Australian bishops back local Advent appeal for Ukrainian people

The country’s bishops are encouraging Catholics to respond to the call from the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia to provide financial support to people in the war-torn nation as winter arrives.

Bishop Mykola Bychok CSsR gave an update on the situation in Ukraine during the plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference earlier this month. He thanked the bishops for praying – and inviting their communities to pray – for Ukraine, and asked them to renew those prayers.

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Church renews focus on domestic and family violence

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s statement on domestic and family violence will be a focus for an online event next week to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The bishops’ annual social justice statement for 2022-23, titled Respect: Confronting Violence and Abuse, was published in August.

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Bishops formally approve Plenary Council acts, decrees

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe presents the acts and decrees of the Plenary Council to Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles Balvo.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has formally approved the acts and decrees of the Fifth Plenary Council, which will now be sent to the Apostolic See for review.

The documents, which comprise five volumes across hundreds of pages, were received at the Bishops Conference’s plenary meeting last week.

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Submission portal opens for next Synod of Bishops phase

Groups across Australia are now able to participate in the latest discernment process for the global Synod on Synodality, reflecting on the recently-published Working Document for the Continental Stage.

The document, which was drawn from local and national consultation processes undertaken around the world, was published in late October.

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Bishops Conference publishes its 2021 annual report

Former president Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s second annual report is “much more than a company report or a bureaucratic manifesto”.

The report, which has now been published online, covers the 2021 calendar year. It outlines some of the key works of the Bishops Conference, its commissions, agencies and offices during the year.

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Prison chaplains are ‘eyes, ears and hands of Christ’

Bishop Tim Norton SVD has described prison chaplains as “the eyes, ears and hands of Christ in a contained world that has very limited signs of love and care”.

Bishop Norton, the Bishop Delegate for Prisoners’ Pastoral Care, addressed an online gathering of Catholic prison chaplains from across Australia this week in anticipation of Prison Sunday, which will be marked on November 6 this year.

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Groups invited to prepare for next Synod of Bishops phase

The National Centre for Pastoral Research is inviting groups of seven to 10 people to express their interest in participating in the next round of consultation for the global Synod of Bishops on Synodality.

The Document for the Continental Stage, which is drawing content provided in national syntheses from around the world, as well as contributions from Eastern Churches, religious institutes, lay movements and other groups, is due to be published soon.

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Social justice advocate takes on new national role

Long-time Brisbane-based social justice advocate Peter Arndt has taken on a new role, last week commencing as director of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace.

Mr Arndt was the long-term executive officer of Brisbane Archdiocese’s Justice and Peace Commission. He says in his new role he will continue to advocate for those who live on the margins.

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Diocesan archivists gather in Canberra for annual meeting

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB last week thanked diocesan archivists from across Australia for their “significant contribution to preserving the cultural patrimony of the Catholic Church”.

Archbishop Costelloe, addressing the Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia (CDAA) gathering in his capacity as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, acknowledged the critical role of record-keeping in the Church.

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Last chance to register for Evangelise conference

Catholics around Australia are encouraged to register for the Evangelise online conference, which kicks off on Thursday, October 20.

The three-day conference is an initiative of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry, and will feature five live plenary sessions exploring themes such as mission, encounter and discipleship.

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Synodality top of agenda for Pope, Archbishop Costelloe

The Fifth Plenary Council of Australia and the global Synod on Synodality were key discussion points for Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Pope Francis when they meet this week.

Archbishop Costelloe, whom Pope Francis appointed president of the Plenary Council in 2018, was in Rome to take part in the drafting of the working document for the next phase of the journey towards the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

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