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News and Reflections for the Year of Consecrated Life

News & Views

0718LaudatoSi 150At a Vatican conference this month to mark the 3rd anniversary of the release of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si - On Care for our Common Home, the pontiff urged all governments to strive to honour the commitments of the Paris climate treaty as a matter of urgency, saying "we cannot afford to waste time" in addressing the ecological crisis.

Francis said dialogue and commitment to our common home must make special room for two groups of people at the forefront of efforts to foster an integral ecology - young people and Indigenous peoples.

CRA President Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj 150Our CRA Conference was a wonderful occasion for all who were able to participate. The keynote speakers Sr Gail Worcelo sgm and Fr Michael Whelan sm shared valuable insights on the theme 'Religious In Australia: Evolving with Hope'.

Gail spoke of the evolution of Religious Life emerging at key moments of grace throughout history. Characteristics of this current new moment in the evolution of Religious Life include: the call to embrace diversity - in and among religious congregations and beyond; the call to interiority and the call to deepening communion. God walks with us calling us to expansiveness and gifting us with the grace needed at this moment.

0718SrAngelaReedAustralian Mercy Sister Angela Reed believes in the right of every person to flourish and this belief has driven her all the way to the United Nations where she oversees her congregation’s advocacy work, with a focus on the trafficking of women and girls.

A Global Sisters Report feature article on Sr Angela says that she represents Mercy International Association / Mercy Global Action at the United Nations and is Mercy International Association's global action coordinator.

0718Loretoworkprogram 150The Empowered to Work program aims to help refugees and people seeking asylum, learn the skills and knowledge required for successful entry into the Australian workforce, thanks to a partnership of Mary Ward International Australia, the Asylum Resource Centre and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

The EWP is but one of the cohesive programs operated by the House of Welcome in western Sydney that is dedicated to making the disenfranchised feel empowered and welcome, evolving into a one-stop centre for asylum seekers and refugees, providing "holistic support that nurtures hope, advocates for justice and promotes self-reliance, whilst acknowledging the dignity and the rights of each individual".

0718CheryleThomsonmss 150It is forty-two years since Cheryle Thomson travelled from her home in Port Pirie to Tasmania to begin her life as a Missionary Sister of Service.

She was drawn to the congregation because of its outreach to people in rural and outback areas and she has spent most of her life living among and supporting those people.

0718PresentationSistersBBI 150A decision by the Presentation Sisters to ‘give their all’ for the sake of mission over the next 20 years, has led them to make a big investment in the future of theology in Australia by partnering with BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education to fund the employment of a female theologian with a deep interest in eco-theology.

Dr Di Rayson has joined the faculty of BBI-TAITE and, apart from teaching foundational theology, will also develop courses in her speciality of eco-theology and the thought of the 20th Century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

0718ColumbansCentenary2 150A “deep and earthy spirituality” of inclusiveness and hospitality marks the Missionary Society of St Columban, said Bishop Terry Brady at a Mass to celebrate the centenary of the Columbans.

The Catholic Weekly reports that Bishop Brady was the chief celebrant at a thanksgiving Mass for the Society’s centenary at the Mary MacKillop Chapel, North Sydney.

New CRA leadership Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj 150The 42nd National Assembly of Catholic Religious Australia explored the theme of “Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope” continuing the tradition of courageous and prophetic leadership which the women and men of religious congregations are known for.

A significant part of the gathering is the election of the new President and Council. Resounding applause assented to the election of Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph into the role of President.

Refugee Week logo 150As the leaders of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) gather at their National Assembly, they stand in strong solidarity with the many asylum seekers and refugees for whom this year’s World Refugee Week theme of ‘the need to belong’ is clearly under threat in the face of the most recent Government legislation.

Last year the government announced an end to Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for several thousand asylum seekers on bridging visas, to come into effect in 2018. This action removes financial support and accommodation for some of the most vulnerable people in Australia – people who are already experiencing immense suffering.

1712RuthDurick 150This edition of Pathways will be my last as President of CRA. Next week at the National Assembly we will elect a new President and Council. The theme of the Assembly “Religious in Australia: Evolving with Hope” is reflective of our call to life at present.

We are here, in Australia, which while being an island is no isolated region. Many of our members are part of international institutes which brings with it a richness and resource for building a global community. We are very much part of the Asia Pacific region with all the richness and challenge that this offers. We also have a distinctive character which is Australian.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 13:49

La Salle Brothers celebrate Oak Jubilee

0618LaSalleJubilees 150Two De La Salle Brothers have each celebrated their Oak Jubilee, marking 80 years’ service to the order and to the education of young people, the La Salle Council reports.

On Trinity Sunday, the De La Salle Brothers celebrated the Oak Jubilee of Brothers Julian Watson and Christian Moe at St Bede’s College Mentone, Melbourne.

Amended flyer 150The Catholic Religious Australia National Assembly kicks off next week with the theme ‘Religious in Australia – Evolving in Hope’.

The Assembly of religious leaders will be held from June 19-21 in Brisbane and will pick up from the 2016 Assembly during which leaders resolved to embark on a journey of restructure of the state and national bodies of religious leaders.

0618SrPatriciaPowell 150Religious were among those to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in a year in which women recipients outnumbered men for the first time.

Among those to receive honours were Sr Patricia Powell rsm, who was recognised with an OAM for service to the Catholic Church in Australia and the Diocese of Bathurst, Sr Joan Evans PVMB AO for distinguished service to the international community of Thailand through humanitarian assistance programs for the disadvantaged, and Sr Mary D’Apice RSCJ AM for significant service to the Catholic Church in Australia, and to education. 

0618StraddiePassionistsNorth Stradbroke Island Catholic community elder Aunty Rose Borey had every reason to be brimming with pride when she turned up for Mass recently, The Catholic Leader reports.

Not only was her beloved St Paul of the Cross Church at Dunwich packed for the 175th anniversary of the first Catholic mission to Aboriginal people in Australia, but four of her great-grandchildren were being baptised. She was pleased, too, that the Passionist Fathers, the order that provided the priests for that first mission which began in 1843, were represented at the Mass.

0618ClimateCoalition 150A worldwide Catholic movement that was born out of a need "to do something" about climate change four years ago has grown to include almost 700 organisations, Mercyworld.org reports.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) founding president Amy Woolam Echeverria visited Australia recently. She gave a talk on the establishment, growth and work of the movement to the Mercy Sisters, their colleagues and members of other religious orders at the Mercy Action and Spirituality Hub in Melbourne.

0618AnthonyGittins 150The only way to love and serve people is to encounter them in the margins, according to distinguished American author and speaker, Rev Prof. Anthony Gittins CSSp, who visited Australia recently.

"The only authentic way to serve the poor is to actually cross the boundaries of separation – the margins – and to encounter them in a personal way so that you can say 'I don't love the poor, I love this person. I don't love the homeless or the people in prison, I love this prisoner or this person who is homeless'."

0618NAIDOCWadeye2Often the media coverage of Aboriginal people is very negative and very little positive exposure happens, so it is wonderful to have a chance to redress this imbalance at NAIDOC week.

Mostly, in the Indigenous communities I have ministered, I have been attached to the school, and quite often NAIDOC week occurs in the holidays, so the school celebrates NAIDOC earlier or later. In Wadeye, this has been the case for the two years I have been here. Everyone goes on bush holiday during NAIDOC week so they celebrate later with the Wadeye festival.

0618SrVeronicaSariSSpS 150The Year of Youth theme suggests the need to dialogue about the importance and life-giving presence of young people in the church and society.

I paused and reflected on this theme and asked myself – is there any time I have taken to listen to young people’s stories? Have I allowed them to tell their stories and dialogue with them about what they feel? Have I walked with them to achieve what they are longing for in this fast moving world?

Royal Commission Final Report 150The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have today confirmed that the Church will enter the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse when that becomes possible under national legislation.

“Since as early as 2013, the Catholic Church has called for a national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse,” ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

0518StJohnofGodSisters 150The St John of God Sisters joined with the broader Perth community recently to celebrate the 120th anniversary of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.

Founded in 1898, the hospital was the first permanent facility established by the Sisters of St John of God and today, as a private tertiary hospital, it remains at the leading edge of medicine and research, as is known as a place of healing and hope.

0518CarmelitesWF 150A new Carmel will make its home in the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese at the invitation of Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE.

Five nuns will come from communities of Discalced Carmelites in Nebraska and Pennsylvania to form a Monastery of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the western New South Wales diocese. Two of them are Australian – Sr Francis from Canberra, who joined the Nebraska convent around 15 years ago and Sr Mariam originally from the Blue Mountains, who joined one of the Pennsylvania convents in 2011.

0517Slavery 150The Federal Government has announced it will harness the power of big business to help combat modern slavery, through the establishment of a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement, in a move that has been welcomed by Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) who have worked tirelessly to combat slavery and human trafficking.

The reporting requirement, which will be enacted through a new Australian Modern Slavery Act, will require more than 3,000 large corporations and other entities to publish annual public statements on their actions to address modern slavery in their supply chains and operations.

0518 BrGuyVaticanObservatory 150The human understanding of the universe had been limited by what humans have perceived the cosmos to be versus the reality of what the cosmos truly represents, according to the Director of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, who visited Australia recently.

"We tend to make the universe shrink to match our expectations. Pull yourself out of the universe that you and I live in," he said. "The universe is marvellous and that’s why I claim that doing science is a religious act."

0517StDimpnaIcon 150A new community dedicated to St Dimpna and aiming to provide a place of welcome and hospitality for survivors of sexual abuse, will hold monthly gatherings at St Patrick’s Church in the Rocks beginning this May, The Catholic Weekly reports.

Parish Priest Fr Michael Whelan SM said the Community will be a place of spiritual nourishment for those who have suffered sexual abuse and feel uncomfortable attending Mass.

0517MercyHandover 150A journey that began with the arrival of Queensland’s first Sisters of Mercy in 1861 took another historic turn recently.

During a special ritual, the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy transferred canonical responsibility for Mercy Community Ltd to Mercy Partners, The Catholic Leader reports.

Bosco Titjikala baptism 150Fr Bosco Son SVD’s new assignment at the bustling Macquarie Fields Parish couldn’t be further away from his previous ministry in the small indigenous community of Santa Teresa in Central Australia, but he says his aim remains the same – simply to the love the people.

“Before taking up my position at Santa Teresa, the former Provincial, Fr Tim Norton SVD, asked me to try to do two things: one was to try to love the people and the other was not to create a problem,” he says.

Sr Pat Fox2 150Australian Sister Patricia Ann Fox of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion has been in the headlines since her arrest in the Philippines on April 16 for allegedly engaging in illegal activities. She was released the following day after a 22-hour detention, but has since had her missionary visa revoked and was given 30 days to leave the country.

Catholic Religious Australia is among a growing chorus of religious and broader community leaders who have spoken out in defence of Sr Pat and her work with the poor and marginalised in the Philippines.

1712RuthDurick 150On Saturday 5th May a number of leaders of Religious Congregations joined with members of the Australian Bishops Conference to thank the members of the Truth Justice and Healing Council whose work covered the 5 years of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and which was completed at the end of April.

It was my honour on behalf of Catholic Religious Australia and its members to acknowledge the achievements of the Truth Justice and Healing Council and to thank its members and staff for the superb work they have done over the past 5 years. Catholic Religious Australia has had the opportunity elsewhere to say a particular ‘thank you’ to Francis Sullivan. The acknowledgement of the TJHC , given on Saturday 5th May, appears here:

Royal Commission Final Report 150The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have established a new advisory group that will play a crucial role in influencing and monitoring the Catholic Church’s ongoing response to the child sexual abuse scandal.

Archbishop Denis Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, explained that the new Implementation Advisory Group will monitor the response to the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the recommendations of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which led the Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission.

Sr Pat Fox2 150In 2013, Pope Francis wrote that being a Missionary was at the very heart of being a Catholic, a parish or a Catholic Institution. For the past 27 years, Sr Patricia Fox, the Superior of the Our Lady of Sion Order has been living these ideals as a Missionary to the poor and marginalised in the Philippines.

We applaud the missionary work of Sr Patricia over these many years, bringing the face of Christ to our Philippine sisters and brothers. Standing in solidarity with the poorest of the poor, Sr Patricia has contributed to many agricultural projects in order to empower ordinary people to take charge of their lives and work towards the alleviation of poverty.

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