Page 1



Conference Report 2016 Aerial UTS Function Centre UTS Building 10, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo.

Renaissance of Marriage Conference

“Perhaps now more than

The third national Renaissance of Marriage Conference was held in Sydney on October 21-22, 2016. Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis’ Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the conference placed a strong emphasis on promoting initiatives that met the real needs of couples and families. The conference was the largest national gathering of organisations and individuals working in the area of marriage and relationship education.

at any time in our history we need a renaissance, a rediscovery . . . united in the goal of advancing our understanding of Catholic marriage.” Bishop Michael Kennedy, Bishops’ Delegate to the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council and the Catholic Society For Marriage Education

The Renaissance of Marriage Conference was hosted by the Marriage Resource Centre, an initiative of PMRC (Australia) and co-sponsored by the Australian Catholic Family and Marriage Council (ACMFC) and the Catholic Society for Marriage Educators (CSME). It received support from the Order of Malta, Notre Dame University and Campion College.

“I left with a better understanding about the state of Catholic Marriage Ministry in Australia. It was good to engage with many other conference participants and exchange different ideas and experiences”. Eugene Kwok


Conference Attendance

The conference was attended by 180 delegates representing leaders from a wide range of organisations and locations across Australia and New Zealand. Delegates included clergy, marriage educators, movements, counsellors, teachers, and parish/diocesan staff. Conference speakers included: Hon. Kevin Andrews, MP

David Lejeune

Karen and Derek Boylen

Matthew MacDonald

Australian Parliament Archdiocese of Perth

Dr Ray Campbell

John Paul ll Centre for Family and Life


Marriage & Family Office, Archdiocese of Melbourne

Dr Luke McLindon

Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Mater Mothers Hospital

Jonathon Doyle

Office of Life, Marriage and Family, Archdiocese of Hobart

Archdiocese of Brisbane Choicez Media

Karen Doyle

Choicez Media, Sisterhood

Archbishop Anthony Fisher Archdiocese of Sydney

Anne Marie Goes Pyschologist

Fr Gerry Gleeson

Vicar-General, Archdiocese of Sydney

Anthony and Cathy Hill SmartLoving

Peter Holmes

University of Notre Dame

Lara Kirk

Relationships Co-ordinator, Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn

Denise Lacey

Dr Brigid McKenna Dr Andy Mullins

University of Notre Dame

Paul Ninnes Real Talk

James Parker

International Speaker on Sexuality

Byron and Francine Pirola Marriage Resource Centre

“The most abiding theme was the power of married couples to evangelise and build up the faith of others, especially through hospitality in their homes.” Deacon Nick MacFarlane

“It gave me a better understanding of the wealth and diversity of resources available, and a chance to meeting others who I can contact in the future.” Celeste Boonaerts

Prof Ron and Dr Mavis Pirola PMRC (Australia)

Peter Shakovskoy Men Alive!

Frances Hopkins and Chris da Silva The Culture Project

Christopher West

Theology of the Body Institute,USA

CatholicCare, Melbourne


Costs & Funding The conference finances are still being finalised but in round numbers they can be summarised as follows: Venue hire and catering


Audio Visual Hire Equipment


Speaker Fees


Marketing Materials


Conference Coordinator


Graphic Design




Total Expense

“There was a tremendous atmosphere and energy. What stood out to me was the consistent message about hospitality and the openness of the family and the centrality of witness.“ Mathew MacDonald


This expense was funded through four sources: 1. Conference registration fees of $36,000 2. A $39,885 Australian Federal Government grant provided via CSME 3. A $47,000 grant provided by PMRC (Australia) through its Relationship Education


4. A $2,000 donation from the Order of Malta (NSW Branch) In addition, nine delegates received CSME Learning Grants to support their travel and registration costs. These delegates received $720 per person (on average) with a total grant value of $6,490. In addition, several delegates received CSME Learning Grants to support their travel and registration costs. Nine delegates received on average $800 ($7,200 in total).

Feedback from delegates Feedback from delegates was

Poor OK/Good



Excellent / Amazing



“The national gathering of expertise and energy around this crucial topic of Marriage Education was a real highlight for me.” Peter Shakovskoy

extremely positive, with two-thirds of all presentations being rated as Excellent or

“The overall result of the conference was an upbeat injection of hope.”


Andy Mullins

Keynote talks Workshops


Well done good and faithful servant! The Marriage Resource Centre, through the conference

Many in the audience were

dinner, was delighted to enable a fitting and well-

active within CSME and had great

deserved acknowledgement and celebration of 43 years

appreciation for the tremendous

of dedicated work of the Catholic Society for Marriage

work of the society. Importantly,

Education (CSME).

the mood was very much of a ‘new dawning’ rather than ‘sun

Having announced earlier this year the winding up of the

setting’ as this incredibly important

society, outgoing President Margaret Murphy paid tribute

mission of the Chuch moves

to the many clergy and lay couples and women and men

foward in new ways.

who had been an integral part of the organisation. She was joined by a number of past presidents, who each

On behalf of the Marriage

provided a short personal reflection of the work of the

Resource Centre, the ACMFC and

society. A booklet prepared to honour the past members

all who attended the conference

and their work was presented at the meeting and will be

we say again... thank you!

archived with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (copies are available from the Renaissance of Marriage website

Future Plans Based on the positive feedback received about this event, and the felt need in the Catholic Church for a conference of this nature, it is the intention of the Marriage Resource Centre to hold a similar conference no later than June, 2018.



With thanks to our Sponsors & Donors



Commenced in 1973, the Society is comprised of member organisations accross Australia. It has contributed a substantial conference grant via the Commonwealth Government.

The Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council (ACMFC) is an Advisory Body directly responsible to the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life (BCPL).

Financial Sponsor

Support Services stands for Christ in the Third Millennium. Xt3’s mission is to provide authentic, genuine formation through the Xt3 resource library, diocese events calendar, videos and podcasts and the Ask a Priest forum. Xt3 is a project of the Archdiocese of Sydney and was started during WYD08.

The Order of Malta is an international organisation of lay men and women, founded over 900 years ago with the specific missions of both caring for the sick and poor and of the Defence of the Faith. The NSW Branch of the Order is actively committed to both of these objectives. It is in the context of Defending our Faith that the Order is pleased to cosponsor this important Conference.

Donor 7

The Marriage Resource Centre provides state of the art relationship-focused resources and programs to the Catholic Community. It focuses its work on marriage educators including clergy, and couples and families who are living (or preparing to live) out their lives in the Sacrament of Matrimony.


Renaissance of Marriage Conference Report  

Held on Oct 21- 22 Sydney.