday 2020, Bishop Promoter for the Apostleship of the Sea Bishop Bosco Puthur has sent a pastoral greeting to seafarers dealing with a pandemic that keeps them at sea for even longer periods than normal.

Bishop Puthur, speaking ahead of Sea Sunday on July 12, said his message took on special significance as the world seeks to respond to COVID-19.

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Stella Maris sails on despite COVID-19 restrictions

The hospitality they usually offer seafarers can’t be delivered on dry land, but the Stella Maris Seafarers Centre in Mackay is ensuring those working on vessels that come into port feel valued and supported.

The centre, which has been offering spiritual, social and material support to seafarers since 1995, had to close its doors on March 20 due to COVID-19 restrictions. It would normally be a lively place for men and women to access wifi, play games, buy souvenirs and other items.

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National Mass to be livestreamed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

With many local events not able to be held on July 5 to mark Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, a national Mass will be livestreamed from St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral in Adelaide to celebrate the occasion.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), like so many other groups, saw its plans have to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New national office will streamline, coordinate safeguarding efforts

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge says a new national office for safeguarding will streamline and coordinate the Church’s work to protect children and vulnerable adults.

“The Catholic Church in Australia is bringing into a single entity several national agencies working in the area of child protection and safeguarding,” he said.

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Men’s gathering gets reboot with digital delivery

While COVID-19 saw the postponement of the inaugural Australian Catholic Bishops Conference National Catholic Men’s Gathering, some aspects of the event will proceed in August using online technology.

The one-day gathering originally scheduled to be held in Sydney next month was postponed in April, with the expectation that a similar program would proceed in July 2021.

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Pope Francis appoints Msgr Greg Bennet Bishop of Sale

Pope Francis has this evening appointed Msgr Greg Bennet, a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the 10th Bishop of Sale.

Msgr Bennet was born and raised in Melbourne, completing his secondary education at Braemar College in Woodend, northwest of Melbourne. After working in banking for several years, he entered Corpus Christi College in 1986 and was ordained priest in 1992.

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Bishops disappointed in small minimum wage increase

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference says a 1.75 per cent increase in the national minimum wage falls well short of the boost needed, leaving many families vulnerable during a pandemic.

The Conference, which has made submissions to the annual review of the minimum wage for decades, argued for a 4 per cent increase – before COVID-19 led to additional financial uncertainty for many low-paid workers and their families.

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