NZ deal welcomed, but other asylum-seekers need a solution

Australia’s Catholic bishops have welcomed the Government’s decision to see up to 450 asylum-seekers resettled in New Zealand, but say hundreds more need to be offered a pathway out of detention.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews this week announced that 150 asylum-seekers in Australia will be able to relocate to New Zealand each year for the next three years.

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Make time to unite with Pope Francis in prayer

Catholics around the world are being encouraged to join their prayers with those of Pope Francis on March 25 when he consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The act of consecration places the warring countries under the protection of Mary, the Mother of Christ, trusting in the power of her intercession. Such an act looks towards God, the source of all peace, and seeks God’s peace through Mary.

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Final days to make Synod of Bishops submissions

People are encouraged to use the final few days for local submissions to the “Synod on Synodality” to contribute to the global conversation about communion, participation and mission in the Church.

More than 700 submissions have been made through the national online Synod of Bishops portal, with a large number of those made by groups of varying sizes. It is estimated that several thousand people have engaged in the process so far.

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Church backs theme for International Women’s Day

The International Women’s Day 2022 theme of equality will be central to an important Church message this year, according to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Delegate for Women.

Bishop Michael Morrissey said dioceses, parishes, schools and other Catholic communities regularly find ways to mark International Women’s Day. It is also an invitation to reflection and action.

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New bishops’ advisory council meets for first time

Members of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry and the new advisory council met last week.

The newly formed national advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry met with the bishops that comprise the Commission in Sydney last week.

Due to eased travel restrictions, seven of the nine members of the new Council for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry were able to attend in person, with seven of the Commission’s eight bishops present over two days at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney. Those unable to attend in person joined the event online.

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Plenary Council takes next step in discernment journey

The four-year journey of discernment for the Fifth Plenary Council took a step forward this week, with Council Members invited to reflect on proposals emerging from the Council’s first assembly, held last October.

Towards the Second Assembly: A Working Document for Members offers a focus for Members’ continuing prayer and reflection, especially during the coming month. It includes proposals drafted as part of the process of preparing resolutions for the Council’s second assembly in July.

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Bishops call for peace in Ukraine, generous Australian response

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge has expressed indignation at what is happening in Ukraine and called for a rejection of the madness of war and a return to reason, saying “the peace of the world is at stake”.

“We express our deep compassion for the people of Ukraine and our solidarity with all people of Ukrainian heritage here in Australia,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

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Report captures history of diocesan pastoral councils in Australia

The first ever historical analysis of diocesan pastoral councils in Australia is seen as an important contribution to an ongoing conversation about the role of such councils in the life of the Church now and in the future.

As part of its response to The Light from the Southern Cross, a national review of diocesan and parish governance and management, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it would gather information on the theological foundations for diocesan pastoral councils and their history in Australia.

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Deadline extended for local Synod of Bishops submissions

At the request of dioceses, the period for local submissions for the global Synod of Bishops process has been extended by two weeks, with responses now being received until March 13.

Hundreds of submissions from across the country have been made through the online Synod of Bishops portal, along with responses that have also been sent directly to dioceses.

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Seven gather for inaugural seminar for new bishops

Participants for the seminar for new bishops and other bishops leading sessions gather before attending an event at the Apostolic Nunciature. Photo/Catholic Voice.

Seven bishops ordained in the past couple of years have gathered in Canberra this week for the inaugural seminar for new bishops to assist them as they continue to develop in their ministry.

The idea of the seminar arose during a review of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, with bishops backing a proposal put forward in 2018. Small cohorts of new bishops in 2019 and 2020 stopped the seminar from proceeding, and the planned gathering for 2021 was postponed due to COVID-19.

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World Day of the Sick a tribute to health care workers

Bishop Karol Kulczycki SDS and Pat Garcia wear World Day of the Sick lapel ribbons

As the pandemic enters its third year, the World Day of the Sick this Friday will pay tribute to the valuable work that Catholic health institutions undertake not just in Australia, but around the world.

In his message to mark the 30th World Day of the Sick on February 11, Pope Francis spoke directly to health care workers, recognising the importance of their work as infection rates and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise.

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