New Australian Ambassador to the Holy See appointed

Chiara Porro, the new Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, will present her credentials to Pope Francis on August 27

Australia’s bishops have welcomed the appointment of a new residential Ambassador to the Holy See, with the new ambassador to present her credentials to Pope Francis this week.

Chiara Porro has worked within the Department of Foreign Affairs for most of the past dozen years, including in overseas postings in India and New Caledonia. She has also served in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

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Scripture and papal leadership inspire retreat for creation

Catholics in Australia are being encouraged to participate in a first-of-its-kind week-long retreat in preparation for the ecumenical celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1.

The “7 Days of Creation Reflection-Retreat” has been prepared by Columban priest Fr Charles Rue, whose ministry has for many years had a focus on the Catholic understanding of care for the environment.

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Webinar will help parishes use data to shape ministry

People engaged in parish ministry are being encouraged to attend a webinar next week to help understand how data from the 2016 Australian Census can inform the way they support their local communities.

In June this year, the National Centre for Pastoral Research published social profiles on almost 1300 Catholic parishes across Australia. Each profile looks in great detail at the demographic makeup of those living within a parish’s boundaries, according to the 2016 Census, particularly those who identified as Catholic.

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Hundreds set for inaugural Catholic Men’s Gathering

More than 700 men from across Australia, as well as New Zealand, Uganda and Kenya, will participate in the inaugural Catholic Men’s Gathering, being delivered this weekend using video technology.

The gathering had originally been scheduled for July 2020, but was postponed by 12 months due to COVID-19. The success of other events that had shifted online prompted the decision to deliver the men’s gathering using digital means in August 2020 instead, with a live event still scheduled for 2021.

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Bishops’ annual Social Justice Statement focuses on mental health

The Catholic bishops of Australia have released the Social Justice Statement 2020-21, on the critical subject of mental health, in the lead-up to Social Justice Sunday on August 30.

The Statement, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today, encourages faith communities, governments and individuals to make mental health a priority.

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Pope Francis appoints new Bishop of Port Pirie

Pope Francis has this evening appointed Fr Karol Kulczycki SDS, the former head of the Salvatorians in Australia, as the new bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie in regional South Australia.

Fr Kulczycki was born in Poland in 1966, ordained to the priesthood in Trzebinia in 1994 and is currently based in Poland. He spent 21 years serving the Church in Western Australia, including in parish ministry, as vocations director and as a college chaplain.

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Working document next step on Plenary Council journey

The working document – or instrumentum laboris – for the Plenary Council will provide a constant reminder of the need for deep and ongoing discernment of God’s will for the Church, the Council’s president has said.

Work recently began on the development of the instrumentum laboris, with the document drawing heavily on the first two preparatory phases of the Council journey: Listening and Dialogue and Listening and Discernment.

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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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