Broken Bay News June 2020

Scroll for more

Page 1




# 205 JUNE 2020


DIOCESE OF BROKEN BAY Diocesan Office: Tel (02) 8379 1600 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

BBN / JUNE 2020

We are a living Eucharistic community By Bishop Anthony Randazzo

CHANCERY OFFICES Bishop: Most Rev Anthony Randazzo Vicar General: Very Rev Dr David Ranson Chancellor: Jo Robertson Executive Officer: Kelly Paget Diocesan Financial Administrator, Director, Office for Stewardship: Emma McDonald Director, Diocesan Office for Safeguarding: Jodie Crisafulli Tel: (02) 8379 1605 Director, Marriage Tribunal: Adrienne Connaghan Tel: (02) 8379 1680 Director, Office for Communications: Selina Hasham Manager, Office for Evangelisation: Jenny Hildebrandt Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD): Alison Newell CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE Interm Director: Danny Casey Tel (02) 9847 0000 PO Box 967 Pennant Hills NSW 1715 CATHOLICCARE Executive Director: Lyn Ainsworth 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) 8379 1618 Design: Edward Baricevic

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.


My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, welcome to another edition of Broken Bay News. Over these past few months as we have lived in a COVID environment, our community has been presented with challenges and opportunities. I suspect for most of us, neither was expected or even desired, and yet, here we are by the grace of God pushing forward through the greatest health crisis in 100 years. One of the great challenges has been trying to reach out so that people are not lost in the myriad of rules and regulations. Keeping families and loved ones together as well as staying connected with neighbours and friends has been a challenge. The work of our Parishes, Catholic Schools, and CatholicCare has been marvellous under extraordinary circumstances. The experience has also afforded us many opportunities. We have had to be quite deliberate in making occasions for gatherings to be non-exclusive and open, despite numerical restrictions. Many have taken responsibility for their own health and safety, not selfishly but with a much deeper and informed understanding of the common good. Surely, this is an opportunity to build stronger, more charitable communities of faith as well as a better society.

As the community of the Church of Broken Bay, we have also received the opportunity to reassess and evaluate what is truly of value and importance to us as the Body of Christ. At the top of the list is our Sunday Eucharistic gathering. I have been inundated with messages, emails, and letters from people of faith who are longing for the Eucharist. Many have expressed their desire to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist; as well as meet and greet fellow members of the body of Christ in the community of the Church. What is clear is that we do not merely go to Mass; rather we are a living Eucharistic community with a life and mission in the world. The COVID environment challenges this life and mission, while at the same time offering us opportunities to be creative in living the faith and engaging in mission. I have been asked why Sunday Mass is so important to us as Catholic Christians? For all Christians, Sunday is the first of all days because it is the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Put simply, it is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. The very first Christians took Sunday, above all other days, to assemble, to pray, to read the Scriptures and to break bread. From that time until today, this celebration, that Catholics call the Eucharist, has continued. In our own time, we can find Catholic communities moved by the Holy Spirit, coming together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. In the First Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul used the image of the body of Christ when he spoke about the

BBN / JUNE 2020


Church. He said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1Cor 12:27)

Partaking in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a witness of belonging to the body of Christ and of being faithful to God.

Sunday Eucharist – also commonly called Mass, is the centre of the Church’s life; it is where Catholics meet each other; not so much as a social event, but rather as a faith filled encounter. Coming together in faith gives members of the Church the opportunity to worship God, to provide for those who are in need; to comfort those who are suffering and to encourage those who are weighed down by life’s challenges and difficulties.

Sunday Mass is a time to give thanks to God for all that has happened in our lives and it is a time to call out to God, asking for help in all the things that are about to happen in our lives.

Each member of the Church is like a different part of the body while Jesus is the head. For the body to function all of the parts need to come together under Christ. It is a great image because it reminds us that while each person is equal not everyone is the same. In Jesus Christ, there is unity in diversity.

It is a time for the believer to see God’s love present in the world in many ways, but most especially in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

While each Catholic finds their place and purpose in the assembly on Sunday, they do not do so in isolation.



At times, it is all too easy to find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life where work becomes a burden, relationships are overly complicated and family life is chipped away. In the Catholic tradition, Sunday has long been a day of prayer and rest. Another opportunity which has emerged is that we have been forced to slow down, spend time with each other, pray together, and rest. The celebration of the Mass on Sunday reminds us that God is the centre of our lives and by rising from the dead Jesus Christ makes all things new. My hope is that our community of the Church will continue to reach out to others who might have been alienated, separated, alone, or feeling lost. The “new normal” will include all of these sisters and brothers, and more. In some regards, our real mission as disciples of the Lord has only just begun. +Anthony


Preferred supplier to churches and schools since 1975 • Church Sound Reinforcement Systems • School and Auditorium PA & Intercom Systems • Audio Visual Systems • Hearing Aid Loop Systems • Paging & Outdoor Public Address Systems • Data Projectors, Video Walls, LCD/LED Screens, Motorised Screens • Digital Bell Systems & Control (Wedding, Funeral or Tolling Bells) • Digital Signage / Information Displays • Automated Camera Systems • Special Microphones for all Applications • Ducted Vacuum Systems • Upgrade and Modification of Existing Systems

St Scholastica’s Chapel, Glebe Sound Reinforcement System Upgrade with Bose 402’s, DS40’s & ESP-88 Processor

Call Donal O’Sullivan for a free consultation or for more information visit our website • P: 02 9698 3600 • F: 02 9698 5400 • M: 0408 290 038 • E:


BBN / JUNE 2020

Configured more closely to Christ On the weekend of 6-7 June, two of our Broken Bay seminarians took another step closer to the Priesthood. Sam French and Roger Delmonte were both admitted to the Candidacy for Holy Orders by Bishop Anthony Randazzo. Sam was admitted on Saturday 6 June at Woy Woy Parish, and Roger on Sunday 7 June at Hornsby Cathedral Parish. Candidacy is a public commitment on the part of the community of the Church to accompany these men as they move to the next stage of their formation for the priesthood. “The people of Broken Bay will pray for you as you prepare to lay down your life for their sanctification – in the same way that Christ gave his life on the Cross,” said Bishop Anthony.

“They share your hope in the promise of Christ, who rose from the dead.” “The path that lays before you is not solely one to ordination. It is a path that you will walk accompanied by the community of the Church. The people of Broken Bay will accompany you as you are configured more closely to Christ.” Sam and Roger join fellow seminarian Aldrin Valdehueza, who was admitted to the Candidacy for Holy Orders in November 2019. All three are now in their final preparations before ordination to the diaconate.

LOCAL PEOPLE CARING FOR LOCAL FAMILIES Our team live, work and play on The Beaches. We understand our community and are here for you when you need us most. Whether it’s to plan an immediate funeral for a loved one or plan ahead for your own, we’re here to help.

Contact us to find out more. 844 Pittwater Road, Dee Why 9971 4224

Cnr Barrenjoey Road & Darley Street, Mona Vale 9979 5978 4/

BBN / JUNE 2020

Bishops entrust Australia to Mary Help of Christians As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Australians’ lives, including their worship, the Catholic bishops entrusted the country to the care of Mary Help of Christians on her Feast Day, 24 May. In a message “A word of encouragement to the Catholic people of Australia”, the bishops noted that the country “has certainly suffered because of the pandemic, but not as grievously as some other countries”. “For that we thank God and we congratulate public health authorities and governments on their prompt and prudent responses,” the bishops wrote. “Australians in general have also shown the solidarity and good sense, the generosity and kindness needed in such a time. In our healthcare workers particularly we have seen an exceptional spirit of self-sacrifice, and for that we are all grateful.” The bishops also acknowledge the role that churches and other religious communities have played, which has included the suspension of public worship and the closure of places of worship. “This has been a real deprivation, and the bishops understand not only your anxiety about the virus and shutdown but more especially your deep desire to return to the sacraments and to resume public worship,” they wrote. “There is a real hunger in this. It is something we all feel, and we long for the time when our hunger will be satisfied as together we return to the feast of the Lord.”

The bishops urged the faithful to continue to adhere to government and medical advice, noting the collaboration between those authorities and Catholic leaders to support the re-opening of churches and the staged resumption of public worship. The bishops approved the entrustment of the country to Mary Help of Christians during the plenary meeting, conducted using videoconference technology.

The motion read: “That the Australian Bishops entrust Australia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the title Our Lady Help of Christians, seeking her intercession for the safety of all our people especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.” Mary Help of Christians has been the official patroness of Australia since 1844. Her feast day is celebrated on 24 May, which this year coincided with the Feast of the Ascension. The Diocese of Broken Bay prepared an online resource for families to use at home for the entrustment, including the prayer with responses and information about Marian theology. It can be downloaded from the website prayer-resources/resource-articles/entrustment-tomary-help-of-christians

The letter reflects on the message of the Easter season, saying while there is “no room for complacency” as Australia appears to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, “there is certainly room for the hope that Easter brings to birth”.



BBN / JUNE 2020

Priestly Ordination: Building the Church while doors are closed By Kelly Paget

On 8 August 2019 two Vietnamese seminarians landed in Australia to complete their pastoral placement as part of their ongoing studies to enter the priesthood. These seminarians are members of the religious congregation the Society of the Divine Saviour, or Salvatorians as they are more commonly known, which is an international congregation ministering in many countries across the world. One of these seminarians, Deacon Paul Tran Van Duong SDS, has been serving in Gosford Parish since late 2019. Deacon Paul’s Ordination to the Priesthood was scheduled to take place in Manila on 18 April 2020. His family in Vietnam had been preparing 6/

to meet him in the Philippines to be part of this joyous occasion where it was estimated that more than 1000 people would be in attendance. However, like many significant events in our lives at the moment, all these plans were cancelled, due to the current local and global restrictions in relation to the health crisis that has eventuated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deacon Paul did not let this get in the way of his calling from God: “ I believe that God has a plan for me that includes my precious time in this country, and particularly the Parish of St Patrick’s, Gosford where I consider the community there as my second family. I thank the

Gosford community for their unwavering support of me and for welcoming me into their hearts.” After prayerful discernment and in consultation with his own Regional Superior from the Philippines Fr Adam Janus SDS, the Australian Regional Superior Fr George Kolodziej SDS, and with the approval of their Superior General Fr Milton Zonta SDS, it was requested that the local Bishop of the Diocese of Broken Bay, Most Rev Anthony Randazzo, ordain Deacon Paul into the Order of the Priesthood on Thursday 16 April. Bishop Randazzo joyfully accepted this request and ordained Deacon Paul

BBN / JUNE 2020

during a Mass without a congregation, which was live streamed, allowing the local community to participate virtually, along with Deacon Paul’s family in Vietnam and his religious community in Manila. In the days leading up to the ordination, Bishop Anthony said, “I am delighted that this moment of grace has been given to us in Broken Bay and I am confident that you will keep Deacon Paul in your thoughts and prayers over these coming days.”


of the pandemic virus where I would have been ordained in the presence of my family and friends,” said Fr Paul, the day prior to his Ordination. “My ordination is a time of joyous witnessing during this period when people are struggling with COVID-19 and I strongly believe it may bring light and hope to many people who will

witness it via live streaming, and I am very grateful for this.” At the end of the Ordination, which notably was also Bishop Anthony’s first ordination, it was announced that the now Fr Paul Tran had been appointed as Assistant Parish Priest to Gosford Parish. A welcome and joyful moment for the whole parish to embrace.

The decision to be ordained here in Australia away from his family and without the significant event planned was not one taken lightly by the now Fr Paul Tran SDS, however his approach to this challenging situation has been incredibly gracious. “I feel very blessed to be ordained into the priesthood in Australia which has come about because I can’t return to the Philippines during this crucial period 7/


BBN / JUNE 2020

Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si’ On his address on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Pope Francis called us to “renew our sense of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God’s home. This should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground!” Lately, discussions of environmental silver linings to the COVID-19 crisis have been circulating worldwide. There have been reports and images where air and water pollution have dramatically improved, levels of carbon emissions have dropped, and even wild animals gallivanting in empty streets. A big lesson that COVID-19 taught us is that there is an opportunity to positively impact the future of our environment, if we all work together and start anew in the way we view our world and the way we interact with it. On 24 May 2020, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and ecology – Laudato Si’: On the care of


our common home. To commemorate this, Pope Francis appealed for a global campaign to commit to ambitious actions that accelerate solutions for our ecological crisis. Pope Francis says that to heal the world and “overcome global challenges”, we need to “show solidarity with one another and embrace the most vulnerable in our midst”. The anniversary of Laudato Si’ reminds us to celebrate the incredible actions Catholic communities have implemented to respond to “the cry of the earth and cry of the poor.” Broken Bay parish and school communities have responded and embraced this call in their everyday lives. Schools have injected their sustainability plans with initiatives on ethical resource use, review and maintenance of their physical surrounds and its biodiversity, promotion of community relationships and ecological formation aligned with our Catholic values. Parish groups have also been tirelessly working on embedding initiatives and plans in

parish life that advocate sustainability and social justice. Pope Francis challenges us to have a harmonious relationship with the earth and the rest of humanity. “A harmonious relationship... We so often lose sight of harmony: harmony is a work of the Holy Spirit. In our common home too, on the earth, and in our relationships with people, with our neighbour, with the poorest, how can we restore this harmony? We need a new way of looking at our common home. For this is not a storehouse of resources for us to exploit.” As we journey out of this pandemic and into our ‘new normal’, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit guides our views, behaviour and motivation to shift us into a harmonious relationship with God’s home.

BBN / JUNE 2020


Plenary Council 2020 First Assembly of Plenary Council Postponed In response to the dramatic changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishops of Australia have made the “difficult, but necessary” decision to postpone the first assembly of the Plenary Council. Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said the Church’s focus and for the foreseeable future, is ensuring people continue to be cared for pastorally, spiritually and emotionally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Broken Bay Delegates announced In late March, Most Rev Bishop Anthony Randazzo announced the delegates who will be representing the Diocese of Broken Bay for the Plenary Council First Assembly. Those canonically mandated to be present at the Plenary Council are Bishop Randazzo and Vicar General, Fr David Ranson. Joining them will be two delegates appointed from the Diocese: Ms Alison Newell and Mr Dharmaraj (Raj) Rajasingam. Ms Alison Newell hails from the Parish of Toukley-Lake Munmorah in the far north of the Diocese of Broken Bay. Along with her long-standing role as Diocesan Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Alison has enjoyed national involvement in the conduct of Special Religious Education in which she has gained recognised leadership. She has served on numerous diocesan committees including the former Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Diocesan Vocations Committee. Mr Raj Rajasingam is an active parishioner of the Cathedral Parish of Hornsby at which he exercises a range

Ms Alison Newell Toukley-Lake Munmorah Parish

of ministries. He serves as the National Missions Director of Couples for Christ Australia. He has considerable national and international experience in programmes of Evangelisation and works extensively in lay formation throughout Australia. He also brings his rich multicultural experience to bear on the matters before the consideration of the Plenary Council. We ask that you continue to pray for the delegates of Broken Bay as they prepare themselves to be the voice of our Diocese of Broken Bay when the time for the first gathering comes.


Most Rev Anthony Randazzo

Vicar General Fr David Ranson

Mr Raj Rajasingam Hornsby Cathedral Parish



BBN / JUNE 2020

Plenary Council National Discernment and Writing Groups for Plenary Council 2020 Earlier this year, the national discernment and writing groups for the Plenary Council worked intensively and invoked the Holy Spirit in the pursuit of forming the papers on their appointed national theme of discernment. These groups were comprised of lay people, clergy and religious from all over Australia. Their written submissions will be considered as part of the preparation for the first session of the Plenary Council session. The Discernment Papers were published on Pentecost Sunday and are available to read on the website: continuing-the-journey-of-discernment/ Below are excerpts of the personal experiences and challenges of three of the Broken Bay members as they journeyed and participated in their communal discernment and writing processes.

Discernment and Writing Group Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal John Honner, 73 The “Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal” discernment and writing group first took shape via an induction in Sydney in October 2019. People were in good spirits if apprehensive. Everyone seemed ready to have a go at a daunting task. We tried to model a synodal process, listening to lots of different perspectives, beginning with reflective prayer and later moving to discernment. We were guided by the concerns expressed in the Final Report on the Listening and Dialogue Phase. We had disagreements, confusion and

10 /

reality checks, to be expected in communal discernment. I learnt to appreciate all the particular concerns as being of equal importance. I was very impressed by the efforts every member of our group made to participate fully in our sharing. I sensed this was a work of the Holy Spirit. Putting our report together was a complicated exercise. Gradually, with attentive reading of drafts and painstaking coordination by our chair, our discernments were drawn to a point of satisfactory, even remarkable, completion. We were able to move beyond having competing priorities. It became clear, in the first place, that everything should be based on the way Jesus was inclusive and participatory. Priority should then be given to the inclusion of the poor and vulnerable—both persons and communities. From my perspective, it seems that a major challenge for the Church in Australia is to transcend differences and to seek unity in diversity, with greater openness to the rich and various gifts of the Spirit in the community, because that is the synodal way.

Discernment and Writing Group – Joyful, Hope-filled and Servant Community Deacon Adrian Gomez, 46 Over the last year I have had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of the “Joyful, Hope-filled and Servant Community” Writing and Discernment Group. Our group represented almost every state and territory in Australia: from cities, to regional areas, to the outback. I jumped into the discernment process expecting it to be like a regular committee – with an agenda, discussion and outcomes. Instead I found it to be a prayerful experience, with deep listening, reflection and sharing on the submissions

BBN / JUNE 2020

from around Australia. With constant prayer and reflection, seeking the voice of the Spirit, it was months before we finally started writing. Rather than being a task-driven process it was very much a Spirit-led journey. In a 6,500 word document our recommendations for the Plenary Council to discuss included: strengthening parish communities by developing leadership; greater engagement with the wider Australian community; promoting integrated mission from the many Church agencies and organisations, formation at different levels for all members of the community, re-building trust in the Church and an accountable and equitable use of finances. The most exciting thing about this process for me has been the recognition that we are putting into practice the synodal way of being Church that Pope Francis has been promoting. Like any pilgrimage, our journey together of listening and discerning has been messy and challenging, with things often not going the way that was expected. But the greatest fruits from a pilgrimage often come from the journey itself, not the destination. My hope is, that through the Plenary Council journey, the Church in Australia can become a listening and discerning Church, that recognises where the Spirit is present now as well as having the courage to set out into the deep where the Spirit is calling us to be.


Discernment and Writing Group – Humble, Healing and Merciful Bernard Cumming, 53 I’m a member of the Humble, Healing and Merciful Group. This group represents a broad cross-section of women and men from across the country. Part of the work of the group was to study and reflect on the large document which comprised the many stories of those who have been wronged by the Church. This was a serious and sobering task. At one of the meetings the group also had the privilege of listening to the experience and suggestions of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and Indigenous Catholics in person. It has been a privilege, though very saddening, to hear many stories of those who have been wronged by members of the Church. The study and listening phase of the group’s work has culminated in the preparation of a written document on the theme of a Humble, Healing and Merciful Church. The many ideas and suggestions from the documents, testimony of survivors and reflections of the group members have been synthesised into a series of themes and practical proposals for action. Some of the themes which have emerged strongly during the discernment and writing process include: an apology to survivors of abuse, strategies for developing a leadership that is humble and merciful, the role of clergy and laity, and the need to establish inclusive institutional processes to value the contributions of women, First Nations Peoples and the variety of gifts of lay members of the Church. The written report from the Writing and Discernment Group will be sent to the Plenary Council to inform the next phase of deliberation. To keep up to date and for more information on the Plenary Council 2020, please visit

11 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Memory Innovations Centre – keeping seniors connected during COVID-19 CatholicCare’s Memory Innovations Centre has adapted very quickly to keep seniors in the community connected and supported in the current climate. We are committed to keeping our clients and staff safe whilst ensuring seniors have access to our programs during these unprecedented times. The Centre, located in Waitara, aims to improve quality of life, wellbeing and cognition for older Australians through the use of emerging technologies (including virtual reality, brain programs and smart home devices) and creative activities – all focused on having fun and connecting with others! Participants have access to a variety of programs and education sessions run by experts including a Social Worker, Exercise Physiologist, Psychologist, Nutritionist/Dietician, Occupational Therapist, Dance/Music Therapist and Creative Arts Therapist. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are offering a suite of online workshops catering to all technology skill levels - including both video and phone-in workshops. We are delivering tablets to those who don’t have the right

technology so they can participate in the programs and supporting people remotely to get online. Shane Watson, Coordinator of Aged Care Services said, “It wasn’t as simple as flicking a switch from in-person to online service provision. Our team was incredible in bringing their expertise to the table as we grappled with many challenges, but we are really proud of the result and love to see our seniors smiling and enjoying the programs so much.” We are currently offering a range of programs online from dance and art classes to exercise, cooking and cognitive training - all designed to stimulate the mind and body and keep our seniors engaged. We are providing nutrition tips for seniors, recipe cards, art making tips and much more! We have welcomed numerous new clients who thoroughly enjoy being part of the Memory Innovations Centre family. Dianne, our newest member said, “I am enjoying the Build Your Brain program very much and love the opportunity to meet new people even during isolation”.

Our programs continue to grow in popularity, and we would love to support more seniors as geography is no longer an issue – anyone can jump online and join in! For more information call Jessica on (02) 9481 2659 or visit

Our volunteers got creative with our friends in aged care homes during lockdown Nothing is greater than the heart’s motivation to touch the lives of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. CatholicCare’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) volunteers know this. These wonderful people spend an hour once a fortnight developing friendships, having a chat and sharing a cuppa with people in aged care homes on the Northern Beaches who may not have many visitors. Due to the changes in visiting aged care homes since COVID-19 and the “lockdown”, our volunteers are having to get creative - phoning, writing letters and emailing their buddies instead. The joy they are bringing especially during these unusual times is immeasurable! Volunteer Gill is catching up with Gloria who is vision impaired by phone each week. She plays her favourite songs over the phone and reads her poetry. “I love hearing Gloria sing along to her favourite tunes and I know how much she looks forward to my calls as this is a particularly isolating time for our seniors in homes,” said Gill.

12 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

• CatholicCare’s Emergency Relief program provides much needed financial assistance including food hampers, vouchers, clothing, assistance with utility bills, rental arrears and transport costs. • We supported more than 750 clients with emergency relief last year and we have seen a huge increase in requests and referrals since the bushfires and COVID-19.

Our volunteers experience great personal happiness and satisfaction. We know because they’ve told us. Have you ever heard of the term ‘helper’s high’? Well, there’s plenty of statistics to back it up. Research has consistently shown that people who give up some of their time or skills to help others are generally happier. A 2012 study of 5,000 people found that volunteers were happier, healthier and slept better than those who didn’t volunteer. And in research published in The International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, sustained volunteering was associated with better mental health. It’s no wonder then, that 44 per cent of volunteers surveyed in 2006 by The Australian Bureau of Statistics gave personal satisfaction as a reason for volunteering, while 36 per cent said they simply wanted ‘to do something worthwhile.’ Why not give volunteering a try and find out for yourself? Last year we had 50 volunteers visiting 75 elderly residents across 13 aged care homes across the Northern Beaches. Our one-on-one visiting scheme matches volunteers from the local community with residents who live in aged care facilities who have been identified as socially isolated. Their quality of life is much improved by this companionship! This year, we hope to increase these numbers and reach even more seniors. Maybe you fancy a game of chess with someone, or you simply want to sit and have a

chat. Either way, CatholicCare would love your help. The visiting times are very flexible and volunteers need to commit to just one hour each fortnight. Orientation and ongoing training and support is provided and there is also an opportunity for social gatherings. If you can help, contact Rosemary Edgar on 0418 435 304 or email A huge thank you to all of CatholicCare’s wonderful volunteers who inspire us daily!

New emergency relief funding very much needed More than 13 per cent of Australians live below the poverty line, after housing costs. Of the three million people living in poverty in Australia, 731,000 are children. One in six children under the age of 15 lives in poverty. Our Family Centres are tackling these issues, one person at a time, providing essential support to families in crisis who may not otherwise be able to afford their next meal, or face living in their car, through our emergency relief service.

• We provide referrals and information, so families have on going support to overcome current difficulties and financial stressors.  In May CatholicCare was provided with additional funding by the Federal Government to support the recovery of the recent bushfires as well as those who are most vulnerable and in need as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We are very appreciative of this much needed funding! Our dedicated staff are on hand and working hard to ensure rapid distribution to ease the devastating effects the bushfires had on individuals, families and communities. We are working with service partners and organisations that can access people directly affected by the recent fires. Nicci Rowe, Family Centre Manager says “We know people are still trying to piece their lives back together after this terrible event where homes and livelihoods were decimated. We are assisting with immediate needs such as food and utility bills as well as packages of material goods to support people who are rebuilding their lives”. “The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt many people affected by the bushfires a double blow. Since March we have seen a spike in demand for emergency relief and we have assisted hundreds of people as the full force of these crises are felt”, she went on to say.

* Stats provided by Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) 13 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

baby goods directly to the maternity wards where mums have given birth early due to the stress of COVID-19.

We are working flexibly to ensure that our funding reaches those who most need it in our communities. We are partnering with a number of food banks and newly created co-ops. The newly created Northern Beaches Co-Op provides hot meals to elderly

and vulnerable residents in the community. CatholicCare Emergency Relief has provided this co-op with funding for food items and helped access food heaters to deliver the food safely. We have also provided essential items such as nappies and

On the Central Coast, we are assisting those experiencing homelessness who may have been provided a property to keep them safe through the COVID-19 crisis, but need assistance to set themselves up in a home. We have also helped women fleeing domestic violence who have no visa status or no income or family support - many of these women have young children. During the COVID-19 crisis we have seen an increase in domestic violence across the Diocese. Thankfully our Emergency Relief program can provide immediate assistance via food, clothing and white goods for those who leave their homes with nothing. For more information, please contact CatholicCare on (02) 9481 2600 or visit

$10 PACKS FOR THOSE IN NEED CatholicCare are partnering with Hornsby Connect to provide packs at food bank prices to locals experiencing financial hardship. Plus free delivery available to Hornsby Ku-ring-gai suburbs!




Waitara Family Centre P: 9488 2400 E:



BBN / JUNE 2020

Supporting vulnerable children & young people through foster care emergency motel accommodation with support workers due to the shortage of foster carers. CatholicCare provides essential supports, care and stability for these children and young people, to enable them to recover and thrive.

"Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37-40 There is little dispute that most us live a privileged life. God blesses us daily and abundantly and we live in a spectacular part of the world. Yet there are children within the boundaries of the Diocese of Broken Bay who are suffering. Many have been through experiences few of us could begin to fathom and who, without our help, will go through childhood without the love and support of a family. Consider this. Anna who is 12 years old wakes in the night to hear her mother crying. She is tense and alert as this is familiar to her. There is shouting and the noise of violence. She comforts her younger brother who is trembling at the foot of his bed, tucking him back under his blankets before swallowing her fear and leaving the “security” of her bedroom in search of her mother only to find on the kitchen floor, a victim of domestic violence. While she is doing

her best to help her mother, Police and Child Protection Workers enter the house and Anna is taken to an emergency carer’s house with her brother. Unbeknownst to her, this will be the last she sees of her mother for two years. This is how so many children come into the Statutory Out of Home Care system. The children enter care after suffering, often for many years, from abuse and neglect and the impact from this trauma can be lifelong. These children and young people are more likely to end up in the youth justice system and have far poorer education and health outcomes. They will likely enter a cycle of social disadvantage that is difficult to escape, with potential impacts on their own children.

We have a responsibility to turn this around. What can we do? Fostering is a practical way we can support children and young people who need a temporary or full-time home while their family is supported to make the necessary changes for their safe return home. At any given time, there are dozens of children across the Diocese who require foster care. At times these children are housed in

We are looking for everyday families who might consider taking a child or young person into their home – to love and support them – whether for one or two nights, a few weeks, months or long-term. Is this easy? No, it is not. Caring for those in need requires you to give of yourself, to apply the teachings of Christ in the realest of terms. This is the work of the Church and CatholicCare walks alongside you each step of the way. CatholicCare foster carers receive: • A financial allowance to assist with the day-to-day needs of the child/ young person. This helps to cover day-to-day expenses for the child such as food, clothing, education, travel and leisure activities. • Participation in the process to match children with families. • Comprehensive on-going training and counselling. • A dedicated case manager and 24/7 support. • Social functions and events, and more. Our team would be happy to meet with you, or to come to your parish to talk more about the needs of children in care.

For more information please call (02) 4320 7777, email or visit our website

15 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Are you a separated parent struggling to make agreements or manage conflict? The Mediation Team at CatholicCare Diocese of Broken Bay may be able to support you to achieve an outcome that is quick, economical and provides peace of mind to all parties. With Family Centres conveniently located at Waitara, Tuggerah, Brookvale and Naremburn, our professionals bring local knowledge of additional support services within a comfortable and confidential environment. Anita* contacted CatholicCare because she and her husband Jack* had recently separated and were not communicating well. Both parties were hurt and angry. Making arrangements for their three young children was becoming impossible. Anita and Jack were fighting about everything and the kids were becoming distressed. Their youngest child had started wetting the bed at night, and the older child was refusing to go to school. Both parents

16 /

realised that they needed help and Anita called the Mediation Team to ask about our service. A female mediator spoke with Anita on the phone and made a time to meet with her for a confidential discussion about her situation. Jack was then invited for an individual meeting as well and shared what was happening from his perspective. The mediator then arranged a joint mediation with both Anita and Jack and a second mediator who was male. The two mediators worked together to help Jack and Anita list the issues that were causing them stress and to explore the options that were available to them in resolving them. The needs of their three children were at the core of the discussion, and agreements were reached by the parents with a plan for a new way of doing things to reduce the conflict.

When a relationship ends, and there are children involved, life doesn’t stop. Decisions need to be made at a time when emotions are often running high, and people feel least able to think clearly. A mediator can help people to discuss and come up with resolutions for these issues, giving the family a new way forward. If you are experiencing conflict, our team may be able to help. We are qualified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners and we work in the best interests of children. We have appointments available now. Please contact us on (02) 9488 2400, email mediation@catholiccaredbb. or visit fdr-mediation *Real names not used.

BBN / JUNE 2020

In gratitude... By Liane Giuliano

It is a difficult time to ask for financial support. The last six months have been challenging for our community. Our beautiful natural environment extending from the Northern Beaches, through the leafy North Shore and the Central Coast has suffered with the drought. We have experienced bushfires in many parts of the Diocese with one family that we know of, having the Gospers Mountain fire reach their fenceline. After the fires, came the storms, with many of us still repairing our homes (and speaking with insurance companies) from the storms that hit late last year and again in February.

Our Clergy and Parish staff have developed innovative and creative ways to ensure they stay in touch with their parishioners and the wider community... We are barely on our feet, and yet we are still being tested with the uncertainty of living amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which is challenging us beyond anything we could have expected at the beginning of this year. There is a saying that when there are times of trauma, look to the helpers – look to those who selflessly help others. There are heroes all over our Diocese – our Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers. Our doctors, nurses and health care workers. Our teachers, small business operators, parent volunteers in our schools, our Clergy, Parish staff and volunteers. Those who minister to us through faith-based service have quickly

ACROSS OUR DIOCESE responded to the challenges of ministering in an online world. To them we offer our gratitude and our prayers to keep them safe and well as they support us through times of loss and mourning.

and giving in an online environment. There are many charities of the Catholic Church which help people here and overseas. We are mindful that, at times, the number of ‘asks’ can be overwhelming.

Clergy and Parish staff give so much of themselves. Our Parish secretaries are our “frontline staff”answering calls, responding to emails, taking time with visitors – they are often the first point of contact for someone in need reaching out for support. They are also often the people supporting their parish priest in compiling the Parish bulletins each week and organising (and reorganising) the Parish calendar. Our Clergy and Parish staff are working tirelessly to ensure the churches continue to be maintained, completing funding applications to secure grants for new carpet or coordinating the maintenance team to make sure the presbytery, church and offices are safe.

When you give to your Parish or to the Diocese of Broken Bay, you play a personal and active part in the mission of the Gospel, contributing to the life and outreach of Catholic communities throughout our Diocese. Your giving provides opportunities for others to encounter the Good News of the Gospel through teaching and healing ministries. Your giving also supports and builds up our communities of living faith, including our parish communities, and makes a real difference to the lives of individuals and families who stand in need.

Now in these remarkable times of COVID-19, amidst challenges not previously experienced, we have seen our Clergy quickly and resiliently adapt to providing Mass and other services streamed online. Our Clergy and Parish staff have developed innovative and creative ways to ensure they stay in touch with their parishioners and the wider community, reaching out over the phone or email, finding additional content for newsletters and YouTube, writing letters and ensuring that they are staying connected with those they know who might be alone and struggling. In turn, we have witnessed unprecedented numbers of people wanting to participate in Mass, the Rosary and children’s liturgies.

It is through generous donations such as yours that we as a Diocese are able to provide places of sanctuary for prayer and communion, deliver social services that support, connect and change lives, and develop vibrant communities marked by genuine bonds of faith and pastoral care. And finally, thank you to you all. For your faith. For your trust. For your continued connection.

! u o y k n Tha

This remarkable response has been made possible through the generosity of the Parish community, the people who have committed to financially supporting Planned Giving by ensuring that their donation is at the Parish every week, despite the challenges COVID-19 has placed upon us all and who have also adapted to worshipping 17 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

We are the Church. Through Baptism, we are all members of the Body of Christ By Tania Rimac

What is in a name? When you hear the word “church” what is it that comes to mind? A beautiful sandstone building with stained glass windows; a steeple stretched high into the heavens; or do you picture the aisle leading to the altar with the tabernacle at the centre of the building and statues of saints decorating the peripheries? Is this the rebuilding that Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the temple that he would raise up in three-days? (John 2:19). So often we speak of the church as referring to the building however, as we know, the Church is the ‘people of God’, the ones who live out Jesus’ mission in the world. The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia, meaning assembly or community of believers.

In saying ‘the Church’, who exactly are we referring to? Often, we hear people refer to ‘the Church’ as something separate from themselves. Referencing the Church in this way can separate us from the community and of any accountability that we might have to the Church. In saying ‘the Church’, who exactly are we referring to? The priest; the parish staff; the people who clean the church on a roster or read during Mass? As Christians, we don’t just ‘go to church’, we are the Church. Recently, I was at the grocery store purchasing a large quantity of food to cook for an Alpha evening. The cashier commented that I must be having a party of some sort. I informed her that I was cooking a meal for a parish event called Alpha and invited her to come along. She asked why I was doing that and remarked that when her parish had events the church provided the food. I asked her if it was 18 /

her priest that cooked all the food. She said that it wasn’t, but it was the Church. I responded by letting her know that I am the Church and that the people who were providing food for her events were just like her and I, ordinary individuals who together make up the Church and contribute with a servant heart. When we speak of the Church it can be easy to diminish our own responsibility and place more of an onus on others, such as clergy, to take care of things that need to be done. Rather, each baptised person is part of God’s family which together makes up the Church. Each person is called to be an active, participating member of Christ’s Church.

If you are the Church, what does this mean to you? How do you respond to this? Paul tells us “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one

body…the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Cor 12:12-14). This one body is the Body of Christ, the Church, and is made up of all those who are baptised through the power of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit with which we are baptised, gives each person unique gifts and charisms. These gifts and charisms are given so that collectively as the People of God we are able to participate in Christ’s mission and the building of the kingdom of God on earth. Mother Teresa is known to have said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things”. This is the truth when it comes to the role we play in the Church. “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service” (1 Cor 12:4) and each person has their individual gifts and abilities which when used together can do great things. If we look to the domestic church we are able gain an insight and better understand of our role within the Church.

BBN / JUNE 2020

A family may consist of a mother, father, children, or grandparents. Each member is an individual but collectively are a family. When one member is not using their gifts and contributing to the family, the spirit and dynamic of the family changes. Each person is a valued member, and for the family to be whole, each member contributes in their own unique way to make the family unit function the way it was intended. This is the same for the Church. The gifts we have been given have been given to us not to lie dormant, but to be used in the mission of the Church. We need to be mindful not to become complacent, relying on others to take the lead to care for things that need to be done because they have chosen it as their vocation or because we believe they have more time. When we distance ourselves from the Church in this way and abdicate our responsibilities we are cheating ourselves and the Church of what we have to offer, as we

ACROSS OUR DIOCESE are not living out the potential we have been gifted. Being entrusted with our own unique gifts we have a responsibility, as we “are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12:27). If we do not use our gifts, the body is left lacking and unable to function the way it was intended. Each baptised person is a valued member of the Church and has a role to play in building up the Body of Christ, the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, doing what needs to be done and going into the world to carry out the mission we have been given; to meet people and proclaim the Good News.

As a member of the Body of Christ how are you using your gifts, daily, to build the Church which Christ entrusted to you? It is interesting to note that this article was written in February. It was written

in a time where the mere idea of no public Masses or access to the Eucharist was unbelievable and, quite frankly, absurd. The situation the Church finds itself in today strongly affirms the context of this article; that our Church is not a church of bricks and mortar, but a Church made up of individuals who collectively are the Church. Though the church doors were closed for a time, our Church did not stop serving and ministering. The Church continues to live, strengthened by the Spirit, going out and serving those in our parish communities and beyond. We continue to use our gifts to reach out in new and creative ways, until we can gather fully again to celebrate the Eucharist with one another. Until then, we continue to serve and be united to one another in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit!

we have availability at our preschools

Our Early Learning Centres are purpose-built preschools on the grounds of local Catholic primary schools. We pride ourselves on providing services that are distinctively welcoming and create positive environments where children develop trust, feel safe, and are happy and content. Our centres are havens for creativity, fun, laughter and enjoyment! Our Lady of Good Counsel ELC, Forestville P: (02) 9452 3069 St Brendan’s ELC, Lake Munmorah P: (02) 4358 1102 Our Lady Star of the Sea ELC, Terrigal P: (02) 4365 3222 Waitara Early Learning & Care Centre P: (02) 9488 2400 St John the Baptist ELC, Woy Woy P: (02) 4344 1173 19 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Home-Based Learning in Broken Bay

Home-Based Spirituality

COVID-19 certainly has had an impact on all parts of our lives, requiring us to fundamentally change the way we do things. Schools have been incredibly adaptive to meet the needs of students and families as we moved from SchoolBased Learning to Home-Based Learning almost overnight.

Schools explored new ways to support families on their spiritual journey and a Home-Based Spirituality program was designed especially for families.

Each school introduced its own Home-Based Learning program to suit the unique needs of their community. Principals worked tirelessly throughout this time to ensure the health and safety of our school communities and the continuing education of students remained the highest priority. Staff at the Catholic Schools Office worked hard to support each of our 44 schools in all possible ways to respond to the needs of their communities. The feedback from parents has been very positive, acknowledging the outstanding response of schools across the Diocese.

Members of the Diocese’s Faith Formation and Evangelisation team designed the program, where families were given resources to view in their own time, then followed up with online discussions. Over Zoom, a platform for video and audio conferencing, families were guided through prayer and reflection, then took part in a thoughtful discussion of the resources, with everyone invited to participate. Feedback from parents was very positive, with families incorporating the teachings into their daily lives.

Teachers have gone the extra mile for their students to ensure the best possible learning experience and care for students. Parents worked creatively to support their children while learning from home and students have responded amazingly, rising to meet the challenges of a new style of learning. It has been energising to see the many new ways of learning and engaging across our schools. It has been truly inspiring to see the way our communities have come together, even when physically apart.

“This was beautiful, and so timely!” said Fran, a mother of three students at St Patrick’s, East Gosford. “I used to practice this daily prayer and it’s fallen by the wayside so it’s lovely to be reminded.” Karen, whose family attends Wahroonga Parish, said, “HomeBased Spirituality has really helped to bring our community together while we can’t visit our spiritual homes at church.” Suzanne, whose three children attend Sacred Heart School, Pymble, said, “Catching up with the beautiful team from the Catholic Schools Office plus other parents was lovely: a chance to have an adult chat and the Examen prayer is a beautiful meditation as well.” She added: “By recharging myself I was then more prepared for the next home challenge and more mindful of the children as well.” Sandi, whose children attend Prouille Catholic School and St Leo’s College in Wahroonga, said that she hoped the discussions would continue after lockdown. “Hoping we can continue in some form even after we are allowed to roam free again and it’s better for the environment too!” she said.

20 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

St Martin’s Davidson goes viral online As schools across the Diocese faced empty classrooms with the switch to home-based learning last term, St Martin’s Catholic School in Davidson got creative by offering dynamic and engaging learning sessions to the community live on Facebook. In normal circumstances, the school holds weekly Rhyme and Story Time sessions and a Playgroup for local pre-schoolers and their families, but in response to isolation and social distancing guidelines, St Martin’s Principal, Adrian Pulley, decided to modify the sessions so they could continue.


Leading the way Home-Based Learning at St Paul’s Catholic College, Manly posed a real challenge for teachers with hands-on practical subjects like Construction and Technology. TAS (Technological and Applied Studies) and VET (Vocational Education and Training) Leaders of Learning, Catherine Winter and Dale Casburn, were quick to find a solution by creating and supplying at-home packages to students.

“We didn’t want to let anything stop us from continuing to engage with our students and the local community” Mr Pulley said. “We were already teaching our current students remotely but we saw the opportunity to extend the support to include our local pre-school community as well.” The school has held daily online Rhyme and Story Time as well as the weekly Playgroup sessions but the biggest surprise was the following that St Martin’s energetic sports teacher Mrs Wallace had when she started running live ‘Wally’s Workout’ sessions regularly on the school’s Facebook page. “The community absolutely loves Wally’s Workouts. One session has even been viewed 32,000 times. It’s amazing!” said Mr Pulley. “In this unique time in our history, we wanted to ensure we are supporting our students and the local community as much as we can and if we can do it while bringing a smile to people’s faces, then that’s even better.”

Year 7 Technology students completed their pewter casting unit at home by using air-dried clay or cuttlefish to make moulds, while Year 8 students studying the dairy industry were given kits to prepare yoghurt, ice cream, ricotta cheese and labneh at home. “These kits have been designed to assist parents so they don’t have to source and purchase products,” said Ms Winter. In CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts) Leader of Learning and Visual Arts teacher Luke Edmunds came up with a new “Artist in Residence” unit, where students create artwork to document their time in isolation. “The work being done by departments such as CAPA, TAS and VET is a great example of how our staff really care for the students and their learning and wellbeing,” said Principal Chris Browne. “We are very proud of and grateful to our staff who have really embraced the challenges whole-heartedly. Learning is being transformed by our dedicated teachers.”

21 /


Creating a more sustainable culture

BBN / JUNE 2020

At Sacred Heart Catholic School, Mona Vale, sustainability themes were embedded throughout the STEM subjects across all grades.

Schools across the Diocese have started some exciting new sustainability initiatives to reduce their impacts on our planet. From new waste management systems to planting native gardens, primary and secondary schools alike are protecting the environment. “The important thing is using a whole-school approach,” said Virginia Ryan, the Assistant Director Evangelisation and Catholic Formation at the Catholic Schools Office. “Teachers, parents and children from all classes are involved in designing and implementing the changes to make a better environment.” After a single-use plastic audit in 2017, St Mary’s Catholic School, Manly started its outstanding waste management system, dividing waste into paper, co-mingled recycling, general waste, green waste and single-use plastics which teachers and parents take to local supermarkets for recycling.

Stage 3 students worked with the local council and Parish to create a Sacred Garden which was designed to be both sustainable and engage the local community, while Early Stage 1 Science and Technology students took part in a Paddock-to-Plate initiative.

St Leo’s keeps students active with online gym As schools moved to remote learning, staff at St Leo’s Catholic College, Wahroonga, thoroughly embraced the many new learning opportunities this presented and quickly developed some very creative programs to engage students. One such program was the St Leo’s Online Gym – a solution for practical PE and sport lessons which has kept students active at home, in keeping with the holistic development aims of the College. At Holy Cross Catholic School, Kincumber, a native garden prayer walk was opened with a smoking ceremony to acknowledge the traditional land owners. The beautiful prayer walk includes bush tucker plants and habitat to attract local wildlife. St Keiran’s Catholic School, Manly Vale planted a nature play garden which won the Northern Beaches Council Waste Award in 2018 and is watered using tank water. The school also has a vegetable garden which is maintained by parents and children from the junior classes. Year 10 students at Mater Maria Catholic College, Warriewood took a leadership role in their local community by taking part in the Project Feathertail Glider STEM and Mentoring Program. Year 9 TAS students at Mater Maria designed reusable shopping bags, while TAS students in other years constructed compost bins and vegetable gardens. 22 /

“We planned and recorded weekly sessions focussed on using all the major muscle groups for maximum impact, while ensuring activities could be completed in a small

BBN / JUNE 2020

space,” explained Leader of Sport, Mr Michael Kember. “Feedback was immediately very positive from students and parents, with families even completing the sessions together. We soon developed the idea further to include guest appearances, including various high-profile athletes.”

Keeping students connected Children at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic School, Terrigal were excited to attend the school’s first-ever virtual assembly. Over 300 students and their families tuned in to the assembly from home, which was held beginning of Term 2 to welcome students back. While home-based learning continued at the School, the assembly was seen as a great chance to bring some normality into these strange times and to mark the beginning of the school term. “With children still at home, it can be stressful for the parents and the children are missing their normal school lives, so we wanted to replicate something normal,” said Principal Robert Peers.


Flexibility is key The COVID-19 pandemic has led teachers at schools across the Diocese to adapt their practices so that children could learn from home, with flexibility being the order of the day. Emily Channell, a Year 3 teacher and the Religious Education Coordinator at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Catholic School, West Pymble, said teachers had to work out what would suit each family best. “Some people want a set routine for the day and a timetable, and some are working from home and only have a certain number of hours to help their children’s learning,” she said. “It’s been a real act of flexibility for each teacher knowing each family and their circumstances and working out whatsuits each family best, tailoring the program for each child’s needs.” Ms Channell, who was part of the leadership team which designed the OLPS at-home program, said it has been a steep learning curve for teachers to incorporate new technologies such as Zoom, Google Classroom and Seesaw to enhance at-home learning. “It’s been great for our teacher development to upskill and adapt to these new technologies and applications.” Jenny Taylor, whose children Charlotte and Jack are at OLPS, said that she had learned to take each day as it came. “Over the last six weeks, I have come to realise that parents working remotely with kids at home need to release that pressure valve and understand that it’s ok for some things to slip,” she said. “We have been blessed with amazing teachers. I feel like the workload is a good balance and with a mixture of Zoom meetings and pre-recorded messages and my kids understand the expectations.”

Mr Peers said he and his staff spent time researching the best way to deliver the assembly, opting for a private channel which could be tuned into by a large number of viewers.

Ms Channell said that teachers at OLPS had designed the at-home learning around self-directed lessons so that parents who are working from home were also supported. “It’s been great seeing the children getting really creative in the way they respond to tasks,” she said.

Mr Peers said that it was likely that family members were tuning in alongside students, as the school has 560 students including some sibling groups. “That was a great realisation as the whole point was to make the school community feel connected even though we’re far apart.”

23 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Mater Maria make nesting My father’s house has boxes for wildlife many rooms Over the many weeks families were not able to physically gather for Mass in their Parish Churches, many homes throughout Broken Bay have become domestic Churches. One of the first activities teachers asked their students to do was to create “sacred spaces”. A sacred space for prayer features some very simple symbols of our faith and relationship with God through Jesus in the Holy Spirit. Sacred spaces, shared with teachers and classmates ranged from ornate spaces with a collection of symbols related to Holy Week and Easter, to a simple cross with three nails. Kerry Power, Education Officer with the Catholic Schools Office, reflected, “When we allow Jesus into our home through a prayerful reflection on the Gospels and of our lives together, a renewed appreciation of the beautiful connection between love of friends, love of family and love of God becomes part of our daily life.”

Like most people, Clare Strickland, an ex-parent from Mater Maria Catholic College, Warriewood, couldn’t get the images of animals impacted by the bush fires earlier this year out of her mind. She contacted a wildlife group called FAWNA (For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid) who were looking for nesting boxes for native wildlife left without homes. Before COVID-19 restrictions, Claire’s daughter suggested Mater Maria as a venue to create these nesting boxes given she and her sister plus their friends, some of whom are now builders or carpenters, had attended Mater Maria, and were keen to go back to school for the day and help with such a great community cause. Principal Marc Reicher quickly jumped on board and was joined on a Sunday morning by another couple of teachers and a further 25 volunteers who all gave a hand in making the nesting boxes. With timber offcuts donated by Sydney Woodworkers and paint donated by Porters Paints, Channel 9 took some footage of the day, and showed it on the evening news, with Mater Maria getting a well-deserved mention. The nesting boxes were duly sent up to the Port Macquarie area and installed into the local forest area for gliders, possums and small parrots.

24 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

Back to school with a hop and a skip! With a return to face-to-face teaching in May, students are enjoying seeing their friends, playing in the playground and learning in their classrooms with their friends and teachers. Jack, a Year 4 student from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) Catholic School at West Pymble reflected, “I enjoyed HBL (Home-Based Learning) because I was with my family and we were on computers a lot. I also liked starting and finishing my work early. It’s been great to see all my friends in person now I am back at school.” Sue Host, Principal at OLPS said, “we do find ourselves in a new place post-HBL. The leadership team are wondering what learnings from HBL can now be transferred into classrooms and across the whole school”. Alison Perosin, a teacher at OLPS said, “I am forever grateful to the co-teachers of HBL - the parents. Their patience and feedback in the triangle of support did not go unnoticed. Together we allowed our learners to travel from I do/We do/ You do with the gradual release of responsibility which for so many of our students has paid off. Back in the classroom we are seeing a more independent learner with greater output and better self-direction.” Meanwhile Josie Vescio, Principal at St Rose Catholic School, Collaroy said, “a return to school could not have come any sooner, with students racing to the gate to see their friends and teachers.” “Whilst there are still restrictions with parents unable to enter the site, and a hygienist diligently cleaning twice daily, the sounds of students playing and chatting has never been sweeter”. “This has brought a new dynamic to teaching and learning which is amazing to witness at such a young age,” added Ms Vescio. “We talk a lot about children and resilience, but it is not until something like COVID-19 occurs where you truly see how adaptable and resilient children are. We look forward to seeing our students thrive in this new normal”. Bishop Anthony Randazzo welcomed students, teachers and staff back to school and commended school communities for the huge efforts made to adapt to Home-Based Learning during the COVID-19 restrictions. Watch his video message here:


Introduction to Danny Casey - Interim Director of Schools Hello, my name is Danny Casey; I was recently appointed by Bishop Anthony as the Interim Director of Schools and would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am a graduate of Catholic Education – it was where I was formed; it was where I was challenged to be the best I could be academically; and it was where my faith was nourished. It is a special privilege to be leading Catholic schools in Broken Bay and I plan to do all I can to build on our proud legacy and unlock the potential I know we have in our school system – our students deserve no less. I start by thanking my colleagues who work in our schools, those who work in the Catholic Schools Office and all ourparents who entrust their children to our care. Our schools work in partnership with our parents and I know we have all worked hard to deliver learning at home, recognising all the challenges that entailed over the last few months. We understand how difficult this time has been for parents and I would also like to thank our parents for their understanding, encouragement and support. We recognise the financial challenges that many of our families might currently be facing due to COVID-19. We have outlined specific assistance by way of fee relief* for those directly impacted and are eager to help those who need our support at this time – this is who we are, this is what we do - we remain firm in our commitment that no family will be denied catholic education due to financial difficulties. Finally, can I say how deeply committed I am to Catholic education in our Diocese. Welcome Video – Danny Casey *Click here for additional information on the Fee Relief package Fee-Relief-during-Covid-19

25 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Mercy trip to Vietnam

High achievers

In the summer break, students from Mercy Catholic College, Chatswood travelled to Thach Binh in central Vietnam for the College’s fifth annual immersion experience.

Nearly 800 students from Broken Bay Catholic Schools graduated from the HSC last year, with more than two thirds of students placing within the top three Performance Bands.

In past years, girls from the college helped to build St Francis Xavier School in the village of Lai An, and this year a new group of enthusiastic students and staff started a new project by laying brick for three new classrooms. Fundraising efforts throughout 2019 including the College’s Mercy Week, helped purchase building supplies such as bricks and cement used in the construction of the classrooms. While in Vietnam, students also worked at a local orphanage, sharing their time with the local children. “Spending time building the school and seeing the children at the orphanage truly touched me, I have the power to have a positive impact,” said Genevieve, one of the Mercy students. The College’s immersion programme is a unique opportunity which students always find transforming.

The Diocesan Dux award went to Kyra Todd from St Peter’s Catholic College, Tuggerah, who was recognised by the NSW Educational Standards Authority as one of the top five students in the State in both Economics and Business Studies. Four students from the Class of 2019 were awarded the prestigious Premier’s HSC All Rounders Award, which meant they achieved the top Band in at least ten units of study. 254 students were awarded Distinguished Achievers Awards for achieving a result in the top Band for their course of study. These statistics represent the hard work and hours of study from the Class of 2019 and the wonderful support of their teachers and families across the Diocese. The Graduating Class of 2019 leave their respective Colleges well prepared to make a positive difference in the world.

Paving the pathway to work A new initiative at a local Catholic secondary school will help students hone the skills they need to transition to life and work after school. The Pathways program at St Brigid’s Catholic College, Lake Munmorah fosters the ‘enterprise skills’ employers seek in entry-level roles, such as communication, creativity and critical thinking. ‘The world of work is changing,’ said Shana Kuziow, the Community Partnership Leader at St Brigid’s, who designed and built the program. ‘The transition for young 26 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

people between full-time education and full-time work is increasingly uncertain.’ The program introduces students to potential work encounters, employers, post-school study options, and working environments. ‘We provide students with opportunities to interact with employees and employers, which is incredibly powerful,’ said Ms Kuziow. These opportunities start as early as Year 7 and continue all the way through high school. For Year 9 and 10 students, they have included an excursion to the Google workplace to chat with employees and a visit to a construction firm to see the real-world application of an Engineering degree.


St Lucy’s New High School The new high school is underway at St Lucy’s School for children with disabilities in Wahroonga. The school now has two Year 7 classes and one Year 8 class, with the plan to take students up to Year 12 by 2024. With a grant from the State government and donations from parents and the community, the school finished its new two-storey building in March. The building has 16 classrooms, with a kitchen in every classroom and spaces for student centred accommodations and therapy as well as an underground car park. It will open in Term 2. The high school program follows the New South Wales Education Standards (NESA) Life Skills curriculum, which Principal David Raphael said teaches students life skills to set them up for adulthood. The move to provide high school education was welcomed by parents at the school, including Shanan Hall, mother of thirteen-year-old Maggie Noonan. “There aren’t a lot of high schools for special needs kids and that transitioning period between Year 6 and 7 can be really daunting for kids who are very routine-focused,” said Mrs Hall. The Diocese of Broken Bay continues to support St Lucy’s through the building of their new high school through collaborations with their neighbour Prouille Catholic School.

Students in Years 11 and 12 spent a day at the University of Newcastle where they designed their own timetable and sat in on lectures of interest. The school has also introduced a Courage to be Curious Award in partnership with the Central Coast Group Training (CCGT) to emphasise the importance of enterprise skills amongst the school community. The retirement of founding Principal, Julie Terry, at the end of 2019 saw Adam Murdoch, Assistant Principal step up in to the role. “We believe students benefit from a quality education complemented by interactions with employers and the world of work,” said Adam. 27 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

Finding a different path to fruitfulness By Jenny Brinkworth, first published in the Southern Cross, Archdiocese of Adelaide

With one in six Australian couples experiencing infertility, a new book by Debra Vermeer will be a welcome resource for Catholic couples. When Catholic convert and respected journalist Debra Vermeer was grappling with the reality that she and her husband Tony could not conceive a child, she found the shelves of bookshops devoid of helpful literature. There was a plethora of material on parenting and different fertility methods and technologies, but very little to support couples living with infertility.

A former Canberra political reporter and media adviser to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Debra “heard God whisper” that maybe she could write a book about infertility in a faith context. As well as putting into words her personal experience and deepest thoughts, she interviewed six other couples who have “walked their own path through infertility” and she has shared these stories in her recently published book Life to the Full. As the title suggests, it is a book of hope. But that doesn’t diminish the pain and anguish experienced by couples whose faith is based on the divine command of ‘be fruitful and multiply’ (Genesis 1:28) and the Catholic teaching that 28 /

children are ‘the supreme gift of marriage’ (Gaudiem et Spes, 161). In the introduction, Debra unpacks biblical references to infertility and the fact that they almost always go hand in hand with God intervening. “I found little solace in these stories of God blessing infertile (and often downright elderly) couples with a baby as a reward for their faithfulness,” she writes. “If God could do that for women like Sarah, Rachel and Hannah in the Old Testament and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth in the New Testament, then why wouldn’t He do it for us?” But through her discussions with bishop friends and her spiritual adviser, she came to the understanding that these Scripture stories are part of a bigger narrative of God’s “unfailing, liberating love” and it is “in our barrenness and in our suffering that God’s blessing will come”. Revealing her devastation at not falling pregnant after marrying fellow journalist Tony Vermeer, a widower with two teenage children at the time, Debra writes of crying at shopping centres because she’d seen a random baby and sometimes breaking down for no apparent reason at all. “I now recognise it as profound grief. The future that I had dreamed of and yearned for was swept away and it was like I was incapable of reimagining a future,” she writes. But her faith, which has led her to becoming a Benedictine oblate (a vowed associate of the order) and frequent visitor to the Sisters’ Jamberoo Abbey, was a constant source of solace.

BBN / JUNE 2020


After 15 years of marriage she says she has come to understand that “despite the cross of infertility we have been called to bear, or perhaps through it, we are infinitely blessed”.

“It was strange how angry that decision made a lot of people though, especially doctors. We had one doctor who was recommending IVF and when we told him our decision, he got really angry and started shouting at us.”

“God has given us a strong, deep and true love as a married couple.”

The six women spoke to Debra of the pain of seeing their friends get pregnant, the guilt of not giving their parents grandchildren, the overwhelming grief at times such as Mother’s Day and baptisms.

One of the most moving parts of Debra’s story is her relationship with her stepchildren who she describes as “two of the finest human beings you’ll ever meet”. “What continues to amaze me and to humble me is the way Cass and Zac received me into their lives,” she writes. “Right from the beginning, long before we were married, they welcomed me with open arms. They received my love warmly and they loved me wholeheartedly in return. They invited me into the fabric of their individual lives, trusting in me and confiding in me. We loved spending time together, both one-on-one and as a family. I learnt a lot about how to love in that first year and my teachers were the two young souls who God had sent into my life.” Like Debra and Tony, each couple in the book has a unique story to tell, of how they fell in love, their hopes and dreams, their faith and how it influenced the way they responded to their infertility. Debra acknowledges that most infertile couples, including many Catholic couples, choose to try IVF and although the statistics show that many are unsuccessful, the beautiful children born through IVF are loved by all. However, the couples in her book have, as a result of their faith, chosen another road. Because of the prevalence of IVF in the modern understanding of infertility, choosing not to use this type of technology can land you in a lonely place, according to Debra. “Many people don’t understand your decision, or are even hostile to it,” she writes. One of the women featured in the book, Trudy, says that despite being told that IVF was their only lifeline, they never felt tempted to pursue it. “We were always comfortable with our decision not to pursue IVF and our decision on that became even stronger once we were faced with the situation,” Trudy says.

Several couples have navigated the long and complex road to adoption – both local and overseas – with joyous results, one is considering foster parenting and another is still trying to conceive using natural fertility methods. All have been sustained greatly by their faith and while there may have been times when they’ve questioned God’s plan for them, they have never doubted that he has a plan. Laura and Joe use much of their free time mentoring young married couples and babysitting for friends. “So we definitely see our marriage as being fruitful, whether we end up having babies, or adopting or fostering, or not. Having a fruitful marriage is about sharing and multiplying your love as a couple and we’re sure God will lead us in the right paths there. Our job is to stay open to His will and to keep saying, ‘OK God. What next?’” Life to the Full is a much-needed message of hope for couples unable to have their own children but it has important learnings for the Church as well. As Debra points out, the statistics of one in six Australian couples experiencing infertility means that on any given Sunday in a Catholic church, there are at least a few couples in the pews who are living with infertility. There was a feeling amongst the couples she interviewed that their pain was not being “seen or heard in a pastoral sense” and that they didn’t quite ‘fit’ anywhere in parish life.

Life to the Full,

published by St Pauls Publications, retails for $24.95 and is available from religious bookstores or online at product/10090

“It wasn’t just blindly following the teaching of the Church, but it was something we were really convinced about, that we can’t destroy other embryos just for the sake of one. That was just not something we wanted to do. 29 /


30 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

BBN / JUNE 2020


Careful, Kind and Creative during COVID-19 At the end of March 2020, a month into Lent and with the Coronavirus pandemic closing in around us, our Masses were suspended and our church buildings closed. Lent this year placed us in a desert-experience different to any other Lent we have experienced; and Easter was celebrated in homes around prayer spaces and computer screens rather than around a newly-lit Easter candle and a church bursting with people. With the situation changing frequently during these past two months, we have had to respond as best we could. This has required discernment amidst the unpredictability, as well as adaptability and much prayer. As a Diocese, Bishop Anthony invited us to “be careful, be kind and be creative”, and parishes have indeed responded in this way. Here are just a few of the many ways that this care and creativity has been expressed.

Staying Connected Communicating with each other in times of physical distancing has been a key priority. Social media flourished, providing a path of connection that is immediate and effective; and constant emails are reaching parishioners’ inboxes to keep all informed.

Friends” group offers a friendly phone call to check in with parishioners. As a result of COVID-19, the personal delivery of parish bulletins is a new service that parishes have implemented. Kincumber Parish has two teams of volunteers that hand-deliver bulletins to about 30 households each weekend. Also, the Parish Pastoral Care Team connects with many parishioners by telephone and follows up with any special requests. St Ives Parish is collaborating with the Mount Ku-ring-gai Community Centre to distribute packages of fruits and vegetables to isolated parishioners in need. Delivered in person by parish staff Michelle and Belinda, these are a concrete way of showing support. Overall, a lot of appreciation has been expressed at the efforts of Parish staff and volunteers all across the Diocese who are going over and above to ensure that connections are fostered with all parishioners, as much as is possibly practical. A very big thank you to all!

At Pymble Parish, a pre-existing Flocknote platform provided the perfect communications tool for this time, with many more answering the call to join up. Built upon this platform, is the Word on Fire Digital Platform that gives every parishioner access to all content from Bishop Robert Barron’s ministry. These video courses, talks and other materials can be streamed directly on personal devices, offering unrestricted faith formation for each parishioner from the one parish subscription.

A Creative Stations of the Cross

Formed in Faith

Parish staff at Manly Freshwater Parish, Michelle, Paula and Jenny, dedicated themselves to collecting, organising and correcting parishioner contact details, and their tireless efforts have resulted in over 2000 contacts. This enabled an effective promotion for the Easter Sunday live streamed Mass which attracted significant participation. The weekly “Keep in Touch” email, distributed by Epping and Carlingford Parish, offers suitable resources for parishioners, and utilises the Mailchimp tool to manage email addresses and keep track of sent emails. For those who are not on email, the “Circle of

This has helped to resource the domestic church, especially during the most sacred celebrations of our liturgical year at Easter, inviting parishioners to bring the Easter symbols into their homes.

Sharing resources with each other has allowed us to continue to be nourished in our faith. The Office for Evangelisation ‘Connected in Christ’ resource has been distributed widely and offers links to resources for each Sunday in the liturgical year.

The celebration of the Triduum Liturgies called for creativity, and Manly Freshwater Parish responded by organising a very reflective and beautiful online video of the Stations of the Cross, with parishioners presenting each station, interspersed with music coordinated by Simon Hyland.

31 /


Creative Confession Celebrating the Sacraments during this time has been a challenge and during Lent, Fr Greg Skulski SDS of Gosford Parish set up an inviting outdoor space to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, allowing both privacy and adherence to physical distancing.

Mass Live Streamed

BBN / JUNE 2020

Fr Jim Mc Keon, from Chatswood Parish, has made available video recording of his homilies, to engage people with a pertinent message for each week that is easy to access directly.

Lynn says “It was wonderful experiencing the real-time interaction, as ‘hellos’ were typed and I was able to greet the families”. Three other volunteers are now also leading the session.

Engaging Youth The young people of the Diocese have readily made the transfer from the physical space to the digital space. Some homilies for children have also been recorded to connect with our youngest parishioners, such as this one pictured here, which uses a play on words of ‘pastor’ and ‘pasta’ a memorable and entertaining homily for Good Shepherd Sunday!

The Youth Group at Gosford Parish wasted no time in organising fun sessions online that include chat, games, competitions with prizes, prayer and formation. It is quite remarkable how all these elements transfer well into the digital space with some creativity and thought.

Re-imagining Children’s Liturgy of the Word Many parishes have embraced Facebook or YouTube to offer a live streaming of the celebration of the Mass. What a joy to be able to participate in the Liturgy in this way, whether a Diocesan Mass from Cathedral Parish, or Mass from our own parish with our local family of faith. Mass online can feel quite personal, as one parishioner from Gosford Parish stated, “I feel like Mass is being said just for me.” Seeing familiar names pop up on the ‘chat’ feature alongside the live streamed Mass video allows us to feel even more connected with fellow parishioners. Fr Paul Finucane, at Kincumber Parish, took a moment at the end of Mass to engage in real time with parishioners, to read their comments and say hello, so that this could be a moment of real engagement of the people of the parish with their parish priest. 32 /

Lynn Siau, co-ordinator of the Sacramental Programme and Children’s Ministries at the Parish of Epping and Carlingford, has creatively utilised Facebook to offer real-time Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the start of the live streamed Mass each Sunday.

As Mass begins, families can join a closed Facebook group, which offers privacy for the children and allows Lynn to engage with them via the chat function in a safe space. Over 50 families are taking part. Creative elements of this initiative include uploading activity sheets as PDFs, and inviting families to submit video clips of children reading the scripture texts which are then shown during the session.

With a dash of extra creativity, a whole ‘praise and worship’ night was relocated online. The Salvatorian Praise and Worship event on Saturday 16 May reached over 5000 young people, and combined a talk, prayer and amazing music to create a powerful youth event. With SRE classes unable to continue in state schools, our Diocese of Broken Bay CCD team began an enormous effort to adapt the CCD curriculum into an interactive format that could be used by families online. This initiative has been welcomed and used widely across NSW.

BBN / JUNE 2020


Online Groups

A Personal Touch

Come on in!

Fr Paul Tran SDS from Gosford Parish is offering a weekly Zoom Bible Study, and joins many others in parishes across our Diocese in offering a variety of creative ways for people to continue to connect for formation in small groups.

In these times when we are apart, parishes are finding creative ways to keep a focus on the people of the parish. Mother’s Day provided an occasion to celebrate our mothers, and North Harbour Catholic Community created a video using photos submitted by parishioners to honour and pray for all mums.

The ease of being able make to a video recording today has allowed our clergy and parish teams to graciously invite us behind the scenes and give us a glimpse into various aspects of parish life.

In May, Pennant Hills Parish offered a daily online prayer group that gathers to pray the Rosary together. An advantage of using Zoom for this type of prayer is that participants can join simply through their telephone without the need for an internet connection.

Another beautiful initiative from Lower North Shore Parish is the ‘virtual choir’ rendition of “Nothing Can Trouble”, a perfect choice of song for this time of pandemic. Lisa Lewis, Director of Music at the Parish, co-ordinated the rehearsals and planning.

Alpha Online One initiative that is an unlikely entrant into the digital space is Alpha. With one of the core elements being a shared meal, there was initially some debate as to whether it would be best to put it on hold for the time being. However, the other elements of Alpha of watching a video and small-group conversation have shown to be equally effective online. The parishes of St Ives, Epping and Carlingford, North Harbour and Pennant Hills have made the switch. Denis McNamara from Epping and Carlingford Parish says there has been a “real enthusiasm and wonderful sense of sharing on Zoom”. An innovative use of Alpha online has been with the young people of the Diocese. With physical boundaries eliminated, why not connect all our High Schools and run the Youth Alpha series via Zoom? Co-ordinated by Michael Tobin and Fiona Green, with support from youth ministers across the Diocese, around 70 high school students are currently doing exactly this, exploring faith in an environment of fun and community, on a platform they feel comfortable engaging with.

Each member of the choir recorded their part, and this was then woven together to produce the finished product. Lisa looks forward to when she will be able to next hear the whole congregation gathered in song, but says that in this difficult time, these projects have been able to bring people together around music which can really touch people’s hearts. A second song is currently being prepared and can be seen at the Music-LNS YouTube channel.

On Good Shepherd Sunday, Fr Greg Skulski SDS and Fr Paul Tran SDS from Gosford Parish allowed us into their kitchen to share with us their hobbies, and in particular their love of cooking through a live cooking demonstration. At Wahroonga Parish, seminarian Shayne D’Cunha gave us a “Peek into the Priory”, which featured more cooking, this time by Fr David Ranson, as well as an insight into the efforts of the hard working parish team, from washing the windows and tidying the grounds, to a birthday celebration – a real-life snap-shot in the life of a real parish! As restrictions now begin to be eased, it seems that we may have turned a corner in this journey through the pandemic. We are being welcomed back, in a measured way, to our physical church buildings, and re-connecting with each other person-to-person.

As we move forward, we should take the creativity and personal kindness that has been a hallmark of our past two months, and allow this innovation to continue and to shape our future. Let’s continue to be careful, to be kind and to be creative.

33 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

Fr Bogdan Skupien: I always wanted to be a missionary By Debra Vermeer

Fr Bogdan Skupien dreamed of being a missionary priest from when he was a young boy and, through the grace of God, his dream became reality, leading him first to assignments in Papua New Guinea and now, the Diocese of Broken Bay.

Born and raised in Poland, Fr Bogdan grew up in a country village and entered the seminary straight after school. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2001 and served as assistant priest in Poland until 2004, when he asked his bishop if he could become a missionary. “As a priest, I wanted to be a missionary, ” he says. “And as a missionary, I wanted to go to PNG.” 34 /

That desire had been sparked by an earlier encounter with a priest who had served in PNG.

After being there for a while, Fr Bogdan decided to build a new parish at Kuare “to get closer to the people”.

“When I was a child, about 12 years old, I met a priest who worked in PNG. He made a big impact on me and after that, I had the dream to go to PNG.” His bishop agreed to send Fr Bogdan to PNG, but first he studied at a Mission Centre in Poland for a year, to prepare him, including one year of English language lessons. This was followed by six months of study in Washington DC.

He and the community worked together to build a parish house, a church, a primary school and a pre-school. And it was a hands-on kind of a job.

He arrived in PNG on 9 February, 2006 and was assigned to Mendi in the Southern Highlands Province. “In the beginning, I was in charge of three parishes, which incorporated 48 stations,” Fr Bogdan says. “From one main station to another main station was three hours by car.”

“My bishop supported me in what I was doing and gave me a sawmill to cut the timber that had been cut down in the bush,” he says. “People gave the timber and their labour and we all worked together. I always say that you can do something for people or something with people. And if you do something with people, it is much easier and everyone feels a sense of ownership in the project.” Fr Bogdan says that as a priest or missionary there are three main priorities. “The first is evangelisation, or pastoral

BBN / JUNE 2020


work. That is our main work,” he says. “At the same time, you need to provide opportunities for education, because learning to read and write is a tool that the people can then use to take up a Bible and read it for themselves and deepen their faith and progress in life.

“Anywhere you are on the island, the ocean is always no more than 12 or 15 metres away,” he says.

“And finally, health. The people are so poor in these areas of PNG. They had one nurse. So, assisting with their health needs is crucial.”

It was hard, but satisfying work, which Fr Bogdan says brought him much joy.

Transport was a challenge for Fr Bogdan, with a lack of local roads. “From my main station, I had to walk quite a distance to see people in outstations. The longest walk I had was four or five hours each way,” he says.

“I would listen to confessions, celebrate Mass, talk to them about everything that was on their mind and then stay there overnight and move on the next morning.”

“But the people are still poor and while I was there, we built a new church and a new hospital.”

“You see the fruits of your work in that kind of situation,” he says. “You are priest, carpenter, school manager, and so on. You build a classroom and then you see hundreds of children who are happy. It really gives you joy.” Needing to attend to visa requirements and feeling in need of a break, Fr Bogdan came to Australia and while he was here, he talked to the then Bishop of Broken Bay, Peter A Comensoli and Fr David Ranson about the possibility of serving in Broken Bay. Arriving in 2018, his first assignment was at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Terrigal, followed by a period at The Lakes Parish and now he is assistant priest at Epping and Carlingford. He says life is certainly different here than in PNG, but again, it is the people who bring him joy.

“It’s different here,” he says. “Not worse, not better, just different.” He enjoys meeting parishioners, whether it is at church or when he visits nursing homes, hospitals or schools. “Every parish is different,” he says. “This parish is very multicultural and there are a lot of young people and children. “What I really love about Australia is that the people are so open and friendly. They are also helpful and generous.” Both in Terrigal and The Lakes, parishioners showed their generosity by helping Fr Bogdan provide assistance for the people back in PNG. Fr Bogdan paid tribute to Fr Robert Borg and the people of The Lakes Parish who helped send medical equipment to Divine Word University in Madang and provide the means to build a double classroom for Primary School in Mendi Diocese. “People have been so generous. And what they have done really makes a difference to the people in PNG,” he said.

Being with the people like this was the highlight of Fr Bogdan’s experience in PNG. “To be with the people was what I loved the most,” he says. “The people are so open and friendly. They can teach you a lot. And their faith is really strong. They really trust, they breathe with God.” Following his time in the Highlands, Fr Bogdan was assigned to the parish on Kar Kar Island, a small piece of natural paradise off the mainland. 35 /


BBN / JUNE 2020

A Holy Family Visits Broken Bay By Nicholas Weir

The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux, the ‘Little Flower’, as well as those of her parents, Ss Louis & Zélie Martin, spent five days in the Diocese of Broken Bay from 5 - 9 March. This holy family visited St Ives, The Lakes, Hornsby, Gosford and The Entrance parishes, with hundreds of parishioners coming to be in the presence of the saints. As they travelled through the Diocese, these saints’ relics became the focal point for prayer, asking the intercession of these holy people. And that is what relics are about. We venerate the earthly remains or belongings of holy men and women, not because they are magical, but in a similar way to how many people around the world would cherish a jersey worn by their favourite sportsperson. These things remind us of people who have gone before us who can teach us. Deeper than a jersey, however, relics remind us of the saints’ lives, and of the God who inspired them to great things. These saints are unique. St Thérèse was the ninth child of Louis and

36 /

Marie-Azélie Martin. Sadly, Zélie passed away when Thérèse was only four years old. At age 15, with permission from the Pope, Thérèse entered the convent at Lisieux, having come to love God and desire to dedicate herself to Him. She lived there for nine years, spending her time in prayer and work. She only wrote one book, an autobiography, but it has become an immensely popular source of inspiration, focusing not on the grand gestures of love for God and others, but the “little way”, which has made Thérèse one of the most beloved saints in the Church. By loving others in everyday moments, Thérèse’s love for God only grew. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin became the first spouses to be canonised together as a couple in 2015. Their lives were characterised by loving God and those God placed in their lives. Louis was the only child in his family to grow to adulthood. A watchmaker by trade, at age 22 Louis sought to enter the monastery to become a priest, however he failed to complete his Latin studies and

abandoned hope of a monastic life. Zélie attempted to join a convent, but was unsuccessful and so, instead, she mastered the craft of lacemaking. The couple met in 1858 and were married that same year. For the rest of their lives they loved one another and every child they received from God. Both suffered illnesses at different times, but their faithfulness to each other and God is what makes them saints. The example of these saints’ lives that are simple and relatable has made them popular patrons. They allowed God’s love to be present in their family life, and in the sorts of situations which so many of us can relate to – loving that person who we cannot stand, doing that chore that we hate. This is why people young and old made the pilgrimage to visit their relics throughout Broken Bay. From babies to great-grandparents, people came to ask these wonderful people to pray for them, to ask for help, and to find inspiration.

BBN / JUNE 2020

37 /

BBN / JUNE 2020

Seminary Year strong for 2020 By Fr Paul Durkin, Director of Vocations

This article describes the beginning of the seminary year. As it turns out, due to the coronavirus, the seminary was closed indefinitely from 19 March, the Feast day of St Joseph. The seminarians have now returned to resume life at the seminary, beginning 25 May, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians. Our seminarians for the Diocese of Broken Bay – Samuel French, Aldrin Valdehueza, Roger Delmonte, Peter Lennon, Martino Hoang, Hien Vu, Tan Nguyen and Huy Tran – joined their fellow seminarians at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd (SGS) in Homebush for the Opening Mass on 5 February, 2020. Bishop Michael McKenna of Bathurst was joined by concelebrating priests, along with family and friends of the seminarians, for the Mass. The Seminary Schola led those gathered with beautiful sacred music. This was followed by a lunch to further celebrate. It was a day filled with thanksgiving, joy and hope for the local Church. Bishop Michael stressed that the seminarians were to seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and to be open to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 38 /

Fr Danny Meagher, Rector of the Seminary, warmly welcomed the families and friends of the first year seminarians, assuring them that the Seminary is a place of love, friendship and prayer, where those in formation are encouraged to find their deepest happiness, as they grow as human beings and as men preparing to be good and dedicated priests. In the meantime, he reminded them there is plenty of work to be done, gardens to be maintained and soccer games to be won! In all, 50 young men are currently studying at SGS, preparing for Ordination, preparing to share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and to serve the people of NSW. On Friday, 28 February, Bishop Anthony Randazzo spent the day at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd interviewing each Broken Bay seminarian. The following day he joined the Vocations Team (Fr Paul Durkin, Fr Stephen Wayoyi and Michelle Chahine) in a reflection afternoon for the seminarians. It was an opportunity for prayer and reflection together, sharing on the New Year holiday break, the recent retreats they had experienced and

the goals for the year ahead. The people of Broken Bay wish the seminarians every blessing in their formation. Let us pray for all seminarians throughout the world. May these young men encourage others to consider how God is calling them in their lives. Are you being called to the priesthood, diaconate or to consecrated life? Do you know someone whom you would encourage to consider this call? The Vocations team offers an opportunity for discernment and accompaniment for those who feel called to priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life. If you are interested and want to know more contact VOCATIONS MINISTRY: our-faith/vocations or Vocations Broken Bay; Michelle: 0418 522 449 Fr Paul: 0425 746 749 Fr Stephen: 0450 321 966

BBN / JUNE 2020


Looking for evidence of God’s existence By Catherine Day

Recently, I’ve had some small discussions around an age-old question: ‘Does God exist? I wish I could say I was on the ball. If anything, I kept questioning the answers that were coming out of my mouth. Not because I was doubting God’s existence but because my answers were weak. My answers were based on feelings and emotions; terrible tools for a debate. When someone relies on empirical evidence, talking about feelings does not work. So then, how do we go about proving God exists? Firstly, we need to be firm in our belief that science and God do not contradict each other. The line ‘I don’t believe in God because I believe in science’ makes no sense at all. What also doesn’t make sense is our treatment of science as the ultimate source of truth. Certainly, it explains so much of the world around us and everything is governed by some form of mathematical equation but, those explanations, equations and theories are tested again and again until they’re proven wrong and replaced by a new explanation, equation or theory. What science thinks is right today is wrong tomorrow. You might say ‘well we didn’t know any better then. But now, we get it!’ True. What we scientifically know today wasn’t known 500 years ago, and what will be known in 500 years will be vastly different from today. Scientific evidence is ever-changing. Evidence of God, of Christ, now that is consistent. If I asked you, who was

Julius Caesar, you would easily know based off historical evidence. You wouldn’t doubt his existence because of the historical writings about him, right? Well what if I told you there is far more evidence that Jesus existed than of Caesar. In fact, there are far more sources for Jesus than for many other historical figures in the first century (there at least 18 and 12 are nonChristian sources).

Why does Christ need more evidence than any other figure? People saw Julius Caesar. They witnessed his triumphs and his defeats. We rely on those witnesses to tell us he was real. Yet, when we hear that Christ was real, that He died, was buried and rose again, the eyewitness accounts get pushed to the side and the evidence is ignored. If we do that with one historical figure, then what’s to stop us doing it to all historical figures? How can we prove they existed? We can’t. All we can do is believe that they were real. Why then, is Christ less real than Caesar? Why does Christ need more evidence than any other figure? The Bible says (Romans 1:19 21) there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God. It’s because, I think, we are asked to have faith in something we can’t fully understand. These historical sources are so important in proving that Christ, that God, is real. God does not exist within a scientific equation. While the world around us, every atom and molecule within us are governed by uniform laws, God is more than that. He exists outside of our understanding, and every time we think we understand and

know Him better, the more we realise there’s a lot we don’t understand. So much of our faith is a mystery and that makes it difficult for many people. It might appear like we believe in some fluffy creature like the Easter bunny or some magical wish granting jolly man in the sky. But God is not that. What then is important about Christ? Why is evidence of His existence critical? Out of all religious leaders/ prophets, Jesus is the only one to ever say He was equal to God. Looking at Christ is looking at God. Looking at the miracles that He performed and looking towards the cross, we see a God who is loving, gentle and who knows that we are self-centred and full of shortcomings. Yet, despite our sinful nature, He accepted the punishment for our sins - just like any father would willingly sacrifice himself for his children. Of all the religions in the world, of all the versions of God, this God, our God, is the only one reaching towards humanity, giving us a way to have a close relationship with Him. God is real because Christ is real. God has told us that if we seek Him with all our heart, He will be known to us. It’s a choice we need to make. And before looking for and accepting the evidence, we need to ask ourselves; ‘if God does exist, would I want to know Him?’ For us who accept the evidence, it becomes difficult not to get e motional. The evidence becomes so overpowering our lives are transformed. God is relentless. He wants us to come to Him because, it is with Him that we know true and everlasting joy.

39 /

Entrusting our Family to Mary Help of Christians O Immaculate Mary, Help of Christians, Queen of heaven and earth, and tender mother of all humanity, at this time when a pandemic threatens all your children, we entrust to you our family (name the members of your family here); Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. We commit to your intercession all the members of our community, beginning with the weakest ones, from the unborn to the sick the disabled and the elderly; Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. We commit to you, our young and old, and all who are vulnerable, those who are quarantined or anxious; Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. We entrust to your Immaculate Heart those who around us who have lost their livelihood or employment, our pastors and other essential service workers, and our leaders at this time; Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. We implore your intercession especially for the protection of doctors and nurses and those who minister to the contagious sick in this crisis; Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. Reign over our family, Mother of God, and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us and around us, as it has reigned and triumphed in you! Response: Mary Help of Christians, we entrust our family to you. All: Amen.