Broken Bay News October 2017

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Divine Renovation at the Lakes Parish

Broken Bay on a Mission from God

The beauty of marriage

Navigating through the moral issues of our time


On a Mission from God


n my younger years, ‘mission’ was a word almost exclusively used to describe those Christians, usually Religious men and women, who came from overseas to our school to talk about spreading the message of the Good News in some foreign country. (I must admit, I was more interested in the exotic places they came from than the courageous faith they lived there!) These days, however, we mostly use the word in a reverse direction – we talk about how to be missionary in our




own back yard, not overseas. That’s a big shift in the use of a word in a relatively short period of time. Yet, both these directional uses of the word ‘mission’ are understandable and meaningful. But do we know its origins and significance? ‘Mission’ (and its various forms) is a word that is all the rage in our Church language. We talk of ‘the mission of Jesus’; of ‘going on mission’; of ‘being a missionary disciple’; of ‘the foreign missions’; of ‘missionaries’. Each of these various uses of ‘mission’ bring dimensions of meaning to the word, and I am sure we all can use the word easily in a sentence without thinking of its definition. In other words, in our Christian faith, ‘mission’ is a multilayered word that is full of meanings worth exploring. So, where to start? Like any good Christian, we best start with the Bible. But immediately we strike a problem. The word ‘mission’ (and its various forms) occurs only once in the entirety of the New Testament, at Acts 12.25, which talks of Paul and

Barnabas “completing their [first] mission” to the Gentiles. A different, but related word, however, does occur frequently. It is the word ‘send’ (sent; sending; etc). “He has sent me to proclaim release to captives” (Lk 4.18); “The Father has sent me, so I send you” ( Jn 20.21); “For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to proclaim the gospel” (1Cor 1.17); “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Gal.4.6). What’s going on here? Well, we need to first know that there didn’t really exist a word for our English word ‘mission’ in the languages of the Bible. The word itself didn’t come about until the 16th Century in the Latin language. Latin word was missio, which itself comes from the word mittere, meaning: ‘to send’. In other words, at the heart of our English word ‘mission’ is the idea of being sent, and that’s very much a biblical word. Consequently, when we speak of God, the Father, sending his Son, Jesus, into the world, we can then rightly talk about Jesus being sent on mission. This is nowhere more evident than when


Jesus began his public ministry by quoting from the Book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.” (Lk 4.18; quoting Isa 61). This movement of being sent – first, the Son from the Father; now, us from the Son – captures well the various ways we use the word ‘mission’ today. We are now the ones being sent by Jesus to proclaim the same Good News. This is what it means to be a missionary – to be sent. We are on a mission, a mission from God (as the Blues Brothers once infamously put it!) Pope Francis has a unique way of describing this movement of being sent: he talks of inviting the Church to go out of itself to share God’s love rather than obsessing about internal concerns. To be missionary is to go out, not to remain in; to get off the couch, and get into the world with the message of Jesus. As Pope Francis puts it in his Letter “The Joy of the Gospel”: In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (Mt 28.19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization,

and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients… Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”. (Evangelii gaudium: n.120) As missionary disciples, our faith engages us with others, with society, and with the whole of creation rather than being entirely inward, focused only on ourselves or our personal piety. But might you be thinking: “I’m not ready to ‘go out’ like those missionaries of old?” Well, let me tell you: you don’t have to physically go anywhere to be a missionary disciple. Just think of what St Teresa of Calcutta used to say: do small things with great love; or our own St Mary MacKillop: never see a need without doing something about it. There are any number of things, here at home or for the sake of others abroad, that you can do – simple things, with simple love. There are many ways of being a missionary disciple, and everybody’s response is valuable. Our daily Christian witness – living

and loving within our families; engaging in parish life; growing our relationship and commitment to our neighbours (near and far); caring for our common home in building a fairer, more peaceful and more sustainable world – are ways we call all be on mission, living the Good News with love in every dimension of our lives. As you make your way through this edition of Broken Bay News there will be lots of references and stories about ‘mission’. As you do so, keep in mind the meaning of the word, and the various ways it can be used. May our own little journey into its meaning help you to locate your place in our common missionary calling. Please pray for me, as I pray for you.

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli Bishop of Broken Bay

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


All my friends are getting married… By Catherine Day Through the eyes of one young woman, this series will explore what it means to be Catholic in the modern world. Starting with what it means to be a single Catholic and ending with social issues such as Same-Sex Marriage, this series hopes to provide a fresh perspective on the issues that are all too important.


have a secret to share. Out of all my high school friends, I am the only one to yet to be married (or even have a serious relationship for that matter). Most of friends have been married for several years, some a few months and a couple later this year. The way my ‘love life’ is looking right now – it resembles the Sahara Desert; empty with no sign of life – I probably won’t be married for a few years yet. I am starting to feel a little left out of this love game. But as a Christian, I wholeheartedly believe and trust that God will send the right man, when I am ready. Despite not having personal experience in matters of the heart, I have been extremely blessed to be surrounded by family and friends that have shown me what a successful Christian marriage looks like. This year, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. I have been around for 29 of those years and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, marriage is hard work. For it to work, you need to cease being selfish and start being selfless. It requires a lot of sacrificing to have a successful marriage. But done with love, with pure love, these sacrifices never come at a cost. When you sacrifice for your spouse, you are being selfless and more to the point, you are mirroring God’s selfless love (He did sacrifice His son for us after all). It does take more than sacrificing though. Marriage is not about being perfect and it definitely is not




about someone rescuing you. It is about witnessing to the world God’s love, in a special way. Because God is love, He made us for love. But according to society, love is a feeling. To love someone is based on how they make you feel. This makes it easy to fall in and out of love, and why the divorce rate is almost 50 per cent. For us, as Christians, love has to be deeper. Love is an ability. It requires us to do something. The best example comes from John’s Gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” ( John 3:16). A marriage that focuses on God, that puts God in the middle, will be able to beautifully reflect God’s love. We need to remember, marriage is not man-made. It has always been part of God’s plan. And despite what the world around us tells us, it is a beautiful union that serves a purpose. When a man and a woman marry, they open themselves up to a greater presence of God. I think one of the best love books around is the Song of Songs. In it, the lover and the beloved are continually searching for each other and for God. St Augustine once wrote: “He created the one out of the other, setting a sign also out of the power of union in the side, whence she was drawn, and formed. For they are joined one to another side by side, who walk together, and look together wither

they walk.” The search for each other, and for God, comes down to who we are as men and women. Men and women complement each other. Not in the sense that they are polar opposites needing to come together to close a circle but rather, they are mutually needed to help each other open up to God. One of the ways a husband and wife complement each other is through their different roles. Somewhere along the line, we confused this to mean men are superior. This is far from the truth. We are created equally in the image of God, but men and women have been blessed with different natures. If, for a moment, we think about this in terms of marital sex; a woman desires to absorb her beloved into herself while a man longs to enter his beloved and become one with her. This difference does not take away from our worth, instead it adds to our ability to perfectly love. This is why St Paul likens men to Christ and women to the Church. It is not so that men can be in control, but rather so that we can understand each other and place God in the centre of the marriage. A marriage that places God in the centre, that does not focus on the superficial emotional understanding of love, and is selfless will not just be successful; it will be good and more than that, it will be beautiful.

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BROKEN BAY NEWS Editor: Melissa Loughlin Tel: (02) 9847 0722 Design: Chris Murray Printed by NCP Printing 21,000 copies of the Broken Bay News are distributed monthly through 26 parishes and 44 schools in the Diocese of Broken Bay. The Broken Bay News is a member of the Australasian Catholic Press Association. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply diocesan endorsement of products or services advertised.

Our Neighbourhoods of Grace Exploring our missionary outreach

Divine Renovation at The Lakes Catholic Parish Opening new doors for community engagement

By Debra Vermeer

Blessed John Henry Newman famously said, “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often”, and change is definitely in the air at The Lakes Catholic Parish where a ‘Divine Renovation’ is underway which aims to help parishioners grow in discipleship with Jesus, and invite others to share their faith.


he Lakes Parish consists of the two communities of St Joseph’s Narrabeen and St Rose Collaroy Plateau on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Parish Priest Fr Rex Curry, who is assisted by Fr Raphael Kimaro, says at first glance people might perceive it as an older person’s parish, but the statistics don’t bear this out. “We actually have a lot of young people living within the parish,” he says. “We have 1200 Catholic children in the local State schools; between 350 and 400 students in our two Catholic schools; and about 150 kids taking part in the Sacraments of Initiation cycle each 18 months. “The challenge for parishioners is to invite everyone in meaningful, relational ways to our parish.” Fr Rex arrived in The Lakes Parish 18 months ago and says he found a wonderful group of faithful people with lots of programmed things going on in the parish.

“Developing a personal relationship with Jesus was not to the fore, but programs and events abounded,” he says. “ The trouble was, it was the same people doing the same things week in and week out.” Inspired by the call to holiness for all the baptised, and by the work of Fr James Mallon (author of Divine Renovation – how to bring your parish from maintenance to mission) and other contemporary Catholic authors, Fr Rex began looking at ways The Lakes Parish could move forward on a missionary, relational footing. “If you don’t take on an initiative like this, you become a programmatic, event-based, parish,” he says. “You continue to arrange programs that meet the needs of the five per cent of Catholics who practise.” Initially, Fr Rex invited all Catholics to three ‘Listening Nights’, and engaged the two parish

school communities, outlining the call to active discipleship and the steps necessary to get there. He started by inviting young people to some parish meal settings. “I’m not a fan of the traditional youth group,” he says. “They seem to have a life cycle of about five years and then everybody suffers burnout and they collapse. And you have to ask, “Do young people today really want to hang out in the church hall, eating half-cold pizza on a Friday night?” Instead, the Lakes Parish now opens many different doors for young people to learn transferrable skills, through mentoring and coaching, which can be used interchangeably inside and outside Church. One such door for engagement is music. The parish sponsors young people who show an interest in music to take lessons. “They grow in skills and in

understanding of their giftedness, and they are encouraged to use that gift both inside and outside the Church,” Fr Rex says. “As a result, we now have good music being played by all age groups at all Masses.” The next door to be opened for young people is a course in computer game design, where again, the skills learnt can be applied in all areas of their life. “We’re establishing a relational basis, which can be a pathway for the kids to engage in parish life that is not nerdy, nor cringe-worthy. “If we don’t open these doors into what I call the grey areas, you’re just going to keep doing the same programs; no dialogue, no invitation; the same old thing, and there’s no growth.” Josie Vescio, Principal of St Rose Catholic Primary School, says the School and Parish have always seen themselves as part of the one community.




Our Neighbourhoods of Grace Exploring our missionary outreach

“But particularly in the last couple of years, Fr Rex has reimagined ministries and ways to attract youth and meet them where they are at,” she says. “By tapping into skill development in children and building them up in music ministry, supporting them, giving them choir and music lessons, they are not only developing their own skills, but in many cases, giving those skills back to their faith.” Josie says Fr Rex has provided new ways for parents to engage with their faith in a contemporary and nonthreatening way. Every Tuesday, a group called Café gets together to talk on a faith-related topic.




Recently, all the families in the group were invited to make Rosaries for the students making their First Eucharist. “It’s been a really great way for parents to get together and it’s building a very seamless relationship between the School and the Parish,” Josie says. Virginia Outred, Principal of St Joseph’s Catholic School, agrees, saying the school community has embraced the concept of offering a range of ways to welcome people into the Parish. One such initiative involved the four-night Witness process, based on a book by Leonard DeLorenzo, and written by him for the Lakes Parish. This is aligned to Fr Mallon’s Divine Renovation and

encourages participants to look at where moments of grace have intersected their lives. “We also invite our parents to do Alpha, which many people find to be an excellent first step in connecting or re-engaging with their faith,” Virginia says. A playgroup for mums provides another opportunity to connect, as well as the Cafe gatherings, where “people are able to have gentle conversations about faith and are made to feel welcome”. Fr Rex says the ‘many doors’ idea also acknowledges people who have been away from Mass for a long time or might never have been in a church. “Beginning with Sunday Eucharist is not a recommended

conversion axis,” he says. “The theologies of Cardinals John Henry Newman, and Avery Dulles encourage right discipleship, based on a real, personal relationship with Jesus.” But, he says it is no use being an ‘invitational parish’ if you’re unsure of the experience people will have once they arrive. “I believe that the Sunday worship, the Lord’s Day experience, should be excellent in every way,” he says. “Why should we ‘do Church’ poorly for the Lord? Why isn’t our Sunday worship, which is after all, the source and summit of the Christian life, as important as anything else?” To help make that vision come to life, Fr Rex has employed

Our Neighbourhoods of Grace Exploring our missionary outreach

a Director of Music, who has in turn engaged a professional conductor and musicians to make the music at Mass as excellent as it can be. “If you see excellence, beauty and goodness, these transcendent experiences will attract people,” Fr Rex says. “If you establish your healthy, relational Trinitarian base, identify your strengths, and are consistent about those strengths, then you can start to invite people with confidence.” For The Lakes Parish, being an invitational Church starts with providing a range of small groups to help people connect and then that leads on to Alpha. All parishioners are encouraged to take part in

Alpha, both as participants and then as group leaders. “We try to follow up from Alpha by inviting the participants to join a Connect Group, where they can continue to witness and grow in faith in Jesus, and learn discipleship,” says Fr Rex. “A Connect Group is a lay-led, mid-sized home group of 15 to 20 people who commence by undertaking the Witness Program over four weeks. They gather for a light meal, a time of prayer, faith growth and witnessing. “We also invite people who have completed Alpha to join a subsequent Alpha Team. Here, apart from growing spiritually, they begin to serve and eventually exercise relationship developing leadership.”

Everyone is encouraged to join a ministry of the parish. The Lakes Parish, in conjunction with Mr Tony Davies, HR Manager in the Diocese of Broken Bay, is initiating formal Job Descriptions for all the ministries in the Parish, a step which Fr Rex says is required by Volunteers NSW, for all volunteers. “Our hope is that every parishioner will be involved in at least one ministry,” says Fr Rex, so that they have the opportunity to serve from their God-given talents in a life-giving way, not just taking their turn to do their bit out of obligation.” Ongoing faith development and nourishment will be provided through Discipleship Groups, which are small groups, focused on

specific learning or skill content, such as Bible Study groups or adult faith formation programs. They will include most of the current groups operating in the parish, such as St Vincent de Paul, prayer groups, leisure groups and dance groups. “Our invitation is to all, Catholics and everyone, to ‘Answer the Lord’s Call!’’’ Fr Rex says. “It’s not about doing everything at once, people can take one step at a time, and it’s a slow process because change is never easy. “But the important thing is that we are providing pathways of growth to help people to think and act differently about their faith, to develop a personal relationship with Jesus and to invite others to do the same.”





Welcome Deacon Adrian! ‘We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become Vessels of God’s compastionate love for others.” St Clare of Assisi


n Friday 11 August, the Feast day of St Clare of Assisi, the Diocese of Broken Bay joyously welcomed Adrian Gomez to the Permanent Diaconate at Our Lady of the Rosary, Cathedral Waitara. Adrian, along with his wife Cristina and children Julian and Sophia, were celebrated with a beautiful Ordination Mass followed by supper at the Light of Christ Centre. Bishop Peter A Comensoli said in his homily: “Like Clare of Assisi, Adrian has realised that




the call of the Gospel has not ended for him… Adrian, today you accept this permanent call to serve others for the sake of Christ – to be a Deacon. You already know the graced call of service to your spouse and family. May you now receive the grace to do so for others.’’ Deacon Adrian will continue in his role of Youth Ministry Coordinator at St Leo’s Catholic College, Wahroonga, whilst helping couples with marriage preparation in the Diocese. Congratulations Deacon Adrian!


Relationship is key for the future of the Church By Ashleigh Green

“It is you who are to receive the torch from your elders,” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri announced as he opened the seminar, “and you are to deliver it to the world that is in the midst of the greatest transformation in history.”


write from Rome where I am attending an International Seminar on Young People in preparation for the 2018 Synod of Bishops on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment. I am one of 20 young people from around the world who were invited to attend this seminar along with specialists in the fields of sociology, psychology, economics, computer science, pastoral care and the environment. Before flying to Rome I met with Bishop Peter A Comensoli who reminded me that the Synod is not simply an event, but a process and a journey. A Synod should not be about forcing decisions, but rather about initiating processes and ensuring that these processes incorporate local voices. The purpose of this week has been to hear the voice of the local Churches. We have listened, spoken, shared, empathised, dreamed and, significantly, we have been heard. It has been a surreal and special experience to be in Rome with such passionate young people and scholars. As we sang in unison at Mass this morning, I realised what it means to be a universal Church. We were young people from developed and developing countries, and from minority and majority Christian nations, but we all sang the same song. We all ate from the same table and shared the same hunger to know Christ. On day one I presented to the assembly my hopes and expectations for the Synod. I was honest about the reality of the Church in Australia, which I described as being in the midst of crisis and transition. I drew on the results of the National Youth Synod Survey and I used personal experiences to illustrate this reality. As a major theme of the seminar was ‘listening’, I shared some data from our National Survey where young people in Australia scored the Church’s listening ability to be 6 out of 10.

I shared my experience that many young people give up on the Church before even giving it a go, out of fear that they cannot engage in open discussion about the issues that matter to them. I spoke about my involvement in the Synod video booth in our Diocese. The booth travelled to various youth events in the Diocese, and young people were invited to answer the question, “If you had one minute to say anything to Pope Francis, what would you say?” As a facilitator of this booth, I remember one young person who, upon being asked this question hesitated and told me, “I’d better not say what I really think. My views are too radical to share at Church.” After five minutes of encouraging this girl to openly share her thoughts, she went ahead and shared her experience of topics such as homosexuality and transgender issues being shut down at her Catholic School. I was struck by this young person’s experience of the disconnect between Church and society. It was as if there were some matters that were out of bounds in Church settings, yet these were the issues that she was most passionate about and which gave her life. I stated that as a Church, if we are to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we need to be a Church that engages with those on the margins, and which includes young people who may feel ostracised for their views and identity. One of the highlights of the week has been the small group discussions. At the end of the week, each group will present a document to the General Secretariat, which includes a set of proposals, which will inform the upcoming Synod. ‘Empowerment’ and ‘relationships’ were key themes that have continued to come up in our discussions. I was struck by a quote that was shared by one of my fellow group members: “Without relationship there is no influence, and without influence there is no leadership. Relationship is key.” He spoke about

his experience in the Irish Church where, “Everyone, from lay people to bishops, see themselves as the victim of structures.” Many members of our group voiced their frustrations with rigid Church structures where cardinals talk to cardinals, bishops talk to bishops, priests talk to priests and young people talk to young people. Genuine relationships that span the hierarchical structures are often lacking. One of our group proposals is the introduction of an international body of youth who the Vatican can consult directly. This body would provide scope for the Pope and Cardinals to consult youth face-to-face rather than going through hierarchical layers. The way that the Church has consulted youth in the lead up to the Synod on Youth is a great model, and we are calling for this approach to continue beyond October 2018. In Pope Francis’ recent visit to Columbia, laity, youth and women were key groups that the Holy Father highlighted to the bishops of Latin America. He described these groups as “the faces of hope on the continent.” It is an exciting time to be a lay person in the Church and, while the changes may seem slow and minuscule, we cannot take for granted how far we have already come. Even today, a Vatican journalist entered the auditorium and was shocked. He said, “It is the first time that I have reported on a Vatican event where not everyone had white hair.” My personal faith has been strengthened and deepened as I have journeyed through this week. It has been in those moments when we have honestly shared our frustrations and struggles that the Spirit has moved through creative proposals. I am reminded of Pope Francis’ statement in his April 2017 TED Talk that, “In order to do good we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity.” BBN




World Mission Month to focus on Vietnam A comprehensive community building program in Vietnam is at the heart of Catholic Mission’s World Mission Month in 2017.


ister Mary Hoaian and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who are based in the coastal mountain Diocese of Nha Trang, are the focus of this year’s World Mission Month parish appeal. The Sisters run a multifaceted program for local communities in their Diocese, including in Xuan Son, where their activities include

kindergarten education, scholarships for older children, nutrition, health and wellbeing, medicines and a clean water program. Catholic Mission’s National Director, Fr Brian Lucas, says the Sisters’ challenge to minister in a Vietnamese community is immense. “Under the communist government in Vietnam, Church activities are limited to

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within the walls of the church itself,” he says. “What the Sisters are doing is extraordinary under the circumstances, as they reach out to Vietnam’s forgotten farming families living in isolated communities like Xuan Son.” Fr Lucas says, “One third of the children living in these communities suffer from stunted growth and other birth defects due to polluted water and malnutrition.” Throughout World Mission Month in October, the appeal will specifically raise funds for the various aspects of the Sisters’ program, including a new water filter for the kindergarten and pastoral centre from where the program is operated. “Even though there is a water filter on site, it is not adequate to ensure safety and cleanliness,” says Fr Lucas. “The Sisters are urgently seeking to install a larger capacity water filter, which will provide fresh, clean water for the entire community. “The appeal’s theme, from John 4:14, ‘Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst again’ is entirely fitting for the work of missionaries to quench both the physical and spiritual thirst of communities around the world. “Pope Francis tells us the Church’s mission to all people is based on the transformative power of the Gospel,” says Fr Lucas. “There is a transformative power for the people of Xuan Son through the actions of Sister Mary and the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” For more information on the appeal, including the video ‘Mission at the Heart’, please visit 2017-world-mission-month


Mission: Making the Gospel Known radical conversion in thinking is required in order to become missionary, and this holds true both for individuals and entire communities. The Lord is always calling us to come out of ourselves and to share with others the goods we possess, starting with the most precious gift of all – our faith. The effectiveness of the Church’s organisations, movements, parishes and apostolic works must be measured in the light of this missionary imperative”. These words could easily be attributed to Pope Francis who, through his witness in word and deed, has become synonymous with the call for Catholics to undergo a missionary conversion, to become courageous and joyful witnesses in the world. However, they come not from Pope Francis but from St John Paul II’s papal encyclical Redemptoris Missio (1990), a document which itself echoed the teachings of Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975) and, before him, Vatican II’s Decree on Mission Activity, Ad Gentes (1965). Hence, Pope Francis’ ongoing invitations for the Church to ‘go forth’ today, to engage our much troubled world with the conviction of faith, are not new in themselves but echo the Church’s perennial self-understanding. Our baptism into the life of Christ sends us as Christians into the world as a sign of Christ’s presence; it makes of each of us a missionary who is called to bring about the transformed way of living that Jesus proclaimed and made possible by his life, death and resurrection. However, what is unique about Pope Francis’ call to missionary conversion is that unlike his four predecessors, this Argentinian pope was not a participant at the Second Vatican Council and so his understanding of mission represents a fresh reception and application of that Council’s teaching. As well, Pope Francis’ Latin American and Jesuit backgrounds account for the freshness of his voice, imbued as it is with a refreshing informality and an Ignatian spirit that permeates his teaching.

What can we learn from Pope Francis in our desire to embrace a life of missionary discipleship? Firstly, we come to understand that mission is not a territorial concept, about ‘going to a particular place’ as it has often been understood. Even today, and across different generations of Catholics, the whole idea of mission can evoke the image of people going overseas. The upshot is that ‘mission’ can be narrowly associated with a particular action performed by only a small group of people. However, Pope Francis has underscored with passion that ‘mission’ is about all of us and about the quality of our daily living as Christians. It is first and foremost into our daily relationships and commitments that we are ‘sent’ as Christians. Mission involves our fervour and dedication to express the love, mercy and will of God in all the intimate aspects of our lives. This call to ‘mission’ invites our own conversion, a renewed openness to God in our life, that then beckons us to joyful witness and loving commitment to our neighbour. We also learn from Pope Francis, specifically in his address to the

Polish bishops at World Youth Day 2016, that he believes that it is the “full contact” of parish life that is the best and most favourable environment for the flourishing of the missionary task entrusted to the Church. It is through the preaching of the Word, the gift of the sacraments, and the faith of a community gathered in their baptismal unity that the parish provides “an optimal environment for hearing God’s word and for growth in Christian life (EG 28)”, including its missionary mandate. It is local flesh-andblood communities, extending to our Catholic schools, agencies and families, who will or will not translate the timeless Gospel into present-day actions that bring about the Kingdom of God that Jesus embodied and proclaimed. A further and necessary conversion ushered by Pope Francis is the move from the centre to the peripheries. In his accent on mission, Pope Francis recalls the essential centrifugal or outfacing nature of the Church and the need to vacate any space that keeps us secure and buffered against the reality of the margins, whether the margins entail a poverty of spirit

or poverty of circumstance. In the same way in which Jesus, as a Galilean, looked at Jerusalem from the peripheries, Pope Francis looks at the world’s concerns from the peripheries, most especially from the vantage point of those who live without or from whom little is expected. So he implores “We need to let ourselves be evangelised by [the poor]” (Evangelii Gaudium 198). We are called to sit at the feet of those who lie under the bridges of life, to be schooled in our Christian vocation by the poor, and shaped by the irreducible expectations of the Gospel of mercy. While Pope Francis represents neither the first nor the last word in the Church’s response to Christ’s mission in the world, he utters a fresh word which is fit for our times. In accenting mission as being for each of us and for all the dimensions of our lives, in affirming local communities of grace as centres and catalysts of this mission, and in his preferential option for the poor, Pope Francis echoes and invigorates the constant missionary consciousness of the Church and its dedication to make the Gospel known.

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By Daniel Ang



Liturgy of Compassion and Commitment held to launch Safeguarding Month in Broken Bay “We have come here tonight from many places, From east and west, north and south, From pain and disillusionment, From anger and confusion, From sadness looking for hope...”


he Diocese of Broken Bay dedicated the month of September 2017 to Safeguarding, with the theme Compassion and Commitment. The month was officially launched with a Liturgy held at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral Waitara on Thursday 31 August. Led by Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay, the gathering came together to pray in solidarity for those affected by abuse. Last year the Diocese gathered under the calling of Lament and Hope, in acknowledgement of the pain caused by abuse of our most vulnerable in our communities, and the lack of action by some of our leaders.




“ This was not a one-off gathering,” said Bishop Peter. “Just as the pain and hurt for survivors continues daily, we too need to come together regularly as a community to acknowledge suffering, to give public expression to our sorrow, to seek forgiveness, to make a public commitment to change, and to draw hope from the encounter with our merciful God. I call us together again to listen with a compassionate heart, to hear the truth of the situation, and to strengthen our commitment to change.” The Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards (Chancery) in Broken Bay places a special devotion to the blessed

Mother under the title “Mary, Who Unties Knots”. Sometimes we cannot unravel our own knots, or our own pain, without help. Mary Who Unties Knots is there for us. Attendees at the Liturgy were given a ribbon with a knot tied in it, and were invited to untie the knot and place it in a basket, or take it home and untie in their own time. Throughout September, the agencies of Broken Bay such as CatholicCare, Catholic Schools Office, Chancery Offices and Parishes held a number of scheduled events including Child Protection Sunday on 10 September, Safeguarding Workshops, Twilight Talks for

Youth, Children’s Choir Games and a Foster Care Picnic Day. Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is the action of many within a community. Actions of Safeguarding are often proactive, common sense, practical and visible and implemented by a community to ensure children and vulnerable adults are welcomed and know that they are cared for and safe. The Office for Safeguarding and Professional Standards (Chancery) looks after all child protection and safeguarding matters for the Chancery and Parishes of Broken Bay. For more information contact The Office for Safeguarding by email or phone 02 9847 0432.


My Heart is at Home

The privileged journey of palliative and end-of-life care By Annie Carrett

Nives Vuchich has a gentle, warm voice and the most delightful laugh. Perhaps they have grown through her years of caring for people across all walks and situations in life, but more than likely it is the gift of herself.


t is this very gift of person that she shares with people and their families at one of the most precious and difficult times in their lives – in their dying. Nives works as a Community Care Worker with HammondCare in their Palliative Care Home Support Program, delivering a range of personal care services to patients according to their needs. It is a service framed around mission; as we are all made in the image of God and loved by God, so we are called to show that same love with compassion, respect and care for all people in need regardless of their circumstances. “I consider what I do as a ministry – not a job,” says Nives. “When I am doing this work, and sometimes it is really intense, I am not Nives. There is something that takes over. It is my faith, and I am guided by the Holy Spirit. At first I found this a bit fearful – how come I am doing this? But something takes over and there is real guidance.” Nives has been working in this particular area since February this year. She also brings more than 30 years experience to this ministry through work with agencies like St Vincent de Paul, especially in case management around domestic violence, child protection and grief counselling. “I got in to administration very recently, but there was just something missing. I had worked with HammondCare before and I just thought that this is something that I would really like to do – my heart is at home now.” For Nives, the path to this vocation seems to have been laid well and truly from earliest years. “When I was in High School, Years 11 and 12, I did some voluntary work at Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst. I wasn’t fearful, and just went in and talked to the patients. “I also looked after my mother

who was terminally ill and I kept her at home as long as I could. For a period of around 20 years I looked after both my mother and father, and at present I look after a friend. “When I think back now there must have been a seed that God planted in me so that it could develop and I can be doing this now.” This strength of character is grounded in her faith, and sees Nives connect in special ways with her patients and families, even when there are many faiths and none. “My mother and father had a strong faith. They were so important to me and to my faith and spirituality. They are with me now.” “It is important though to have cultural sensitivities, not just for people from overseas, but within family structures as well. You really need to connect. “I find out what people’s needs are, and what their spiritual needs are. Some choose not to talk about faith, and that is alright. One patient was of the Buddhist faith and I couldn’t connect easily with her because she spoke Cantonese, but she did chant for 24 hours. One day I started chanting with her, and her daughter – and you should have seen her eyes light up. There was a connection. From then on, every time we saw each other, the patient would indicate for us to chant.” “Sometimes there can be laughter and funny moments that people outside the situation cannot understand. These special times cannot happen in a hospital. This is where, with a service like HammondCare, you find 24 hour support. This personal care is not just for the patient, but embraces the family as well. “We do it together. The patient is first, but then when they are sleeping my time is

with the family. We might wash dishes, or talk about something that concerns them. They are always very much in my heart, as much as the patient. “Being with patients and their families is as if they are in the quiet eye of the hurricane and all around them is noise and things going around. This is a peaceful moment where nothing else matters. Whether it is a mortgage or something – it doesn’t matter. The real focus is with that person. That’s how it is. That is where your heart is at home.” Nives carries all those she knows with her. Clutched close by at all times is a purple diary (purple – the colour of love, she says). This book carries the names of those she cares for; those who are dying, those she is helping, those who have passed. The diary comes with her to Mass.

“Because I am doing this work in palliative and end-oflife care, the Mass now has a greater impact on me. There is a unity at the moment of receiving Eucharist with all these people, my parents, those who give me support. I can get quite emotional.” “You know that you cannot do this role alone, you need support. You go through grief and loss as well – we all do that. We are all vulnerable. Support is about faith, friends, family, my team and my Parish community… and a lot of rest as well.” When asked could she see herself doing this well into the future, she says; “I think so. It is like looking after your neighbour – neighbourly love. This type of work is part of a community and I feel very much at home…. that I am part of a family.”

Nives Vuchich BBN




Engaging the



Over these months, as a community of Christian faith, we are being confronted with very significant social issues that touch upon some of the core principles of our understanding of life and of our religious practice. By Fr David Ranson VG





he period is perhaps particular given that it is not a single issue with which we are dealing, but multiple matters. It is difficult to think of another recent period where such significant moral and religious issues have presented with this kind of immediacy and urgency. How might we consider the issues before us, and how might we act in the most effective way possible, informed by the principles of our Christian and Catholic perspective, for the sake of our social future? We live in one of the most exciting times in human history. Never have we had as much access to our past. Never have the possibilities for our future been as extensive. The rate of change in the last 50 or 60 years has outpaced any period earlier. The digital revolutions have altered the way in which we engage our world and one another. Technology has made possible advances unimaginable only a few decades ago. Notwithstanding the enormous

challenges of mass migration, climate change and geo-political instability, we stand on the cusp of a new era of opportunity. This remarkable possibility, however, does not present with cohesion and focus. With the eclipse by the middle of the 20th century of the philosophical project we call Modernity, we enter the future without a unifying narrative. Everything now claims attention for legitimacy; every claim is regarded with value, even though experience demonstrates that where everything is tolerated, intolerance bounds – what we might call the paradox of postmodernity. Within this context, the Canadian philosopher of religion, Charles Taylor, especially, has highlighted the way in which meaning today is derived almost entirely from personal experience.1 The individual ‘self ’ has now become regarded as the repository of truth. One’s personal experience – entirely subjective – is proposed with


“How might we consider the issues before us, and how might we act in the most effective way possible, informed by the principles of our Christian and Catholic perspective, for the sake of our social future?” uncontestable authority. However, when we base our decisions exclusively on our subjective experiences to what social cohesion are we accountable? Further, and most significantly, it is how I feel that determines the rightness of something. Unless I feel something has value, it has none. This we might label ‘the tyranny of affect’, and it is particularly endemic in the way that most of us think and speak today. Most of us may not be aware of it. However, if we listen for it, we hear it everywhere. The outcome of this evolution in consciousness, particularly in the West, is that Truth becomes entirely internal, something wholly subjective. The idea that Truth exists outside of ourselves, that it is something objective, something we receive, and to which we are accountable, has become increasingly foreign. It is not the collective wisdom forged through the Tradition of a people to which I am now accountable, but to that which I have determined to be personally authentic, according to how I feel. The loss of the Transcendent in a secular society exacerbates this self-reference. The secular itself is something about which we should not be afraid: it is the domain of civil and political life created on the principles of sound reason. However, a secularist agenda – which is something different from the secular sphere itself – seeks to banish any reference to the Transcendent in life, in favour of that which is entirely empirical and immediate. It cannot admit of the religious word, the religious gesture, or the religious symbol – all of which it regards as an affront to what is rational, even though the most beautiful moments in human history have often been inspired in the flourishing of the religious imagination. And above all, the secularist mind cannot admit of the religious conscience. It asserts the demands of moral responsibility as a higher category of discernment than that of the religious conscience.

The religious imagination has been replaced by the technological. We cannot but marvel at the possibilities of technology across so many aspects of our existence. And yet, we can also be unwittingly seduced into a fantasy by technology – the fantasy that everything is possible. And if it is possible, why can’t we do it? And so, possibility and prosecution become thought of as without distinction. If something is possible, I have a right to pursue it, if I feel that it is good to do so. However, with the banishment of the Transcendent from social consideration, this appeal to rights takes on an absolute character. It is not human rights as such to which we appeal. It is ‘my’ rights that we demand. I have a right to choose; I have a right to decide. I have a right to do anything that I feel to be right for me, so long as it does not adversely affect anyone in a way that is immediately visible. However, are we as individual as we think we might be? Are we as wrapped up in individual autonomy as we have been led to think? More authentically, we are our relationships, and it is only through our relationships that we have our very life. We discover who we are only in and through our relationships. This primacy of personal rights, as distinct from a community’s rights, erodes our sense of a social conscience – that something should be followed not because it might be good for me, but because it might be good for the community at large. There is a second fantasy into which we can be seduced by technology. This is the illusion that we are in control, and that life itself can be controlled, that life is a right to be exercised, rather than a Mystery to be served. It translates into what we might call an antiseptic mentality which cannot engage the inevitable reality of human suffering, and which seeks to sedate difficulty and hardship – all that is perceived as negative in life. Worst, and in line with what we have outlined earlier, life is evaluated primarily through the pleasure principle, through the

“feel-good” syndrome. If something does not feel good, then something must be defective, inadequate, wrong. Suffering is not to be redeemed; it must be anaesthetised, literally. As Charlies Taylor observes, subsequently, we have reduced compassion to the ‘therapeutic’, to the ‘feel-good.’ Then, compassion becomes merely a shadow of itself, a justification to limit the intrusion of the negative, of the painful, in our experience. Compassion is about the restoration to ‘feeling good’, rather than about living with questions that are raw and relentless, questions that undo us and recreate us. Genuine compassion, however, means ‘suffering with’. It is a love that holds the suffering of another, that journeys into the suffering of another, a love that is prepared to enter the suffering of another so that their suffering becomes mine. To the issues of today, we seek to speak a word, a word not our own, but a Word that has been pronounced to us, the Word of revelation, the Word of God. Given that it is not a Word that is simply derivative of personal experience, and determined by how we feel, it is a word that is foreign in our culture. As Catholics, we come together each Sunday to place ourselves before this Word because we believe this Word to be our anchor and our reference in life. But even we struggle to hear this Word in its clarity because of the chatter in which we are immersed. We distrust those who are commissioned to speak out this Word. Their language and the cultural language which we have absorbed seem at odds. And for this reason, though the leadership of our Church holds one position about such issues as samesex marriage and voluntary euthanasia, there are many in our own parishes and agencies who hold another view. Subsequently, it is not uncommon to hear commentators highlight that though ‘the Church’ preaches its view, most people who say they are of a religious faith are thinking differently. What we are discovering is a clash of two different ways of thinking, what in a very technical sense we might call a





‘clash of epistemologies’ – the leaders of our Church, trained and educated to think in one way, whilst a significant number of those in the Church have taken on the alternate way of thinking that is endemic in our culture. What we can forget, however, is that the way of thinking that saturates the popular imagination is very recent, the product of philosophical currents into which we have been swept only in the last decades. They may be recent, but they are embedded now into our consciousness, such that it is very difficult to argue a position that is not in accord with them. For this reason, it is a very difficult time to be Christian, and not only Christian, but someone who draws meaning from an ancient Catholic Tradition. For us in the West, to talk of persecution of Christians is to over-reach. However, it is a stressful time to be Christian. The times are not for us. Unlike only a few decades ago, we now find ourselves in a culture that does not offer us the framework of support for what we have inherited and seek to develop. We can appreciate just how difficult it is, especially, for our young people to declare themselves as Christian, or as Catholic, as they seek to make their way into the world. Perhaps it is a little easier for us who are older, and making our way out of the world! However, to be Christian – not just in feeling, in the way that I feel (which many mistake as what makes them Christian), but as someone immersed and accountable to the full Christian Tradition – means being different, standing apart, being alone. And this is a price too high for many to bear. The 20th century scholar of spirituality, Michel de Certeau sought to give words to the experience. He wrote how in our current context we can feel as if have fallen from a sinking ecclesial ship, “lost in the vast and




uncertain poem of an anonymous reality which comes and goes.”2 Civil society has “replaced the Church in the role of defining tasks and positions, leaving the Church with only a marginal possibility of correcting.”3 In response, he outlines how we can be tempted to create alternate sites of meaning. However, the risk, then, is that we become, as it were simply, a religious ghetto, a museum piece that can exercise no agency in our society – what the American philosopher of religion, David Tracy, calls “a private reservation of the spirit.” This, though, would be to abandon the call of the Gospel which is to change the world according to the divine paradigm of being, and to abdicate the essential public character of Christian life and mission. The task forward, however, according to De Certeau, is not simply to try to fortify the Church’s bulwarks such that it reclaims a power stronger than the prevailing trends, but rather for each baptised person to take up their personal responsibility, and precisely in the anonymity of their situation to seek to exercise this imperative. He calls this moment, for the Church, our “empty tomb.”4 The body of the Church, as it were, is absent, at least in the social culture; it has no force. As he contends, no longer can we enjoy the litany of past strengths – ecclesial property with cultural prestige. Indeed, the capacity of the Church as an institution to speak on any moral issue has been severely weakened by our own history of the abuse of children and of our neglect to act properly in response. What we do have, however, now is our own personal voice, a voice that is not afraid to be different. In the silence of an apparent absence we must learn ourselves to speak. But the word that we speak must, De Certeau proposed, be ‘interrogative’ – that is, a voice ready to ask questions, ready

“it is remarkable how a climate of tolerance breeds intolerance” to suggest different perspectives, even though our proposals may sound very feeble even to us. Each of us is commissioned to speak out a word as the Scripture scholar, Walter Brueggemann details, “neither in rage or cheap grace, but with the candour born of anguish and passion.”5 As De Certeau alludes, we cannot now issue a dogmatic word, a word that demands. We must train ourselves in the word which is humbler, and which invites. The French-Canadian philosopher, Paul Ricoeur once wrote, “any ethic that addresses the will in order to demand a decision must be subject to a poetry that opens up new dimensions for the imagination.”6 In other words, “don’t tell me what to do; tell me how it can be.” This is the word which all of us must learn, for this alone will be the word that can be heard today. This is the word which nurtures, which nourishes. It cannot be a moralising word, but a word which seizes people’s imagination because it deeply respects them, and evokes in them the desire for something more, something different – that ‘new beginning’ which is the mark of the Spirit. In this regard, there must always be a deep respect for persons in the public debate into which we are drawn. There can be no space for an attack on other persons, or an attack on groups of persons. There can be no space for demonising minority groups whatever they might be, or for shrill and apocalyptic hyperbole. Nor can there be room for a language which accuses or condemns. Such language alienates others and divides, rather than providing that space in which others are enabled to see themselves fully. We would do well to reflect on how Jesus responds to the one who is flung before him with the expectation that she be stoned ( John 8). Rather, we must stay attentive to the issues, and to principles. Nor is it helpful to impose religious argument on those who do not share our religious conviction. Religious argument is for ourselves, not for others. Though we ourselves might be inspired by our own religious convictions, in the public debate we must search instead for the rational ground on which we can stand together with those who do not share the perspective of our beliefs. Even so, our voice of invitation will not be acclaimed; it will be criticised. Our voice will not win us friends; it will draw suspicion. It may even result in our condemnation. For the currents of thought with which we are faced


are not without virulence; contrary opinions are summarily dismissed as bigoted, as an affront to compassion and tolerance and inclusion, and, therefore, as offensive – as if the Christian word must be relegated to the limp category of ‘nice.’ As I indicated above, it is remarkable how a climate of tolerance breeds intolerance. We should be under no illusion. To listen deeply to the Spirit of God, to be accountable to a vision of life that we have received from a reality outside ourselves, to be drawn into a field of meaning that we ourselves have not determined, is to set ourselves up for estrangement in a climate that determines the rightness of something from how I feel about it, and which cannot entertain the objectivity of meaning beyond reference to my own personal experience of something. For this reason, the religious voice is considered obsolete in the discussion of social issues. It is deemed as having nothing to offer. Subsequently, we experience the attempt to marginalise completely the religious voice from public debate, even though it is preposterous arrogance to think that 2,000 years of rational, philosophical reflection has nothing to offer trends which are hardly 50 years old. We are essentially talking about here the way of the Cross. Unless we are prepared to take up our Cross, we can be no follower of Jesus (Matt 16: 24-26). And for this reason, many stopped following him, and many of us may, too ( John 6:66). And yet, it is precisely the way of the Cross – what De Certeau links to the fragile, perishable word we must personally be prepared to speak – that will, albeit in ways that we may not see, bring forth new life, a whole new language.7 At our baptism, we were immersed into the mystery of this Cross: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We were not baptised into something that felt good. We were not baptised into something that we control, something from which we can pick and choose to make our own. We were not baptised into a narrative without definition, and which is inclusive of every position without boundaries. We were not baptised into a therapeutic mythology in which love is reduced to being nice to everyone, and in which the tortuous project of compassion is reduced to acceptance of everything. We were baptised into a story of renunciation, a story of sacrificial love, a story of resistance. We were baptised into a life that resists everything that would truncate us of our humanity and draw us from the truth of ourselves. Incorporated into the life of Christ, we were made with him kings, priests and prophets.

This is our time to be the prophets we have been baptised to become. As another great Catholic thinker of the 20th century, Jacques Maritain, wrote, Too long, in modern times, ‘has the Christian world obeyed two opposing rhythms, a Christian rhythm in matters of worship and religion, and, at least among better men, in things of the interior life; and, a naturalistic rhythm in things of the profane life, the social, economic and political life . . .’ Today, at least for Christians who have ears to hear, this dualism is past.8 . . . we must not only act as Christians and as Christians as such, as living members of Christ, on the spiritual plane; we must also act as Christians, as living members of Christ’s body, on the temporal one.9 And yet, if we are to be true and faithful to the story into which we have baptised, we must act not simply according to what feels right to us. To do so is to abandon our accountability to the Mystery which has called us into itself, and not which we have called into ourselves. This Mystery alone can be the genuine means of discernment in respect to the position that we might adopt about the current questions before us, if we are to remain Christian not only in name – and not only in feeling – but by our baptismal responsibility and obligation. Now is the time to make a choice in respect to our baptism – and yes, to accept the price, or otherwise. Yes, our long Tradition into which we have been baptised does celebrate a defined perspective about life, about marriage. This framework has not changed. As Chesterton once quipped, “The Church is the only democracy where the dead have a vote.” In other words, what we consider to be right is not just about what our generation might consider to be so. We must pitch our opinion against something larger than ourselves – the experience and witness of countless disciples of Jesus that have lived before us in an unbroken perception of what is true. And yes, we must make a choice: do we want to continue to be a part of this Tradition or otherwise? If we cannot accept this Tradition and if we wish to have the personal authenticity so prized by our generation, then the stark reality is that it is better for us to find a new pathway of meaning. We have the freedom to choose. In the swirl of all these considerations there is one further consideration that might assist our navigation through turbulent waters. In having the fortune of visiting Malta, and re-reading the account of St Paul’s time there, I realised that the texts about his sojourn,

“Though we ourselves might be inspired by our own religious convictions, in the public debate we must search instead for the rational ground on which we can stand together with those who do not share the perspective of our beliefs.” though historical in character are, in fact, highly elaborate commentaries, not simply on Paul, but on the Church, for which Paul is presented as a metaphor. Taking the peculiarities of the chapter into account, this is not just about Paul’s arrival on Malta. It is the story of the early Church at sea and during the storms threatening to shipwreck it, discovering that which is most essential to it – the very mystery of the Eucharist. At the heart of the storm as the text says, “he took bread, gave thanks to God in everybody’s presence, broke it and began to eat. All were encouraged and they ate too” (Acts 27: 35-36). This is a clear scriptural allusion to the Eucharist and demonstrates what is most central for us. In the storm of our own moment in history we too must not cease to take bread, give thanks, break it and share it. This means that during all that we face we must come back to the essential Christian act: the act of self-emptying becomes a self-giving, which is what the Eucharistic mystery is about. This is the mystery that is its true anchor and through which alone we can find our harbour and safety. Both the call of God and our response to that call are only known “through selfgiving to [others] in a world [which we are] to humanise.”10 The theologian Edward Schillebeeckx terms this ‘political love.’ The exercise of this love is what it means to be a prophet. This is the love at the heart of the Eucharistic mystery. It is the love into which we are summoned as a Church, and which, in the end, will be the only voice that will be able to be heard.

1 See Charles Taylor’s two magisterial works, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Harvard University Press, 1989), and A Secular Age (Harvard University Press, 2007). 2 Michel de Certeau, “The Weakness of Believing: From the Body to Writing, a Christian Transit,” translated by Saskia Brown in The Certeau Reader, edited by Graham Ward (London: Blackwell Publishers, 2000), 229. 3 De Certeau, “The Weakness of Believing,” 226. 4 De Certeau, “The Weakness of Believing,” 224. 5 Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), 50. 6 Paul Ricoeur quoted by Frederick Herzog in “Liberation and Imagination,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology Vol 32 ( July 1978), 228. 7 See De Certeau, “The Weakness of Believing,” 234, 237. 8 Maritain, Scholasticism and Politics, translated and edited by Mortimer J Adler (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940), 201. 9 Maritain, True Humanism, translated by M.R. Adamson, (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press Publishers, 1941), 292. 10 Edward Schillebeeckx, Jesus: An experiment in Christology, translated by Hubert Hoskins, (New York: Seabury, 1979), 630.





Office for Evangelisation PULLOUT EVENT CALENDAR


BROKEN BAY BIBLE CONFERENCE 2017 THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW: JOURNEY INTO DISCIPLESHIP As we explore the Jewish-Christian tapestry of Matthew’s Gospel, we discover again for ourselves who we are really called to be. Why are we called? To whom are we sent? Matthew will be the guide on our journey into discipleship. Presented by: Rev Dr Chris Monaghan CP (Lecturer in Biblical Studies and President, Yarra Theological Union) and Dr Debra Snoddy (Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Catholic Institute of Sydney), with participation by Bishop David Walker and Bishop Peter A Comensoli Date: Friday / Saturday 6 – 7 October 2017 Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills Cost: $66 for 2-day Conference, or $33 per day. Lunch and morning/ afternoon tea is included. RSVP: by 3 October, enquiries 9847 0474 Further information

EVERY STORY HAS A FAMILY: TELLING THE CHRISTIAN STORY OF FAMILY LIFE What story does the Christian family have to tell amidst the challenges and opportunities of today’s living? Our Christian belief tells us we are not alone and these stories reflect the nature of being alive as human beings. Pope Francis’ encyclical on the family, Amoris Laetitia, tells us: “The Bible is full of families, births, love stories and family crises. This is true from its very first page…” Come and reflect with Bishop Peter on the Christian story of family life. Presenter: Most Rev Dr Peter A Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay Date: Thursday 12 October 2017 Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Centre, 239 The Entrance Rd, The Entrance RSVP: By Tuesday 10 October 2017 to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

UNDERSTANDING THE REFORMATION: 500 YEARS ON In 1517, Martin Luther published his famous NinetyFive Theses which was the beginning of what we know as the Protestant Reformation. Come and learn about this fascinating event in the Church, and how Catholics and Lutherans today are engaged in ecumenical dialogue towards a unity. Reverend Professor Gerard Kelly, President of the Catholic




Institute of Sydney, Catholic co-chair of the Australian LutheranRoman Catholic Dialogue, and member of the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia, will be guiding us to an understanding of this historical event as well as its significance for Catholic communities today. Presenter: Reverend Professor Gerard Kelly Date: Thursday 26 October 2017 Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills (Vehicular entry via City View Road) RSVP: By Monday 23 October 2017 to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

PRAYER: AFFIRMING THE RELATIONSHIP This ENCOUNTER course highlights the necessity of an active and vibrant prayer life for fostering a personal relationship with Jesus. It will cover the nature, aims and ways of praying, thereby giving a sense of confidence in “how to pray.” There’s great richness and diversity of Catholic prayer practice. Developing an understanding of the relationship between personal and communal prayer, this course will foster an appreciation of prayer as a response to God’s love. Presenter: Most Rev David L. Walker, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Broken Bay Date: Thursday 5 October 2017, 7:00pm – 9:30pm Venue: Sacred Heart Church Hall, 1 Keenan Street, Mona Vale RSVP: By Monday 2 October 2017 to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

Catholic Youth Broken Bay TWILIGHT TALKS Catholic Youth Broken Bay invites you to Twilight Talks. Join Young Adults from around the Diocese to connect, share a meal, pray and be nourished by inspiring speakers. Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy with Malcolm Hart (Director of the National Office for Youth) Date: Tuesday 10 October 2017 Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm Venue: Crows Nest Hotel

TRAINING DAY CYBB Training Days are an opportunity to gather young people and youth leaders interested and involved in local ministry to network and receive essential spiritual and practical formation. Serving in a Church Of Mission (with the CYBB Team) Date: Saturday 28 October 2017 Time: 9:30am – 2:00pm Venue: Holy Name, Wahroonga


PRAISEFEST Celebrate the last Praisefest for the year and the launch of the Year of Youth! Get a chance to catch up with friends while enjoying our pre event Festival, encounter God through vibrant & honest worship, receive spiritual nourishment, and begin to unpack the theme for the Year of Youth. The launch will also introduce some exciting CYBB initiatives for next year and how you can get involved! Dinner will be provided from 6:00pm before our night begins. Theme: Open New Horizons for Spreading Joy Date: Friday 24 November 2017 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm Venue: Prouille Catholic Primary School, 5 Water St, Wahroonga

For more details on any CYBB events and RSVP:

Life Marriage and Family Broken Bay MASS FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS 2017 AND THEIR FAMILIES “Differences are a richness because I have something and you have something else and by putting the two together we have something more beautiful, something greater”. Pope Francis Most Rev Bishop Peter A Comensoli warmly invites people with special needs, their families and carers and all parishioners of the Diocese to the Annual Mass for People with Special Needs and their Families. The Diocese seeks to continually recognise and acknowledge the unique gifts that all individuals have to offer the Church and society and to advocate especially for the inclusion of persons with special needs and their families into the full participation of the social, liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. Celebrant: Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay Date: Sunday 19 November 2017 Time: 9.30am Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Yardley Ave, Waitara RSVP: By Monday 6 November 2017 to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448 Enquiries: or 0415 600 290

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

CCD Ministry Induction (CCDMI) – Compulsory Training for New Catechists and Helpers CCDL1-01MI The Mission and Ministry of the Catechist CCDL1-02MI SRE Teacher in the Parish and the School CCDL1-03MI Child Protection CCDL1-04MI Lesson Planning: Teaching the Authorised Curriculum CCDL1-05MI The Development of the Child and Adolescent I CCDL1-06MI Classroom Management: Positive Discipline CCDL1-07MI Introduction to the Bible (Order of units offered may vary from venue to venue Please confirm at time of booking.)

Central Coast Region – Course Type: CCDMI

Venue: Lecture Room, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, 12 Ashton Avnue, The Entrance Dates: Monday 23, 30 October, 6, 13 November 2017 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm (13 November 9:30am – 12:00pm) Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: By Wednesday 18 October to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

North Shore Hornsby Region – Course Type: CCDMI

Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills (Vehicular entry via City View Road) Dates: Friday 20, 27 October, 3, 10 November 2017, Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm (10 November 2017 9:30am – 12:00pm) Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: By Monday 16 October to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

Northern Beaches Region – Course Type: CCDMI

Venue: The Lakes Parish Hall, 21 Lagoon Street, Narrabeen (Only Street Parking available) Dates: Tuesday 17, 24, 31 October, 14 November 2017 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm (14 November 9:30am – 12:00pm) Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: By Friday 13 October to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

Safeguarding Children & Integrity in the Service of the Church and Classroom Management The Department of Education requires all SRE teachers (catechists) and helpers to undertake initial and ongoing training in the areas of Safeguarding Children, including child protection, and Classroom Management. It is mandatory for catechists and helpers to update this training every three years. One day workshops are being made available in three separate venues across the Diocese to allow all catechists easy access to this important training.

Northern Beaches Region

Venue: St Kieran’s Parish Centre, 2 King Street, Manly Vale Date: Wednesday 4 October 2017 (School Holidays) Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

North Shore & Hornsby Region

Venue: Caroline Chisholm Centre, Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills (Vehicular entry via City View Road) Date: Thursday 5 October 2017 (School Holidays) Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

Central Coast Region

Venue: Our Lady of the Rosary Parish Centre, 239 The Entrance Road, The Entrance Date: Monday 20 November 2017 Time: 9:30am – 2:30pm Morning Tea Provided, BYO Lunch RSVP: By Monday 13 November to or 4332 9825 / 9847 0448

Be kept informed about upcoming faith education and formation opportunities within the Diocese. Please contact David Patterson, Catholic Life & Faith Formation Coordinator, at to receive a monthly e-News detailing events from around the parishes.





Bigger and Better Two Broken Bay Catholic Primary schools on the Central Coast are getting new facilities under a new State Government initiative, the Building Grants Assistance Scheme.


hese grants are directed towards independent and Catholic schools with the greatest need, to help schools cater for growing enrolments and to refurbish or build new facilities. St Brendan’s Catholic School at Lake Munmorah is receiving $1.3 million to replace demountable classrooms with new stateof-the-art learning areas. Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast, Scot MacDonald, said “I’m delighted the NSW government is able to support this project” which will fund the demolition of six

temporary classrooms and the construction of eight new general learning areas in a new two-storey building at St Brendan’s. Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School at Wyoming is receiving $1.1 million for the replacement of an old classroom block with a more contemporary design. Also on the Central Coast, the Diocese’s newest Secondary Catholic College St Brigid’s at Lake Munmorah marks another important milestone with the building of a new two-storey classroom building consisting of

two science laboratories, an art studio with a dedicated senior art room on the ground floor and a range of open plan learning spaces on the first floor. The creation of a ‘town square’ space as the community heart of the College is a wonderful addition

Award for SMART School St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Toukley has been honoured with an Excellence in Education award from the Australian College of Educators (ACE).


he award recognises the leadership team and whole school staff for their strategic focus on developing a strong professional learning culture over many years. This culture has resulted in positive student learning outcomes. “The school timetabled weekly grade team meetings to encourage collaboration between teachers to come up with strategies to cater for the diverse needs of learners,” ACE said in its statement.




ACE also praised the school’s “focus on learning, collaborative culture and student achievement.” “Fundamental to the improvement journey at St Mary’s is a strong culture of relational trust, high expectations and partnership with parents,” ACE wrote. “ The team at St Mary’s Toukley is united in its mission to ensure all students are provided with opportunities to optimise their learning potential.”

for staff and students. This space is generously sized with stepped decking, a presentation dais and landscaping. Importantly a large cross has been incorporated into the design as a conscious reminder of our many blessings afforded by God and our Catholic ethos.


Moving and a Grooving A new program called ‘RISE’ (Relational, Inspire, Spiritual and Empower) has been launched at Mercy Catholic College at Chatswood to the tune of Beyoncé.


op star Beyoncé and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama collaborated to put together a campaign to promote movement and exercise in schools. The program provides structured lessons with a focus on student wellbeing, to help students build sense of self, connectedness with those around them, and foster positive relationships and empathy. One initiative saw Year 11 and 12 students teach younger girls the dance to Beyoncé’s hit song ‘Move Your Body.’ The aim was to get students exercising, which has been shown to boost mood,

concentration, and alertness. It also allowed Year 11 and 12 students to take on a leadership role as instructors. “ The dance was a great way to let out any end of term stress and help me think of dancing, moving my body, getting fit and active and stop worrying about the looming English and Food Tech Assignments that were coming up,” said Angela in Year 9. Hannah, also in Year 9, said, “It was a wonderful opportunity to have a laugh with my friends and also get fit. I enjoyed it so much the first time that I went on to learn it at home for fun.”

NAIDOC week celebrations Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School at Wyoming celebrated NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) week in July with a special liturgy and smoking ceremony.


amara Fulcher, Aboriginal Education Worker, organised the ceremony and the entire school community celebrated the NAIDOC theme of “Our Languages Matter.” The liturgy celebrated the differences and similarities

between Indigenous and white Australian cultures. A guest presenter, Stu, dressed in traditional ceremonial attire, conducted a smoking ceremony and delivered a message, in the form of a prayer, on the importance of maintaining Indigenous languages and culture.

Children from Year 4 shared their thoughts as to what it means to have a special language and why we should be keeping those languages alive. Callum said, “Languages are important because they symbolise the relationships between people.”

Jemma said, “Languages are important because they bring people together as a community,” while Lilli added, “ They hold memories, stories and history together.” Devon said that, “Languages are the glue that holds a culture together.”





The Mystery Visitor As students at Holy Cross Catholic School returned from their weekend recently they discovered a huge nest on the school playground.


trail of leaves and branches led towards the bush at the back of the school, giving the impression that a creature had dragged the nest out. The students roped off the area and looked at the nest but did not touch. As the week progressed two large eggs appeared in the nest along with piles of fur-like material and feathers. After a few days, the eggs cracked but still no creatures were evident! Theories grew with great momentum. The mystery nest enthralled

the school and led to numerous creature sightings in the bushes, much discussion and, most importantly, some brilliant writing and research as children attempted to get to the bottom of the mystery. Students wrote news reports, research notes, descriptions, and recounts as they shared the experience with their families and each other. Year 5 student Rylee described the nest as an “Egg-citing find” and said the school hoped they would “crack” the case.

Finally, as the last step in this learning initiative, a park ranger took the nest away to examine it and return it to the bush. The

Special Visitor at Forestville Students at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic School at Forestville had a surprise guest during the Premier’s Reading Challenge – the Premier herself!


SW Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited the school and read aloud to the entire school at a special assembly. Children of all ages were enthralled as the Premier read Nannie Loves by Kylie Dunstan, which was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council awards this year. The book was selected for the occasion as it was also Grandparents’ Day, with 300 grandparents visiting the school for a special morning tea. Each grade prepared questions for Ms Berejiklian, which ranged from “What was your favourite




book to read when you were a little girl?” to questions on women in politics. “It was an honour to have her come to the school,” Principal Meredith Tomkins said. “We were really impressed with her as a person. She managed to capture the attention of 450 children of all ages while she read a story which was at the level of Kindergarten.” Director of the Catholic Schools Office, Peter Hamill, also attended the assembly, as well as Fr Jose Philip, Parish Priest at Frenchs Forest Parish.

playground returned to normal but the students will always wonder about the creatures that were a part of their school life for a week.


Annual Kirabati Trip Humbling for St Leo’s Students Nine Year 12 students from St Leo’s Catholic College at Wahroonga recently travelled to the Pacific island of Kiribati on the annual nine-day immersion, accompanied by three teachers.


he program immersed the students in the life and culture of the island, which saw them attending classes at Sacred Heart College and ending each evening with a reflection upon their experiences. At Sacred Heart students were assigned same age buddies who accompanied them for the majority of the visit. Students were inspired and

moved by the resilient people of Kiribati and their extraordinary love for one another, a richness which challenged a Western definition of poverty. Students were not permitted cameras to encourage them to participate instead of spectate. They met with agencies currently working with the local people, including round table discussions

at the United Nations in Kiribati as well as the Australian High Commission. They also toured a hospital and visited a special needs school, a women’s refuge, and the Alcoholics Anonymous Family Recovery Centre. Students travelled to the home villages of their buddies where they were warmly welcomed. Despite the startling poverty in

many of the homes, students were over-awed by the generosity of their host families through the offering of food and refreshments at every stop. Students at St Leo’s had fundraised throughout the year so as to be able to donate money and new sports equipment to Sacred Heart and those agencies which support the local people.

Flying High St Martin’s Catholic School at Davidson recently participated in the Paper Plane Challenge organised by the Science Teachers Association of NSW, Young Scientist Committee as part of National Science Week.


n the lead up to the event all students engaged in making paper aeroplanes, testing and re-trialling their designs and perfecting their flying in both ‘air time’ and ‘distance’ categories.

The NSW State Championships were held at Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre with St Martin’s students achieving some fantastic results. From Year 2 Aidan Boulton took out

1st place and Charlie Bedson 4th place, with Year 5 student Max Fenech taking out 1st place in his respective year group. Some substantial distances were also achieved by St Martin’s ‘High Flyers’ who

were the winners of the whole school distance event. Special recognition going to Andrew Boulton who broke the record of 34.98m set in 2015, by throwing his plane 35.6m in his class competition. BBN




Planting the seeds of faith By Catherine Day Being a catechist is a rewarding experience that allows a person to sow seeds of faith and, grow stronger in their own faith.


or Christine Jap, one of the Diocese’s youngest Special Religious Education (SRE) teachers, these have been the reasons she is enjoying her time as a catechist. Christine became a volunteer SRE teacher at the end of 2015, after being influenced and inspired by three strong women of faith. The push to join was when she heard Trish Harrison explain that it didn’t matter if you felt underqualified. “Her story really touched me,” said Christine. “She was explaining she didn’t feel ready or qualified, but then something just moved in her and she felt that she should do it. That inspired me to sign up.” It also helped that her SRE teacher nurtured her faith development. “Even though the lessons were really short, I really appreciated the time and effort she put into it. She really went out of her way to make sure we felt and experienced God’s love,” said Christine. The biggest influence however, has been Christine’s mum. Encouraging Christine (and her brother) to pray every night, she has helped guide Christine to better understand her faith. “She has got a strong connection and relationship with God, and even though she never imposed the faith on us, she planted the seeds. I can see God is the centre of her life and it’s where she gets all her strength to persevere. She’s a real inspiration.” Currently teaching SRE to Kindergarten

at Epping North Public School, Christine has found that each year level she teaches, brings with it joy and frustrations. “The kindy kids are cute but they can’t sit still and get easily distracted. Years Five and Six are more mature in their understanding and you can teach them more advanced things. But they also have strong attitudes, and if they choose to be, they can be disrespectful. It’s challenging because I know they know it’s wrong.” Despite the challenges, Christine knows that she is planting seeds. “I love being able to share the faith and I know that if I do my best, the Holy Spirit will help nurture it later on in their lives.” While Christine is not volunteering teaching SRE, she is studying. She is in her final semester of Advanced Science at Sydney University and planning to next go on to a Masters of Teaching. She is hoping to become a science teacher. While Christine realises this means she would have to stop being an SRE teacher, she is truly thankful for her time as a Catechist. “It’s a great opportunity, and I get to have that experience of doing the behavioural class management, being in the classroom and being in front of students. I love sharing my faith, and this a great opportunity to grow in my faith.” More Catechists are needed within the Diocese and if anyone is considering joining, hopefully Christine’s parting words will

inspire you to make a difference “These children, a lot of them don’t get exposure outside, so this is really important. You’ll grow in your relationship with God and you’ll make a difference to these children.” To find out more about becoming a volunteer Catechist, contact Sharon da Roza, Administrative Assistant for CCD at the Diocese of Broken Bay on 02 9847 0492 or



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





On a mission to save the Earth By Melissa Loughlin The planet Earth is in the middle of a climate crisis. Not change, crisis.


ope Francis wrote Laudato Si’ over two years ago and it seems in that time, not much has changed for the better. It is the responsibility of every citizen of our planet to do their part to save it. We only have one Earth, there is no plan B here. When we talk about the climate crisis and all the negative effects, it can seem completely overwhelming. Plastic in our oceans, sea levels rising, increasing number of catastrophic weather events (Hurricanes Irma and Harvey being the most recent ones in the USA) it can really get you down! I recently watched the documentary by Leonardo DiCaprio Before the Flood and felt so depressed afterwards! Before the Flood was inspired by the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch that hung over DiCaprio’s bed as a child. He told Pope Francis about this and presented him a book of art featuring this painting when he met the Pontiff in 2016. The triptych painting (consisting of three panels) depicts the Earth before man, man’s destruction of the Earth and finally a ravaged landscape left behind. It is a telling piece of art.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are many things we can do to help curb this climate crisis. The most important thing to do is make small changes in your own lifestyle for the benefit of our common home. But there are some easy steps you can take to start with. Use the mantra: Refuse, Reuse, Recycle. We all think we are doing wonders for the environment when we throw things in the recycling bin, but it is a much better idea to refuse single use items in the first place. The four main culprits of plastic rubbish entering our waterways are single use plastic bags, disposable coffee cups, plastic bottles and straws. You can easily avoid these by taking reusable shopping bags with you (I always keep them in the car), use a KeepCup when ordering takeaway coffee, carry a refillable water bottle and carry your own metal or bamboo straws (if you need to use a straw). If you do have to use any of these items, try and reuse (bags are always handy, bottles can refilled) and as a last resort, recycle. There are obvious things you can do as well, but not as simple or inexpensive. Install solar panels on

your home, plant more trees, start a compost and worm farm in your backyard, drive a hybrid car, drive your car less, use public transport, take less flights if you can, recycle soft plastics through RedCycle bins at your local supermarket, buy produce from local farmers, eat less beef (methane gas from cattle is one of the biggest polluters) and pick up rubbish you see in the street or beach on your daily walks. Most importantly, vote for

political parties and leaders that will take action on climate change. Pressure the government to do what’s right. We can all make small and effective changes but it is our governments that have the biggest power in terms of big change. Sign the petition to ban plastic bags in NSW, pressure the Federal Government to invest more in clean energy, do what you can to leave the planet in a better condition than you found it.

KeepCups are an easy solution to solve the problem of one billion disposable coffee cups ending up in landfill every year in Australia

The Diocese of Broken Bay

Charity Race Day Thursday 2 november 2017 The enTerTainmenT Grounds, racecourse rd, Gosford Be part of the fun, great raffle prizes including a south Pacific cruise for two, apple iPad and many more...

Tickets: $80 per person

includes buffet luncheon, all day beverages including beer, wine, sparkling, soft drinks, tea & coffee, entry to the race Track and race Book

for bookings call rhonda andersen on 9847 0726 or email

All funds raised support Mary Mac’s Place, Woy Woy BBN




A journey worth taking By Aldrin Valdehueza

My name is Aldrin Martinez Valdehueza. I arrived from the Philippines in October 2016 to continue my seminary studies for the Diocese of Broken Bay.


n February, I joined the Seminary of the Good Shepherd together with the other thirteen young men studying for the Dioceses of Canberra-Goulburn, Sydney, Bathurst, and the Chaldean Rite. This is not my first time to be in the seminary, but the context here in Australia is far different from my country. The Church here is very multicultural and this is evidently reflected in the seminary as well. In my class alone we are already a diverse community as we come from different ethnic backgrounds. I am studying with six Vietnamese men, two Australians, two Samoans, one Iraqi, one Indonesian and one Indian. Our diversity is both enriching and challenging at the same time. Personally, it is offering me with wealth of opportunities to gain knowledge and experience that will help me adjust and integrate in this country where cultural diversity is embraced and cherished. It is also broadening and widening my horizon as it allows me to experience things I am not accustomed to. On the other hand, it is bringing considerable challenges to each one of us in the community to appreciate and embrace our differences. Our First-Year program is also referred to as the Spiritual Year. We are a community within the bigger seminary community. We have our own set of structure and schedule. It is in this year of formation that we are significantly supported as we enter in to the challenging and rewarding life of the seminary. This is

also the period of the formation that we journey to grow more in self-knowledge and self-reflection to help us discern well in our vocation to priesthood. Thus, we are provided with various lectures, seminars, spiritual exercises such as retreats, recollections, daily prayers, spiritual directions, pastoral exposures and communal activities that foster an integrated seminary formation. As I reflect on the turns and detours I have had in my life journey, I am filled with wonder and gratitude. I believe that my coming to Australia did not happen by chance, but through God’s providence and part of his wonderful plan for me. Some years ago, I joined the seminary after Uni, stayed there for six years and left the formation to explore and figure what exactly is my calling in life. I could say that I have had a great and exciting life after leaving. I became so happy experiencing things that brought forth with wonderful memories and learnings to me. I have had the chance to travel. I did what young and single men usually do, searched for the right girl to be with forever. I never closed the thought of getting married and raising my own family someday. Yet, I still felt I was searching for something greater. I was still restless and unfulfilled. There was still a small voice within me that tenderly invites me to consider priestly vocation. Finally, I responded to it. I gave in and went to see my



spiritual director again to prayerfully discern for my vocation. That searching brought me to Australia for an immersion and mutual discernment program with the Diocese of Broken Bay in 2014. The rest is history. And now I am back in the seminary and I have never been happier and at peace with my decision. Although I have missed the comfort of being with my family and friends back home, God never allows any single moment for me to feel alone and unsupported here. He has gifted me with wonderful people who have made me part of their lives and families. I am so blessed and grateful for all the support and prayers I have been receiving from my St Patrick’s Parish community of Gosford, brother seminarians, formator priests, new found friends, and especially Bishop Peter, the clergy and lay faithful of our Diocese. The journey still goes on and for now, I am just relishing the joy and peace I feel within despite the challenges of everyday life in the seminary. I am now home away from home. Let me take this opportunity to speak to young people out there. If you are thinking of discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life, know there are many others thinking about it as well and you are never alone. It’s a journey worth taking. I pray that you will discover the amazing journey that the Lord has in store for you. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam! (For the greater glory of God).


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Mount St Benedict Library a hidden gem, open to all By Debra Vermeer

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Pennant Hills Road, in beautiful, peaceful surrounds, the Mount St Benedict Centre Library is a hidden gem within the Diocese of Broken Bay, offering a rich vein of practical, accessible, spiritual nourishment for anyone who seeks it.


he Library is a ministry of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, and seeks to serve the Congregation, Good Samaritan Oblates, students of Theology and the wider community. Library Coordinator Fiona Borland says the Sisters are keen to reach out and share the Library with more people. “What I think this Library does really well is what we call ‘everyday spirituality’,” Fiona says. “The material here is practical, providing people with a path that is do-able and which helps them to incorporate a deeper spirituality into their everyday life. Inspired by the Good Samaritan Sisters, it aims to nurture, nourish, inspire and extend.” The Library has a range of resources, including latest release books on contemporary prayer and spirituality, scripture, meditation, liturgy, cosmology and eco-theology, as well as music CDs, movie DVDs and audio books. There’s also plenty of classic literature and poetry on offer, as well as biographies and autobiographies. And, in fitting with the charism of the Good Sams, there is a significant collection of Benedictine studies available, as well as academic Theological works. The Library subscribes to more than 40 journals. “If someone has an interest in a particular topic, we’ll support them to find the resources that best match their need. I love matching people up with the right resources that support them on their journey.” Fiona says the Library offers current, cutting edge thinking in spirituality within the Catholic realm. “The material offers people a fresh way of thinking and a new way of being,” she says. Some of the more popular authors in stock include Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Thomas Keating, Ron Rolheiser, Mary Oliver, Daniel O’Leary, Joan Chittister and Diarmuid O’Murchu. But beyond what’s on the shelves, the Library is also a quiet place to enjoy and to recharge the batteries. “It’s a place to come and reflect,” Fiona says. “We have a beautiful reading space, in the Polding Room, but there are also the peaceful Mount St Benedict Centre gardens and we offer all this as a contemplative space to really experience our rich resources.” The Benedictine ethos, with its focus on hospitality and promoting a balanced life of prayer, work, rest and leisure, pervades the Library. “It’s a spirituality that offers us a space to be reflective and to more easily incorporate that

balance into our lives. It gives the opportunity to stop and focus on the deeper questions and longings of life.” Anyone is welcome at the Library to browse and read, and for those who wish to borrow, a small annual membership fee, gives access to all the great works on the shelf. For those who live a bit further away from the Mount St Benedict Centre, the Library offers a postal delivery service. Once a member, there are also regular email updates of what’s new in the Library and what’s on offer. A new web interface offers a full online catalogue for the Library, which is completely searchable, and people can register online to become members or they can register in person at the Library. Fiona says they are always looking for new ways to invite people into the life of the Library and the Mount St Benedict Centre. “For instance, we’re open to book clubs who’d like to use the space to meet here and discuss or contemplate what they’re reading,” she says. “And we have had Poetry Days here at the Centre over the past few years which have been well supported. Everyone is welcome.”

Fiona Borland and Maree Devitt

Visit the Mount St Benedict Centre Library online at or contact by phone on 02 9484 6208 or email:

Opening hours are Monday 12-4pm, Tuesday closed, Wednesday 9am-3pm, Thursday 9am-3pm, Friday 9am to 2.30pm. It’s closed on weekends and public holidays and opening hours can vary, so if coming from a distance a phone call is recommended.


…serving the Diocese of Broken Bay since 1967 Rebecca Pincott Michael Bolton

Australian Family Owned & Operated 301-303 PENNANT HILLS ROAD, THORNLEIGH




The National Disability Insurance Scheme journey goes full circle

Communicating with our clients and families is an important part of supporting them along the NDIS journey.


s part of that support, morning teas and evening information sessions were recently offered at each of the Brookvale, Waitara and Central Coast Centres. Clients, their families, and staff of the Disability Futures program are gearing up for the next phase NDIS Plans. This involves supporting clients and their families through a review of outcomes of client’s First Plans, which were used to transition from the old Ageing Disability and Home Care funded programs to the new individualised NDIS world. This process now goes full circle by measuring the previous plan then developing the content for next plans. New plans can continue current goals or establish new ones and the steps to achieve them.

This has been a huge learning curve for all involved; clients, their families and the Disability Futures Team at CatholicCare. Across the country the transition to the NDIS continues to be a transformational process and like any major change it has had it highs and lows. The most exciting thing is that everyday Australians remain committed to the NDIS and the positive opportunities that it is designed to deliver to clients and their families. This insurance-based model of funding provides service certainty across the lifespan of people with a disability.

skills and opportunities their sons and daughters receive from attending our centres and services.

The morning teas were well received by families and offered opportunities for feedback on individual client journeys; and, to demonstrate to families the

Sarah Judd the Senior Policy and Development Officer from Carers Australian NSW came to the Waitara morning tea and offer ongoing support and information from the

For CatholicCare it has meant considerable change in business processes and structures which will continue for the immediate future. Bart was part of the group of Brookvale clients who did a great deal of preparation and ‘baking’ of goods for the morning tea that was held at the Lionel Watts Centre. The joy that he had in preparing mini quiches and other items was clearly demonstrated on the day.

Carers network for families as they continue their NDIS journey. The Disability Futures Manager, Christine Macqueen also spoke about the current challenges and opportunities from the NDIS and the support that families can expect from CatholicCare in preparing for the next round of plan negotiations.

Eremeran Group visits Hornsby Hospital

By Anna Pawlak-Simpson,

CatholicCare Pastoral Care Practitioner, Hornsby Hospital and SAN Hospital

On Saturday 12 August, staff at Hornsby Hospital were delighted to have the girls and volunteers from Eremeran Hills visit and sing for the patients.


remeran Hills Study Centre is a youth centre based in Pennant Hills, which aims to encourage positive character development and academic excellence in school-aged girls. The young ladies arrived with their leaders and were very polite, enthusiastic and bubbling

with energy and excitement. They brought flowers, homemade biscuits and slices for the patients and staff. When they arrived at the Mary Giles ward, the patients were gathered awaiting their arrival. For some it was a big effort to come from their bed to the dining room.

There were oxygen tanks and other equipment that had to accompany them. Then the girls began to sing, mostly songs from The Sound of Music, well known to the audience. Some smiled, some sang and others cried quietly. The ward was filled with emotion. After a couple of songs, a few more patients emerged

from their rooms, even the ones that were initially too tired or did not know what the fuss was about. For those who could not join us, the group sang to them outside their rooms, the teary-eyed patients clapped and asked for more. After the group finished singing, they respectfully asked

FAMILY CENTRES: Central Coast • Naremburn • Waitara DISABILITY FUTURES: Central Coast • Northern Beaches • Northern Suburbs OUT OF HOME CARE: Foster Care • Therapeutic Group Care EARLY LEARNING AND CARE: Forestville • Lake Munmorah • Terrigal • Waitara • Woy Woy




Eremeran Group visits Hornsby Hospital the staff permission to give out cookies and flowers. The girls handed brightly coloured gerberas and biscuits to the patients. There was a patient celebrating a birthday, the girls sang “Happy Birthday” and presented her with a bouquet of roses. From previous pastoral visits, I know that she had a very strong faith and had been going through a hard time in hospital. This visit made a huge difference for her, she was visibly moved. I have seen the girls sit on the floor or next to the patients and tenderly hold their hands

and listen to their stories. Their care and interest is genuine and give us grownups something to think about. The feedback has been wonderful, most commented that they wished that they had that confidence and people skills when they were young. The Hornsby Hospital Chaplaincy coordinator, Rhonda Daley was also impressed, and said, “I welcome them with open arms”. In fact, the Hospital Chaplains would strongly encourage any similar groups that would like to get involved to apply. How many teenagers would

give up their Saturday afternoon to sing and sit with people they don’t know? Credit to your families and educators for raising such inspiring young women, but most importantly credit to you for

making a difference bigger than you will ever know. Thank you so much, the patients, staff and I hope to see you again soon, you are always welcome!

Intensive Family Preservation Service Our Intensive Family Preservation Service (IFPS) located at Waitara Family Centre supports families whose children are at risk of removal due to care and protection issues.


ur service works with families in their own homes up to three times per week for a period of 6-9 months and are supported 24/7 through on call phone support where families can request additional assistance outside of business hours. Our service works by addressing and planning for increased child safety in the home, involving children and families in safety interventions and developing and reviewing family case plans with the family goals. Michael, aged 13 years, lives with his mother, he was referred to IFPS after numerous assaults on his mother which have resulted in police and court intervention. On intake, our IFPS worker got to know

and understand the family’s story so far. Michael was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which results in him experiencing problems with socialising and communicating, and difficulty in maintaining school placements. Michael’s family immigrated to Australia many years ago in order to give Michael a different life, however Michael’s father resides and works in China and he visits twice per year. Michael’s mother has no family support, and her external network of friends is limited due to her caring for Michael. There have been several interventions and supports offered so far, including mental health and behavioural concerns

assessments and now a diagnosis, but ultimately his mother was not able to effectively tame the physical violence. Our IFPS worker spoke with the family about their strengths and needs, and created a safety plan to ensure the mother is not subjected to any further violence and Michael is free to live peacefully in his home without having to get into trouble at school or with police. Our worker started by working closely with Michael, we used child sensory resources to understand what life is like for him, we learnt he found it difficult focusing at school, he missed his father and finds friendships difficult to maintain – these are all basic rights for children.

We also looked at Michael’s home environment with his mother and we noticed the home had little to no resources for Michael’s interests and needs. We used brokerage funds to create a safe space for him, it includes comfy cushions, sensory prompts and rules and reward reinforcements to promote expected behaviours. Michael has identified this is a great place for him to chill out and relax and to reduce his stress levels and anger. Our IFPS worker followed Michael’s interest and has begun to develop a life story book which includes photos and key events to help him feel connected to his cultural identity, interests and passions.

OUTSIDE SCHOOL HOURS CARE: Carlingford • Collaroy Plateau • Davidson • East Gosford • Forestville • Freshwater Lake Munmorah • Manly • Mona Vale • Narrabeen • Pymble • Waitara • West Pymble • Woy Woy HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY: Gosford • Hornsby • Manly • Mona Vale • Royal North Shore • Wahroonga (SAN) • Wyong BBN




God is in the silence A new children’s book for people of all ages Fiona Basile has been a journalist and photographer for the past 18 years, working in Catholic media for a lot of that time, including writing and taking photos for Kairos Magazine in Melbourne.


he has been freelancing for the past few years and her life has taken a detour now she is the author of the wonderful new children’s book Shhh… God is in the Silence. Fiona wrote the book whilst participating in a 30-day silent retreat in Malta in 2015. “The retreat provided an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work through me creatively, providing me with the words, and giving me the inspiration to transform them into a beautiful children’s book,” said Fiona. The book is beautifully illustrated by Alice Mount, a Religious Education and Visual Communications Design teacher in Melbourne, whom Fiona has known through Catholic circles in Melbourne. “I had previously purchased Christmas cards that Alice had created and sold, which featured her illustrations on the front,” said Fiona. “When I wrote the book in Malta I knew that I wanted to ask Alice to be the illustrator. Her drawings are simple, yet profound.”

Fiona managed to self-publish Shhh… God is in the Silence, covering all the production costs, graphic design, illustrations, printing, marketing and distribution. “I decided this would be my personal ‘heart-project’ for 2016, meaning it would be something I’d do ‘for the joy of it’ and to honour the prompting I received during the silent retreat,” said Fiona. “It’s been a steep, but joyful, learning curve and I’ve had a lot of help along the way, for which I really appreciate.” Fiona has recently signed a contract with a publishing house in the USA, so the book will be international! Pope Francis even has a copy of Shhh… God is in the Silence! “I was very excited to receive a letter from the Vatican informing me that Pope Francis had received the book,” said Fiona. “I had sent Pope Francis a copy of the book soon after it was printed. It included a letter, where I explained that I’d written it on a 30-day Silent Ignation retreat, knowing he’d understand and appreciate this. It was a lovely surprise to receive

the letter from the Vatican and to receive Pope Francis’ blessing. I happened to open the letter at home on the Feast of the Assumption, so that made the day even more joyous!” School visits and reading the book to Kinder (Pre-school) students have brought immense joy to Fiona. “My heart sings with joy every time I read the book to Kinder, Prep, Grade One or Two classes,” said Fiona. “Something definitely happens from when I start with the first ‘shhh’. Once I have read a few pages, the children understand the rhythm and usually join in – it’s beautiful. “I love making eye contact with as many children as possible when I say the words: I love you; you are precious; there is no one else like you; I created you; you are safe. We usually have question time following the reading, which is always a lot of fun. The

Mass for People with Special Needs 2017 and their Families Sunday 19 noVeMbeR 2017 TiMe: 9:30 aM Venue: ouR lady of The RoSaRy caThedRal yaRdley aVe, waiTaRa RSVP: Monday 13 noVeMbeR 2017 Phone: 9847 0448 or 4332 9825 email:




questions the children ask never cease to amaze me. One little boy said, ‘when I get home I’m going to write a book,’ which is just brilliant! “I’m also deeply moved each time I receive positive feedback, which affirms that the book is touching so many hearts. I wrote the book with 3-6 year-olds in mind with the aim of helping children to connect with God in a gentle and affirming way, however it speaks to all of our hearts. We are all unique and precious, and loved by God. It emphasises the importance of silence, and reaffirms that God lives in our heart. The message is timeless and we all need to hear the words in this book.” For more information about the book, and to order copies ($20 each), go to


George and Thea

A marriage built on communication, selflessness and respect By Catherine Day George and Thea Thompson have been married for 64 years. Their commitment to each other, family, friends, and the wider community, has stood the test of time.


n recognition of their enduring love and their perfect example of a good marriage, we wanted to honour them by retelling their story. George Thompson first laid eyes on Thea Bootes in 1948 when, seeing that she was struggling, helped her up onto the icetruck that was taking a group of Berowra’s youth to one of their weekly activities. “The first time I met her I thought, well she’s not such a bad bird.” It only took George a year to propose – Thea was 21 and George, 24. On the day of their engagement, George, who is a football fanatic, was out playing rugby in Chatswood when he was knocked out by another player. Although she’s forgiven him, Thea hasn’t forgotten: “Late he was, he didn’t end up getting there. He ended up in hospital. Why he had to play that day, I’ll never know. He’s lucky I married him.” They had a long engagement because George was busy building what was to become their future home in Berowra. As a child, George lived in a house that had a dirt floor and hessian bag walls. “He didn’t want me to have the same life his mother had,” said Thea. It took George two years to scrape enough to buy the building materials needed to build the

house. Riding a pushbike from Berowra Heights to Hornsby (14kms) he would leave home at 3am to start work at 5am at John Sands Printers in the city. Also, he had a second job as a bricklayer. This was all so he could build their house. But George was never alone. While he would bend the steel needed for the foundation, Thea would wire it together. Thea also cooked for him. “She knew I would work all day, so she would come up and cook a BBQ or something,” said George. “Obviously she had heard somewhere the way to man’s heart is through his stomach.” Once the house was finished, Thea and George were married at St Patrick’s in Asquith, in what is now the library. Life is never simple; and for Thea and George it was far from smooth sailing. A few years after the birth of their first daughter, Maree, they had a son who was a stillborn. Thea never got to hold him. Their second daughter, Rhonda, was born eight years later. During this time George and Thea opened their home to a young girl from St Catherine’s Orphanage in Brooklyn. For several years she was part of the family, spending weekends with them and going on family holidays. Unfortunately, as a teenager she

fell in with a bad crowd, and being concerned for their daughters’ reputation and safety, they had to close the door. To this day, Thea still thinks about her and wonders where she is. Illness has plagued both George and Thea. As a young girl, Thea suffered from polio. She was placed in iron casts for months and wasn’t allowed any human contact (except for when a nurse came in once a day to wriggle her fingers and toes.) She recovered, and lived a full life, but now in her 80s, the polio has returned and the diagnosis is not good (she will eventually lose all use of her muscles). For George, it has been heart attacks and strokes. In one month alone, George suffered five heart attacks and because of his old age, most doctors refused to give him a bypass. Thankfully, his daughters found a doctor who was willing to do the surgery and George thanks him to this day, for saving his life. All through their illnesses, they stuck by each other: “I got married and knew [we] made an agreement to look after each through sickness and health,” said George. Despite the hardships, they have stuck together. For them, the secret to a long and successful marriage has been three-fold. Firstly, they never fought over money: “Why

we’ve done so well, we’ve never wanted what we couldn’t have and it’s true to today,” said Thea. “We never in our whole life argued about money. Never.” Secondly, it’s been about respect for each other: “Consideration for each other,” said Thea. “Yes, mutual consideration. You can’t have your way all the time. If it’s something that matters to me than I’ll argue about it, but if it’s something that doesn’t matter, then why argue about it.” Lastly, and possibly the most important part, selflessness: “Selfishness and wanting too much your own way and not talking things out are detrimental,” said Thea. “Communication. Life isn’t going to be perfect, you’ve got to work at it,” added George. Because of their love and commitment to each other, their family, friends and community recognise that Thea and George are wonderful role models. They were given a Papal Blessing in 2015 on their 62nd wedding anniversary for their love and commitment to each other. It doesn’t take millions of dollars, fancy cars and expensive holidays to have a good marriage. All you need is respect, an ability to be selfless and love. “It’s been a fantastic journey. Life’s been hard at times, but it’s been good,” said George. BBN




Bishops call for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

Australians are called to work for an economy that is based on principles of justice and equity – one that is at the service of all, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised, says the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv.


examples of economic injustice and inequity today. Growing numbers of Australians are in insecure, ill-paid work, and some live below the poverty line even though they are employed. Those on welfare are also likely to be in poverty and face greater bureaucratic hurdles. Australia’s housing crisis has terrible effects on those on welfare, low-paid workers, asylum seekers and older renters, especially women. And, Indigenous Australians are disadvantaged in health, education, employment and income, while grossly overrepresented in our prisons. Drawing on the teachings of the Gospel and more than 120 years

of Catholic social teaching, the Statement sets out five principles that could form the foundations of a just and inclusive economy: • People and nature are not mere tools of production. • Economic growth alone cannot ensure inclusive and sustainable development. • Social equity must be built into the heart of the economy. • Businesses must benefit all society, not just shareholders. • The excluded and vulnerable must be included in decision-making.

The Bishops call for a new approach to the economy that prevents exclusion from the outset and builds justice into the very foundation of our society. They echo the words of Pope Francis, who calls us to be ‘an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society’. The 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement can be downloaded from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website:


ishop Long was speaking in September at the launch of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement, entitled Everyone’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy. The Statement highlights that although Australia has enjoyed a quarter-century of uninterrupted growth, the benefits have not been spread evenly. The top 20 per cent of households have received far greater increases in wealth than the poorest 20 per cent and nearly three million Australians, including 730,000 children, are living in poverty. The Bishops point to four major

Launching the 2017-2018 Social Justice Statement from L to R: Commissioner Susan Pascoe OA (Australian Charities); Mr John Ferguson (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council); Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv (Chair, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council); Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO (Catholic Social Services Australia) and Aunty Elsie Heiss





Helping couples with their fertility, naturally By Steven Buhagiar, Team Leader – Life, Marriage and Family, Diocese of Broken Bay

There is a little known ‘gift’ which resides the Diocese of Broken Bay. This ‘gift’ sits at the very heart of creation and reveals an intimate and profound understanding of the innate love and perfection which is characteristic of every human person and from their very first moment of life.


his gift is the understanding of a couple’s fertility; an understanding which underpins every life, family and flourishing society. This ‘gift’ is one which is readily available to local couples in this Diocese. We have a most experienced facilitator of the world renowned ‘Creighton Model FertilityCare (CrMS) System along with the cutting edge women’s health science Napro Technology. Katie Fullilove, our local CrMS practitioner and Natural Family Planning Education Coordinator in the Diocese Broken Bay, lifts the curtain on the Diocese’s best kept secret.

What is the CrMS? The Creighton Model System, also known as FertilityCare, is a modern, holistic, natural approach to understanding and managing fertility. A woman can use this system to monitor and evaluate the health of her fertility or couples may use it to identify fertile and infertile phases in the woman’s cycle to manage their family size. This system frames fertility in the sphere of normative healthcare. A CrMS practitioner will help a woman chart her fertility using various biomarkers and this gives us great detail about the woman’s fertile health. If any abnormalities are found by the practitioner, such as risk of miscarriage, endometriosis or polycystic ovarian disease, the client is referred to our NaProTechnology trained doctors for treatment to help restore their reproductive health.

Can you explain the association of CrMS and NaPro Technology? NaPro Technology is a relatively new science that has been developed through the research efforts of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska. It involves

orderly and systematic evaluation of the events that occur during the course of the menstrual and ovulation cycles and it has been built upon and the standarised gynaecological charting record of the Creighton Model, FertilityCare System.

evaluating and treating the health of their fertility • At its heart, CrMS nurtures communication around human sexuality through a deepening of the couple’s understanding of each other’s fertility.

What attracted you to CrMS in the first place?

Who would you recommend look deeper into this area of fertility information?

It’s good health science! It provides women with a greater understanding of their body… every single woman deserves this! This knowledge empowers women to see their fertility as a beautiful and healthy sign that in no way needs to be suppressed but rather embraced. If women can use knowledge to manage their fertility it suggests a freedom that is inherent of their human dignity.

• Married couples who are presently using synthetic contraceptive methods • Women who would like to understand more about their fertility • Engaged couples hoping to monitor their reproductive health prior to marriage • Women who are struggling with reproductive problems such as irregular cycles or severe PMS • Couples experiencing infertility

How does CrMS help couples discover the “Inner Soul” of their Human Sexuality?

What commitment does CrMS involve and what does it cost? Couples who want to be educated in the CrMS can come along for a free one hour introductory session to understand how the system works. If they choose to continue, their practitioner will see them for follow up appointments over a three month period or as necessary. Couples needing help with infertility will be referred to a doctor after one month of charting.

How can interested couples contact you? I would invite anyone who would like to know more to contact me personally by phone: 9847 0486 or email: or go to for more information.

When couples understand and work with their cycle of fertility, it challenges them to enter into dialogue with each other. This open communication allows the spouses to better recognise not only the bodily character of their sexual union but also the personal and spiritual character. By respecting the body of their spouse, the couple grows in their appreciation of one another and this encourages tenderness and affection. Using a natural system to regulate fertility offers an innate language where the spouses say to each other, “I accept and love you as you are!”

What are three key advantages of couples using CrMS? • It provides a more complete knowledge of fertile and infertile phases of the woman’s cycle with 99.5% accuracy • Couples are active participants in monitoring,

Katie Fullilove BBN




Former Wahroonga parishioner now a Dominican Sister Fourteen young women professed perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee in July.


mong those who made their Perpetual Profession was Sr Susanna Edmunds, O.P., a former parishioner of Holy Name, Wahroonga. Sr Susanna is the daughter of Ian and Hayley Edmunds, also parishioners at Holy Name. Sr Susanna is a graduate of Loreto Normanhurst and the University of Sydney as well as Aquinas College, Nashville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science (Education). She is assigned to teach high school at Trinity Catholic College back in Sydney beginning in January 2018. In 1860, the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia

was established in Nashville, where its Motherhouse is located. The Sisters of St Cecilia are dedicated to the apostolate of Catholic education. The community of 300 sisters serves in 41 schools throughout the United States, with mission houses also in Sydney, Vancouver; Rome and Bracciano, Italy; Elgin, Scotland; Sittard, The Netherlands; and Limerick, Ireland. In 2018 the community will be opening a house in Melbourne. For more information on the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia Congregation, please visit their website at

Sr Susanna Edmunds

Sharing the Word eLibrary A great source of information for the world

Hans Arns is the brains trust behind an exciting new initiative for seminaries in developing nations around the world.


haring the Word is an eLibrary which enables seminarians to access to the resources and information they need specifically for their studies. Launched in 2014 by Catholic Mission, in partnership with Hans Arns and in-country

volunteer Heide Schooling, Sharing the Word is an initiative to digitise seminary libraries in developing countries. A major feature of the Sharing the Word project is an online library of more than 8,000 theological texts

Hans Arns




including books, articles, theses and podcasts, specifically for seminarians, that can be accessed through the internet. The eLibrary links to other sites across the World Wide Web, but houses the catalogue of information on its website. “We are limited by copyright, so everything is linked elsewhere,” said Hans, who turns 80 years old this month. Tanzania is the latest in a list of countries to receive the resource, with others including Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda. Catholic Mission National Director Fr Brian Lucas says the project has achieved great things. “This is a wonderful resource for seminarians around the world,” he said. “Sharing the Word ensures seminarians in developing countries can receive access to library resources to enhance

their theological education. A significant barrier to the proper formation of seminarians is access to essential theological texts which are often rare and expensive.” Hans is hoping to hand over the maintenance of Sharing the Word to the Australian Catholic University for students in Australia to also have the benefit of using the eLibrary. “I’ve been retired from being a librarian for a long time now,” said Hans. “But I’ve been working ever since! It’s time for me to slow down.” Considering Hans has catalogued all 8000 plus items in the eLibrary over the last few years, a break is well-deserved! Anyone can use this resource and Hans is hoping that more people in Australia will access the resources available. You can visit

to check it out.


125 Years of W N Bull Funerals

Celebrating a milestone is one thing; taking the past glories into the future is another. William and Mary Bull began their funeral company in 1892.


illiam was descended from a member of the New South Wales Corps who had journeyed to Australia as part of the protective company guarding political prisoners. Mary was from Irish Catholic stock, coming to the New World for a new life. The funeral company they created was closely associated with the Church. ‘To provide a reverent and dignified Catholic funeral’ was their goal; the respectful burial of every person in the community, rich or poor, was the taken-for-granted consequence of this aim. While William Nugent’s name was the signature of the company,

the couple’s grandchildren recall that Mary was the practical and driving force. Along with the identification with the Catholic community, W N Bull Funerals gained a reputation for development and innovation in the funeral industry. The spirit of the founders persisted after William’s death in 1932 and Mary’s in 1939. The family continued to maintain an interest in the board of the company into the 1940s. In 1942, Mr John Quain assumed management of the company after the death of Gregory Bull, Mary and William’s son. When John and Agnes Harris

purchased W N Bull Funerals in 1986 there was need for some renewal. John and Agnes had conducted their own funeral business in Wagga Wagga prior to being invited to take over W N Bull. John and Agnes brought to this well-known Sydney company the energy and practicality reminiscent of its original founders. John had a sense of history and a strong feel for style and ceremony. Instinctively, he saw the importance of ritual and symbols and continued the strong Catholic tradition of W N Bull Funerals. However, the reputation of the company spread beyond the Catholic community.

Patsy Healy, General Manager of W N Bull Funerals, describes the role of the funeral director as ‘one who honours the trust of families who entrust their deceased family member to us’. Honouring people’s trust and committed personal service are more than advertising slogans; trust and personal experience underline relationships that have endured over many years. Patsy, the staff of W N Bull Funerals and the present owners, InvoCare, are committed to ensuring these qualities continue to be the foundation for W N Bull’s reputation for the years to come.

Put those you love in the hands of those who care In the 125 years WN Bull Funerals has been serving the people of Sydney there has been significant growth and change in the community. We are proud to have been able to readily adapt to these changes and remain compassionate, sensitive and responsive to the needs and wishes of our client families. WN Bull is especially proud of its heritage of providing real comfort and care when caring for the deceased and their families. This care extends to the recommendation of prepaid funeral plans. A prepaid WN Bull funeral will assist family members and ensure that every detail is attended to. When the care you seek is unconditional – talk to us.

Sydney 9519 5344 | Parramatta 9687 1072 | Central Coast 4323 1892 | North Sydney 9954 5255

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Join us at our Family Open Day

We are opening our new residential aged care home in Wahroonga.

14 Oct 11am-2 pm

The day will include: pp Guided tours

Continuing the Catholic tradition of providing aged care services to the community, our newly built McQuoin Park home will warmly welcome residents next month.

pp Practical advice on navigating aged care services including home and community pp Live music, entertainment, face painting pp Food, coffee, gelato

McQuoin Park 35 Pacific Hwy, Wahroonga

1800 551 834