Broken Bay News February 2018

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“'...but something special happened. I experienced something that I cannot explain, but which has filled me with such joy, hope and faith.' The future of the Church is looking bright


I finally signed up to a streaming service during the summer holidays, which has been my first experience of anything on TV other than free-to-air. (Yes, I know – a rather slow uptake of something everyone else has been doing for ages.)

here I discovered ‘The Crown,’ whereby I subsequently became a ‘series-binger.’ So much change! So many new experiences! And all in a matter of a few lazy days in January.


“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”



The play between stability and change, tradition and innovation, is a key theme in this series about the personal lives of the British Royal family. Queen Elizabeth is portrayed as a Monarch trained in a different world to the one in which she now reigns. She grapples with maintaining the expectations of her office while taking tentative steps towards a more modern manner of being the queen. Through the noise of many competing voices, she seeks to tread the path of dignity over efficiency. The great and saintly English convert and reformer, Bl. John Henry Newman, once said: “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” He was speaking of the life of repentance and grace that we are all called to in Christ. The life of grace is like a current that flows deep in us, and continually stirs within us; it is not a stagnant pool, undisturbed and no longer alive. To live a Christian life is to be disturbed and disrupted by the currents of grace. Newman saw change and innovation within the Church from within the horizon of the apostolic tradition. No reform could

be true if it was not sourced from the waters of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. These thoughts of the ever-changing river of grace, flowing between the riverbanks of tradition, come to mind as I begin to reflect with you on the Year of Youth the Bishops of Australia have called for 2018. Marking 10 years since WYD in Sydney, the Year of Youth was officially launched at the triennial Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF), held in Sydney last December. The Year of Youth has already begun in our Diocese, as a Pilgrim Cross weaves its way through all our parishes, schools and faith communities over the next twelve months. Many other events, liturgies and activities will be happening, and a Synod of the whole Church, called by Pope Francis for October, will examine the theme of youth people, faith and vocational discernment. One particularly significant dimension of the Year of Youth in our Diocese will be a series of local and regional conversations to be held with our youth and young adults. These conversations will culminate in a diocesan assembly to be held at the end of the year. There we will bring together the reflections, experiences, hopes and faith aspirations of our young Church, and determine actions for the spiritual renewal of our Diocese.

HEART TO HEART Some people say that the Christian faith is all but dead among the youth of our country, and that they have voted with their feet out the doors of our churches. Well, tell that to the nineteen thousand young Australian Catholics who gathered for ACYF at Sydney Olympic Park to experience a powerful river of grace over three days of prayer, music, festival and faith. Yes, that’s right, 19,000 young Australian Catholics. Do not believe anyone who claims that Jesus Christ, the Church and a life of Christian discipleship is dead to our young people! With a Father’s pride, I can let you know that some 2,000 of those young people who were at ACYF came from our Diocese. Very many of them told me a similar story: “I only went because my school/ friends/youth group were going, but something special happened. I experienced something that I cannot explain, but which has filled me with such joy, hope and faith. Thank you Jesus!” There is so much here to rejoice in. And there is so much we can work with them in building. Our young people know what constant change can do in their lives – as Millennials, they wear it as a badge of honour, even if these whirlpools of change often leave them disoriented and cynical about the future. Yet, in the midst of this constant flux they grapple to negotiate, they also know where to go for strength and guidance. This is evident from a national survey of young Catholics

undertaken last year. Some 15,000 participated, including 1249 from Broken Bay. (Again, who said young people aren’t interested in faith. Fake news!) There is much in that survey which can be fruitfully mined in our diocesan conversations over the coming year. But there is one question that I’d like to draw to your attention now. It was a question on who are the chief influencers in young people’s lives (see table below). Note just how extraordinarily influential the family is. We are being told that young people are rejecting the voice of their parents for something different. Well, here is a significant group of young Australian Catholics saying otherwise. Are we ready to listen to them? Yes, our youth seek change, but they do not want to determine the future without us. Their desire for change seems to come from a point of stability; innovation from within tradition. I’ve observed similar indicators in what speaks to our young people, faith-wise. Their music can be loud and not easily sung along to, yet our youth will combine it with traditional songs like ‘Down in Adoration Falling’. They love Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, though they do it in new ways, and can’t work out why we older generation abandoned this Eucharistic devotion. They can’t get enough of the way of pilgrimage – a medieval tradition, of all things! These are all examples of how change and tradition are being combined

Influencers on young peoples’ lives A question was asked about the extent to which the respondents had been influenced by people or groups of people around key decisions and directions in life. Table shows the degree to which such people have been influencers. Influencers on the young peoples’ key decisions and directions in life Family Friends School / teachers University / lecturers Parish or church community Church or religious leaders

Has Has had influenced a some Has not Has Not sure/ lot influence influenced discouraged Don’t know 77 18 3 1 2 46 43 7 2 2 19 59 14 5 3 3 15 36 3 44 8 28 37 10 17 9 28 37 10 16

by Millennial Catholics to find a way of faith that speaks to them. Every new generation is a product of their preceding generations: either as a reaction with, or a reaction against. Out of us has come the youth of today. Each Millennial is the child of us Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. So, we older folk need to learn the language the young speak, and the ideas they express, rather than just lament that they’re “different from us.” This is especially true if we are to make the journey of Christian discipleship with them. So let us rediscover the ever-changing river of grace, flowing between the riverbanks of tradition, which will guide us into the future God desires for us all. Let us be young again, in the eternal youth of Christ! Please pray for me, as I pray for you.

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli Bishop of Broken Bay

Each row adds to 100 per cent


Lenten lectio divina Resource 2018 “Lifted Up”

eading the Scriptures in Lent is the perfect way to allow God to speak to our lives. This year’s Broken Bay Lenten resource, titled “Lifted Up”, takes us on a 6-week journey of lectio divina, a practice of reading Scripture that is prayerful and transformative. The Lifted Up booklet comprises Lenten reflections from Rev Dr David Ranson (Vicar General, Diocese of Broken Bay) Ashleigh Green (Australian Youth Delegate to Rome to prepare for the 2018 Youth Synod), as well as added reflections for Ash BROKEN BAY NEWS

Wednesday and Easter Sunday, offered by Most Rev David Walker, Bishop Emeritus of Broken Bay. Accompanying the booklets is an audio CD, filled with prayerful Taizé music and recordings of the texts and reflections. We have also included a bonus Guided Meditation track which concludes the lectio divina prayer. The resource will be made available through the parishes of the Diocese of Broken Bay. For further information, please contact or 9847 0474.

Lenten lectio divina Resource 2018 Year B




Life worth living

DIOCESE OF BROKEN BAY Most Rev Peter A Comensoli Bishop of Broken Bay

Through the eyes of one young woman, this series will explore what it means to be Catholic in the modern world. Starting with what it means to be a single Catholic and ending with social issues such as SameSex Marriage, this series hopes to provide a fresh perspective on the issues that are all too important. BY CATHERINE DAY


or the last seven years, a phrase has been floating around that strikes fear in my soul: ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO). The idea behind this phrase is a simple one; you only live once so you should live life to the fullest. Go skydiving? YOLO! Swim with sharks? YOLO! Drink excessively? YOLO! Take drugs? YOLO! The idea, while simple, is extremely dangerous. It takes on the premise that there is nothing beyond this life and as such, our focus needs to be on living excessively without complications. The consequence of this, once complications do emerge – such as illness – life is no longer worth living. One of the best parts of being a Christian, is the knowledge that there is life after death. But more than that, we understand that life is a gift. It is our responsibility to treasure and uphold life, not discard it the moment it appears worthless. One of my favourite subjects in school was Ancient History. I loved learning about the Ancient Romans and how they managed to build one of the greatest civilisations. However, beneath their civilised exterior lurked a barbaric darkness: life had no value. Unless you were a free Roman citizen (and a man), your life was worthless. Consider the gladiators or slaves – they were neither free nor Roman citizens, and as such, they were



seen as commodities to be used and abused until they were discarded by the ‘real’ Romans. While today we are free citizens, we have gone one step further than the Ancient Romans: now, everyone is viewed as a commodity. Our worth, according to society, is measured by how well we can lead fulfilled lives. In Iceland, it is being celebrated that Down Syndrome is disappearing. Wonderful news, you might think. Someone somewhere has found a way to ‘fix’ the ‘problem’. However, this ‘solution’ is, to me at least, appalling. It’s not that someone has found a way to get rid of the extra chromosome, but rather, they are simply aborting all children with Down Syndrome. This is not a new idea. In the early 20th century, eugenics was popular. Here, it was advocated that people who did not possess the desirable characteristics to ensure a strong continuation of the human race, should not be allowed to procreate – in some extreme cases, these ‘undesirables’ were euthanised. Then Hitler came along. The first group of people he gassed were the disabled. Once he started doing that en masse, the once popular idea ceased to be popular. It is now coming back with a vengeance. In NSW last year, the Government voted down the euthanasia Bill. A week later in Victoria, the Bill was passed. The current language around the debate is extremely alarming. We are being told, that everyone has a ‘right to die’ on their own terms. Firstly, claiming something to be a right, is to have a moral claim on it (we have the right to freedom of press, the right to freedom of speech). We do not have a claim on death. Death, rather, has a claim on us! For me, as a young Catholic woman, I do not view my life as my own. It is God’s. He has claim over it. My purpose is to live for Him. Secondly,

One of the best parts of being a Christian, is the knowledge that there is life after death.

Diocesan Office: Tel (02) 9847 0000 Fax (02) 9847 0201 Caroline Chisholm Centre Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Rd Pennant Hills NSW 2120 (Access off City View Rd) PO Box 340 Pennant Hills NSW 1715

CHANCERY OFFICES Office of the Bishop Senior Advisor, Director, Communications Annie Carrett Vicar General: Very Rev Dr David Ranson VG Chancellor Jo Robertson Diocesan Financial Administrator, Director, Office for Stewardship: Emma McDonald Director, Office for Evangelisation: Daniel Ang

once we start deciding to die on our own terms, is when we start playing God. It is a self-serving act that does nothing but say, ‘your life was not worth living.’ Euthanasia is presented as a merciful act: a terminally ill person is going to die, so why prolong their suffering? It is anything but merciful! As Christians, it is our duty to suffer along side those who are in pain. Our Holy Mother suffered alongside her son. She was in agony as her son was nailed to the cross, but still she stood by him. Imagine what would have happened had she left, if she abandoned Him in His time of need. Or what if Christ had left His mother without entrusting her care to John. In their time of pain and suffering, they did not selfishly think of themselves. No, they thought of each other. Part of the problem with euthanasia is, we are saying we no longer care. We don’t want to be inconvenienced by someone else’s pain. We only want to focus on our own and once that becomes too much to bear, we want to die. But it is precisely when we are ill or weak that we are more deserving of care. If, instead, we focused on walking with those who are suffering, taking care of them, showing them that we cared, and they were not a burden, it may help them live to their dying breath. Because then, through our eyes, they will see that they are worthy of life.

Safeguarding (Chancery) Manager Jodie Crisafulli Tel: (02) 9847 0212 Director, Marriage Tribunal: Adrienne Connaghan Tel: (02) 9847 0458 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Alison Newell

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE Director: Peter Hamill Tel (02) 9847 0000 PO Box 967 Pennant Hills NSW 1715 CATHOLICCARE Executive Director: Trish Devlin Tel: (02) 9481 2600 PO Box 966 Pennant Hills 1715 Children’s Services: Tel: (02) 9481 2660 Family Centres: Brookvale – Tel: (02) 8968 5100 Naremburn – Tel: (02) 8425 8700 Waitara – Tel: (02) 9488 2400 Warnervale – Tel: (02) 4356 2600 Foster and Residential Care: Tel: (02) 4320 7700 Mission, Hospital Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (02) 9481 2658

BROKEN BAY NEWS Editor: Melissa Loughlin Tel: (02) 9847 0722 Design: Chris Murray Printed by NCP Printing 20,000 copies of the Broken Bay News are distributed monthly through 26 parishes and 44 schools in the Diocese of Broken Bay. The Broken Bay News is a member of the Australasian Catholic Press Association. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply diocesan endorsement of products or services advertised.

Exploring our missionary outreach


The Entrance Parish A happy and prayerful place Our Lady of the Rosary Parish at The Entrance on the Central Coast strives to be a happy and a prayerful place for both locals and visitors. BY DEBRA VERMEER


arish Priest, Fr Bill Stevens, says the first Masses were celebrated at The Entrance in the 1860s, separating from Wyong in 1947, and the Parish has continued to grow and evolve since then. “Today, we have an ageing population but a very, very active Parish,” Fr Bill says. “It’s a happy Parish, with good liturgies, and we have a very strong active core of people who really get involved in the life of the Parish. Our great Parish Staff enable the Parish to be very effective.”

the holiday destination it once was, and the local commercial area is also struggling economically. “People stopped coming here for holidays in such big numbers and that has had an impact,” he says. “For the last 15 years or so The Entrance has been in the doldrums economically and it has been a worrying time, both for the Parish and our people.” Fr Bill says the Parish is made up of lots of elderly people and families, including a good number of single-parent families. “We have a big Italian community, as well as Filipinos, Indians and others. It’s a wonderfully mixed

population,” he says. “We also have a community of Patrician Brothers here and Br John Verhoeven is our Sacramental Coordinator.” The Entrance was formerly known as “the Housie capital of Australia”, but when the bottom fell out of the Housie scene in The Entrance, taking away a vital income stream for the Parish, new means of support had to be found. “So when I came here, I had to make decisions on a couple of issues,” he says. The first thing Fr Bill did was turn the Housie Hall into four shops.

Fr Bill, who is assisted by Fr Stephen Hamilton, says the church itself contributes to the beautiful liturgical life of the Parish. “When this church was built, The Entrance was a holiday place, with a lot of boarding houses and camping grounds,” he says. “But Fr Reg Reynolds, the second Parish Priest, saw the potential growth of the locality and he went overseas to look at various church designs over there. That’s why our church is so beautiful.” Fr Reg included practical measures into his design, with an upper gallery at the back of the church and along one side, which both adds to the beauty of the liturgical space and accommodates overflow holiday crowds. These days however, with flights to Bali and similar places so cheap, Fr Bill says The Entrance is not BROKEN BAY NEWS




Exploring our missionary outreach

“The rent from those shops is now the main source of finance for the Parish,” he says. “I’m firmly of the view that a parish can’t exist on its collections alone anymore and new income streams have to be found.” The second thing he did was to build 29 units on land owned by the Parish across the road from the church. “We found that a lot of our elderly parishioners were living in their old family houses, but their children were long gone and the houses were too much for them,” he says. “So some of them moved into our units, right across the road from the church, and I’m very proud to say that we’ve established a real community over there. They’re not all Catholics either, but it’s a very close community. You’ve only got to be there for Happy Hour on a Friday afternoon to see that.” Another big decision was to move the Parish School to a new site at Shelly Beach.



“The area for the School here on this site was too small,” Fr Bill says. “It had no real playground and no room for growth, so we built a new school over at Shelly Beach. “It’s a lovely big School, with lots of room for the kids to run around, but the down side is that is not on site here at the Parish, so it can sometimes have the feel of two separate communities. “But we work hard at minimising that and finding ways to bring the School and Parish communities together.” Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School Principal Gerard McGilvray agrees. “We’ve got a very good relationship with Fr Bill and Fr Stephen,” he says. “They are here regularly throughout the term for Reconciliations, Masses and liturgies.” Once a month the students participate in the

Parish’s Saturday night Mass, taking responsibility for music, readings, and prayers of the faithful. “Fr Bill loves this school and he works well with the kids and the staff. His presence is the big link and we work together at keeping the relationship strong.” Maintaining parish links with young people once they go on to high school also has its challenges, as the students from OLR split off in different directions for high school. Some girls go on to St Joseph’s Catholic College at East Gosford and boys go to St Edward’s Catholic College. Some students also go to the Central Coast’s co-educational high schools, MacKillop Catholic College, St Peter’s Catholic College and St Brigid’s Catholic College. “So it’s pretty hard, with the kids going off in all these directions to keep them engaged in parish life,” Fr Bill says. “But we do have families who come to Mass and

Exploring our missionary outreach

we try to support them not only with a beautiful liturgical experience but also with social supports and activities.” The Parish has several family groups who have regular social get-togethers. “These family groups become very close and sometimes they’ll get together for meals, or they might take a bus trip somewhere,” Fr Bill says

“We have four nursing homes, all large, and Fr Stephen does a wonderful job there. He visits each week and has got a great outreach to the people in nursing homes.” Apart from the volunteers who take part in the liturgical life of the Parish, there is also a big group of catechists who go out into the local public schools and a very committed St Vincent de Paul Society conference.

A bequest from a former parishioner allowed the Parish to buy a bus in recent years, which is available for such outings, but is also used to bring people to Mass who might be elderly or have no transport.

“We see those two things – Vinnies and the Catechists – as our two major outreaches to the unchurched in our community,” Fr Bill says.

“We’ve got a whole group of volunteer drivers who do that for us,” Fr Bill says. “Having the bus has been a great thing for the Parish.”

“Our other outreach is the excellent Parish gift shop, which is open to the whole community.”

And for the elderly who can’t make it to the church, Fr Bill and Fr Stephen visit the nursing and retirement homes regularly.


“We’re very thankful for them.

Ecumenical relations are also good in the local area, with a focus on coming together for community events such as Australia Day, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.


In addition to Sunday and weekday Masses, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish has a rich prayer and devotional life, with Liturgy of the Hours prayed every Saturday morning, daily Rosary, a Cenacle prayer group on Wednesday morning, as well as Christian Meditation on Fridays. Bible Café is held twice a week – once in the morning and once in the evening – as well as other faith formation opportunities. There is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Saturday of the month, all day, as well as Saturdays throughout Advent and Lent and through June and September. Three choirs help to maintain the beauty of the Eucharistic celebration; a men’s choir, a combined choir and a children’s choir. The Parish also has three organists and the Harris Family ensemble. “It’s a very prayerful church, with an active parish council and a lot of social activities,” Fr Bill says. “And I think, and I hope, that it is also a happy Parish.”




The Story behind the Year of Youth Cross In October 2017, I was asked to make a Cross for the young people of the Diocese of Broken Bay. From insights gained in various youth ministry, music ministry and religious education roles in the Diocese over 25 years, I prepared a design and took up my latest ministry of building things. BY ANDREW INTRONA


uring World Youth Day 2008, I had the privilege to travel with the WYD Cross and Icon through both Broken Bay and Sandhurst Dioceses. At every event I was struck by how young people related to the WYD cross as they touched and carried it. The Cross became a tangible expression of their faith and the stories of the millions of people who carried it around the world helped them to understand that they were part of a family that was wider than their schools and local parishes.

the Light of Christ. This idea ties strongly to the symbolism used in our Diocese of the lighthouse. The timber has a range of grain structures and colours representing the many expressions of faith in the Diocese. On sharing photos of the cross with Bishop Peter, he asked if something could be added to signify the Crucified Christ. An abstract design was added using Purple Heart timber. This is a timber that comes from Central and South America, incidentally the location for the next WYD. This timber was chosen to represent the contribution and richness of people from all over the world to our local faith community. The colour represents mourning, pain and the crucifixion as well as the idea that Jesus was Priest, Prophet and King. Oil has been used as a finish to remind us of the oil used at baptism and anointing. The oil provides

I designed the Broken Bay Year of Youth Cross to be a simple contemporary design hoping that the richness of faith expression young people have will complement it. It was made from Tasmanian Oak, a eucalypt tree that grows in the south-east parts of Australia. It was chosen to represent the local Australian Church with its light colour representing

strength and protects the timber while bringing out the character of the wood. The stand for the Cross was made from discarded timber projects saved from a school skip bin. Despite being imperfect this timber now plays an important role in supporting the Cross. Despite all our flaws we are called to live faith filled lives, doing the work of Christ today. The cross is able to be taken apart in pieces to make transportation easier for its journey across Broken Bay in the Year of Youth. At its presentation during Praisefest in November and subsequent travels during ACYF, the way the Year of Youth Cross has been embraced by the young people of our Diocese is a blessing. I hope that it will inspire those who carry it in the future.

Pilgrimage Dates 1

25 Jan – 9 Feb Manly Freshwater

9 Feb CYBB WYD Launch



















4 8







2 1



Diocese of




10 – 24 Mar Pittwater


26 Mar – 6 Apr Gosford


7 – 13 Apr The Lakes


14 – 20 Apr Warringah


21 Apr – 4 May Pymble


5 – 11 May St Ives


12 – 18 May Wahroonga


19 May –1 Jun Hornsby


2 – 15 Jun Lindfield-Killara


16 – 29 Jun Chatswood


30 Jun –13 Jul Lower North Shore


14 – 27 Jul Epping and Carlingford


28 Jul – 10 Aug Pennant Hills


11 – 17 Aug Arcadia


18 – 30 Aug Ku-ring-gai Chase

31 Aug CYBB Praisefest


7 13


24 Feb – 9 Mar Frenchs Forest


19 May CYBB Pentecost



10 – 23 Feb North Harbour









Broken Bay


31 Aug –14 Sep Woy Woy


15 – 29 Sep Kincumber


29 Sep –12 Oct Terrigal


13 – 19 Oct The Entrance


20 – 26 Oct Wyoming


27 Oct – 2 Nov Wyong


3 – 16 Nov Warnervale


17 – 23 Nov Toukley

24 Nov CYBB Synodal Youth Assembly and Year of Youth Awards Night


Year of Youth in Broken Bay The Year of Youth was officially launched at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival last December and what a year it will be!


n the Diocese of Broken Bay we will have many events to celebrate as well as our Year of Youth Cross pilgrimage, visiting every parish and school in Broken Bay.

Light of the Christ Centre. Everyone is invited to come along to the festival and learn about our Broken Bay pilgrimage to Panama 2019 (via Mexico and ending in Houston, Texas).

Of course the Year of Youth leads straight into World Youth Day Panama in January 2019. To celebrate, Catholic Youth Broken Bay will be hosting a Launch Festival for WYD 2019 on Friday 9 February 2018 at Hornsby Cathedral Parish and the

Building excitement and enthusiasm as we begin our Diocesan journey to WYD 2019 in Panama, the night will include a WYD style ‘Bishop’s Catechesis’, worship led by our Praisefest team and a Panamanian themed festival.


LAUNCH FESTIVAL 6.00pm – 9.00pm Friday 9 February 2018 Hornsby Cathedral Parish 23 Yardley Avenue Waitara





Broken Bay star at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival Catholic Youth Broken Bay were the stars of the morning plenary session on the opening day of the Australian Catholic Youth Festival at the Sydney Showgrounds on 7 December 2017. That theme continued on for the rest of the festival over the three days.


shleigh Green, Broken Bay star CYBBie, featured in “Hangin’ with Hilda’ talking about what gives her joy. Ashleigh spoke about her work as a Social Worker with CatholicCare Broken Bay and the night she spent taking care of a young girl who found herself homeless after having to leave her group home. Ashleigh took her to a hotel, they did their nails and put on mud masks and bonded. “It gave me great joy to be able to help her that night,” said Ashleigh. Students from Mercy Catholic College and St Pius X (both in Chatswood) featured in a very moving dramatisation about a young girl feeling alone in a scary world. Their dramatic storytelling carried on throughout each plenary session at ACYF and ended with a wonderful and moving final performance at the final Mass at the Domain on the Saturday night. The house band were all Broken Bay members, led

by Simon Hyland. They performed to close out the opening plenary session to a wonderful ovation from the crowd of approximately 12,000 people at Qudos Bank Arena. The CYBB stall in the dome was a huge hit with visitors to ACYF, with nearly 15,000 temporary tattoos given out (even Bishop Peter was inked). Everywhere you looked, somebody had a CYBB tattoo on them! The festival was a wonderful example of the Catholic Church being alive and present for young people. “Opening New Horizons for Spreading Joy” was the theme of ACYF2017, and it showed. So much joy and love for Christ was on display, in every corner of Sydney Olympic Park. At the final Mass at the Domain, which was the biggest Catholic Mass held in Australia since World

The festival was a wonderful example of the Catholic Church being alive and present for young people. Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Perth was announced as the next host venue for ACYF in December 2019. Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB welcomed the announcement and said the people of the Archdiocese will be greatly blessed by the experience of hosting the next ACYF. “We have a beautiful city and the Perth Catholic community will be keen to see all young Catholics make the pilgrimage across our Great Southern Land for the next ACYF in 2019,” he said.

Photo Giovanni Portelli

Photo Alphonsus Fok


FEBRUARY 2018 Photo Giovanni Portelli


ACYF provides spiritual fulfilment Last year, I was privileged enough to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF). I say privileged because, while some have labelled it a mini version of World Youth Day, experiencing the three-day event with 19,000 young Catholics, was the perfect example of a vibrant and very-much alive young Church within Australia. BY CATHERINE DAY


he three days provided the right environment for the youth to get up and personal with their faith. We got to hear international guests – such as Emily Wilson, Matt Maher, and Steve Angrisano – while also having opportunity after opportunity to converse with our priests and Bishops about issues that are important to us. The first two days were divided into three parts: first morning plenary; followed by workshops, panel discussions, and live music; and finally, evening plenary. For me, each part was better than the last. I gained so much from each; both on a spiritual level and on an intellectual level. BROKEN BAY NEWS

Spiritually, we were offered so much. The plenaries allowed us to start and end our days in praise and worship. Singing with 19,000 other Catholics about the goodness of God, brought tears to my eyes more than once! After the morning plenaries, we had the option of going to confession, Mass, or a workshop. One of the workshops I attended was on the dignity of womanhood. The speaker, Emily Wilson, told a packed room of women that we need to run towards Jesus. We need to keep our eyes on Him. Intellectually, we were challenged to be radical; to go against the system. Melinda Tankard-Reist, an

Australian advocate, spoke about the detrimental affect porn is having on relationships. Ultimately though, the best part of the three days, was carrying the Broken Bay Year of Youth Cross across the Harbour Bridge. We took it on the train from Olympic Park to Milsons Point, and then carried it over to the Domain. It was challenging, and although the cross was heavy, there was a lightness to it. It may have been because we shared the load. Or maybe, the Holy Spirit gifted us with the strength to carry it. Either way, it was an experience that has changed me for the better. I can’t wait for the next one! FEBRUARY 2018



Two young people inspired by ACYF Monica is 22 years old and a student at the Australian Catholic University, studying physiotherapy. She is from the Hornsby Cathedral Parish.

Monica Pazniewski


his was the first time Monica had attended ACYF and was blown away.

“I loved it, what a great idea, we should do this more often,” said Monica. “Everyone’s just on fire. You can literally talk to anyone, because you have this common faith. It is such a loving environment

“I have felt a renewal of my faith, I felt like in the plenary, adoration, I felt the spirit of God in the atmosphere, in the quietness,”

because God is love, and we have that in common and we can all share that and it’s so beautiful.” Monica found the talks and presentations during the festival inspirational, an on issues that are really prevalent in today’s culture. Her highlight of the entire festival though was the Adoration at the final plenary session on Friday night. “Matt Maher singing the adoration song was so special,” said Monica. “I loved the Emily Wilson talks as well, she was great,” added Monica. “It’s great that they have international people as well.” Monica thinks the future of the Church is looking good and is feeling hopeful for the Year of Youth ahead. “I hope we can do more little events like this, not on this scale, but maybe in dioceses, just getting together is really cool. Definitely more guest speakers, getting informed about our faith as well. It’s all very good to sing songs and be happy clappy together, that’s good formation, but we need to hear information as well.”

Monica also feels that young people need to take on leadership roles in Church, like on Parish councils or running projects in the parish. “People don’t know young people are in the Church,” added Monica. “I help with the youth group in my parish, but I want to do more. Every year I would like to do something big. I’m going to be a catechist next year, teach RE in State Schools, which I’m really looking forward to.”

George is a 17 year old high school student from the Pennant Hills Parish. This was George’s first time at ACYF, but he travelled to Krakow as a WYD16 pilgrim.

George Jojo Mundackal


he experience of ACYF for George was special. “I have felt a renewal of my faith, I felt like in the plenary, adoration, I felt the spirit of God in the atmosphere, in the quietness,” said George. “It was a packed stadium but you could’ve heard a pin drop, that’s how silent and reverent everyone was. And that collective faith shining in that room was amazing, it was amazing to be a part of.” George’s favourite part of ACYF was the people. “I loved meeting people, because I brought my guitar with me, I got into lots of impromptu jam sessions, we met up and just started playing. I met these

guys from Fairfield, they were amazing singers, who just played guitars, and I met these other guys who played drums, the joy I saw in everyone’s faces as they listened to the music, because we made the music, it was just amazing.” George feels that music is the thing that he can offer the Church as a young person. “I do play in the parish choir, but I’ve been pestering our Youth Minister to start a Youth band, but all in good time,” said George. “Music has always been a very important thing to me, I’ve grown up with it, so I feel like it’s a thing I could use to help the Church, while I feel like being part of the choir is good, I feel like I can do a bit more, so maybe take charge a bit more and get that Youth Group going, throw myself into my studies in music and get better at playing. I’m studying music for the HSC, so maybe I could get involved with the music at Praisefest once or twice, slowly get into it. Maybe one day I could be up on the stage playing with Fr Rob Galea and Gary and Natasha, that would be amazing!” George has great hopes for 2018 and the Year of Youth. “For the Year of Youth, I want to see an even greater renewal of the faith in the youth, I mean we’ve already seen it with this turnout of this



crowd, it was amazing, seeing people’s experiences with each other and coming together, seeing so many young Christians together in one place and doing that, I want to see that get even stronger and burn even brighter throughout the year. Pope Francis says we have to take charge to see that happen, because we are going to be the custodians of the Church in this new millennium, we have to see it through and be an even brighter burning light in the darkness.” When asked how he deals with being a Catholic in today’s society, George said, “There’s always a certain kind of look you get when you tell people you’re Catholic, you know. They think, ‘oh you’re some just weird hip Christian,’ but no, we’re just normal people, we just express our faith and we have a certain moral code we live by. “Christians have always been persecuted. We weren’t made to be normal and live comfortably, we were made to be greater as God’s people. That’s something we as Catholic youth we have to recognise and not be afraid, and even when we are afraid, to push through that and just be courageous, because we have the Holy Spirit with us, we have been called to evangelise and preach throughout the world and bring God’s good message. We have been charged with that, so we have to do that, we have to complete that!”


Warren Hopley hands over the initial report from the Working Party to Bishop Peter

Bobbi and her parents Rod and Jodi from the Central Coast would benefit from the Pastoral Centre

Pastoral Centre for Young People with a Disability “The answer is love” During 2017, Bishop Peter Comensoli commissioned a Working Party to investigate the potential to develop, establish and sustain a Pastoral Centre in the Central Coast region for school-aged children with a disability, their families, carers and friends.


hat emerged from the Working Party’s research was a massive outpouring of emotion, enthusiasm and frustration from parents and carers,” said Warren Hopley, Chairperson of the Working Party. “Over 50 parents of children with a disability were interviewed and all of them expressed a desire for a Catholic-based school for their child. They not only want educational opportunities for their child they want a place where their child will be loved! Their experience of St Lucy’s and St Edmund’s provides exactly that. The problem is that travel from the Central Coast to Wahroonga is a major hurdle.” In establishing the Working Party, Bishop Peter made it emphatically clear that the case for a Catholic Pastoral Centre is a missing piece in the Church’s education provision for marginalised people that

Christ especially calls us to meet. The need for the Centre does not depend on the inadequacy of Government schools but on our inability at present to educate older children with severe disabilities and complex needs in Catholic schools. Put simply, Bishop Peter stated, “how can we preach Catholic values to families but not support children and families that have a disability?” Pope Francis has made a similar plea to the Church and indeed the whole world: “The answer is love: not that false, saccharine and sanctimonious love, but that which is true, concrete and respectful… The Church cannot be voiceless or out of tune in the defence and promotion of people with disabilities. Her closeness to the families helps them to overcome the loneliness that often risks

closing them off for want of attention and support… The community must not lack the words and above all the gestures for encountering and welcoming people with disabilities.” Address of his Holiness Pope Francis to participants in the conference organised by the Pontifical Council for promoting New Evangelisation 21 October 2017. The Broken Bay Catholic Schools Office provides support in the Central Coast through ASPECT and through limited integration in its parish schools. However, a Pastoral Centre for students with moderate to severe intellectual disability with specialised staffing and resources is essential. During 2018 a long term plan will be drawn up, a suitable site finalised, funding drawn up and partnership with Central Coast parishes built. Please keep this exciting initiative in your prayers.



FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE PHONE 1300 1 LOWES OR EMAIL: * Each year, one scholarship up to the value of $5000 will be awarded to every secondary school (for a year 12 student) to which Lowes is the official Schoolwear supplier.





Office for Evangelisation EVENT CALENDAR The Diocese of Broken Bay exists to evangelise, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, gathered as friends in the Lord and sent out to be missionary disciples. The Office for Evangelisation serves this mission and promotes the growing missionary outlook of parishes, faith communities and individuals.

CATHOLIC LIFE & FAITH FORMATION Alpha Team Training Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that explore the basics of the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment. Each session includes a simple meal, a video, and small group discussion. This leadership training event aims to develop people with the knowledge, skills and attributes to successfully run Alpha in local parishes. It will include a taste of the Alpha course, as well as small group facilitation tips, how to sustain small group enthusiasm and energy, and marketing and promotion tips. Presenter: Lorraine McCarthy, Alpha in a Catholic Context Coordinator in Australia Date: Friday 16 February 2018 Time: Day Intensive, 9:00am—4:30pm; Alpha Experience 6:15pm—8:30pm Venue: Parish Hall, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 165 Serpentine Road, Terrigal Date: Saturday 17 February 2018 Time: Day Intensive 10.00am—4:45pm; Alpha Experience 6:15pm—8:30pm Venue: Nulty Room, Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 23 Yardley Avenue, Waitara RSVP for both events: By Monday 12 February 2018 to or Pina Bernard 9847 0474

Alpha Training Modules • Facilitating Small Groups

MIT, and a PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona, Br Guy is well qualified to speak at the intersection of faith and science. In 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist, and in 2015, he was named by Pope Francis to be the Director of the Vatican Observatory. Author of the book, “Would You Baptise an Extraterrestrial,” Br Guy will offer two presentations in Broken Bay on topics of faith and science. He will highlight the connectedness of all creation; God’s ‘universal’ loving presence which extends beyond limited human conceptions of time and space; as well as the compatibility of faith and science, and how they should not be conceived as irreconcilable opposites. There will be opportunities for Q & A. Invite your friends and family and share in the awe and wonder of God’s handiwork. Faith & Science Presentation with Br Guy Consolmagno SJ Date: Saturday 28 April 2018 Time: 10:00am – 12:30 pm Venue: The Light of Christ Centre, Yardley Avenue, Waitara Faith & Science Presentation with Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, with Viewing of the Night Sky (weather permitting) Date: Monday 30 April 2018 Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm Venue: St Peter’s Catholic College, 84 Gavenlock Road, Tuggerah RSVP: By Thursday 26 April 2018 to or Pina Bernard 9847 0474 Be kept informed about upcoming faith education and formation opportunities within the Diocese. Please contact Catholic Life & Faith Formation Team, at to receive a monthly e-News detailing events from around the parishes.

• The Alpha Day/Weekend Away and Prayer Ministry These two modules will be offered to support parishes to strengthen and build upon their use of Alpha for evangelisation. They will be held back-to-back for the benefit of Alpha teams. Presenter: Lorraine McCarthy, Alpha in a Catholic Context Coordinator in Australia Date: Saturday 24 March 2018 Time: Facilitating Small Groups, 1:30pm—3:30pm; and the Alpha Day / Weekend Away and Prayer Ministry, 4:00pm—6:00pm Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills (Vehicular access via City View Road) RSVP: By Tuesday 20 March 2018 to or Pina Bernard 9847 0474 Note: These Alpha training modules will be offered again at the Central Coast on 26 May.

Faith & Science Presentations with Br Guy Consolmagno SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory Br Guy is coming back to Broken Bay! Jesuit Br Guy Consolmagno is a popular speaker and writer. With advanced degrees in theology, a science degree from



CATHOLIC YOUTH BROKEN BAY Training Day CYBB Training Days are an opportunity to gather young people and youth leaders interested and involved in local ministry to network and receive essential spiritual and practical formation. Engaging young people in the Liturgical Life of the Church Date: Saturday 3 February 2018 Time: 9:30am – 2:00pm Venue: The Light of Christ Centre, Yardley Ave, Waitara

World Youth Day 2019 Launch Building excitement and enthusiasm as we begin our Diocesan journey to WYD 2019 in Panama, the night will include a WYD style ‘Bishop’s Catechesis’ and a Panamanian themed festival. Date: Friday 9 February 2018 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary and The Light of Christ Centre, Hornsby Cathedral Parish


WYD Promotional Information Nights Parents and community leaders are invited to these nights for information on the CYBB pilgrimages to WYD 2019 including – the purpose and history of WYD, leadership structures, supervision requirements, costs, support provided and timeline for participation. Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm Date & Venue: 6 March 2018 – Our Lady of Good Counsel Forestville, Frenchs Forest Parish 7 March 2018 – Our Lady Star of the Sea, Terrigal Parish 8 March 2018 – Our Lady of Dolours, Chatswood Parish

World Youth Day 2018 Mass & Palm Sunday Celebrate WYD 2018 at the Diocesan Youth Mass at the Cathedral. This will be an opportunity to break open Pope Francis’ message to young people for 2018 and look towards WYD 2019 in Panama. Date: Sunday 25 March 2018 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary and The Light of Christ Centre, Hornsby Cathedral Parish

Twilight Talks Catholic Youth Broken Bay invites you to Twilight Talks. Join Young Adults from around the Diocese to connect, share a meal, pray and be nourished by inspiring speakers. Getting to know the L’Arche Community Date: Tuesday 13 February 2018 Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm Venue: Hotel Pennant Hills “Maker of the Stars” with Br Guy Consolmagno Date: Tuesday 24 April 2018 Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm Venue: Hotel Pennant Hills For more details on any CYBB events and RSVP:

LIFE MARRIAGE AND FAMILY BROKEN BAY Embracing their Greatness! – Giving Parents the tools to help their children discover God’s unique plan for their lives

FIAT – A panel of married women discussing their “YES” to God’s will in their life The FIAT event will provide a space for married women to gather together and be supported and encouraged by one another’s experience of saying ‘yes’ to God’s will in their lives. Six speakers will each give their testimony and then allow for an open discussion of how wives and mothers can bear witness in their lives to Our Lady’s FIAT and to the ‘fruit’ that her ‘yes’ bore for the whole world! Speaker: Six married women from different walks of life speak about their ‘yes’ to God’s will in their lives. Date: Saturday 24 March 2018 Time: 9.00am Mass in CCC Chapel L8 and then FIAT event commencing at 9.40am Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre L8, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills NSW RSVP: By Thursday 22 March 2018 to or 02 9847 0486

Marriage Enrichment Morning– The Joy of Love in the Heart of the Family Pope Francis breaks open St Paul’s beautiful ‘Hymn to Love’ in Chapter Four of Amoris Laetitia. Madeleine and Simon Carrington will assist us in making Pope Francis’ very practical suggestions a part and parcel of our own family life. They will also share their own experience in bringing young people to know the beauty of God’s unique plan for their lives and provide a strategy for making the family home a living heart of love. Speakers: Madeleine and Simon Carrington Central Coast Venue: Date: Sunday 18 March 2018 Time: 10.00am Mass – Hospitality, 11.30am Talk, 12.45-1.00pm Family Prayer Time. Venue: Terrigal Star of the Sea Parish – 165 Serpentine Road, Terrigal RSVP: By Thursday 1 March 2018 to or 02 9847 0502 North Shore Venue: Date: Sunday 22 April 2018 Time: 9.30am Mass – Hospitality, 11.00am Talk, 12.15-12.30pm Family Prayer Time. Venue: Pymble Sacred Heart Parish – 2 Richard Porter Way, Pymble RSVP: By Thursday 19 April 2018 to or 02 9847 0502

Guest Speaker from the United States – Christina King

Diocesan Men’s Breakfast – The Porn Effect: The Elephant in the Room that no one wants to talk about

To witness their children embrace the inherent ‘greatness’ they have as children of God is one of the great joys of being a parent! Christina King is an author, freelance writer, National Radio Show Host and international speaker with a highly dynamic and interactive style with over 17 years of experience. Christina is sure to inspire and assist all parents in the beautiful task of guiding their children in the discovery of God’s unique plan for their lives.

Pornography destroys lives and families. “When you look at the outcomes of watching porn, it’s really bad news for people, for marriages, for families and for society.” Paul Ninnes uses his powerful life story and fifteen years of ministry experience to present a life changing message of hope and the strategies that can bring about real culture change. His work aims at reclaiming a culture of love and life within our families and men have a huge role to play in bringing this about!

Speaker: Christina King Date: Saturday 24 February 2018 Time: 12.30pm Venue: St Agatha’s Catholic Church School Hall – 20 Boundary Rd, Pennant Hills NSW RSVP: By Thursday 22 February 2018 to or 02 9847 0502

Speaker: Paul Ninnes Date: Saturday 28 April 2018 Time: 8.00am Mass (TBC), 8.30am Breakfast hospitality, 9.15 – 10.30am Talk and the way forward. Venue: Pittwater Parish Sacred Heart Church, 1 Keenan Street Mona Vale RSVP: By Wednesday 25 April 2018 to or 02 9847 0502




Office for Evangelisation



Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) CCD training and formation opportunities serve those involved in the mission of Special Religious Education (SRE) in our State Schools but are also open to those in catechesis and evangelising outreach in our Diocese. The Office for Evangelisation offers CCD training to all interested people providing formation that enables the Gospel to be taken into the lives of others.

CCD Ministry Induction – Compulsory training for new catechists and helpers CCD Ministry induction course is compulsory for all new catechists and those catechists wishing to return to the classroom after an extended break from teaching. The CCDMI is also available to complete online. Please contact registrations for more details.

Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch Date: Friday 18 May 2018 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm RSVP: By Friday 11 May 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:


The Mission and Ministry of the Catechist


SRE Teacher in the Parish and the School


Child Protection

Northern Beaches Region – Course Type: Level 1 – Units CCDL1-08-14 Teaching Strategies: Prayer in the Classroom & CCDL1-09-14 Teaching Strategies: Listening and Questioning


Lesson Planning: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum

Location: Our Lady of Good Counsel, 9 Currie Road, Frenchs Forest


The Development of the Child and Adolescent I

Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch


Classroom Management: Positive Discipline

Date: Friday 25 May 2018


Introduction to the Bible

Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm

North Shore Hornsby Region – Course Type: CCDMI Location: Killara Parish Hall, Cnr Fiddens Wharf Rd and Charles St, Killara (Carpark entry in Charles St).

RSVP: By Friday 18 May 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Date: Monday 19 & 26 February, 5 & 12 March 2018

North Shore & Hornsby Region – Course Type: Level 1 – Units CCDL1-08-14 Teaching Strategies: Prayer in the Classroom & CCDL1-09-14 Teaching Strategies: Listening and Questioning

Time: 9:30am - 2:30pm

Location: Caroline Chisholm Centre, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills

RSVP: By Monday 12 February 2018

Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch

Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Date: Friday 1 June 2018

Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch

Northern Beaches Region – Course Type: CCDMI Location: Our Lady of Good Counsel, 9 Currie Road, Frenchs Forest

Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm RSVP: By Friday 25 May 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch Date: Friday 23 February, 2, 9, & 16 March 2018 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm RSVP: By Friday 16 February 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Central Coast Region – Course Type: CCDMI (Evening Course) Location: Lecture Room, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, The Entrance (Parking entry via Ashton Avenue) Date: Tuesday 20 & 27 February, 6, 13, 20 & 27 March 2018 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm RSVP: By Tuesday 13 February 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Level 1 – Tools for teaching in the SRE Classroom Level one will be divided into units and offered over 3 terms as one day training days. All catechists are welcome to attend all units to gain a Level 1 certificate (CCDMI must be completed to receive certificate) or may attend the topics of interest. CCDL1-14-14

Teaching Strategies: Using Interactive Whiteboard Resources

This unit is offered at the end of the CCDMI course. CCDL1-08-14

Teaching Strategies: Prayer in the Classroom


Teaching Strategies: Listening and Questioning

Central Coast Region – Course Type:2 Level 1 – Units CCDL1-08-14 Teaching Strategies: Prayer in the Classroom & CCDL1-09-14 Teaching Strategies: Listening and Questioning Location: Lecture Room, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, The Entrance (Parking entry via Ashton Avenue)



All Catechists welcomed to attend “Lesson Planning”: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum North Shore & Hornsby Region – Course Type: “Lesson Planning”: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum Location: Caroline Chisholm Centre, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills Date: Monday 16 April 2018 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm RSVP: By Monday 9 April 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Northern Beaches – Course Type: “Lesson Planning”: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum Location: St Kieran’s, 2 King Street, Manly Vale Date: Wednesday 18 April 2018 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm RSVP: By Monday 9 April 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

Central Coast Region – Course Type: “Lesson Planning”: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum Location: Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Hall, Serpentine Road, Terrigal Date: Friday 20 April 2018 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm RSVP: By Friday 13 April 2018 Ph: 4332 9825 or 9847 0448 Email:

life faith

Making Good Decisions


By David Patterson

ecisions, decisions, decisions. Every day we are called to make many decisions, often instinctively and without concern. Every choice is a renunciation of other choices. In economics, it’s called “opportunity cost.” If you live somewhere, for example, you cannot live somewhere else. Some decisions are straightforward, so that eating an apple or an orange at breakfast is a choice to make, but not one to keep us up at night or occupy our attention for more than a split second. Other decisions we have to make are more consequential, and require more from us. Where should I live? Whom should I marry? What is best for my child? Which job should I take? Should I have the operation with all its attendant risks? There is no simple formula for the “biggies” or the monumental decisions of our lives. Often the hardest decisions are not between right and wrong, but between two goods. So how do we, then, make good decisions on the difficult questions? Our concern is intimately tied to the great blessing of our humanity: being endowed with rational minds and the freedom of choice (freedom of will). This is what it means to be made in God’s image and likeness; that we

have the ability to think through the issues of our lives and to decide to take one course of action over another. Add to this God’s grace, and this touch of the divine helps us turn to God in whom we have our being, and is a faculty which, when used well, can assist our full-flourishing as human beings. But the power to decide can also wound us when we are not in receipt of all the facts or the processes for making good decisions. Sometimes we are without the capacity to freely decide, and this has its own challenge. Given the freedom to act, how do we make good decisions?



ometimes the choice is clear. Other times, we are presented with situations where the preferred choice is uncertain and we’re not clear about what to do; we need to discern by engaging in careful thought, prayer, and attending to our deepest spiritual feelings – whether we feel drawn or driven, consoled or guilty, and so on. The founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), St Ignatius of Loyola, was acutely aware of the challenges in making decisions and developed a spiritual practice called “discernment.” It seeks to capture where God is wishing to lead you in the decisions of your life.

Tell God Your Desires: Speak to God of your desires and even of your fears. Pay attention to how God may be speaking to you at this moment. How might your heart be stirring? Prayerfully meditate on an appropriate Scripture story which may enlighten your thoughts. Ask God to free you from unhelpful prejudgments. Let God speak to you. Pray with God. You Are Not on Your Own: Know that God is with you and has your best interests at heart. God is urging your best. Ask for a deep love for God, for people who’ll be affected by the decision, and for your most authentic self.

Some of the Steps of Ignation Discernment

Elijah encounters God, not in the mighty wind, earthquake or fire, but in the pure silence of a gentle breeze.

Talk to Someone You Respect and Trust: You don’t have to decide alone. Benefit from the wisdom and insight of others who have your best interest at heart. Speak to those close to you, and also others with experience and perspective in the area being considered. Pope Francis often speaks of the “art of accompaniment” where we are to journey and support others in the life of faith. Let yourself be a recipient of this accompaniment in the decision to be made. Speak to those who may be affected by the decision that has to be made, such as family members. What are their perspectives and concerns? God often speaks to us in the wisdom of others. A Quiet Place: Jesus himself had the habit of withdrawing to a quiet place to collect his thoughts and commune with the Father. In the busyness of life, it is often difficult to still our minds and hearts to concentrate on a concern and give it our due attention. Find a place of solitude and be alone with your inner feelings and with God. Remember the biblical passage in 1 Kings 19 where Elijah encounters God, not in the mighty wind, earthquake or fire, but in the pure silence of a gentle breeze. Invite God to be with you in the decision making process. Start With What You Know: It is difficult to make a good decision without good supporting information. We need to decide intelligently. What do you know that will help you decide? What are the facts and what weight do they carry? What might be missing in terms of information or perspective? Discernment allows you to acknowledge possible obstacles which can get in the way. Obstacles may include undue attachments, perfectionism, envy, possessiveness, past hurts, desire for control, power, and many others. What “movements” are coming from God, and which are not? Discern what your emotions are communicating, but try to embrace a “holy indifference” where you accept your current state without too much emotional energy. As the Jesuit saying goes: “Trust your heart, but use your head.”

Evaluate Alternatives Creating a List of Advantages & Disadvantages: Catalogue the reasons for and against the different options by making a list of all the “pros” and then a list of all the “cons.” Again, pray to God for openness and detachment. Which reasons are the most important? Which option is most in tune with your values; expresses your deepest, truest self? Which one leads to your authentic growth and to the greater glory of God? Which option permits greater freedom for you to choose what is right? Which option is best for those affected by the decision? It might be helpful to get some distance by imagining someone else in the situation of having to decide. What advice would you give him or her? Prayerfully Decide and Commit: Having sought counsel from others, given quiet space to reflect, having weighed up what you know and investigated the gaps, having spent time in prayer speaking to God of your desires and hopes and asked for God’s closeness, now decide. Prayerfully commit to the decision knowing that you have sought to do God’s will and chosen the good and loving option. Evaluate the Fruits of the Decision: Discernment is an ongoing process. Some spiritual guides suggest that after you make a decision, you sit with it for a day or two before enacting it. During this time you can check whether you feel consoled by the decision or if your deepest spirits are unsettled. If you feel unsettled, you might reconsider your decision. If the outcomes of your decision are good, and if a certain peace or consolation is derived from having decided, you have profited from an Ignatian type of discernment. This is called “confirmation,” a sense of rightness. Give thanks to God. St Ignatius taught that we should not make big decisions when we are too caught up in strong emotions like high enthusiasm or self-pitying guilt. The French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, said, “The heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing.” Don’t disregard your emotions, but the really important thing is to recognise the good Spirit drawing us in our deepest feelings. Galatians tells us the Holy Spirit brings the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. (5:2223). By calling upon the Spirit of God to be with us, we can begin to tap these gifts to give us the balance to enter into the discernment process. It is very hard to remain centred and in control if you are feeling down, angry, anxious or upset.

Embrace a Critically Reflective Orientation


o often we equate what happens to us as being our experience. One of my favourite adult educators, Myles Horton, said “an experience you don’t learn from is just a happening.” We don’t necessarily learn from experience. I remember a powerful quote from my adult education days at university, “Experience has to be arrested, examined, analysed, considered and negotiated in order to shift it to knowledge.” The experience can then be a resource for us when we have to decide future actions. We need to re-embrace a critically reflective orientation. Belgian Cardinal, Joseph Cardijn, popularised the See-Judge-Act model of Catholic Social Action. We are called to See, Judge and Act to that which is around us and to interpret what we see in light of the Gospels (Cf. Gaudium et Spes paragraph 4). Here we have principles for reflection, criteria for judgement, and guidelines for action. A simple piece of alliteration can help us remember the essence of the See – Judge – Act model: Recognise – Reflect – Respond. The ability to see, to apprehend, is an important faculty in any decision making process and a key to living reflectively.

deepest feelings and where the Spirit has touched us – to see how we have acted towards God and others. It is a daily opportunity to give thanks for the day and for all we encounter, to purify our intentions so that we might live well and make good daily decisions. It’s in this awareness of ourselves in relation to God and neighbour (with “neighbour” embracing all of creation) that we have an opportunity to consciously evaluate our daily decisions according to the principles of love and doing God’s will. Because we can find God in all things, how is God drawing you?

A Simple Outline of the Examen Stillness: Relax in God’s presence. Give Thanks: In gratitude for the many ways you have been blessed, give thanks. Ask for Help: Become aware of the grace you most need and desire. Ask the Holy Spirit to express the yearning that is deep in your heart. Reflection – Retrace the Steps of Your Day: Look prayerfully at your thoughts, words and actions of the day and notice how you acted in the many situations you found yourself. Recall your feelings and motives and whether you freely followed God’s will.

The Examen

Talk with Jesus: Talk with Jesus about what was revealed, sharing your heart with all its desires, goodness, wounds, fears, concerns.

art of the rich tradition of the Catholic Church, and a daily Jesuit practice, is the “Examination of Conscience,” sometimes referred to simply as the “Examen.” This is where we look prayerfully at our thoughts, words and actions of the day – to look at our

Look to Tomorrow: Commit yourself to a lifegiving action, asking God to help you look forward to a new day tomorrow. Resolve to cooperate and trust in God’s loving guidance. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.







Jesus Our Guide


In Scripture, Jesus is consistently seen to be merciful, gracious, faithful, forgiving, and steadfast in love.

t is dangerous to reduce Jesus to a mere principle; to Jesus “the nice guy.” We firmly believe that Jesus is the living Son of God who came to show us the way to the Father. We have the privileged source of the Bible to reveal who Jesus was for the people then, and who he is for us now. In Scripture, Jesus is consistently seen to be merciful, gracious, faithful, forgiving, and steadfast in love. This is, according to Scripture scholar, Walter Brueggemann, the credo of Jesus in five adjectives. If Jesus is the image of the Father, and we are called to imitate him, it stands to reason that good decisions are ones that bring us closer to being more merciful, gracious, faithful, forgiving and steadfast in love. Of course, there are some limitations; it’s not always easy to determine what the most merciful or loving action is, for example, in every decision we have to make. But let it be a starting point. Likewise, in St Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, we find the essence of Jesus’ teaching in the Beatitudes. How can our decision making be informed by Jesus’ ethical command to practice emptiness to appreciate the need for God’s grace, to have concern for the oppressed and be opposed to injustice and violence, to adopt an attitude of gentleness in our dealings with others, to have enthusiasm to do what is good, to be ready to show mercy and forgiveness when we are wronged, to be willing to demonstrate a sincere and honest heart, to engage in active efforts to promote peace in our world, and to be willing to suffer persecution and discrimination to defend the goodness and the will of God? (cf Mt 5:1-10) For these actions and situations, Jesus promises comfort, goodness, satisfaction, mercy, indeed the inheritance of the Kingdom of God. The word disciple has its root in the Latin word discipulus (learner) from discere meaning ‘to learn.’ To be a disciple, then, is to be a learner, and the master teacher is Jesus himself. Applying the “credo of Jesus” and his teachings on the Mount to the decisions we have to make can

bring us clarity on what is most important. It helps us to clarify our values, and when values are clear, making decisions become easier.

Informed Conscience


o what about the exercise of conscience? The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines conscience as a “judgement of reason by which the human person recognises the moral quality of a concrete act” (CCC 1796). It helps us to know and choose right from wrong, thereby accepting responsibility for our own actions (CCC 1781). A well-formed conscience does not simply choose what feels right, but carefully weighs up a situation, taking into consideration not only what one thinks personally, but what one has received through the entire Tradition of Revelation. God has placed a moral law in our hearts (CCC 1776). When we have informed our conscience by having prayerfully studied the issue, including reference to Church teaching and Sacred Scripture; heard the witness and advice of others; and applied the gifts of the Holy Spirit in discernment (CCC 1785), God’s moral law becomes apparent. Then, can we speak of the primacy of an informed conscience. The exercise of conscience requires prayerful reflection, consideration and understanding. With an informed conscience, we are more likely to be just, temperate, prudent and even courageous people. Our intentions matter. One of the tasks of the spiritual life is to purify our intentions; to do what is right for the right reasons. Decision making is not easy. However, knowing that we do not have to make decisions alone, and with these practices of discernment that come from a rich tradition, we have a solid basis from which to tackle the choices of our life as they arise. Life + Faith is a series of informative articles that link faith and everyday life, prepared for BBN by the Catholic Life & Faith Formation Team, Office for Evangelisation. Contact: 9847 0474


New National Director for Aid to the Church in Need Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is pleased to announce that Mr Bernard Toutounji has been appointed as the new National Director. Bernard replaces Mr Phillip Collignon, who retired from the role after 27 years of very successful leadership.


ounded by Fr Werenfried van Straaten in 1947, ACN is a Pontifical Foundation and the only international Catholic organisation that focuses on the pastoral and spiritual support of persecuted and suffering Christians. Through the contributions of 400,000 benefactors across 23 nations, ACN raises approximately AUD $200 million annually for some 5,000 projects in 140 countries.

In accepting the position, Bernard seeks to build on the work of ACN Australia in supporting oppressed Christians around the world:

further across the nation. Christian persecution is very much alive and more Christians died for their faith in the last century than in the previous 19 centuries of Christian history combined. The work of ACN – in building (and rebuilding) churches, in assisting poor seminarians and

religious, and in collecting Mass offerings which support tens of thousands of priests – is more vital than ever. As a Church we cannot turn a blind eye to our brothers and sisters who are often oppressed and persecuted for simply proclaiming the name of Jesus.”

“It is an honour and privilege to be given the responsibility of leading ACN after the amazing tenure of Phillip, and indeed the entire Collignon family, which has guided this foundation in Australia since 1969,” said Bernard. “Our benefactors are a particularly generous and loyal group and I look forward to coming to know many of them, and at the same time taking the mission and work of ACN

Handing over the reins, retiring National Director Phillip Collignon and Bernard Toutounji


Bernard comes to ACN Australia after a decade working in the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney in a range of roles, including in marriage and family, vocations, youth and social services. With a background in theology and business, Bernard has taught at a university level and written and spoken on faith and ethics both

nationally and internationally. Bernard serves as a subdeacon in the Melkite Catholic Church, he is married to Jane and they have two young daughters with their third child due at Easter.





St Rose students get back to nature St Rose Catholic School, Collaroy made new friends and got back to nature last term as part of the Mountains to the Sea program.


he inaugural program joined children from schools in Collaroy, Parramatta and Katoomba to explore three different environments: mountains, rivers and the sea.

“It was such a valuable experience. The children learnt so much”

The St Rose students met with students from St Monica’s in Parramatta and St Canice’s in Katoomba to spend time outdoors and interact with nature. First, the students took an excursion to Long Reef where an Education Officer from the Coastal Environmental Centre taught them about the coastal environment and they looked for marine life on the rock platform. Next, students from the visiting schools met St Rose students in Narrabeen for the sensory experience of the rock pools, beach and ocean.

On the Road to Change


rama students from Mercy Catholic College, Chatswood received a grant of $2,200 from the Roads and Maritime Services to perform plays that encourage road safety. Year 9 students at Mercy used the grant to create performances for primary students at Our Lady of Dolours Catholic School, Chatswood and St Patrick’s Catholic School, Asquith. The interactive performances focused on pedestrian safety, passenger safety, and safety on wheels. Schools were encouraged to implement a PDHPE Road Safety ‘Unit’ or Focus of 3-5 lessons prior to the performance, which could be further enhanced by a survey project discussing the safety of the school zone.



“Our students had this fantastic opportunity through performance to connect with primary school students on road safety issues that are relevant to primary-aged children,” said Amy Gill, drama teacher at Mercy.

The St Rose students then visited Lake Parramatta, where the St Monica’s students taught them about the river environment. They then drove to Katoomba to experience the mountains, where they were met by the students from St Canice’s and were welcomed to country by an Indigenous elder, Aunty Carol. They explored the cascades at Katoomba Falls and visited the Three Sisters before returning home. “It was such a valuable experience. The children learnt so much,” said Gillian Evers, Year 3 teacher at St Rose.


Congratulations Mrs Tomkins


ach year the Principals Australia Institute (PAI) conducts the John Laing Awards which recognise outstanding contributions to professional learning by primary and secondary principals in each state. Principals from the Public, Catholic and Independent sectors are nominated by their peers to receive the award. Meredith Tomkins, Principal at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville was one of six NSW principals nominated by their respective schools systems. The award recognises the contribution she has made to professional learning in her own school and for sharing her work across systems in state, national and international forums over the years. Congratulations Mrs Tomkins!

JUMP to it MacKillop Catholic College at Warnervale launched a new Outreach Program, JUMP (Josephites Undertaking Mission Projects), with a theme of ‘See, Judge, Act’.


his program aims to encourage students to participate in community service and social justice activities that give back to society.

Last term, Year 7 students participated in Graffiti Removal Day, volunteered at Coast Shelter Gosford preparing and serving meals to the homeless, making and packaging Christmas baked goods for the homeless and elderly at nursing homes, and making soap for Orange Sky Laundry, a laundry service for homeless and struggling families in the community. The program embodies the spirit of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and her belief that we should never see a need without doing something about it. Just as Mary MacKillop dedicated herself to helping others, the students of MacKillop, as a Catholic community are also called to JUMP into action. BROKEN BAY NEWS

One participating student commented, “I really enjoyed spending time helping people with my friends. I would tell people to take the opportunity and do the JUMP activities as they are really fun and are an amazing opportunity to help the community.” Students can also complete community service at home, for family or neighbours. They may wish to create their own fundraising event or raise awareness about a particular issue they feel strongly about. There are many ways for students to get involved. Outreach Coordinator, Mrs Michelle Baxter, commented, “I am very proud on the way Year 7 have approached the JUMP Project. Their overall attitude and participation thus far has been excellent. I look forward to the many possibilities and opportunities the initiative will provide to our students in 2018.” FEBRUARY 2018



Gone Fishing! Every November is Fishvember at Holy Cross Catholic School in Kincumber when children go fishing with their families.


he Fishvember event has been running for four years and aims to get children and parents away from the stresses of modern life and into the great outdoors.

in photos of themselves taken while fishing. The photos were then entered into a prize draw, with winners announced at a family barbeque held in early December.

“Fishvember is designed to encourage families to spend time together in the outdoors and also to build our school community,” said Chris Franklin, the Assistant Principal at Holy Cross. “Some groups took three generations fishing together in Fishvember.”

“What a terrific way to encourage families to get out and about together!” said Charles Wheeler, whose son Freddie is in Kindergarten at the school. “We had a top afternoon today… very low tide and a bit windy, but there were some little whiting and bream biting. Freddie felt something big on his rod and between us we reeled it in and it was a ray – quite a large one! It was very exciting for Freddie!”

Just sixteen families participated when the event first ran in 2013, and since then, interest has grown with this year 96 families taking part. Families registered at the beginning of the month and were given a Fishvember tag, which they held


Bishop Inspires Student Leaders

ewly appointed student leaders from Secondary Colleges across the Diocese met with Bishop Peter A Comensoli late last year. Bishop Peter met with these impressive young leaders to inspire them as they began their new leadership positions. He spoke of the qualities of the servant leadership of Jesus before answering questions on a range of topics. The students celebrated Mass with the Bishop


Ken Sharp, grandfather of Blake in Year 1, held a fishing masterclass in the school library to teach families about ethical fishing and technique.


in the Chapel of the Canisius Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Pymble. After the Mass, Bishop Peter commissioned the students as leaders within the Diocese of Broken Bay, praying that they would continue to develop the faith and talents God had given them in service of others. Students enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk with the Bishop and fellow school leaders over lunch in the beautiful grounds of the Centre.

“What a terrific way to encourage families to get out and about together!” “It’s always a great event,” said Mr Franklin. “This year was our biggest yet.” The event was supported by local and national sponsors including Tackleworld Cranbourne, BCF at Lake Haven and West Gosford, and Al McGlashan Media.




St Patrick’s


Tuesday 28 March, 9.30am - 11.00am

Maria Regina


Wednesday 23 May, 9.00am - 10.30am

St Cecilia’s


Wednesday 14 March, 9.30am - 11.00am

St Bernard’s

Berowra Heights

Please contact the school for details

St Gerard’s


Wednesday 14 May, 9.15am - 11.00am

Our Lady of Dolours


St Rose

Collaroy Plateau

St Martin’s


St Kevin’s

Dee Why

Thursday 15 March, 9:00am - 10.30am Wednesday 7 March & Thursday 3 May, 9.30am - 11.00am School Tours, 5 to 9 March, 9.00am Wednesday 7 March, 9.00am - 11.00am & 6.00pm - 7.00pm Friday 18 May, 9.00am - 11.00am Tuesday 6 March, 9.30am - 11.00am & 7.00pm - 8.00pm Tuesday 29 May, 9.30am - 11:00am

St Patrick’s

East Gosford

Monday 9 April, 6.30pm

Our Lady Help of Christians


Friday 9 March, 9.00am - 10.30am

Our Lady of Good Counsel


Friday 16 March, 9.30am - 11.00am

St John the Baptist


Please contact the school for details

Holy Cross


Tuesday 7 March, 9.30am - 11.00am & 7.00pm - 8.00pm

St Brendan’s

Lake Munmorah

Tuesday 27 March, 9.00am - 10.15am & 6.00pm - 7.00pm

Holy Family


Tuesday 27 March, 9.00am - 12.00pm & 6.30pm - 7.30pm

St Marys Catholic School


Tuesday 22 May, 9.00am - 10.30am & 7.00pm - 8.00pm

St Kieran’s Primary

Manly Vale

Tuesday 6 March, 9.30am - 11.00am

Sacred Heart

Mona Vale

St John the Apostle


Friday 23 March, 9.00am - 11.00am Tuesday 13 March & Thursday 29 March, 9:15 am - 10:40 am School Tours are available on Wednesdays

St Joseph’s


Tuesday 20 March, 9.15am - 10.15am

St. Philip Neri School


Tuesday 13 March, 9.30am

St Agatha’s

Pennant Hills

Wednesday 7 March, 9.30am - 11.00am

Sacred Heart


Tuesday 27 February & Thursday 1 March, 9.30am - 10.45am

Corpus Christi

St Ives

Wednesday 7 March, 10.30am - 12.00pm

Our Lady Star of the Sea


Tuesday 28 March, 6.30pm

Our Lady of the Rosary

The Entrance

Tuesday 13 March, 9.30am - 11.00am & 7.30pm - 8.30pm

St Mary’s


School Tours on Request

St John Fisher

Tumbi Umbi

Monday 5 March, 10.00am - 11.00am



Thursday 8 March, 9.15am - 10.50am

Our Lady of the Rosary


MacKillop Catholic College (K – 12)


Tuesday 20 March, 9.30am - 11.00am Wednesday 7 March, 4.00pm - 6.00pm Kinder & Year 7 Information Evening, 6.30pm - 7.30pm

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour

West Pymble

Monday 5 March, 8.30am - 11.00am

St Thomas’


St John the Baptist

Woy Woy

Our Lady of the Rosary


St Cecilia’s


Tuesday 20 to 22 March, 9.30am - 10.45am Tuesday 3 April, Enrolment Information Evening, 7.00pm Wednesday 4 April, Under 6 Morning, 9.30am Friday 9 March, 4.30pm - 7.00pm Tuesday 20 March, Kindy Parent Information Evening, 7.00pm - 8.00pm Wednesday 21 March, U6 Fun Morning, 9.15am - 10.45am Tuesday 10 April, Parent Information Night, 7.00pm Wednesday 11 April, Open Day/Fun Morning, 9.15am - 10.30am

Mercy Catholic College


Sunday 4 March, 11.00am - 2.00pm

St Joseph’s Catholic College

East Gosford

Monday 5 March, 3.30pm - 6.30pm

St Brigid’s Catholic College

Lake Munmorah

Tuesday 13th March, 1.00pm - 5.30pm

St Paul’s Catholic College


Please contact the school for details

St Peter’s Catholic College


Please contact the school for details

MacKillop Catholic College ( K – 12)


Mater Maria Catholic College


Wednesday 7 March, 4.00pm - 6.00pm Kinder & Year 7 Information Evening, 6.30pm - 7.30pm Thursday 8 March, 4pm - 7pm

St Leo’s Catholic College


Please contact the school for details






' I stand on my determination and stand firm to learn tailoring skills'


A Just Future starts with you Project Compassion 2018 Supporting the youth of today will create a better tomorrow. BY DANIEL NOUR


his is the message of Caritas Australia’s ‘Project Compassion’ campaign this Lent, which takes as its theme, ‘A Just Future starts with You.’ The stories of six young people will show how Caritas Australia supports individuals to improve their own lives, those of their families and even entire societies, when we walk alongside the vulnerable in support and empowerment programs. One of the stories of a life changed is that of Janaki, a young entrepreneur who has turned her life around by participating in a youth club formed by Caritas Australia

partners, Caritas Nepal and the Ekata Foundation.

Children and Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP), Janaki participated in training to improve her skills as a seamstress and also received a loan from the youth club to purchase her sewing machine.

those which changed Janaki’s life. A Just Future Starts with Community, a just future starts with you.

“Everybody used to doubt my skills. But I stand on my determination and stand firm to learn tailoring skills,” says Janaki.

“I was so frustrated that I thought that my life was a waste. Slowly I realised that I need to move on and have some skills,” says Janaki.

Nine years on, Janaki has 11 sewing machines and is running her own small business, teaching others the craft. She is now considered a community leader.

In 2015, after joining the Caritas supported youth club, part of a

Through your ongoing support, Caritas can offer empowerment programs like

If you would like further information about Project Compassion 2018 please contact Cristina Gomez, Caritas Diocesan Team member for Broken Bay on 02 9847 0428 or email

In the Surkhet district of Midwestern Nepal, where Janaki grew up, she lived with poverty and disadvantage. Forced into marriage at the age of 12, her already vulnerable position deteriorated further following the death of her husband only two years after they wed.

Parishes will have Project Compassion boxes and share packs available from Sunday 11 February. Please visit Project Compassion 2018 will be launched in the Diocese of Broken Bay on Ash Wednesday, 14 February.

Through your generosity during Project Compassion this year, you are empowering young people to build a just future for themselves, their families and their communities. A Just Future starts with your support! Donate now. • 1800



024 413

• #projectcompassion


The Light is On for you This Lent There is one question on the lips of many Catholics right now: What will I do for Lent? BY PINA BERNARD


ur Diocese asked this question too, and this year the Diocese of Broken Bay will be turning on a light in faith. Every Friday evening this Lent, churches throughout the Diocese will be open for quiet time, prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you have ever been away from home for a significant time, you will know what it feels like to come home when a light has been left on for you, an expectation of being warmly welcomed home. “The Light is On” initiative will offer such a welcoming space in our churches, a place to feel at home, to connect with God, our faith, and our faith community, and to open ourselves to the loving grace of God. It is striking that God’s first words in the Bible are “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3). Fast forward to the Gospel of John and we find Jesus described as the “light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). No matter how dark our times might

seem, with faith there is always light. The light of Christ still shines, and is a source of peace and healing for all of us. This light is offered to everyone. This light is received in a particular way at Baptism when we are encouraged to keep the new light of Christ shining brightly. Sometimes this light can enfold us, and at other times it can appear hidden and we cannot seem to find it. Lent is a time to rekindle that light, to remove the obstacles that suffocate it, and to let it shine. We can all feel burdened at times, confused and anxious; or perhaps we are trapped in harmful habits, or have difficult decisions to make and can’t see a way forward. Perhaps there is illness in our families or disunity in our relationships that cause us pain. “The Light is On” in our churches gives us a space to come to bring our worries and concerns, and to pray for peace and healing in our lives and the lives of others wherever it is needed.

less than a personal encounter with Christ, and gives us access in a particular way to the forgiving power of God that heals in a way that nothing else can. The small light of the confessional will be on throughout these Friday nights in Lent for all who wish to experience the peace of this Sacrament. You will see banners outside participating churches all around our Diocese which feature our well-known lighthouse – our own symbol of light. Drop in. We’re open. Take a step to

We know that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the ideal way to be released from what is weighing us down. This Sacrament is nothing



let the light of God into your life in a new way this Lent. You are welcome, and the light is on… for you, your family, your neighbours and friends.

The Light is On • Fridays in Lent 16, 23 February 2, 9, 16, 23 March • 7pm – 8pm For further information and participating churches, please check •

Experience God’s light and peace in your life this Lent

Churches of the Diocese of Broken Bay will be open on Fridays in Lent, 7pm – 8pm, for quiet time and prayer, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation available For more information and participating churches, please visit


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Australian Catholic Youth Festival, December 2017 CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay were well represented at the Festival, with a number of our staff attending. We also participated in a panel discussion coordinated and facilitated by Ashleigh Green, one of our Out of Home Care Case Managers. Our team was organised and directed by Julian and Ta’i who share their experiences here. “The festival was fantastic! The atmosphere was brilliant with thousands of students from Catholic Schools all over the country coming together to see how the Catholic faith can be put in action. We were there to create awareness about CatholicCare and what we do as a social services agency. I participated on the Q&A panel discussion where we discussed how careers at CatholicCare change lives. I believe that all school students should consider working in disabilities. For me personally it’s given me great perspective and helped me make better decisions in life. It’s meaningful work. I like to think I’m changing the world for the better, one shift at a time. My participation on the panel resulted in a number of students coming to see me throughout the day to talk more about ‘careers that change lives’ which was terrific!

I was also very impressed by the number of services, programs and creative ideas at the Festival which allow young people to put their faith into practice. I was in the studio of the New Catholic Radio station where really stimulating interviews were recorded on trending topics such as abortion and euthanasia.” Julian Baez Avellaneda, Program Designer, Disability Futures “For me the festival was all about encouraging young people to strengthen their relationship with Jesus. They

expressed the challenges they’re facing as young Catholics and there were lots of opportunities to discuss such topics. We had an exhibition stand with lots of goodies available which drew a lot of young people to us where we were able to discuss the various roles available at CatholicCare. It was great to see so much interest in teaching roles in our out of school hours care space (before and after school and vacation care). It was awesome to be involved!” Ta’i Tere, Administration Assistant, Children’s Services

CatholicCare’s Youth Services

CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay is a social care agency. As a person-centred organisation, CatholicCare has people at its heart.

We believe you should have a say in the support you receive and empower you to make decisions that will enable you to live a positive and fulfilling life. Belonging to the larger network of Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), CatholicCare provide services to 26,000+ children, young people, individuals and families on the NSW Central Coast, Northern Sydney and

Northern Beaches, and have been doing so since 1987. We currently deliver around $38 million of care annually. With funding from both the Federal and NSW governments and a workforce of more than 630 people, CatholicCare provide disability services and NDIS support, foster care and out of home care services as well as children’s services including early learning and care centres, out of school

FAMILY CENTRES: Central Coast • Naremburn • Northern Beaches • Waitara DISABILITY FUTURES: Central Coast • Northern Beaches • Northern Sydney OUT OF HOME CARE: Foster Care • Residential Care EARLY LEARNING & CARE CENTRES: Forestville • Lake Munmorah • Terrigal • Waitara • Woy Woy



hours care, vacation care, family day care and in home care. CatholicCare also have Family Centres offering counselling, domestic and family violence support, family dispute resolution and mediation, parenting and relationship education, emergency relief and housing and homelessness support and a variety of programs specifically for youth. Our youth specific services include:

• KEYS – helps young parents aged 16 to 24 years who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, offering accommodation assistance, case management and intensive support with the goal to avoid homelessness. • Mary Mac’s Place – for homeless or transient people, enabling them to have a meal and a place to shower and to wash their clothes. • Intensive Family Preservation Support – targeted at families with children aged 0 to 18 years who have been identified as being at high risk of harm by the NSW Department of Family & Community Services. Families referred to this program receive intensive support from a specialist caseworker who visits the home frequently for 6 – 9 months. Caseworkers and families develop safety action plans and work to reduce risks to children, with the aim being that Family & Community Services can be assured children are safe to remain in their own homes. • Seasons for Growth kids support group – helps children and young people deal with grief and loss. It uses the seasons to explain grief and helps build resilience and social skills. CatholicCare provide a range of children and youth

counselling options from art, play and sand therapies to group work to deal with trauma, grief and loss, family breakdown and domestic and family violence. • Under 24s Preparation for Parenthood group – a free 6 week course held in conjunction with midwife educators exploring pregnancy care, labour/active birth/pain relief and caring for yourself, baby and family. • Young parents groups – free fortnightly groups for parents under 24 years with children under 2 years. Parents and children attend the groups which are held in Gosford and Wyong.

• Drug & Alcohol Youth Support Services (DAYSS) – available for young people 12 to 18 years and their families on the Northern Beaches. It uses a harm reduction model and provides support through peer-to-peer mentoring for youth and their families, a dedicated youth worker for individual, parental, and/or family support and group programs and individual support and education for parents. For more information call CatholicCare on (02) 9481 2600, email or visit

CatholicCare’s Northern Beaches Family Centre is now open in Brookvale! CatholicCare’s newest Family Centre provides specialist one-on-one and group services for the Northern Beaches community.

Services include: • Child & family support • Parenting education • Relationship support • Youth, drug & alcohol support • Financial counselling • Community visitors scheme • Mediation services • Domestic & family violence support

In providing this broad suite of services we hope to provide the right support, education and ongoing services that meet the needs of our diverse population and strive to reach our vision of safe, well and connected families, individuals and communities. Our new Family Centre is located at 116/20 Dale Street in Brookvale, 300 metres from Warringah Mall and accessible by bus. There are a number of health services close by and 3 hours free parking at the Mall. For more information call (02) 8043 2600 or email

• Emergency relief

OUTSIDE SCHOOL HOURS CARE: Avalon • Carlingford • Collaroy Plateau • Davidson • East Gosford • Forestville • Freshwater • Kincumber • Lake Munmorah • Lindfield • Manly • Manly Vale • Mona Vale • Narrabeen • Pymble • Tumbi Umbi • Waitara • Warnervale • West Pymble • Woy Woy HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY: Gosford • Hornsby • Manly • Mona Vale • Royal North Shore • Wahroonga (SAN) • Wyong FEBRUARY 2018



A Diamond in our Midst Women’s Pregnancy Support in Gosford

Pope Francis has certainly hit the road running in 2018 especially when it comes to his ever-persistent call to protect the right to life of the world’s most vulnerable human being – the unborn child.

The team at Diamond Pregnancy support with founder Jenny Gurry (2nd from the right) alongside Broken Bay’s Katie Fullilove



n the second week of January when addressing the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps and in light of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he stressed that the “first among all of these [rights] is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security.” He added, “I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults.” He followed this up not even two weeks later with a tweet sent to the 100,000 people gathered in Washington DC on 19 January for the world’s largest annual pro-life gathering. The Pope’s tweet read: “Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death.” In this emphatic statement he was joined by none other than the President of the United States who, in addressing those gathered, vowed “we are protecting

the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society.” One criticism sometimes levelled at the pro-life movement has been the idea that its members love the unborn baby more than they do the mother. Paul D. Ryan, the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives, addressed this query with these words: “One thing that gets lost is how compassionate the pro-life movement is. To help women who have gone through the pain of abortion, to help single mothers, to give them resources through thousands of pregnancy centres: This is the face of the pro-life movement.” In fact, this very face, the pro-life, pro-child, and pro-woman face, is alive and well in our own Diocese too and can be found in a very loving, feminine and practical way at the Diamond Woman’s Pregnancy Support in downtown Gosford. Founder, Jenny Gurry, has been helping women and

girls with unplanned pregnancies for the past 10 years through the establishment of a number of support centres across Sydney. The Gosford centre opened in 2017 and is already well positioned to support any woman who calls or who turns up at their door with a request for assistance. For Jenny, the aim is to provide a pathway forward so that a woman can choose to see a pregnancy through to full term. The team is there to offer a listening ear or to provide practical assistance in the way of baby goods or whatever it takes to help a woman along on her journey. A quick perusal of their Facebook page finds this quote: “Some may see a hopeless end. But we believe in an endless hope!” What a fitting statement for this heroic team of volunteers who have made it their life’s work to support women and children who truly are in a most vulnerable situation. To support or to chat with the team at the Diamond Women’s Pregnancy Support centre in Gosford, please call 02 4339 7099. Sponsorship is gratefully accepted.

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The New Economy and the Message of Pope Francis “Is it possible to have infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resources?” was a key question at a forum held last October at St Anthony in the Fields Catholic Church focusing on The New Economy and the two major encyclicals of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato ‘Si. BY MARGARITE DALE, SECRETARY, SJ AROUND THE BAY

Dr Haydn Washington, Co-Director of the Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (NSW) and lecturer at the University of NSW, covered many of the ecological issues considered by Pope Francis and well known to all; our unsustainable levels of consumption, the destruction of natural ecosystems and depletion of non-renewable resources. He pointed out that Pope Francis insists that we have no right to drive plant and animal species to extinction. They are not “resources” to be exploited. They have value in themselves. He argued the constant demand for endless growth was a denial of the physical laws of nature. Human population must be at a sustainable level.

because “interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan.” It means that an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature was needed. Phil Jones, Convenor of SJ Around the Bay, pointed to naturally stable ecosystems as examples of a “steady state”, arguing that the New Economy must be the Steady State Economy. He likened our present economy to a game of musical chairs as various limits to growth have their impacts at a regional or local level. Abolition of planned obsolescence, 100 per cent recycling, reuse and repair, sharing of employment opportunities, necessary restriction on banking and finance, the development of notfor-profit cooperatives and of local exchange economies, and fairer

Jason Falinski, Federal Member for Mackellar MP, spoke of his connection to Frenchs Forest Parish and welcomed the opportunity to engage in respectful dialogue over complex community issues. Jason cordially informed the audience that his views might not coincide with those of the majority present. Jason extolled the virtues of markets and free trade which had reduced poverty, conflict, death and pestilence whilst the free market enabled the improvement of the lives of many whilst reducing the resources used to achieve that end. The Co-ordinator of the Columban Mission Institute Centre for Peace Ecology and Justice, Anne Lanyon, emphasised integral ecology in her reflection on the New Economy and the message of Pope Francis. Anne stressed Pope Francis’ view of the need for dialogue on the international, national and local community levels BROKEN BAY NEWS

Speakers Phil Jones, Jason Falinski, Anne Lanyon, Haydn Washington and MC, Brian Norman.

deals for developing countries in matters of trade, were presented as some of the features of the Steady State Economy. Subsequent discussion included the concept of a universal basic income in view of technological innovations, the prophetic role of the Church in transitioning to the New

Economy, the growth of the New Economy coalitions in Australia, the US and Europe and the provision of pastoral leadership on environmental and social justice matters within parishes. The Forum was reminded of the words of Pope Francis, “May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope”.

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he Forum was organised by the Frenchs Forest Parish Social Justice Group. Well over 50 representatives of Parish Social Justice Groups from around the Broken Bay Diocese were in attendance.



Plenary Council 2020 and the Diocese of Broken Bay What does it mean as a Catholic community to live the life and mission of Jesus in contemporary Australian society? It is this question that has moved the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) to announce a Plenary Council of the Church in Australia to be held in the year 2020.


BY DANIEL ANG he ACBC has sought the approval from Pope Francis for this Council, official endorsement which is expected in due course.

Put simply, a Plenary Council is the highest form of communion between the various local or particular Churches of a nation. It is, then, not simply a meeting of bishops but a process that calls for the participation of the entire Catholic community. It invites the whole Church into dialogue, to discern how its communities can live the Gospel with renewed vitality amidst new questions and challenges. The Plenary Council itself will feature representation from among the laity, religious and ordained ministers, together with the bishops of Australia, as the culmination of a sustained pilgrimage in faith. As such a Plenary Council is an expression of the ‘synodality’ of the Church, the nature of the Church as a communion of persons ‘walking together’ in faith as disciples of the Lord. The Plenary Council recognises that all the baptised have received a common vocation to be a ‘sacrament or instrumental sign of intimate union with God and of the unity of all humanity’ (Lumen Gentium 1) and upholds with faith that it is by our mutual listening to the Holy Spirit – who guides the Church ‘into all truth’ (John 16:13) – that we can realise our mission most deeply as a community of faith. As set out in Canon Law, a Plenary Council has legislative power with the final decisions reserved to the bishops by nature of their episcopal ordination as successors of the Apostles. The bishops are obliged to make decisions on the basis of their careful discernment of the work of the Holy Spirit in the minds and hearts of all the People of God, recognising that the sense of the faith of the faithful – what is known as the sensus fidelium – is a source of the Church’s life and learning as it seeks to fulfil its Gospel mission. This means that the Plenary Council is more than a single event to be held in the year 2020 but an extended process that invites the entire Catholic community, even now, to ‘walk the path of dialogue’ and interpret what God is doing today and how God is calling the Church to live the Gospel into the future. It calls the Church to undertake a pilgrimage of listening and learning, to be a synodal and receptive Church that engages in honest speaking and mutual listening to the Holy Spirit, to share insights and also hear insights shared.



Throughout this process of listening, dialogue and prayer, experiences of diverse lives will be welcomed and invited to share their sense of faith, questions and hopes for the Catholic Church – from those who are attempting to live a committed and sacramental life in the Church, those baptised Catholics with lesser involvement in ecclesial life, to those who are vulnerable in Australian society, who may be more distant from the Church, or who have been hurt and may or may not still regard themselves as Catholic in some way. We are invited by the announcement of a Plenary Council to develop together a culture of dialogue and discernment to determine how best to ensure the pastoral needs of the people of God are provided for and, with regard for the universal law of the Church, ‘to decide what seems opportune for the increase of faith, the organisation of common pastoral action, and the regulation of morals and of the common ecclesiastical discipline which is to be observed, promoted and protected’ (Code of Canon Law, c.445). Following their listening to and discernment with the whole Church, the members of the Plenary Council will convene in 2020. This will include all active bishops, vicars general, episcopal vicars, some major superiors of religious institutes, rectors of major seminaries and Catholic universities, and deans of faculties of theology and canon law. Others that can also be called to the Plenary Council include lay persons, retired bishops, other priests, and religious. The bishops will have a deliberative vote (that is, cast a ballot to determine outcomes) while other council delegates will have a consultative vote (the right to speak about the issues under discussion). The Plenary Council will then enact laws which, subject to approval of the Holy See, will bind the Catholic Church in Australia.

“A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realises that listening ‘is more than simply hearing’. In calling a Plenary Council the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has recognised that the patterns of change confronting the Church and the wider community impel the Australian Catholic Church to review, analyse and discern the signs of the times and interpret them in the light of the Gospel (Gaudium et Spes 4). It has opened a pathway for dialogue, for the exchange of faith and ideas, and to encounter the Holy Spirit and the Church in one another. Pope Francis himself has encouraged the need to prayerfully discern together what the Spirit is saying to our Catholic community at this time, remarking “A synodal Church is a Church which listens, which realises that listening ‘is more than simply hearing’. It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit, the ‘Spirit of truth’ (Jn 14:17), in order to know what he ‘says to the Churches’ (Rev 2:7).”1 In addition to the call of Pope Francis for a synodal and discerning Church, the Royal Commission into

Executive Committee for the Plenary Council

NEWS HEART AND TO ISSUES HEART Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has also raised the critical need for reform within the Church and its manner of governance, themes with which the Plenary Council will also wrestle. As a way of being the Church ‘synodality’ promotes a form of governance that involves all the People of God, with governance referring to those processes for making and implementing decisions so that each of the baptised can fulfil their personal calling as well as our shared mission as a communion of faith.

across our Broken Bay parishes, school communities, migrant communities, and social outreach services, these constituting “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters” (Evangelii Gaudium 26). All people are welcome and invited to engage in this process locally. Support, guidance and resources for this process of dialogue will be provided by our Office for Evangelisation, our Catholic Schools Office and CatholicCare in collaboration with the national Facilitation Team for the Plenary Council.

Plenary Council 2020 will be the fifth plenary council in Australia’s history with the last plenary council held in 1937, some 80 years ago. Two sessions for the Plenary Council have been proposed to the Holy See, the first session in the latter half of 2020 and the second session in May 2021.

As a member of the Executive Committee I look forward to sharing more information with you as it comes to hand. There is still much yet to be clarified and I look forward to discovering the way forward together. I hope this initial outline is a helpful introduction and an encouragement for our journey ahead. I believe with faith that in these most challenging of times for the Church, the

The ACBC has established a Bishops Commission to oversee, plan and prepare for the Plenary Council which will have three phases: preparation, celebration and implementation. The Chair of the Bishops Commission is Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane. Other members of the Commission include Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB (Archdiocese of Perth), Archbishop Philip Wilson (Archdiocese of Adelaide), Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFMConv (Diocese of Parramatta), Bishop Michael Kennedy (Diocese of Armidale), and Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay OLM (Maronite Diocese of St Maroun). A Facilitation Team has also been appointed including Ms Lana Turvey-Collins, Fr Noel Connolly SSC, and Mr Peter Gates (Catholic Mission) together with an Executive Committee for the Plenary Council which includes people with particular expertise related to the holding of a Plenary Council. The Executive Committee members have a range of backgrounds, are diverse in their experience and will offer advice and guidance to the Facilitation Team and the Bishops Commission throughout the Plenary Council journey. As a local Church, the Diocese of Broken Bay will enter into this national process of dialogue and discernment beginning with a year of listening in 2018, followed by discernment throughout 2019 and the sharing of proposals to the Plenary Council in 2020. This local dialogue will not only inform the national Plenary Council but also the discernment of our Bishop, parishes and local communities, our schools and agencies in Broken Bay on how best to express the life and mission of Jesus at this critical juncture of our life as Church. It will be an opportunity for us to name those issues that are important to our faith in charting a course for the future of the Catholic Church in Australia, and to share perspectives and practices that God can use to touch ordinary lives. Dialogue on the faith and mission of the Church will be encouraged BROKEN BAY NEWS

Plenary Council is a gift of the Holy Spirit and that it has the potential to open up new horizons within ourselves and our communities, to discern ways to live our Catholic faith anew in contemporary Australian society. As we await Papal consent and begin our preparations, let us pray for the life and mission of our Church. I look forward to sharing more details about the national process and local opportunities for participation in the April edition of the Broken Bay News and at Pentecost (Sunday 20 May) when the ACBC formally opens the process of dialogue with all of God’s people. Daniel Ang is the Director, Office for Evangelisation, Diocese of Broken Bay and a member of the Executive Committee, Plenary Council 2020

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October, 2015. The full text is available online at: speeches/2015/october/documents/papa-francesco_20151017_50-anniversario-sinodo.html.a



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Looking Back on Seminary Life At the end of last year, I finished the second year of my seminary journey. Looking back on what has been nearly 24 months of my life, I marvel at the experiential rollercoaster that this time has been.



very moment I’ve spent at the seminary (whether good, bad, or downright crazy) has been a blessing and I would be hard pressed to capture even a fraction of what I’ve learned from it all in this short article, but nevertheless, I shall try. I think it would be beneficial if I describe my experiences through the lens of the four pillars or “dimensions” of seminary formation: the human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral. This will serve to give insight into the purpose of seminary training while also providing a basic scaffold for my different experiences. These four dimensions are important because proper development in each of these areas is essential in the formation of holy and effective priests. Seminaries like my own are geared towards fostering Christian perfection in young men, so irrespective of whether the men choose to continue on to serve in ordained ministry or decide to leave the seminary in pursuit of another vocation, no one leaves the seminary the same as they came. And although I personally have many years to go, I have certainly already begun to feel its effects. The human aspect of formation is essential for making Christ-like priests. After all, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is fully God and fully man. His life exemplifies human perfection in every way. Thus, to forget the human element is to forget Christ. The seminary focuses, in particular, on the development of the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude and justice. It aims to develop these perfections in the lives of seminarians so that they will not only be good priests, but truly good people. The Church recognises that it is not enough to merely bestow the power of Orders on men, they must first prove themselves to be worthy of respect by their way of life (c.f. 1 Tim 3). The lessons we have received on the virtues have taught me one thing above all else, namely, that I have a very long way to go. Being educated in the human virtues has sharpened my capacity for self-examination, giving me fresh insight into my own strengths and weaknesses. It has enabled me to recognise true virtue in the lives of others, and given me a renewed impetus to aspire after their example. Above all, it has fostered in me a desire for continued self-betterment, especially in light of the immense responsibility which I hope one day to bear. The second aspect of seminary formation is the spiritual. This is arguably the most important



dimension of seminary formation. It is the priest’s primary duty to lead his people to God. It is, therefore, of supreme importance that the priest himself is close to the loving heart of the Father. No amount of talent, charisma, or good looks on the part of the priest can make up for a heart devoid of God’s love (c.f. 1 Cor 13). The seminary cannot force a man to be holy, but it can certainly give him the opportunity to grow in love of Christ through the Sacraments and a strong prayer life. For this reason, the seminary has daily Mass, as well as the communal celebration of the Divine Office in the morning, evening, and night. Each evening there is a holy hour before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and encouragement towards Marian devotion. Reconciliation is available daily, and one-on-one spiritual direction is required once a month. The seminary also provides a one-week retreat at the beginning of each year. This rigorous spiritual routine took me by surprise at first. I recall during the first few weeks of my first year thinking that I had run out of things to say to God. All this prayer felt a little bit over the top and didn’t feel fruitful at all. In fact, I distinctly remember getting very bored. It was on my first seminary retreat that my spiritual director made it very clear that prayer has a lot less to do with what I have to say to God, and a lot more to do with listening to what God is saying to me. Part of me always knew this was true, but I never really “knew” it until I started doing it. This fundamental reorientation revolutionised my prayer life. It turns out that God has a pretty good idea about what’s best for me, and if I would only learn to be quiet every now and then, I might just begin to make some progress in the spiritual life. For me, the spiritual dimension is of greatest importance in seminary training, because

“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” a shepherd who does not know the way, leads the whole flock astray. The academic dimension takes up a large percentage of the typical seminary day. Seminarians conduct their studies through Notre Dame University in Broadway and the Catholic Institute of Sydney in Strathfield. The majority of seminarians complete a Bachelor of Sacred Theology which covers a variety of subject areas such as: Philosophy, Biblical languages, Church History, Biblical Studies, Moral Theology, Pastoral Studies and Mission, Spirituality, Liturgy, and Canon Law. The object of academic work is to ensure our future priests are equipped

ACROSS OUR DIOCESE with a well-rounded knowledge essential for clear and systematic thinking, instructing and counselling the Christian faithful, proper liturgical practice, defending the faith, and of course, pulling together a decent homily. Of all the pillars of formation, my attitude towards the academic element fluctuates the most. Some days I can’t wait to get to class and immerse myself in Church History, Canon Law, or Moral Theology. Other days I can’t help feeling the crushing weight of fast approaching deadlines for essays and exams I “accidently” left to the last minute. Nevertheless, I am acutely aware of the privilege I have been given in the opportunity to study theology and philosophy, and only hope that it might one day aid me in becoming an effective priest in the Diocese of Broken Bay. The final dimension of seminary formation is the pastoral. The aim of pastoral experience is to equip seminarians with a basic idea of what life might be like one day working in the parish. Over the course of years, seminarians are offered a myriad of different pastoral experiences ranging from teaching in Catholic primary schools and public high schools, to extended parish placements, or work in hospitals and prisons with those marginalised from normal daily life. Each semester, the seminarians are encouraged to formally

reflect on their pastoral experiences, so as to become increasingly aware of how to best become shepherds after the heart of Christ. I can’t begin to express the rich value of pastoral work in the life of the seminary. Most days of the week are spent in the strict routine of prayer, studies, duties, and meals. While such a routine is highly conducive to growth in the Christian life, it can sometimes feel monotonous. This past year, my second-year brothers and I went into Catholic primary schools to teach religion. Although I was nervous at first, it quickly became the highlight of my week. What a joy it was to be out in the world actually doing God’s work by teaching and preaching the Gospel to kids. Their hearts were so receptive to the Word of God, and their minds so inquisitive and full of questions, we couldn’t help but leave each week with a sense of elation and accomplishment. I recognise, of course, that other areas of pastoral work might be much more challenging than primary schools, but nevertheless, it is certainly a relief to put into practice what we spend the rest of the week studying and praying for. I wish I could share in more detail the ins and outs of seminary life. But for the sake of brevity I must end it here. For all those reading, I hope this short article has given you a snapshot into my own formation experience over these past two years, and


perhaps sheds some light on what goes on in the mysterious place known as the seminary. Please continue to pray for me and my seminary brothers (especially Aldrin, Martino, and Hien) as we continue our seminary journey towards the priesthood in Broken Bay. If you have any questions or wish to contact me, please email me at

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Experience God’s light and peace in your life this Lent

Fridays @ 7pm – 8pm

Churches of the

Diocese of Broken Bay will be open on Fridays in Lent for quiet time and prayer, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation available

For more information and participating churches, please visit