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“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets…” Evangelii Gaudium 49, Pope Francis

Living the of the Gospel

THE

FRANCIS EFFECT Foreword by Stephen Bevans SVD


Living the of the Gospel

THE

FRANCIS EFFECT Edited by: Danielle Achikian, Peter Gates and Lana Turvey


We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future, and we thank and honour them for their sacrifice and stewardship.

For more information on Catholic Mission please visit www.catholicmission.org.au For more information on the Catholic Religious Australia please visit www.catholicreligiousaustralia.org Published by Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia PO Box 1668 North Sydney, NSW 2059 Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Except as provided by the Australian copyright law no part of this book may be reproduced in any way without written permission from the publisher. The passages contained herein are from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World. Copyright © 2013 Libreria Editrice Vaticana. All rights reserved. Book design: Smarta by Design Cover photo: Luca Zennaro © REUTERS. Used with permission. Inside photos: Author’s own Please note: The opinions and observations contained in this book are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia.


Contents: 03

Mr Peter Gates

Preface

05

Fr Stephen Bevans SVD

Foreword

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Fr Noel Connolly SSC

A Theology of Leadership for Mission

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Mr Graeme Mundine

Leadership for Mission with Aboriginal Peoples

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Ms Sandie Cornish

The Catholic Social Dimension of Evangelisation

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Ms Julie Morgan

Mission, Governance and Executive Leadership

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Fr Tim Norton SVD

Australian Multi-Cultural Parishes and Our Mission

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Sr Suzette Clark rsc

New Horizons for Religious Life

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Mr Martin Teulan

Called to be Missionary Disciples

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Professor Anne Cummins The Transformative Power of Education

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Ms Marcelle Mogg

Encountering God’s Mercy in Health & Aged Care

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Ms Julie Edwards

Nurturing the Vocational Heart of Social Services

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Mr Joe Moloney

The Risk of Loving Asylum Seekers

75

Ms Elise Ganley

Church, Young People and the Call to Transform

81

Living Your Mission with Joy

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Acknowledgments

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Contributing Authors

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Further Reading

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Notes


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Preface

What better time in the history of the world and the Church to promote joy? Pope Francis’ much anticipated Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, provides us with a guide and invitation to rediscover the original source of evangelisation in the contemporary world. In April 2013, Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia sponsored and encouraged a conversation among Catholic leaders across all ministries at the Mission: one heart, many voices Conference held in Sydney. The Conference was an opportunity to engage, inspire, and affirm participants in living and leading mission in Australia today. Evangelii Gaudium speaks to many of the themes and conversations which occurred during and after the Conference. It is a much welcomed document that has inspired Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia to further explore what might be possible in living and leading mission in our Australian context through this book, The Francis Effect: Living the Joy of the Gospel. Twelve leaders in our community were invited to write their reflections in response to the leadership style of Pope Francis, the effect he is having on our Church and what he has written in Evangelii Gaudium. From the perspective of their particular ministry, with short deadlines, the twelve authors rose to the challenge and their valuable contributions are found within these pages. THE FRANCIS EFFECT – LIVING THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL

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Each reflection is presented in the original voice of the author. They can be considered independently or collectively. In support of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ wish to “do all we can to ensure that its teaching is widely known”, each reflection explores the Exhortation and how Pope Francis’ vision and guidance can be heard, known and actioned today in our own lives, our ministries, our workplaces, our communities and our Church. Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia thank each author for their enthusiasm, support, wisdom and the contribution they are making in continuing the dialogue of how to live and lead as joyful missionary disciples. Within these pages we hope you find joy and inspiration. Mr Peter Gates Deputy National Director, Catholic Mission

“I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are.” Evangelii Gaudium 25, Pope Francis

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Foreword Fr Stephen Bevans, SVD Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

In a talk at the Australian Mission: one heart, many voices Conference in late April and early May of this year (2013), I quoted a line from the late nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietszche. The problem with Christians, Nietzsche is supposed to have said, is that “they don’t look redeemed!” The fact is, I emphasised, Pope Francis, then just newly elected Pope, really does ‘look redeemed’. And, it seems to be, that the way Pope Francis ‘looks’ has made all the difference. I was in Rome at the end of November and early December, and what struck me is that there is a new atmosphere in the city – the sense is that we have a Pope who not only looks redeemed, but who wants urgently to share the secret of his redemption with the whole world. The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, on and to which twelve leaders of the Australian Church have offered reflections and responses in

this book, is suffused with this sense of ‘being redeemed’. The very title – that the Gospel we preach is a Gospel of joy – reflects the impression that its author is a person of deep, even overflowing, joy. He is a person who has seen the worst of humanity in the desperate years of Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. In his interview with Civiltà Cattolica a few months back, he admitted that he had not been the best of Jesuit superiors during this terrible time. But he

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admitted that he had grown. He is a person who is aware of the deep crisis in which we find the Church in today’s world – financial corruption in the Vatican, sexual corruption among the clergy perhaps even surpassing that of the legendary Renaissance Church, and a flamboyancy of clerical dress and privilege that harks back to another age, if it were even relevant then. And yet, he writes, to continue to preach the Gospel is a constant joy. Despite an atmosphere in the Church that is sceptical and scandalised, Pope Francis calls the Church to hope, to the central message of Christianity – that the real God is one of us, a God who has experienced our weakness, and so reveals God’s unfathomable and always-surprising love. The Joy of the Gospel is a theme that I hope the readers of this book will see in every one of its reflective essays. The fact is, if one has ever crossed the boundaries of one’s culture and comfort, and really worked at it and stuck with it, there is no way one can be a “sourpuss”, as the Pope puts it so graphically. If anyone who reads this book has had similar experiences, she or he knows that the joy that suffuses every one of these essays is a joy born

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of deep struggle, deep amazement, and deep faith commitment. Pope Francis has given us an incomparable gift in his Exhortation. He teaches us from his own experience of a joyful pastor of the Gospel. He certainly does not look like he has just “come back from a funeral”. He impresses us as someone who could never “make the confessional into a torture chamber”, but someone who “smells like the sheep”. My sense is that the twelve Australian Catholic leaders who have written these essays rather spontaneously in the days after the release of the Exhortation, are women and men who also “smell like the sheep”. I have had deep conversations with many of them; I have laughed long and heartily with them. These are women and men of profound, infective joy, who have greatly inspired and energised me on my several trips ‘down under’. Like Pope Francis, they have long recognised that living in mission is not a drudgery, but a privilege and a joy. They not only write about, but they live The Joy of the Gospel.

THE FRANCIS EFFECT – LIVING THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL


Leadership A Theology of

for Mission

Fr Noel Connolly SSC Head of Mission Studies, Columban Mission Institute Broken Bay Institute and Catholic Institute of Sydney

“Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.” (EG 39) Evangelii Gaudium is an extraordinary document. John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter [26.11.13] describes it as Pope Francis’ ‘I Have a Dream Speech’. It is the statement of a free man. It frees us to dream not just because of the vision it proclaims but also because it reveals so much about the man who has written it. Pope Francis comes across as a redeemed, hopeful and purposeful man. He has a brave and enabling dream of a new more merciful and missionary Church with a strong commitment to the poor. To achieve this Pope Francis wants to reform the Church’s culture, priorities, structures and spirit. The document runs to more than 220

pages and covers a wide range of topics so it is difficult to summarise. I would like to concentrate on the new vision of leadership he presents.

A Pope who converses with us

Pope Francis chose to write an Apostolic Exhortation rather than an Encyclical. It seems a deliberate choice. It allows him to speak in a more personal and conversational style and that ‘speaks volumes’ in itself. It embodies the style of Church he wants; a friendly, compassionate, conversational and persuasive one. He prefers to share rather than lecture, to invite rather than order, to persuade rather than command. His style is deeply pastoral and encouraging. He

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is comfortable with being fallible and is not at all defensive. He models the virtues he attributes to Mary. “In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves” (EG 288).

A leader who doesn’t want to control everything

Pope Francis has a remarkably new and refreshing view of the Pope’s role. He doesn’t believe he should have the answers to all the questions facing local Churches. “It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound ‘decentralisation’” (EG 16). He believes in empowering National Episcopal Conferences (EG 32) and illustrates this strongly by quoting various national conferences including Latin America, India, the Philippines and our Oceania. He also harks back to Octogesima Adveniens in which Paul VI argued that it was up to the Christian community to come up with social solutions “proper to their own country” (EG 186). If this is implemented it will be a radical and exciting change but it will demand new faith, skills and structures. It will

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be a challenge to develop the ability for each country to discern for themselves the signs of the times and plan for the future. Do we have the courage and imagination for such responsibility and the skills needed to discern after decades of waiting for Rome to speak? We will also have to develop new structures for listening, consulting and deciding. The Pope emphasises the Episcopal Conference but he also wants the Church “to listen to everyone” (EG 31). This will involve new structures such as national and diocesan Synods.

Do we have the courage and imagination for such responsibility and the skills needed to discern after decades of waiting for Rome to speak? An inspiring vision rather than a critique of the modern world

Rather than speaking about the dangers of the modern world and criticising relativism, secularism or pluralism, Pope Francis concentrates on presenting the beautiful and joyful face of a believer in Jesus. Historically the Church has often been negative and defensive towards the modern world. The major breakthrough was

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at Vatican II, especially Gaudium et Spes, where we adopted the role of pilgrim or seeker, sharing the joys and anxieties of others and travelling with others as they search for the good, the true and the beautiful. Pope Francis helps us to recover the pilgrim spirit of Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium. He seems not only unafraid of the world but to be enjoying his mission in it. All cultures, including our postmodern culture, are places for encounter with God. The Holy Spirit is active in Australian culture and society. Our job is to discern the Spirit’s presence. All cultures are also human constructs and contain weeds as well as seeds. Again our job is to discern where God is denied. It will require discernment and, as St Ignatius taught, all discernment must be done out of consolation or appreciation, not fear or anger. In this Pope Francis is a true Jesuit.

All cultures, including our postmodern culture, are places for encounter with God. It is not helpful when we regard modern secular society as the enemy,

anti-church, amoral and the root of all our problems. When we call the modern world ‘pagan’ or ‘Godless’ we undermine our credibility even further. We need to be both positive and critical and also to discover how God is experienced in this culture and how to live lives that make Gospelsense to a secular world. By presenting a positive vision, ‘befriending’ the world and resisting the opportunity to criticise, the Pope is truer to mission and will possibly be more effective. We are much more convincing evangelisers if people feel we know, respect and enjoy them. This is especially true with Australians who have always suspected religious people as being negative and having all the answers.

A Pope who also needs to be evangelised

On a number of occasions the Pope talks of the need we all have not only to evangelise but to be evangelised. The Church’s mission is to be sign and sacrament of the Kingdom, but the Kingdom is bigger than the Church. God is active wherever people strive for justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation between peoples, religions and with the environment. Our task is not only to proclaim but to seek out, discover, encourage, celebrate

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and build on the Spirit’s activity in the world. We do not possess God or all God’s activity. Pope Francis encourages us to dialogue with the world, with the State, with the sciences and with people of other faiths (EG 238-258). We have much to learn as well as to give.

A deeply spiritual and redeemed leader

In previous homilies and interviews Pope Francis has spoken of himself as a ‘sinner’. Evangelii Gaudium reads as the compassionate and merciful reflections of a sinner who is confident that he has been forgiven. He writes with the freedom of a man who knows his own sins and faults but also the joy of knowing Christ. He argues that we need to experience Jesus’ compassion in a wonderful personal way to go out to the world and especially the poor with mercy and compassion.

A missionary Church

For Pope Francis, the Catholic Church needs to be more missionary in its outreach to people, rather than being focused on ideology, careerism, buildings and bureaucracy. “Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which

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is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (EG 49).

A merciful Church Pope Francis

In an interview said what “the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the Church as a field hospital after battle” (America Press, September 30, 2013). In Evangelii Gaudium he says, “The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open… Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason…The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47). Grace and mercy come before ‘holiness’ and judgement in the Kingdom of God.

Grace and mercy come before ‘holiness’ and judgement in the Kingdom of God.

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A special priority of the poor

Pope Francis speaks most passionately about the poor. The purpose of mission is to show compassion for and bring justice to the poor. Mission “means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor” (EG 188). He rejects the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and questions the structural causes of inequality. “Inequality is the root of social ills” (EG 202).

A more complete and credible concept of mission

Pope Francis devotes Chapter 4 to the Social Dimension of Evangelisation. By linking new evangelisation to the poor and work for justice he strengthens new evangelisation and returns to the statement of Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi that “evangelisation would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and man’s concrete life, both personal and social” (EG 181). This strong tradition is continued by John Paul II and by Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate.

lack credibility. Australians admire religion ‘with its sleeves rolled up’, religion that practices what it preaches. They respect practical, involved Christian groups like the ‘good old Salvos’ and ‘Vinnies’. It was possibly part of the enormous appeal of St Mary MacKillop.

Conclusion Evangelii Gaudium is a deeply personal document. It reveals something of the soul of Pope Francis, and that alone is attractive and inspiring. It models leadership. It provides priorities and a sense of direction. It challenges us to reach out. It is Good News, especially for the poor.

New evangelisation without work for justice will be empty and possibly ineffectual. It will probably be seen as self-serving. In Australia it will THE FRANCIS EFFECT – LIVING THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Noel Connolly bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise a theology of leadership for mission? 3. W  hat brave and hopeful leadership for mission does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium ask of the Church in Australia? 4. I n addition to evangelising, how does an ‘openness to being evangelised’ show in your work of mission?

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Leadership for Mission with

Peoples

Mr Graeme Mundine Executive Officer Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Archdiocese of Sydney

“The People of God is incarnate in the peoples of the earth, each of which has its own culture…Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it.” (EG 115) I welcome Pope Francis’ joyous invitation to renew our personal encounter with Jesus Christ. It is a timely call for change and for renewal within the Church as a whole. One of the areas that Pope Francis talks about that particularly resonates with me is the relationship between culture and faith and it is my hope that his words will help invigorate relationships between Aboriginal1 and non-Aboriginal peoples. In Evangelii Gaudium we are reminded to live our lives with a spirit of joy (EG 12) inspired and redeemed by the infinite love of God (EG 8). Enthused by God’s love we are called to “go forth” and sow the

good seed (EG 19, 21) and share God’s love with others (EG 8). It is a call to plant the seed and let it flourish in the ground on which it lands. As Pope Francis writes, “once the seed has been sown in one place, Jesus does not stay behind to explain things or to perform more signs; the Spirit moves him to go forth to other towns” (EG 21). In the same way, the Spirit is a constant presence which nurtures the seed so that new life will grow in the place in which it has been planted. The good seed has been planted in Aboriginal peoples and has flourished. The Holy Spirit has always been in this land and we have always known about God. We called God by different

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names but we have always been in relationship with the Creator. In more recent times a new seed was planted and Aboriginal peoples began a relationship with Jesus Christ. We encountered Christ as Aboriginal peoples and we express our faith in ways as culturally diverse as we are.

We encountered Christ as Aboriginal peoples and we express our faith in ways as culturally diverse as we are. Aboriginal peoples are very spiritual and ceremonial people. Every person, every thing has its place and we bring that ceremonial life to the Church. Ceremonial protocols can draw us closer to the life of the Church and also to the person of Jesus. We use different ceremonies depending on our particular place within the Australian continent – whether we are saltwater, freshwater, rainforest or desert people. We draw on our relationships to Country and God’s presence within it. Our use of symbols will obviously depend on where we come from. For example, some will use smoke and others will use water for cleansing and purifying. We have

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also adapted aspects of the liturgy to fit more closely to our cultures. The Aboriginal Our Father is one practice that is drawn from the Gospels but is more in keeping with a rhythm and style of speech used by Aboriginal peoples. For 40 years now this has been used in Aboriginal communities around the country. Today, with the introduction of the new translation, the Aboriginal Our Father cannot be used because the law only allows the Western version. This version creates barriers for Aboriginal peoples because we can no longer see, speak or dance as ourselves within the celebration in the community of the Jesus story. The new liturgy has shown that there seems to be only one way to celebrate the life of Jesus which is foreign to Aboriginal peoples and we cannot see the Aboriginal face of Jesus within the celebration of the Eucharist. This drive for cultural homogeneity that many experience in liturgies and other expressions of faith is surprising because the Church has long understood – at least in theory – the relationship between culture and faith, or inculturation. Pope Francis has now added his voice to the teachings of some of his predecessors, particularly Paul VI and John Paul II, and of course the teachings of

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Vatican II. Pope Francis says, “Grace supposes culture, and God’s gift becomes flesh in the culture of those who receive it” (EG 115). He goes on to say, “Christianity does not have simply one cultural expression…it will also reflect the different faces of the cultures and peoples in which it is received and takes root” (EG 116). I often question how our Church reflects the different faces of the cultures in such a multi-cultural Australia. For Aboriginal peoples the question is more complex because the ways the different faces of our cultures are reflected in Christianity in the present is intimately tied to our shared and difficult colonial and mission histories. Perhaps the issue is that nonAboriginal people do not really understand inculturation. It’s not something that is ‘done’ to Aboriginal peoples. Nor is it about simply seeking permission from the Bishops and Priests to allow some symbols of Aboriginal culture in the liturgy. Inculturation is the coming together of culture and faith and must be undertaken by people who are both of the culture and the faith. One of the problems that we encounter when we talk about these issues is that people keep pointing

to non-Aboriginal people for their expert opinions. Surely, it would be better to seek guidance from Aboriginal Catholics who are living embodiments of inculturation.

Inculturation is the coming together of culture and faith and must be undertaken by people who are both of the culture and the faith. Pope Francis understands some of the difficulties of culture within the Church. He says, “The message that we proclaim always has a certain cultural dress, but we in the Church can sometimes fall into a needless hallowing of our own culture, and thus show more fanaticism than true evangelising zeal” (EG 117). It is my experience that there is a distinct lack of discussion or questioning about the cultural dress of our Australian Church. We all need to think more about the essential message of God as distinct from the cultural choices we make about how we engage with that message. As Pope Francis says, “We would not do justice to the logic of the incarnation if we thought of Christianity as monocultural and monotonous” (EG 117).

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If we are to be open to a less monocultural and monotonous Church we need to be aware and open to the everyday encounters which hold the promise of change. I am drawn to the words of Benedict XVI who speaks of this, “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (EG 7).

Most important, is the ability to recognise those moments where the Church, in all its many facets, can support Aboriginal leaders. Perhaps a starting point is to focus less on developing non-Aboriginal people to lead mission to Aboriginal peoples and more on supporting the formation and development of Aboriginal peoples themselves in ways that speak to their hearts.

Pope Francis reminds us that such encounters with God’s love help us become more than human, “when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being” (EG 8).

To me, the joy of mission is found in spreading of the word of Jesus and celebrating the life of Jesus Christ. Aboriginal peoples are out there already doing the best they can, with limited support, to spread the light of Jesus to others. When our Pope calls us to “go forth”, he is also talking to Aboriginal Catholics – we are baptised and we are missionaries and evangelisers. Aboriginal peoples must lead and be at the heart of any missionary activity with Aboriginal peoples.

We can see God’s love when we encounter priests who have the courage to engage with the richness and appropriateness of Aboriginal cultural contributions to the liturgy, rather than taking refuge in ‘the rules’. We can see God’s love when we encounter agencies relinquishing decision making to Aboriginal peoples about how money meant for their benefit is spent. We can also see God’s love when people engage with Aboriginal peoples beyond a ‘Welcome to Country’ and engage meaningfully with their experiences of being Aboriginal and being Catholic.

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When our Pope calls us to “go forth”, he is also talking to Aboriginal Catholics – we are baptised and we are missionaries and evangelisers.

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It is a sign of great hope that the Pope invites us to be “bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation” (EG 33) in our communities. It is no easy task to unravel what’s seen as normal and immutable in order to invite a different way of thinking.

1 I recognise the diversity of Aboriginal nations and the difficulty of using general terminology. I draw on those experiences and perspectives as a Bundjalung man and do not presume to include Torres Strait Islanders in my comments. 2 Brown, O., (1993), Recognition: the Way Forward. An Issues paper from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Collins Dove, North Blackburn.

Aboriginal peoples must lead and be at the heart of any missionary activity with Aboriginal peoples. Pope Francis tells us that we should not be afraid to examine customs and ask whether they still communicate the Gospel (EG 43). This is a bold challenge, but one that is supported by at least fifty years of Church teaching. I am reminded of the words of my sister Olive Brown who said, “We have everyone saying what the issue is and what to do about it. From Aborigines, government people, Bishops and we even have the Pope. Are we waiting now for Christ to appear and tell us? When are we going to do it?”2 Pope Francis’ call for change is a call for now.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Graeme Mundine bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise the need for the Australian Church’s transformative dialogue with Aboriginal peoples? 3. H  ow can we respond to the challenges expressed in this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium to help create the space ‘in our Australian Catholic Church for an authentic synthesis of culture and faith from Aboriginal perspectives’? 4. W  hy is inculturation so important for living the ‘joy of the Gospel’ in Australia? 5. C  onsidering this reflection and informed by Evangelii Gaudium, what are some things in your life that you may need to think differently about in order to genuinely walk together in mission with Aboriginal peoples?

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The Catholic Dimension of Evangelisation Ms Sandie Cornish Province Director of Mission Society of the Sacred Heart Australia and New Zealand

“To evangelise is to make the kingdom of God present in our world…if this dimension is not properly brought out, there is a constant risk of distorting the authentic and integral meaning of the mission of evangelisation.” (EG 176) The social dimension of evangelisation is a key concern of Pope Francis in this Exhortation. He clearly believes that it hasn’t received enough emphasis. Every chapter of Evangelii Gaudium touches on the social dimension of evangelisation, and Chapter 4, which focuses specifically on it, is by far the longest of the Exhortation’s five chapters. Even the introductory section of the Exhortation reminds us that, “Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy

of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades” (EG 2). Pope Francis brings us the wisdom of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, which stretches back to the beginnings of the Church, in a fresh and approachable way. His emphasis is on love and joy, and how these can transform our world. His style is warm and conversational, full of wry humour and an earthy pastoral sense. When an Exhortation on the joy of the Gospel makes you laugh out loud, it is already doing its job! Catholics can be a bit wary of the language of mission and

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evangelisation. Pope Francis helps us by saying plainly what evangelisation means, and asks us to focus on what is most essential rather than getting caught up in secondary aspects in isolation from the context that gives them meaning (EG 34-39). “Before all else the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others” (EG 39). In Chapter 4 Pope Francis discusses the collective and social implications of the kerygma or first proclamation (EG 177-185), spelling out the inseparable link between the Gospel and a commitment to justice, development and peace. He chooses to focus on two social issues that strike him “as fundamental at this time in history” (EG 185). They are the inclusion of the poor in society, which is treated at length (EG 186216); and peace and social dialogue (EG 217-258). Pope Francis says that Evangelii Gaudium “is not a social document” (EG 184) but I think it will be received as a major document of Catholic Social Teaching. It picks up a number of the concerns and much of the approach of Paul VI’s 1975 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii

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Nuntiandi (Evangelisation in the Modern World), which is widely regarded as a major social teaching document. Like Evangelii Nuntiandi, it has the potential to transform and reinvigorate our understanding of work for justice in the world as an essential part of evangelisation.

…it has the potential to transform and reinvigorate our understanding of work for justice in the world as an essential part of evangelisation. What kind of Church does Pope Francis call us to be?

Pope Francis calls us to be a Church that makes the kingdom of God present in our world (EG 146) through our words, attitudes and actions (EG 258) – both personally and collectively, privately and publicly. We cannot be a Church that stands on the sidelines of the struggle for justice, but must rather be one that works for the justice of God’s reign in our world (EG 183). Evangelisation is incomplete if the Gospel is separated from any dimension of our existence (EG 181). We are called to give the Gospel flesh in our particular context, not to be

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mere administrators of institutions (EG 24-25). “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security” (EG 49). This is a big challenge. Often Church people and Church organisations prefer to stand on the sidelines and offer advice – or more often criticism – and to ‘delegate’ this work to ‘specialists’. We need specialists in Catholic Social Teaching, in policy analysis, and in service delivery – just as we need Scripture scholars – but we all need to act for the justice of God’s reign just as we all need to reflect on Scripture. We need to support one another in our praxis – constantly reviewing both our action and our thinking for the sake of greater effectiveness in making God’s love manifest in the world. We are called to be “a Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198). Every Christian and Christian community “is called 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” (EG 187). This means “working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as

well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter” (EG 188).

Every Christian and Christian community “is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor…” This is a challenge from the Scriptures to each and every one of us without exception. According to Pope Francis, no matter what our status in the Church is, we can’t fudge this one or interpret it away. “This message is so clear and direct, so simple and eloquent, that no ecclesial interpretation has the right to relativise it” (EG 194). Strong words, and in case we missed the point, Pope Francis says, “We may not always be able to reflect adequately the beauty of the Gospel, but there is one sign which we should never lack: the option for those who are least, those whom society discards” (EG 195). This option for the poor is not just a matter of programs to assist or

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promote poor people, but a “loving attentiveness” which is the beginning of “true concern for their person which inspires us effectively to seek their good” (EG 199). It asks us to appreciate the poor in their goodness, in their experience of life, in their culture and in their ways of living the faith (EG 199). We must be open to being evangelised by the poor in their closeness to the suffering Christ. Our preferential option for the poor must also translate into a preferential religious care for the poor, who in fact often suffer from discrimination in the provision of spiritual care (EG 200). None of us can make excuses about not being able to be close to the poor (EG 201). We have to show creative concern and engage in effective cooperation to help the poor to live with dignity otherwise our talk about social issues and our criticism of governments will “easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk” (EG 207).

This option for the poor is not a political or ideological matter but essentially a theological matter (EG 198).

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This option for the poor is not a political or ideological matter but essentially a theological matter (EG 198). “Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members” (EG 186). We are not yet a Church which is poor or for the poor. We have not yet let the Gospel touch every dimension of our personal lives, the life of the Church, or that of our society. Sin is a reality in the Church and in the world. Great suffering and harm has been caused by some people entrusted with leadership in the Church, and by concern for institutional interests and reputation. We are less credible in our promotion of the equal human dignity of all persons when it seems not to be so in the internal life of the Church. In the face of all this, Pope Francis is reminding us that we have received God’s saving love and need not give in to despair. Love is real, love is possible. It is a joyful message! And there are signs of hope and possibility too. Have you noticed the joy and hope around those ministries and programs where Church people and organisations encounter poor or marginalised people in a direct and human way? Being with people and understanding

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their experiences grounds advocacy concerning structural causes. It informs positive proposals for action that cannot easily be dismissed. Have you noticed the vitality and strength of those Church entities where women exercise leadership and diversity is valued? And perennially, the young are attracted to a faith that yearns for and works for a better world for all – for the coming of God’s reign of justice, peace, and joy in the Lord.

Being with people and understanding their experiences grounds advocacy concerning structural causes, and informs positive proposals for action that cannot easily be dismissed.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Sandie Cornish bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ manifest in your practice of Catholic Social Teaching? 3. H  ow does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium’s emphasis on the social dimension of evangelisation refocus the attention of the mission of the Church? 4. “ A Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198). What is your understanding of poor? Who are the poor? What is Pope Francis trying to say to us?

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Governance

Mission,

and Executive Leadership

Ms Julie Morgan Corporate Development Manager and Lecturer Executive Education, Australian Catholic University

“An evangelising community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelisers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.” (EG 24) On reading Evangelii Gaudium I was instantly mesmerised by the remarkable way that Pope Francis has of engaging with the world. His leadership style is clear – he speaks to our hearts and yet he does so in a way which we recognise as deeply intellectual. There is something about Pope Francis’ style, made abundantly clear in this first call to action, which instils us with a joy that we didn’t know that we had been longing for. With courageous, compassionate simplicity our new Pope gives the gift of Evangelii Gaudium and in it we find clarity of purpose, rich meaning, and

a passionate and deep engagement with the reality of our lives. These are characteristics that are just right for the Pope who chose the name Francis, for above the door of the house where Francis of Assisi was born, there is a plaque which, roughly translated, says, ‘Here was born Francis, mirror of the world’. In Evangelii Gaudium we see Pope Francis reflecting back to us our best and true selves, our joyful and outgoing (missionary) selves. He mirrors what we want to be as Church in the world – people of courage, authenticity and spirit. Evangelii Gaudium invites us to

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reflect on human ‘goodness’ and to think about the way that the Gospel enables us to “live life on a higher plane, and with intensity”(EG 10). In doing so, the Holy Father provides us with a wonderful platform from which to think about governance and leadership in the contemporary Catholic organisation. Evangelii Gaudium spills over with invitations that resonate with the role of the contemporary leader as the designer and implementer of deep change. Like Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis reminds us that our mission is always to “rebuild the Church”, a task that is not only physical but organisational and cultural. For Pope Francis, the leader must be one to find and forge “new paths of creativity” (EG 12) not enclosing Jesus in our “dull categories” (EG 12) and “not leaving things as they presently are” (EG 25). Instead, the board director and executive team reads this call to action and feels compelled to work towards and nurture change – in our ways of thinking, in our ways of relating to each other, in the customs of the Church (and, by implication, the customs of our organisations and agencies), in economic networks and systems, and in the lives of the most vulnerable. It is a big, bold, purposeful platform of Gospel-inspired structural

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change that Pope Francis has in mind, one that will require board directors and executive teams to make deliberate choices rather than simply leaving things to chance. Board directors and executive teams in Catholic organisations will read Evangelii Gaudium and see the Pope’s insistence on inclusion, welcome, embrace, and openness as fundamental to the way they lead a mission-driven organisation. Yet genuine inclusion, particularly of those who see themselves on the margins or whose tiredness and suspicion makes them resistant to change, is always a challenge. His reminder is that inclusion is Gospeldriven. Elsewhere Pope Francis reminds priests and bishops (and we can read ourselves into this as board directors and executive teams) to live with the “smell of the sheep” (EG 24). There is an urgency in his voice and a potent reminder that leadership which is removed from the reality of people’s lives or which closes doors, even to the troublesome ones, is the kind of leadership that will atrophy. It is a rhetorical question yet a very powerful one. Who will we evangelise, or who will we end up leading, if we are small-minded, jealous, and not attractive to people?

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In a similar way, Evangelii Gaudium warns against “grey pragmatism” and “defeatism”. What a wonderfully reassuring message for those leaders who wish they had a dollar for the times that they had been told, ‘it’s always been done like this,’ and ‘we tried that once and it didn’t work’. Over and against a sense of superiority and complacency, Pope Francis urges leaders toward a radical responsibility for our sisters and brothers; the mission imperative is always and already outgoing, it compels us to be the ones who approach people and approach life, bringing a “revolution of tenderness”. I imagine him telling us quite plainly that board directors and executive teams must look into faces more often than looking into systems. Another mission implication for board directors and executive teams in Evangelii Gaudium springs from the way that Pope Francis envisages responsibility and decision-making being opened up to women and to the laity more broadly. In most Catholic organisations, one way of thinking about this part of the call to action is to think about the composition of our boards and our executive teams. What could an ‘excessive clericalism’ mean in our contemporary organisations? Do we rely too much on a single type

of expertise or personality or are our boards and executive teams reflective of many faces, many voices, and many talents? In what ways do we allow ourselves to be disturbed by those who are new, whose story is different, or whose natural inclination is to question? What role does curiosity and the ethical imagination play around the board table? Do we allow our discernment to be shaped by questions from the margins and by the concerns of those who are most vulnerable in our organisations? I see these questions arising from the Pope’s invitation to recognise that to be Catholic is to be part of a multifaceted tradition, that European expressions of the faith are no longer normative, and that theology (and our thinking more generally) must not become ‘desk-bound’. Keeping the doors of the Church open challenges everything.

In what ways do we allow ourselves to be disturbed by those who are new, whose story is different, or whose natural inclination is to question? Evangelii Gaudium exhorts board directors and executive teams to be

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professional and engaged, honouring the people who are the organisation. Theirs will be a positive, constructive engagement, one that is characterised by “approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, warmth, and welcome which is non-judgemental” (EG 165). Evangelii Gaudium and the homilies of Pope Francis are consistently hope-filled – he never reduces the proclamation of the Gospel to the most deadening appeal of all, ‘try harder’.

Moving beyond accountability to deep responsibility, missioncritical leadership will be prepared to engage with and be challenged by those whose continuing and intergenerational vulnerability is an affront to the Gospel. The passion of Pope Francis for genuine Gospel-inspired change is clearly heard when Evangelii Gaudium turns to the situation of the economic systems that govern much of our contemporary lives.

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There is an implicit challenge to governors and leaders of Catholic organisations to look deeply into the economies – and ecologies – of their organisations to ensure that they are orientated towards all that will give and sustain life, especially for those who are vulnerable and fragile. It can be too easy for leadership decisions to focus on the single bottom line of profitability without genuinely including a deep sense of responsibility for people and the planet. His thinking points back, for example, to the research into the social determinants of health which tells us that the lowest paid workers are also the ones who experience poorer health outcomes than their more well-paid colleagues. This section of the Apostolic Exhortation therefore poses an enormous challenge to boards and executive teams when we recognise that it is not just the economic systems ‘out there’ that need reform. Disturbed and inspired by Evangelii Gaudium, directors and leaders recognise that we must think about those who, within our own organisations, are excluded, left over, and cast out (EG 53) by the way that the organisation has conducted itself. Moving beyond accountability to deep responsibility, mission-critical leadership will be prepared to engage with and be

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challenged by those whose continuing and intergenerational vulnerability is an affront to the Gospel. Thinking within and beyond the organisation, directors and leaders are reminded by Pope Francis that to remain on the sidelines while injustice abounds is simply not an option. Again, in echoing the Francis whose name he has taken, he calls us to move beyond mere accompaniment of the poor to a genuine self-identification with the poor and the most vulnerable. “This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198). The constancy with which he returns to this deeply personal and profoundly political theme is a challenge to directors and leaders of contemporary Catholic organisations. To be one with and attuned to the weakest and the most exploited is not something that comes easily when we have grown accustomed to moving in certain circles and when we are confident that we can have influence because we know the most influential people. Evangelii Gaudium urges us to see that “we do not live better when we flee, hide, refuse to share, stop giving and lock ourselves up in our own comforts. Such a life is nothing less than slow suicide” (EG 272).

the congruence that people see between his words and his deeds, his intelligent compassion, his willingness to “smell like the sheep” and to keep the doors open, is winning hearts and minds all over the world. His leadership inspires, it woos, it challenges, it unsettles, it consoles. Evangelii Gaudium breathes life into the Church so that we believers might breathe life into the world.

To be one with and attuned to the weakest and the most exploited is not something that comes easily when we have grown accustomed to moving in certain circles and when we are confident that we can have influence because we know the most influential people.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Julie Morgan bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ distinguish executive leadership in a Catholic institution from a secular institution? 3. W  hat organisational customs, language and structures does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge you to transform? 4. H  ow does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge your organisation to move beyond accountability to deep responsibility? 5. W  hat role can your organisation play in more broadly opening up ‘responsibility and decision making’ to women and the laity?

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Parishes Australian Multi-Cultural

and Our Mission

Fr Tim Norton SVD Provincial, Australia Province Society of the Divine Word Missionaries

“I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.” (EG 27) The parish is not an outdated institution for mission For the parish to be a relevant means of evangelising for mission, this implies change so that it is open to creative renewal through being truly in touch with its people. To facilitate this, new and relevant forums of consultation can be pursued in liturgy, language, leadership and prayer. For any change to be effective and Gospelcentred, leadership is critical. Parishes can no longer regard the provision of sacraments, although highly important, as the prime

and only recipient of their time, energy and spiritual fervour. New Evangelisation calls us to move to the margins to hear and speak to the heart of all people. Parish communities must review their attention to youth and elderly, asylum seekers, the troubled and the troubling, local ecological issues, those of different faiths, and the poor at their door. Papa Francesco urges parish leaders to take up the missionary mandate and guide their flocks joyfully out of the Church to respond to the heartfelt desire for conversion of the people

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around them. He won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, so parish leaders beware!

Trends in parish life Australian parishes are in transition – like it or not. Older pastors are being asked to work longer hours over larger areas as their numbers decline. Many dioceses across the country are reconfiguring their worshipping communities through challenging merging processes that are often painful for regional and rural Catholics. Some parishes remain mono-cultural while others represent growing numbers of people from a variety of nations and generations. Flexible parishes are responding to change by taking on a more progressive style of welcome and worship while others are becoming sad places. One quarter of Catholics in Australia were born in another country. This statistic rises to 47% when Catholics with a parent born overseas are included. Whilst parish leadership was once in the hands of Australian-born pastors, there are now increasing numbers of Catholic migrants taking up the roles of catechists, parish priests, pastoral associates and parish councillors. This is the Australian reality of

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Church today. How might we best utilise our resources in response to Papa Francesco’s call to Gospelcentred and joy-filled mission?

…there are now increasing numbers of Catholic migrants taking up the roles of catechists, parish priests, pastoral associates and parish councillors. Pain and possibility in migration Various Dioceses and Religious Orders in Australia are inviting pastors from other countries into leadership roles in local Church. As with all migrants, this group faces the challenging and often painful process of adapting previously understood roles to new contexts in rural and urban Australia. Papa Francesco acknowledges the need for all cultures to purify and grow (EG 70) and this is also true for our Church culture as it accommodates these new leaders, effectively mirroring the multicultural society around us. Bishops and Provincials who take on this model of leadership should be sharing resources and experiences in robustly preparing their overseastrained colleagues through –

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• identifying differences in worship styles and pastoral praxis;

New paths for mission – the migrant experience

• presenting clear understandings of the changing social and ecclesial roles of women;

Migrants traditionally seek solace and meaning in the rituals offered in their places of worship. For many this means they attend the local parish. They come not only with a need for solace and peace, but with the basic desire to do good for others in God’s name.

• deepening their understanding of human responses to cultural transition; • preparing them with clarity in personal and professional boundaries; • encouraging dialogue in diverse areas such as family life, vehicle use, dress codes, financial acumen, political life, appropriate health care, internet use, other religions etc and; • assuring them the Australian Church Spirit will grow from the gifts they generously bring. Acknowledging the loss of credibility the Church is facing due to the sexual abuse crisis, we must forge ahead to creatively find ways of bringing our foreign-born pastors closer to the people e.g. home stays, dinner invitations, and opportunities to tell their stories. Committed lay people, local clergy and religious must be engaged in this process. Neglecting it disrespects these servants of God and will lead us in the reverse direction to the Gospel-centred call to mission that Papa Francesco proclaims.

The more visionary parish groups who really believe that their ministry is God-centred and Kingdom-oriented are looking for new members. The candidates they encounter are likely to be migrants who can continue an evangelisation marked by significant challenge and deep joy. They bring an inherited faith that is robust enough to be implanted in a new place – with some help from the locals. When they are included, they can be challenged to change for the mission in the new place.

Migrants have time and again proved to be a wonderful resource for Christian communities seeking to participate more fully in the mission of God.

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Migrants have time and again proved to be a wonderful resource for Christian communities seeking to participate more fully in the mission of God. The traditions they bring are often based in lively liturgy and deep devotion. They know the poor well as they too have been poor. We need to be risk-takers through inviting them to share their gifts in our parish mission. Let’s not be shy in telling new migrant members about how we minister here – while listening to their stories of ecclesial life in their home places. Our parish groups must be prepared to change in order to help the migrant connect with their Catholic traditions. This can be as simple as having more prayer time prior to ministry with the poor, themed prayers in different languages, or directing prayer groups to visit the house-bound and elderly after their gatherings. More developed pastoral practices might include culturally-based liturgies and visiting migrants in psychiatric institutions.

A Church which goes forth in mission

Papa Francesco exhorts us to be diligent and happy in both our contemplative lives and our attempts to integrate the poor into our social fabric (EG 191). He is uncompromising

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in his call to each individual and every Christian community to be an instrument of God’s liberation and formation of the poor and has a stern warning if we resist. “Any Church community, if it thinks it can comfortably go its own way without creative concern and effective cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity…will easily drift into a spiritual worldliness camouflaged by religious practices, unproductive meetings and empty talk” (EG 207). Parishes are slowly growing in their understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and the moral imperative of all the baptised to joyfully include the poor in our society. So we send some parishioners to the margins to meet the poor who do not enter our churches – substance abusers, single parents, asylum seekers, at-risk youth. Are we also visiting the sick in local hospitals, the prisoners and the lonely elderly in aged care facilities? This can be particularly difficult for migrants as these new margins may be perceived as disturbing and dangerous places. Why not provide forums to discuss local, pastoral needs and the potential assistance that might be offered to the poor? Diocesan and parish leaders must encourage (and even oblige) communities to take up

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this preferential option for the poor in some tangible form. Let’s help one another understand what we have to give and how we might offer it – while being open to the conversion of heart that is offered to us by God’s little ones.

Mission marked by joy and open to all All baptised Christians are invited to take up the challenge of spreading the Good News in order to know personally the joy of being a disciple. It is this personal relationship with Jesus that is at the heart of our being – and fuels our desire for more. What makes us think that only those with the finest English and the firmest egos are the best to serve God’s mission through parishes? Certainly they have a place, but not at the exclusion of others. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Mk 12:10-11). When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelisation, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic and personal fulfilment (EG 10). The joy of being missionary is available to us all. It can be the most unlikely ones who bring joy and new paths to parish mission. For example:

• The retired Burmese teacher who reviews the new priest’s homilies. • An Aussie boy with Down Syndrome who manages the power point projector. • A Rwandan man who visits young prisoners (having been a prisoner himself). • The 8.00am altar servers who ask those impossible questions. • That busy Sri Lankan family that finds time to lead the Justice and Peace group. • An introverted Australian pastor who conducts Year 2 RE class. • The reconciled Polish couple who offer their home for regular rosary. • An unemployed Italian man who mows the lawns of the elderly or disabled. • A young woman who conducts bible sharing in Mandarin, then takes her group to visit house-bound migrants.

The joy of being missionary is available to us all. It can be the most unlikely ones who bring joy and new paths to parish mission.

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The pain of adjusting to a new culture can be the catalyst that brings forth a multitude of gifts at the service of mission including humility, wisdom, innocence, prophecy. When parishes learn to deal creatively and inclusively with difference, the possibilities for joy-filled, Gospel-based mission are endless. The parish that can renew itself through the experience of the migrant can discover new ways of praying, new paths to the poor, and joy-filled forms of God’s mission that are open to all.

When parishes learn to deal creatively and inclusively with difference, the possibilities for joyfilled, Gospel-based mission are endless.

Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Tim Norton bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise the contemporary multi-cultural Australian parish? 3. H  ow does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge your parish to push towards the margins and “integrate the poor into our social fabric?” 4. H  ow can you take on a model of leadership which is more open to new ways of prayer and worship, new paths to the poor and joy-filled forms of mission? 5. How can parishes deal more creatively and inclusively with difference so that we lessen the pain of adjusting to contemporary culture and discover a multitude of gifts?

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New Horizons for

Religious Life

Sr Suzette Clark rsc Justice and Peace Coordinator, Catholic Religious Australia

“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy.” (EG 1) I write this reflection having spent last week in a directed retreat. Tomorrow, I travel to Canberra for the day. I am a member of the executive of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce and tomorrow the four of us will have meetings with several parliamentarians including Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. We will ask that people seeking asylum in Australia be treated with respect and dignity. The retreat was an experience of the

joy of the Gospel. The Canberra trip will be my response to the call of the Gospel, to make “room for others” and a “place for the poor” (EG 2), to “make the kingdom of God present in our world” (EG 176). Pope Francis’ prayer will be my prayer. “I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world!” (EG 205).

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Religious life in Australia “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (EG 4). Similarly, being a Religious sister is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but an encounter with the person of Jesus the Christ, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Pope Francis refers to some places “experiencing a dearth of vocations to…consecrated life” (EG 107). Today, Religious congregations of sisters in Australia no longer experience the high numbers of vocations that were commonplace in the Australian Church. A 1974 survey indicated 17,029 Sisters, Brothers and Clerical Religious; by 2009 the number had dropped to 8,442.1 The declining numbers has had a refining effect on Religious congregations. With the declining numbers has come the need to reassess apostolic commitments. For many, it has meant handing over the running and staffing of schools and hospitals to lay people. For some it has even meant transferring governance responsibilities and assets. For all it has been an invitation to conversion,

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renewal and recommitment. While “Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the love of God and neighbour, zeal for justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are required of everyone” (EG 201), the challenge of Pope Francis to religious is “to seek, as a community, creative ways of accepting this renewed call” (EG 201).

With the declining numbers has come the need to reassess apostolic commitments. Many Religious congregations identify with and for the poor and marginalised through their charism and mission and would feel affirmed by Pope Francis’ invitation to have “a Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198). “It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognise the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others” (EG 210).

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Pope Francis provides us with an expression of our charism. This is an opportunity to enter new partnerships and possibilities. He invites us to continue to point to the dignity of every human being and to point out racism, to challenge poverty as a structure of our economic system, to refute the alignment of wealth with God’s blessing, to question the validity of war and to “proclaim the good news that the ‘kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (EG 180).

This is an opportunity to enter new partnerships and possibilities. Pope Francis’ style of leadership and his writings inspire us to renew and redefine Religious life in Australia. It is about service and ‘being with’ rather than about power and prestige and ‘doing for’. He passionately declares his own mission is “in the heart of the people” and that is the reason why he is here on this earth (EG 273) and promises us that if we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves…then all around us we begin to see…people who have chosen deep down to be with others and for others (EG 273-4).

Aboriginal Elder, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Bauman’s words to the people of Australia could be a metaphor of the invitation and the attitude to have in our ‘seeking’ to be with people who are experiencing poverty and marginalisation. “Wait for us…not waiting for us to catch up but waiting for us as we find our own space in this world…wait and walk with us.”

The legacy of Religious congregations Religious women and men continue to make an enormous contribution to the culture and values of Australia. Australia’s longest serving congregation of women religious, the Sisters of Charity, celebrate their 175th anniversary on New Year’s Eve this year. Sr Annette Cunliffe, Congregational Leader and President of Catholic Religious Australia recently reflected on this legacy. She spoke of the different dimension which Religious women add to Australian society and Church and said that they “portray a different ‘face’ within the Church’s mission to bring ever closer God’s dream for us of justice and peace”. Sister Annette explained the deep and profoundly joyful experience of

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transmitting faith through loving action. “Religious such as the Sisters of Charity realise how God has blessed us in our lives. We then feel called to witness to God’s love and the power of Jesus’ resurrection. We do this through the ways we create and protect the social spaces that make life flourish, which promote the development of persons and communities characterised by free and respectful relationships.”2 Religious women are motivated by their deep and faithful commitment to living the joy of the Gospel and have changed the course of history through their endeavours. In the early years of Australia, Religious women trekked through the bush and desert of Australia’s distant land and ministered to everyone they found – convicts, Aboriginal peoples, settlers and children. People experienced “the power of tenderness” as the sisters truly became “part of a people” (EG 270).

Looking to the future

Contemporary Australian society and Church has a different challenge than the past but requires no less zeal. The social fabric of communities and families are fragile and easily broken. Young people, the elderly and people with disabilities are at the margins

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of society and the growing influence of consumerism and disposable living is causing environmental crisis. The ministry required of us to shape the future to align with God’s vision for us is still being understood, but congregations of Religious women will continue to face those challenges, be guided by God’s Holy Spirit and “go forth boldly” (EG 261).

Religious women are motivated by their deep and faithful commitment to living the joy of the Gospel and have changed the course of history through their endeavours. God is inviting us into the future. Pope Francis inspires us to move forward with courage and love. He writes about the “indispensible contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they…possess” (EG 103). He reminds us that “Once you were no people but now you are God’s people” (EG 268). He challenges us “to create still broader opportunities for

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a more incisive female presence in the Church” (EG 103) and to remember that “the Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross, constantly invites us to rejoice” (EG 5).

1 Dixon, R., Reid S. & Connolly N. (2010). ‘See, I am doing a new thing’. Annandale: Catholic Religious Australia. 2 Cunliffe, A. (2013). A new year of celebrations for the Sisters of Charity. Available from http:// cathnews.com/cn-perspectives/16061-reflectioncunliffe-see-ch-in-gmail

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Suzette Clark bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise contemporary Religious life in Australia? 3. W  hat is the unique contribution of women religious to the Australian Catholic Church and society today and in the future? 4. H  ow are we called to respond to Pope Francis’ challenge “to create still broader opportunities for a more inclusive female presence” in the Australian Catholic Church?

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Missionary Called to be

Disciples

Mr Martin Teulan National Director, Catholic Mission

“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19)…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.’” (EG 120) Mission and Evangelisation When Pope Francis was first asked what he would do as Pope he replied, quoting the words Jesus had spoken to St Francis of Assisi, “Rebuild my Church in ruins”. That dramatic statement leads us to question, “How? By whom?” Pope Francis’ style of writing indicates no significant difference between mission and evangelisation, which is frequently a discussion amongst leaders in our Australian Church. All are called to evangelise, all are “missionary disciples” (EG 120).

He defines his understanding of mission through the two main chapters of the Apostolic Exhortation, The Proclamation of the Gospel and The Social Dimension of Evangelisation. Pope Francis tells us that every Catholic person and every Catholic community needs to ‘go forth’ and evangelise and share our faith through both our words and our actions, particularly with those people who are in need. To do one or the other is not sufficient. For

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us to answer Pope Francis’ call to evangelise and be missionary disciples, then every person and every community must respond. By living out our faith in both word and deed, Pope Francis promises us deep and profound joy, “With Christ, joy is constantly born anew” (EG 1). Joy is necessary for evangelisation. As disciples, we are filled with love, joy, happiness and hope and this attracts people into our communities. Pope Francis leads by example in this way. The perception and understanding of Church has been changed since the beginning of his papacy, not because there has structural or dogmatic teaching changes, rather because of his joy, credible witness and outreach to people in need which has created an important sense of hope for people worldwide.

As disciples, we are filled with love, joy, happiness and hope and this attracts people into our communities. My experience in parish life has been that by doing some seemingly simple things, a parish community will

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flourish quite quickly. By working on the liturgy, enlivening homilies, music and participation, we can create a hope-filled place which further encourages parishioners into community building, spiritual study, parish ministry and prayer. This has led to personal conversion, reaching out in faith and caring for people who are in need in the wider community. Joy-filled people will help to grow faith in others. I frequently remember a woman named Carole because meeting her is always a wonderful experience of how positively and naturally she speaks of her relationship with God. My faith grows a little each time I speak with her. Carole personifies Pope Francis’ meaning of ‘disciple’ when he writes that “being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others…” (EG 127). In Evangelii Gaudium, rather than stressing new evangelisation or overseas mission, Pope Francis sees that the whole Church needs to be “permanently in a state of mission” (EG 25). “I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language

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and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her selfpreservation” (EG 27). This means we need to further develop our understanding throughout the Church that there is ‘one mission’ and that old divisions between the established churches and the missions are largely over. Now every Catholic person is on mission, shares the Gospel and hopes to evangelise themselves, their community and the world.

What are missionary disciples? “…therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” (EG 24).

Some of the content of Evangelii Gaudium can be found in the plan of action for effective evangelisation which Pope Francis authored as Cardinal Bergoglio. He was the lead writer of the Continental Mission document of the Bishops of Latin America meeting at Aparecida in 2007. In the Continental Mission, Cardinal Bergoglio and his fellow bishops re-oriented the Church to have as its major pastoral task the formation of missionary disciples. One of those Latin American Bishops, Honduran Cardinal Maradiaga, the

chair of the “C8” group of Cardinals advising the Pope, has provided an excellent English-language summary of that formation of missionary disciples as being:1 • An encounter with the living Jesus Christ, • who fosters in them an attitude of conversion, • and the decision to follow in the footsteps of Jesus [as a Disciple], • so that, by their living in communion with Christ and being called by him within the communion of the Church, a sense of ecclesial belonging is strengthened and generates life, • so that they undergo a process of formation that is integral, gradual, kerygmatic, permanent, diversified, and community-oriented – and includes spiritual accompaniment, • so that baptised Christians assume their missionary commitment and progress from being evangelised to being evangelisers, so that the Kingdom of God becomes actively present. This formation program would be deep, broad and powerful so that lay people in the Church would be formed to a level similar to that of priests and religious women and men. This is best achieved by beginning with an existing

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core of committed Catholic lay people in our Australian parish communities, journeying with them on a one-onone basis and empowering them to outreach to others. This intense formation includes training Catholic people in the kerygma, the basics of the faith. This is often a new understanding for Catholics, but Pope Francis gives a simple, ‘joyful’ example, “On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: ‘Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you’” (EG 164). Every Catholic community will need to give its missionary disciples opportunities for conversion, such as retreats. It will need to provide training in scripture and tradition and spiritual direction and opportunities such as parish ministry and small groups which grow community. The community will need to provide opportunities for outreach where people can give generously, speak about their faith and personally reach out to people in need. There is also a need to train missionary disciples to evangelise in ways appropriate for today. Pope Francis explains that this “demands on the

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part of the evangeliser certain attitudes which foster openness to the message: approachability, readiness for dialogue, patience, a warmth and welcome which is non-judgemental” (EG 165). Most faith-sharing will be “informal preaching which takes place in the middle of a conversation” (EG 127). The missionary disciple will need to know how to pray with others, even with people of little or no faith. “If it seems prudent and if the circumstances are right, this fraternal and missionary encounter could end with a brief prayer related to the concerns which the person may have expressed” (EG 128). In a local parish in which I was active, there were 600 people involved in outreach and this was both energising and deeply formative. Participants often said, “I wanted to help people in need, but I could never make the connection”. We are called to ensure that every Catholic organisation provides opportunities for members to reach out to other people who are in need. Rather than do outreach themselves, we could ask that our religious orders, CatholicCare, priests and pastoral associates working throughout Australia might measure part of their success by how many missionary disciples they involve in outreach.

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We are called to ensure that every Catholic organisation provides opportunities for members to reach out to other people who are in need. Only a massive formation program for missionary disciples will awaken our Church from its sleep. In some parts of Church, we operate as if we were still under the Christendom model whereby Catholic parents brought their children to Mass and children grew up ‘in the faith’, and when they continued living the Catholic behaviours, rituals and customs without truly experiencing a conversion of heart and mind born of ongoing learning and experience of a joyful faith and Church. It is imperative that we realise Christendom is long past, and we must move forward. We can recapture the spirit of doing social outreach, deliberately developing our ability to articulate our faith and the gift which it is in our lives, and build a strong community which will attract others. This is an ambitious task and calls for enormous changes, not only in the Vatican, but even more so in the Church in Australia.

At a personal level, I feel that it is a significant challenge to be an authentic missionary disciple. The need is constantly felt to ensure that my personal spiritual life is in balance, that I am supported in my faith by a small community and that I am involved in personal (rather than institutionalised) outreach to people in need. It is wonderful that Pope Francis has given us a map to follow for a journey that we can travel together as Catholic people. This means I can find support from the strengths of others and as a community we can rely on each other for ongoing support and encouragement in areas where we feel that we are lacking and need a helping hand.

Some implications for the Church in Australia If we convey the expectation that every Catholic person is a missionary disciple, we will build a forceful momentum. Australian Catholics are aspirational; they want to know what is expected of them and move positively in that direction. There is not one set path, but many Catholics who are in a community providing hope, direction and practical opportunities will allow the Spirit to guide them to become missionary disciples who make Jesus the centre of their lives.

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Religious orders and movements have powerful and comprehensive formation programs and as a result, have many skilled formators and spiritual directors in their midst. Often formators need training in speaking about faith and the kerygma, or how to guide disciples into social outreach, so they can provide holistic support and avoid being people of only social outreach or only proclamation. Rather than remaining within their centres, Religious orders and movements can become a rich resource and support if they are able to offer this formation widely and onsite to parishes, schools and other ministries. Pope Francis points out through his long dissertation (EG 135-159) that it is essential for priests to be trained, appraised regularly and assisted in their homilies. Ongoing professional development and formation throughout the priesthood can help us to nurture confident, competent priests who can lead hope-filled communities which form and support genuine missionary disciples.

care. It is essential they provide a small surplus to fund missionary discipleship, or it will be impossible to continue a Catholic faith presence in these organisations and to initiate missionary outreach in the future. Our Australian Church has great potential to respond to Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation in many ways. If we are able to support an additional 1% of Catholics, which is 50,000 people, to access and experience quality formation, then we can nurture genuine missionary disciples who can help to transform our Church and who will live and work in Christs’ image and transform Australian society. As Church leaders, let us commit to letting God significantly change us and the Church so as to let the Spirit flow.

1http://www.sedosmission.org/web/en/component/ docman/doc_view/1825-the-continental-missionin-the-light-of-aparecida

Funding the formation of many missionary disciples will take a significant annual financial commitment. We can collect these financial contributions from Catholics schools, hospitals and aged

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Martin Teulan bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ give impetus to all Catholics to be missionary disciples? 3. C  onsider Pope Francis’ words, “we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’, but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples’” (EG 120). How do these words, the reflection and Evangelii Gaudium influence your thinking on being a Missionary Disciple? On the formation of missionary disciples? 4. H  ow can dioceses, religious orders and lay people contribute to the formation of confident, competent priests and leaders of hope-filled communities? 5. W  hat role do you envision for lay people in a Church of joyful missionary disciples? What support might be needed for this journey?

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The Transformative Power of

Education

Professor Anne Cummins Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Students, Learning and Teaching Australian Catholic University

“We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness.” (EG 42) Teaching is often described as a vocation. In this age of careerism where extreme value is placed on income, status and prestige of the individual, the value of a vocation is rarely described. Pope Francis has described the vocation of teaching with rich compassion, wise insight and a wry sense of the human condition in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. The election of Pope Francis has been greeted with joy and a sense of new beginnings within the Church and more broadly across the world. His evident humility and humanness has given people hope of a more pastoral Church with an emphasis

on invitation and welcome rather than doctrine and compliance. We would be misled however, to think that this was a Pope who would not challenge us and question our commitments and values with clarity, authority and compassion. The Exhortation speaks directly to the cultures of our educational institutions and to individual and community values and commitments. In providing a reflection on the human condition and offering a challenge to heed the call to mission and evangelisation, Pope Francis argues that our fulfilment and joy comes from a generous response to others.

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Catholic education in Australia has a proud history of mission within the Church and wider society. It has been a strong partnership between lay people, religious institutes and priests having its roots in the parish. It has worked in support of family and society. It has been transformative. Furthermore, Catholic education in Australia is unique in its partnership with government in terms of funding and goals. It is a key part of the social capital and spirit of this nation.

us the chance to live life on a higher plane, but with no less intensity: ‘Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others’. When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelisation, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic fulfilment” (EG 10).

This leads to a contested space where compliance with government goals and society’s aspirations can compromise mission in subtle ways. While providing the poor and marginalised early citizens of this nation, and many more recently arrived migrants, with access to education and opportunity to prosper, many of our schools have become affluent and influential. Many schools and universities now reflect the aspirational values of a secular and materialist culture while providing a vital and vibrant point of evangelisation for the Church. This tension is held in the person of the teacher.

The lay critique of teachers in Australia is fierce. They are not clever enough, dedicated enough, nor technologically savvy enough, but funnily enough most communities would say that describes other schools’ teachers. While individual teachers may have their quirks, families value the dedication, self-sacrifice, joy and love they bring to the classroom. It is not salaries, holidays or prestige that drives this passion and sustains it over decades through the joys and sorrows of school life. It is the personal commitment to the transformation of another, to what Pope Francis calls “a dignified and fulfilling life” (EG 9).

Pope Francis names these tensions and identifies what is required of Catholic educators. He speaks frequently of joy, resulting from a life given for others. He says, “The Gospel offers

Teaching is about transformation. For Christian teachers it is centred on the person of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Most of us find theological language difficult but

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the reality of our lives teaches us that happiness, fulfilment or a gracious existence is frequently accompanied by loving relationships in which caring for the ‘other’ takes precedence. Pope Francis gently points this out time and again throughout the exhortation.

Teaching is about transformation. For Christian teachers it is centred on the person of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God. “An evangelising community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others” (EG 24). “We need to remember that all religious teaching ultimately has to be reflected in the teacher’s way of life, which awakens the assent of the heart by its nearness, love and witness” (EG 42). This challenge however is to be cast in an understanding of people’s lives and situations and the ‘rules’ examined for

their usefulness. Pope Francis citing St Aquinas and St Augustine urges, “…an ongoing discernment: that precepts subsequently enjoined by the Church should be insisted upon with moderation ‘so as not to burden the lives of the faithful’ and make religion a form of servitude, whereas ‘God’s mercy willed that we should be free.’ This warning issued many centuries ago is most timely today. It ought to be one of the criteria taken into account in considering a reform of the Church and her preaching which would enable it to reach everyone” (EG 43). The wisdom of this is critical in the invitation to a new generation of teachers in our schools and universities. While many have an inspiring faith commitment, most will journey toward this and our educational communities must be places where exploration of the richness of our traditions can be juxtaposed with the values and pressures of contemporary culture. In this mix the incarnational mystery of our faith becomes animated. In this way, faith and commitment are caught as much as taught. Leaders in Catholic education need to show courage to give time and space to teacher’s journeys and sometimes, to challenge the demand for appearance

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over substance in the lives of our teachers. Pope Francis teaches us to be slow to judgement. He says, “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is that fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray my hope is that we will be moved by fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat.’ (Mk6:37)” (EG 49). Pope Francis speaks of “new and often anonymous kinds of power” which take the joy of living from people and leave “a struggle to live with precious little dignity” (EG 52). This challenges us to question our school and university cultures, to reflect on our leadership and to ask what is the counter culture we build in our communities and how does it reflect the Good News. Is our attention on people, including those who are at the margins, a problem to us? Is our attention on

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league tables or size of institution or prestige? The Exhortation makes uncomfortable reading; it is too easy in our professional lives to go along with the dominant cultures, to accept that the institution has rights over people but to forget that it shares community with them. In a world where employees are seen as resources and human capital, how do Catholic employers avoid an “economy of exclusion and inequality?” (EG 53)

…how do Catholic employers avoid an “economy of exclusion and inequality?” (EG 53) Education at all levels is a highly feminised profession. In recent years we have seen lay women in leadership in greater numbers. Our schools, universities, agencies and parishes rely on the commitment and work of women. The long standing traditions of the religious sisters give us confidence in the leadership of women within the Church. Pope Francis acknowledges “the indispensible contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend

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to possess” (EG 103) and he states that “we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church” (EG 103). Here I admit to impatience and a deep sadness that women’s voices have been frequently stifled in the Church. As we reflect on the child abuse inquiries I am saddened that Bishops carried those burdens alone and without the understandings that women may have shared. I am encouraged that Pope Francis notes how divisive it is “if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general” (EG 104). Let’s hope that we open new opportunities for women and men in our Church and its schools and universities. The witness of a genuine sharing is essential to our credibility with young people. Pope Francis invites us to listen also to the old and the young who help us read the “signs of the times”. He says, “Both represent a source of hope for every people. The elderly bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which warns us not to foolishly repeat our past mistakes. Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to

nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life giving in today’s world” (EG 108). As teachers, we face a new generation of learners in a world that has changed significantly and quickly. Globalisation, pluralism, new technologies, complex economies and environmental concerns make the future less certain. While relationships remain at the heart of teaching, the pedagogies will continue to shift dramatically. In describing the Church Pope Francis says, “No one is saved by himself or herself, or by his or her own efforts. God attracts us by taking into account the complex interweaving of personal relationships entailed in the life of a human community” (EG 113). Our schools and universities celebrate the vibrancy of our community’s cultures with particular charisms, enriching our understanding of the Gospels and enabling our outreach to the wider community. Pope Francis recognises this diversity as authentic to Church and a witness to peace in our world. Pope Francis is unequivocal in his assurance that fulfilment and a dignified life is found in service to others. In this he affirms what many teachers discover over a

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lifetime’s work. It is a privilege to walk with another and to point to those things, ideas, attitudes, values, skills, experiences which lead to transformation and liberation of the human spirit and the capacity to be open to the transcendent. He challenges us to recognise that, “There is a Marian ‘style’ to the Church’s work of evangelisation. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and

tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues for the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly to feel important themselves…Mary is able to recognise the traces of God’s spirit in events great and small” (EG 288). As teachers let us take up the challenge to believe in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness and the traces of God’s spirit in events great and small.

Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Anne Cummins bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ distinguish teaching and leading in a Catholic institution from teaching and leading in a secular institution? 3. W  hat unique contribution does Catholic education make to the work of evangelisation? 4. W  hat transformation to your institution’s strategic plan and practices does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge you to make? 5. W  hat transformation to your teaching practice does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge you to make?

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Encountering God’s Mercy in

Health

Ms Marcelle Mogg Organisational Mission and Learning Manager St Vincent’s Health Australia

Care

“Life grows by being given away and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.” (EG 10) The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Evangelii Gaudium is a message of great joy. And at this time in our world, we are a human community deeply in need of joy. We rightly pay attention to what lies broken in our lives and in our world. We recognise that there are many situations and lives that are yet to be touched by the healing presence and mercy of Christ. Yet Pope Francis reminds us that if our focus on the world and our lives is too narrow, and particularly if our concerns centre only on ourselves and our own wealth, influence or security, our gaze becomes distorted, jaundiced and

cynical. We lose sight of Jesus’ love for humanity and the signs of the Spirit at work in our world. Pope Francis urges us to attend to the signs of the Spirit constantly renewing our world, a Spirit which is never dimmed and never exhausted. Attuned to this Spirit and encouraged by our relationship with Jesus, we share our joy and optimism by reaching out to others, conveying Christ’s mercy and compassion. Like the comments we have read since his election as Pope, and the interviews and addresses we have seen on the news, the writing of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium

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is warm, personal and encouraging. He refrains from judgement and censure, which is not to say that he does not offer a critique of the ways in which we live our lives or the ways in which humanity is capable of causing pain and suffering, especially to those who are poor and vulnerable. Yet Pope Francis appeals to each person in words that are marked by kindness and compassion, seeking to convey Christ’s love to each of us and in so doing, modelling the ways in which we can extend the joy and hope of Christ to others. In the same spirit of Gaudium et Spes, Pope Francis speaks to all people of good will, inviting them to celebrate and to share with the whole human community, the joy we encounter in the risen Christ. Pope Francis urges all Christians to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, “or at least an openness to letting him encounter them…to do this unfailingly each day” (EG 3). Without a relationship with Christ as the centre of our lives, we fall prey to despair and disillusionment. This invitation to refind our lives in a personal encounter with Jesus takes special effect in the lives of those working in health and aged care, particularly in Catholic hospitals and services.

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Each day we have the opportunity to encounter Jesus in the people we serve, and in one another. It is impossible to look into the face of a person who is homeless in one of our city emergency departments and not be moved to compassion. In attending to a person whose life has been broken by addiction, we recognise our own susceptibility to rely on things that do not give us life – money, security, status or power. As we care for older members of our community, it is impossible to ignore our own vulnerability and reliance on one another. Every birth is miraculous and unique and every death a moment to reflect on how well we have loved, and how generously we have lived. Our days are alive with moments in which we might encounter Jesus and be open to a renewed relationship with him.

Each day we have the opportunity to encounter Jesus in the people we serve, and in one another. Yet even with such immediate invitations before us, it is possible to distance ourselves from personal encounters with those we serve, and in so doing deny ourselves the

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opportunity to encounter Christ. The prevalence of technology, the busyness of health and aged care, concerns with budgets, policy and management afford a ready refuge for those of us who find the personal encounter too challenging. It takes courage, and a willingness to be changed by the experience, to look into the faces of those we serve, to experience helplessness when we cannot change an outcome, and an acknowledgement that despite our best efforts, skills and expertise, we invariably rely on Jesus to be the source of hope and healing in the lives of those for whom we care.

It takes courage, and a willingness to be changed by the experience… Pope Francis emphasises that this invitation to encounter Jesus is one that is extended to all, no one is excluded. In the lives and faces of those we serve we see the joy, the anxiety, the compassion, the mercy and the tenderness of Christ alive each day. Whenever we take this risk, to look, to explore, to encounter, “The Lord does not disappoint…whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realise that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms” (EG 3).

It is in such encounters that we experience again, as if for the first time, the profoundly moving experience of being loved by God. We are moved to humility, by the depth of God’s mercy and care for us, and moreover we are moved to joy. This is the joy that Pope Francis calls us to share with others, especially those most vulnerable, and those whom our communities and our social structures push to the margins. It is not a joy that seeks to gloss over the reality of the brokenness of our lives or our world. It is not a joy that would have us ignore the suffering caused to people by systemic structures of injustice, the degrading effects of abuse, or the assault on human dignity that arises through poverty, war and violence. Rather it is a joy born of the recognition that such situations of personal and social sin are redeemed in Jesus Christ. In this respect, the joy of which Pope Francis speaks is a source of unfailing strength and encouragement as we address situations of personal and social injustice. The joy that we find in Christ becomes the gift that we share with others, the gift of Christ continuing to heal broken lives and to bring our world to wholeness. In Catholic health and aged care we have a unique opportunity to live the

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Gospel in direct and immediate ways. In Australia in 2013, we recognise that there are too many people living in situations of systemic social disadvantage who are prohibited from full participation in society to which we believe each person, created in the image and likeness of God, is entitled. As Catholic health and aged care services we have a particular concern for those who are pushed to the margins of our communities, and suffer the degrading effects of poverty. Our work is directed towards ensuring that the dignity of each person is honoured and respected. We seek to stand with, and to care for, people at times of great vulnerability. We recognise that poverty, illness and social and economic systems are all factors that have the potential to diminish human dignity. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus seeking out those living on the margins of society, in order to care for them, heal them and draw them back into full participation in the community. Time and again, Jesus gives preference to those whom society often overlooks, placing their needs ahead of the needs and wants of people with money, power and influence.

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Moreover, Jesus is explicit in equating the measure of our love for God in terms of our care for the most vulnerable in our midst (Matthew 25:31-46). When we feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, heal the sick and visit the prisoner we do so because we recognise Christ in the face of each person for whom we care.

When we return those who are vulnerable to full participation in society, we strengthen the whole community. As Catholic health and aged care ministries we have a moral obligation to care for all in need, especially those who are vulnerable, and to place our resources in the service of the good of the whole community. Moreover, we have a further obligation to look at the world from the perspective of those who are excluded, and to work with them to restore their full participation. When we return those who are vulnerable to full participation in society, we strengthen the whole community. In fact we cannot be a whole and healing community when some people are denied full participation.

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And in the writings of Pope Francis we are reminded that to act in the service of those who are poor and vulnerable, sick, frail or aged is an occasion of great joy.

…we are reminded that to act in the service of those who are poor and vulnerable, sick, frail or aged is an occasion of great joy. It is an occasion of joy precisely because it is where we might encounter Jesus, alive and at work in bringing hope and healing to the lives of those we serve. In reading Evangelii Gaudium it was easy to see in my mind the faces of many colleagues with whom I have had the privilege to work over the years in Catholic health and aged care; colleagues who with joyful, quiet and dedicated service continue to reach out in hope to serve others. I thought of Anne who, in her nursing career in Catholic hospitals, has cared for people with cancer for over 50 years. I thought of Eugenie who has spent most of her medical career in the service of those in

prison. I thought of the generations of religious women and men in Australia who have fought to ensure justice and equity in health care for some of our country’s most vulnerable people; those who are Indigenous and continue to experience rates of disease, addiction and chronic illness that would not be tolerated by nonIndigenous Australians, those with addiction, those living with HIV/ AIDS, those living with mental illness and those made homeless. The stories of those who serve, inspired by Christ’s love, in selfless generosity are not isolated or uncommon. They are the stories that populate the history of Catholic health and aged care in Australia, and this itself is cause for great joy. The challenge for those of us who continue to follow in the footsteps of the founders of our Catholic health and aged care ministries is to continue to reach out in joy, bringing the love and tenderness of Christ to all in need of care, and to be a visible presence of God’s love for humanity. Encouraged by the words of Pope Francis, our mission is renewed.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Marcelle Mogg bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise Catholic health and aged care? 3. W  hat policies and practices does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge you to transform in order to bring those who are ‘pushed to the margins’ into ‘full participation’? 4. W  hat are some of the internal and external ways your organisation enables people to encounter Jesus? What are some organisational obstructions?

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Nurturing the Vocational Heart of

Ms Julie Edwards Chief Executive Officer, Jesuit Social Services

“True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from selfgiving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.” (EG 88) The overarching message of Evangelii Gaudium is one of engagement – and engagement with joy. Pope Francis seems to be confirming now with some detail what his earlier gestures and comments have been indicating is to be his approach, his expectations and his intention with regard to the culture, structure and practices of the Catholic Church henceforth. He moved, from the first moments of his papacy, to announce a change in direction – heralded by his own engagement with us, his calling on us to pray for him, his sidelining of non-essentials that might get in the way of this engagement and his

active reaching out to those on the margins of society. If we had been in any doubt about his intentions until this point, Evangelii Gaudium spells out clearly, with his own voice and character shining through, some fundamentals – that the Church is the Church of the poor; that we are called to engage with the world and to do this from a starting point of love, humility and joy; that we need to risk getting a bit messy in the process. Furthermore, this is first and foremost personal. It starts with us and our personal relationship with Jesus – and moves seamlessly to a critique of the prevailing economic paradigm

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and associated practices “where the powerful feed upon the powerless” (EG 53). For those of us who work in the Catholic social services sector, and perhaps particularly for those of us in formal leadership roles, this overarching thrust of Evangelii Gaudium and its specific exhortations are both challenging and inspiring from the most personal level through to how we see our social services, society and the Church itself. In social services, where we engage with people who are suffering – people who have experienced violence, abuse and neglect, people who have been excluded from mainstream society – the way we come to this work is of critical importance. Forming respectful relationships is at the heart of our work – it’s the basis for any effective intervention. Our very person is the instrument we use to achieve this. So we need to be committed to ongoing reflection about who we are, what we bring to this engagement, and our own motives and purpose for this work. In this respect, Pope Francis’ starting point of joy, flowing from our own personal discovery of God’s love for us and the desire to communicate this Good News through words

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and actions to others, is refreshing. His open, inclusive approach which recognises that those ‘inside’ the Church don’t have a monopoly on God’s grace, means that neither do we have a monopoly on joy as our starting point. The poor are our teachers and he calls us to listen to them, to focus on what really matters and to be respectful of difference.

The poor are our teachers and he calls us to listen to them, to focus on what really matters and to be respectful of difference. Social service organisations need to nurture and support these capacities in our staff. We need to be mindful that people who come to work in our organisations invariably come with a vocational heart. Our job is to ensure that the culture of the organisation, right through to the policies and procedures that support this culture and its underlying mission and values, nurtures and supports an attitude of gratitude and joy as a basis for our work. This starting point propels us out into the world. It propels us to go to new frontiers – of unmet and unpopular

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need. Pope Francis exhorts us to meet people where they are, in their natural settings and circumstances, to “enter the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness” (EG 270). So often we set up services ‘in our own image’, with a priority on ensuring things run smoothly for us instead of ensuring that they are welcoming and accessible, in very practical ways, for those our organisations exist to serve. His message to focus on essentials, to adapt and to be creative can guide us in this. Throughout Evangelii Gaudium and at the heart of Pope Francis’ concern are the poor. He calls us all to reorient ourselves to them – for those at the periphery to become our centre. Catholic social service agencies are privileged to inhabit this space, but the document is particularly challenging in relation to how we might do this. In Australia, Church based organisations have often led the way in identifying and responding to unmet need, not only in social services but also in the fields of education and health. This is our mission. Over recent decades our organisations have come to rely increasingly on government funding, and with that our service provision has become more prescriptive as government has

sharpened its criteria regarding what it is buying from us. Government funding, it should be acknowledged, has also allowed us to live out our mission. But Pope Francis’ document is a timely reminder about our essential purpose – we are not ‘non-government organisations’, we are not the ‘funded sector’, we are not (or should not be) big businesses making strategic decisions about whom we engage with and what we do based solely on market principles. We are faith-based, mission-driven organisations. Our work is always and everywhere to uphold the human dignity of each person, to believe “in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness” (EG 288), and to remain faithful to those who are, in fact, evidence of failure of the market economy.

Our work is always and everywhere to uphold the human dignity of each person… If we are to live out our prophetic role, it is not enough for us to simply receive money from government or others to deliver services, however worthy these may be. We must, as Pope

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Francis urges us, recognise that we operate in a challenging environment shaped by a potentially dehumanising economic system, inequality, a culture of consumerism and secularism. We need to be rigorous in examining how these forces impact on us and our readiness to step outside our particular comfort zones. The Pope calls us to face up to the “economy of exclusion and inequality” (EG 53). He attacks the prevailing economic system as “unjust at its root” (EG 59). He also draws a distinct line between the free market economy and, on the one hand, the “globalisation of indifference” (EG 54) that afflicts so many of us and, on the other hand, the exclusion of the poor who in this context are not simply just exploited but are outcasts and “leftovers” (EG 53). This is the harshest of language. What are we to make of it? We are also called to name this structural injustice for what it is. In the social services sector where we confront the “leftovers” (EG 53) daily we see in real time the consequences of such exclusion – intergenerational poverty and disadvantage; children missing out on growing up in a safe, loving family; young people not completing their education and moving into adulthood without skills to get work; parents cycling in and out of prison; generations of families being out of work. So we

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have a particular moral obligation to do all we can to name and address the underlying causes of this suffering. In the Australian context – one of relative prosperity, good health and long life expectancy, safety and security, the message is all the more powerful. We should expect of our community leaders, whether they be in government, the community sector, business or the Church, that they uphold social and economic policies that promote health, wellbeing and prosperity for all, not just the few. We of all nations, the ‘lucky country’, should be intolerant of ongoing and entrenched disadvantage in our midst.

We of all nations, the ‘lucky country’ should be intolerant of ongoing and entrenched disadvantage in our midst. As Catholic social services operating in a context of sector reform and an environment of increasing competition for funding to do the work we have traditionally seen as ‘ours’, Evangelii Gaudium is a timely reminder of some fundamentals. We need to remember who we are, and

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what is our fundamental purpose and mission. We need to remember whom we serve; the poor and marginalised and not just those who can ‘make it’, who will allow us to reach our targets, and who can successfully transition to being economically productive. We need to ensure our organisations nurture and support the vocational heart of our staff by fostering a culture that has gratitude and joy as its starting point and aspires to love and tenderness. We need to keep our eye on the main game of listening, focussing on what really matters, and respecting difference. We need to be courageous in going to new frontiers of unmet and unpopular need. We need to address structural injustice – not as an ‘add on’ but as a core expression of our commitment to the poor and marginalised. Evangelii Gaudium needs to be studied, pondered and prayed over. It is deeply challenging. It is inspiring. It needs to be taken into our hearts and ultimately into our actions.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Julie Edwards bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ distinguish a Catholic social service from a secular social service? 3. W  hat unique role can Catholic social services play to reorientate the Australian Church towards those who are poor and on the margins? 4. I n real terms, how does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium encourage us to nurture the ‘vocational heart’ of those working in Catholic social services and support them to confront structural injustice?

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The Risk of Loving

eekers

Mr Joe Moloney Research and Information Officer Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

“…run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction.” (EG 88) Asylum seekers coming to our shores by boat are experiencing an acute tragedy of life. A central theme in Evangelii Gaudium is that the Church is about mission and this mission is making Christ visible, especially to those who are suffering and in need of compassion. Our mission is to act according to the teaching of Jesus who pushes us out towards those in need. For much of the past decade, asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia have mostly come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan (all three considered in 2013 to be in the top five countries worldwide at risk of serious human

rights violations and mass killings1), Iran (ranked 12th) and Sri Lanka (currently ranked 21st, was ranked 11th during 2008-2009). As well, on average the people living in these countries earn around US$3,000 per year or in the case of Afghanistan merely US$503 a year.2 If this is not reason enough to suspect they are suffering, then consider their reception when they reach Australia. Automatically locked in immigration detention for an unknown period of time (our law allows for indefinite detention), many will remain there too long and their mental health will

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deteriorate. As it does, many will try to medicate to numb their pain, lash out in rage, sew up their own lips, cut themselves, try to hang themselves, and some will take their own life. Sadly some Catholics in Australia will read that last sentence with disinterest or cynicism and some will be adamant this harsh treatment is necessary. Here lies the real mission for evangelisation. How to get our community leaders and parishioners to recognise the face of Jesus in those seeking refuge?

How to get our community leaders and parishioners to recognise the face of Jesus in those seeking refuge? Perhaps one of the biggest fears Australians have of asylum seekers is that the poverty and violence from where they are escaping, will somehow migrate with them. There is a tendency to want to keep them at arm’s length because we fear that any display of compassion will signal the other 45 million displaced people around the world to try to reach Australia too. In response to this, the rational argument put forth by many advocates

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is to remind Australians that despite historically high numbers of displaced people world-wide, Australia has never experienced a flood of arrivals. Even recently, when over a million people left Syria, or in 2009 when the world witnessed the highest number of refugees it has ever seen, Australia recorded a trickle in comparison. The reason is mostly economic. The overwhelming majority of the world’s refugees simply do not have the money to migrate long distances. Those that do would prefer to reach other countries where they have family or friends. But this rational argument does little to appease our fear. We hear in popular media many reasons to stop the boats. Many of these reasons are simply misconceptions or the result of deliberate demonisation for political gain. It is not illegal to seek asylum. They’re not terrorists. There is no queue. Nonetheless, these common myths keep coming up in people from all walks of life. Why is this? These fears are easy to arouse in people because they manifest from self-centredness. All of us have the capacity to look in on ourselves. Part of our mission is to encourage people to look out. To encourage Australians to ask – are these people okay?

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Part of our mission is to encourage people to look out. To encourage Australians to ask – are these people okay? We often forget our experience with the Vietnamese, who first came to us by boat escaping the war. In response, we went to them. We were moved to action and decided to fly around 10,000 Vietnamese refugees to Australia every year for the next 10 years. How did this stop the boats? It provided hope and a safe legal pathway. Our own recent history describes a way to embrace asylum seekers ensuring the protection of their lives and human dignity. There is a humane way to stop the boats. But it requires that we push out towards those in need with compassion and tenderness. The Church encourages countries to implement programs and policy which “best respond to the dignity of each person and the common good” (EG 241). “It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognise the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits” (EG 210). In the context of migration, Pope Francis

encourages all countries to a generous openness (EG 210). It is not just for States to respond but rather “each individual Christian and every community is called 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” (EG 187). Every personal encounter has the power to transform lives for both asylum seekers and those who receive them. God loves the people who arrive at our shore. God is working in their lives. It is not just because they are poor, suffering, despised, overlooked by society, these are certainly good reasons we should help them, but the main reason is because God loves them and He wants us to love them too. Pope Francis reminds us, “Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others” (EG 270).

Every personal encounter has the power to transform lives for both asylum seekers and those who receive them. As we encounter those seeking asylum we also encounter Christ

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present in their lives. The Exhortation encourages us to “run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction” (EG 88). This is not just for the benefit of the poor but also to enrich our lives. “Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades” (EG 2). Our lives are not made any better off when we shut our borders to those in need or lock up men, women and children who have been exiled from countries which do not recognise or cannot provide for their human dignity. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 Jn 3:17, EG 187). Often an economic argument is put forward about why we can’t have asylum seekers turn up unexpectedly. Ironically one of our current responses is to have many asylum seekers reside in our own community without the right to work. This increases the financial burden, opposes human dignity (EG 192), causes widespread

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isolation and forces many to live below the poverty line. In Evangelii Gaudium we are reminded of the need to order the economy to serve human dignity (EG 55) and importantly to remove forms of exclusion towards vulnerable groups (EG 59).

Our lives are not made any better off when we shut our borders to those in need… Pope Francis reminds us that “our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members” (EG 186). Our globalised economy provides many opportunities but also entails many obstacles for “non-citizens”, “half citizens” and “urban remnants” (EG 74). It is up to us to hear the pleas of those less fortunate than ourselves and be guided by the Gospel of mercy.

1 Minority  Rights Group International, Peoples under Threat 2013, http://www.minorityrights.org accessed 4 December 2013. 2 The  World Bank, Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011, 2nd Ed, pp36-38.

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Joe Moloney bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ characterise the Australian Church’s contribution to the ‘stop the boats’ debate? 3. H  ow can you “be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully part of society” (EG 187), especially for those who seek asylum and refuge in Australia? 4. H  ow can you manifest the ‘joy of the Gospel’ as you journey with those who are fearful and hostile towards people who seek asylum?

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YoungPeople

Church,

and the Call to Transform

Ms Elise Ganley National Coordinator, Australian Young Christian Students

“How beautiful it is to see that young people are ‘street preachers’ (callejeros de la fe), joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!” (EG 106) Pope Francis has captivated the world. I was lucky enough to have been in Rome when he said the Palm Sunday Mass at the beginning of his papacy. To stand amongst thousands of young people with a Pope who seems so inherently connected to people was extremely special. What most stood out for me was his first word after reading the story of the crucifixion – ‘joy.’ I was somewhat surprised. I was not expecting that message, in tandem with such a sad story. In contrast, I first opened Evangelii Gaudium after a terrible day at work and I was immediately relieved and refreshed. After reading the first few pages, as Pope Francis reminded me again, my work is centred in joy.

Thousands of young people around the world are not able to fully experience joy, but must! Pope Francis calls on us to look at ‘the signs of our times’ with a particular focus on those who are excluded and on the fringe. When trying to grasp the current realities of the world we live in, he writes that “it is best to ask young people and the elderly” (EG 108). We must ask what the young are saying, because if we are to ever understand how to work with young people in developing their mission in the world, we must listen. When I was listening to my best friend Tom recently, we were discussing our experiences of mental health, debt, stress and relationships.

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We come from opposite backgrounds, but he was building up to tell me his new realisation.

important, but is in no way connected to the Church. This leaves me with the question – is there a place for him?

“You already have this all figured out, Ganley. You know that you can’t find happiness through conforming to this materialistic, consumerist society; you have known this since we were young. I need to do more with my life Elise. I need to volunteer, I need to make change. I am sick of society telling me to be something I am not. I want to get out there and do something.”

Thousands of young Australians like Tom, are searching for deeper meaning beyond friends, family, and work satisfaction. Pope Francis highlights the need for the Church’s communication about its teachings to be one that stems from love (EG 8, 42). So when the majority of young people passionately believe in same-sex marriage, but see a Church opposing it without the context of the teaching, they turn away, and are immediately blinded against all the good works that our parish communities are doing.

I was very humbled by his words. By no means do I feel like I have too much figured out about the world, but if there is one way that I do find meaning, it is through taking action on issues I care about. If I know nothing else, I have a sense that every person is worth more than any amount of money can give because of their God-given dignity. I have my own role to play in building God’s Kingdom through the everyday acts of my life. This understanding is simple. Yet so profound and so essentially ‘joyful’ that it enables meaning and perspective when travelling through life. This meaning is enlivened through the context of my Church. Tom believes that people are

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Thousands of young Australians like Tom, are searching for deeper meaning beyond friends, family, and work satisfaction. Pope Francis also challenges us by stating that “the parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility” (EG 28). So, how can our parishes better meet people like Tom? Do we enable

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parishes to exist in unconventional settings, that aren’t even geographical, but are connected through something else? How can we be authentically Catholic, but be more accessible? “Some…customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them” (EG 43). Our Church needs to start where young people are at by listening to their interests and concerns, and the values that they already have. The Church needs our young Australians to be engaged because it is struggling, and the world is suffering. Young people are needed. Pope Francis states, “the excluded are still waiting” (EG 54), and yet we continue exploiting the poor with our excessive and pointless consumerism. The poor are still waiting, while we continue discarding. Pope Francis particularly mentions that “many young people are making common cause before the problems of our world and taking up various forms of activism and volunteer work” (EG 106). This is true, but we are called to deeper and more radical action through the Gospel that can be missed if our Church becomes too exclusive to a particular group of

young people with particular interests. Australia needs to be a leader in building a more just and peaceful world. I want our political leadership to reflect a greater desire to live out the common good, with a stronger and more unified community which can hold that leadership to account. I want the buying power of our current youth to be one which encourages a market that respects the dignity of individuals across the world, and is environmentally sound. I do not want to see kids locked up in detention. I do not want to see our forests destroyed, or reef ruined because we couldn’t believe the facts on climate change.

Young people have a key role in influencing and building Australian society. Young people have a key role in influencing and building Australian society. Imagine a mass-movement of organised Catholic youth, fighting injustice across Australia? One fabulous example is the community organisation, the Sydney Alliance, and the Australian Young Christian Students (AYCS) movement, who have formed a coalition and have been

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campaigning to end child detention. This is a start, but in partnership with others we have a capacity for more. Our Catholic schools, movements, and youth ministries have an important and purposeful role in forming active Christian leaders. However, often the formation that the Church provides is not holistic, and faith and action do not come hand in hand. On one end of the spectrum we encourage young people to form a personal relationship with Jesus, within the context of the Church and its traditions and rituals. On the other end, we encourage young people to get involved in justice and action, but we often fail to give them an opportunity to reflect on how their service relates to their values and to the Gospel. We desperately need to be working with young people to find their mission in the world through both action and reflection, and as Pope Francis states, “we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of moral values” (EG 64). Do not underestimate young people’s capabilities to understand the ‘grey’ in black and white. The ‘See, Judge, Act’ method has had a significant impact on me and many students that I have worked with

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through the AYCS movement. It is one very effective way to ensure we evangelise with faith and action and welcome young people, meeting them where they are at. This must come hand in hand with strong, personal relationships and mentoring which encourages young people in our mission. Pope Francis emphasises dialogue and asks us to “always be respectful and gentle” (EG 128). As taught by St Thomas Aquinas, what counts above all else is “faith working through love” (EG 37).

Peer to peer empowerment is essential. Young people must be the ones to reach out to other young people on the fringes. This is absolutely essential to avoid becoming exclusive. Pope Francis challenges us to understand the “urgent need for the young to exercise greater leadership” (EG 106). We must equip Christian activists with skills and support to make change and be leaders. It is not enough for those involved in youth ministry to be continually running events and youth groups for high school students when, with proper training and mentoring, they are quite capable of taking ownership of their ideas, actions, and groups themselves.

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We can’t be running everything for them until they reach their midtwenties, as it stifles their development and diminishes their capabilities. Peer to peer empowerment is essential. Pope Francis states that the Lord’s missionary mandate includes a call to grow in faith. “Hence it is clear that the first proclamation also calls for ongoing formation and maturation. Evangelisation aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life” (EG 160). Simply going to one homeless kitchen and serving food, or attending one youth rally or Church event is just not enough. We need to provide ongoing routine and regular opportunities for young people to listen and discern their mission, and consider how they are living it through action. This is when transformation happens.

through reflection, action and genuine youth empowerment. Personal relationships are integral and we must take young people from where they are at and with love! Our Christian calling is to transform ourselves and the world into a place of love and respect. Pope Francis is asking us to rise to the challenge. I am happy to follow.

Our mission is important for peace and justice in society…

Evangelii Gaudium reminds the world that the Gospel is a message of joy. Young people are often excluded from the message through their own struggles, but also because our Church often struggles to be a place that engagingly welcomes them. But as Pope Francis challenges, the poor are still waiting. Our mission is important for peace and justice in society. Our Church must reach out and evangelise THE FRANCIS EFFECT – LIVING THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL

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Questions:

1. W  hat dimensions of The Francis Effect does Elise Ganley bring into focus for you? 2. I n what ways does the ‘joy of the Gospel’ inspire the Australian Catholic Church to engage and empower young people? 3. H  ow does this reflection and Evangelii Gaudium challenge your parish to transform and be even more welcoming for young people? 4. H  ow can you provide ‘ongoing, routine and regular opportunities for young people to listen and discern their mission’ and then to ‘exercise great leadership’?

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Your

Living

Mission with Joy

Pope Francis asks us “what are you waiting for?” (EG 120) and by doing so presents each of us with a challenge to take personal action to live out our lives in ways which bring about God’s Kingdom – a world where each person is loved, where people are merciful and compassionate to one another, where we walk with the poor. The Exhortation is inspiring in many ways and challenging in many others.

The reflections from the twelve leaders contained within this book bring those inspirations and challenges to life in our Australian context. The following ideas have been suggested to enable deeper understanding and learning. They may be a stimulus to other ideas and praxis. We encourage you to be creative and “go forth boldly!” (EG 261). † Read and reflect on each author’s work with an openness to joy; † Use the reflection questions in small group home meetings during Lent or Advent as special preparation for these times in our liturgical calendar; † Examine and discuss Evangelii Gaudium and the reflection relevant to your sector or ministry at your next executive leadership or board meeting;

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† Accept Pope Francis’ invitation to take moments for “reading God’s word in a moment of prayer” (EG 152) and meditate on the reflections in light of Evangelii Gaudium; † Encourage and facilitate formal and informal discussion amongst parishioners, parish pastoral council, parish priests, the elderly and young people about ‘the margins’ of your parish or organisation and how you might respond to the ideas and challenges within some of the reflections and Evangelii Gaudium; † Use the ideas and questions from the reflections as formation during your professional development days or retreats; † Share your thoughts about this book and the call for the Australian Church to become “a Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198) with friends or family; † Write to us at formation@catholicmission.org.au with your own reflection on Evangelii Gaudium and let us know how you are living The Joy of the Gospel in your life, with your family, community or organisation.

“My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off; it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I cannot uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world.” Evangelii Gaudium 273, Pope Francis

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Acknowlegments

A great many conversations, hours and work go into completing a project like The Francis Effect and we would like to sincerely thank every person who has assisted us in getting to publication. Of particular mention are Stephen Bevans SVD, Noel Connolly SSC and Tim Norton SVD for their contribution, insight and availability. Sandra Marta from Smarta by Design, the Catholic Religious Australia and Catholic Mission community must also be thanked for their creativity, intelligence and patience. It has been a privilege to bring together the perspectives of all the authors in this book. Without their contribution and commitment to the project, this book would not have been possible. We thank each of the authors for responding to a document that inspires, challenges, encourages and questions. Evangelii Gaudium is a document for our time and place and we hope The Francis Effect helps all those who encounter it come closer to living the joy of the Gospel. The Editors

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Contributing Authors

Fr Stephen B. Bevans SVD Louis J. Luzbetak SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Stephen Bevans is a priest of the Society of the Divine Word. Ordained in 1971, he served from 1972 until 1981 as a missionary to the Philippines and is currently the Louis J. Luzbetak SVD Professor of Mission and Culture at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, where he has taught since 1986. Stephen has lectured all over the world, including the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany and Italy, and in many places in the United States. He is the author of Models of Contextual Theology (1992), An Introduction to Theology in Global Perspective (2009), and with Roger Schroeder, Constants in Context (2004) and Prophetic Dialogue (2011), and with Jeffrey Gros, Evangelization and Freedom (2009). He has served as President of the American Society of Missiology (2006) and on the board of directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (2007-2009). Sr Suzette Clark rsc Justice and Peace Coordinator, Catholic Religious Australia Suzette Clark is a Sydney-based Sister of Charity who is leading Catholic Religious Australia’s (CRA) Justice Network, an initiative to give Australia’s Religious a united voice on social justice issues. She spent 11 years with the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) as the Research and Projects Officer. During those years and still today, she coordinates the Sisters of Charity Advocacy Network. Suzette assists the Religious of Australia to listen to what the Spirit is saying as she enables the strengthening of their voice in matters of justice. In June 2011, she was appointed as Coordinator of the CRA’s Justice Network to provide people of Catholic faith with a united and effective public voice that strategically influences public and social policy to bring about justice, equity and ecological sustainability.

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Fr Noel Connolly SSC Head of Mission Studies, Columban Mission Institute, Broken Bay Institute and Catholic Institute of Sydney Noel Connolly is a Columban missionary priest. Noel worked in Korea and was Rector of the Pacific Mission Institute, Turramurra, Vicar General of the Columbans throughout the world (based in Ireland) and Director of the Columbans in Australia and New Zealand. He is head of Mission Studies at the Columban Mission Institute in Strathfield and Broken Bay Institute in Pennant Hills. He also lectures in mission and culture at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. Noel is the Chair of Catholic Religious Australia’s Mission Network (AMN). Besides mission, Noel’s major interest is in our growing multicultural Australian Church. Ms Sandie Cornish Province Director of Mission, Society of the Sacred Heart Australia and New Zealand Sandie Cornish is a specialist in Catholic Social Teaching. She is the Director of Mission for the Society of the Sacred Heart in Australia and New Zealand, a sessional lecturer at the Catholic Institute of Sydney and a distance tutor at the Broken Bay Institute. Sandie has worked for faith-based social justice organisations at the diocesan, national and Asia Pacific levels. She has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Newcastle University, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from University of New England and a Licentiate in Social Services specialising in Catholic Social Doctrine and Ethics from the Gregorian. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. Her website is www.socialspirituality.net

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Professor Anne Cummins Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Students, Learning and Teaching, Australian Catholic University Professor Anne Cummins has national responsibility for the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Learning and Teaching Centre, Office of Student Success, Centre for Indigenous Education and Research, Libraries and Equity Pathways. For a decade before joining ACU she ran a successful professional services firm with clients in government, all education sectors, human services and the not-for-profit sector. Professor Cummins’ consultancy services included educational renewal and development at school and system levels, executive development and review, program review, demographic and business analysis for major school system development projects, stakeholder management and governance and government relations. Her background as an educator included leadership as a Secondary College Principal and senior executive experience in Catholic Education. Professor Cummins is currently a Director of Marist Youth Care, a member of the St Ignatius Riverview Council (NSW) and a member of the Board of The Sydney College of Divinity. From 1992 to 2006 she was a member of the ACU Senate. Ms Julie Edwards Chief Executive Officer, Jesuit Social Services Julie Edwards joined Jesuit Social Services in 2001. She was the Program Director prior to her assignment as CEO in June 2004. Julie has over 35 years experience engaging with marginalised people and families experiencing breakdown and trauma. She is a social worker, family therapist and a grief and loss counsellor. Julie has a Masters in Social Work and is currently completing her doctorate in this discipline. In January 2010 Julie became a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Julie serves on a number of government committees that work to promote a more just society and contribute to the health and wellbeing of members of our community. She is also a member of the International Working Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. Julie is a member of a number of national and international Jesuit commissions and working groups across areas of justice, education, social ministry and ecology. Julie is passionate about finding ways to give practical expression to her social justice values, about exploring the most effective means to build a more just society and promoting a value-based model of leadership.

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Ms Elise Ganley National Coordinator, Australian Young Christian Students Elise Ganley is originally from Port Pirie, South Australia and is currently the National Coordinator of the Australian Young Christian Students (AYCS) movement. Through her work with AYCS, Elise empowers high school students to actively change the world around them using the “See, Judge, Act” method. While still at high school Elise represented rural students at the Youth 2020 Summit and spoke at World Youth Day 2008. In March 2013 Elise represented Australia at the International Young Catholics for Social Justice meeting in Rome, and supported high school students at the International YCS committee meeting in Paris. Elise is a Youth Advisor on the Steering Committee for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, and a member of the Australian Catholic Youth Council. Elise is passionate about working with high school students to transform their communities through faith and action. Ms Marcelle Mogg Organisational Mission and Learning Manager, St Vincent’s Health Australia Marcelle Mogg has a background in nursing, pastoral care and publishing. As Director of Mission at St Vincent’s Health, she is responsible for educating staff about the organisational mission and values and ensures that St Vincent’s health care policies and practices are synonymous with the goals of Catholic health care. Additionally, Marcelle is responsible for the administration of several programs including pastoral care, volunteers, archives, artists in residence and cultural diversity awareness.

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Mr Joe Moloney Research Officer, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office Since 2011, Joe has directed the research work of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO). In this role, Joe assists the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) on policy issues in relation to migrants and refugees. As part of this role, he has researched both voluntary and forced migration in the Asia Pacific region with a specific focus on migration to Australia. Joe is a consultant to the Global Ecumenical Network on Migration and represents the ACBC on the National Stakeholder Consultative Panel for the Seasonal Worker Program. Joe has a Bachelor degrees in Economics (Hons) and Law and has previously worked as an economist in both the private and government sectors. Ms Julie Morgan Corporate Development Manager and Lecturer, Executive Education, Australian Catholic University Julie Morgan is a member of the Australian Catholic University’s Executive Education team and teaches within the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy’s postgraduate leadership programs. Julie has most recently been employed in the health sector as Group Manager Social Justice, Policy and Practice, for St Vincent’s Health Australia. Julie has also worked as a management consultant to the not-for-profit sector and as a lecturer in theology and ethics at the Broken Bay Institute. She has worked extensively throughout South East Asia in the delivery of leadership development, human rights education and peacebuilding training. Julie’s executive leadership experience includes working as the Deputy National Director of Caritas Australia and the Regional Director of the Asia Pacific for Franciscans International. Julie has written extensively in the area of peacebuilding, Scripture and social justice for Australian and international publications. In 2002 Julie’s work in international peacebuilding was formally recognised by the Prime Minister.

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Mr Graeme Mundine Executive Officer, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Archdiocese of Sydney Graeme Mundine, a Bundjalung man from Northern NSW, is a well respected Indigenous Catholic leader who has been involved in Church and Indigenous affairs for more than three decades. Currently, he is the Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Sydney. Previously, Graeme was the inaugural Chair and Coordinator of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC). He was also the Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC), a commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA). Graeme is committed to advocating for Aboriginal rights within the Churches and the wider community. Fr Tim Norton SVD Provincial, Australia Province, Society of the Divine Word Missionaries After high school Tim trained and worked as a physiotherapist. At age 25 he joined the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries. He was finally professed in 1990 and ordained a priest in 1991. He ministered in Mexico for seven years, principally in a large parish on the outskirts of Mexico City. In 1996 he returned to Australia, working for seven years in the SVD initial formation programme. He was elected provincial in 2005 and is about to complete his third, three-year term in that role. Mr Martin Teulan National Director, Catholic Mission Martin Teulan is the National Director of Catholic Mission. He has been a Catholic school teacher, Director of Pastoral Planning for Parramatta Diocese, Marketing Manager for Wesley Mission and Chief Operating Officer for Church Resources. He has been the Chair of the Commission on Mission of the National Council of Churches and a Board member of the Bible Society in Australia, and of Seton Villa a service for people with intellectual disabilities. He has been a member of the Australian National Consultative Committee for Electronic Health and of the Pastoral Councils for Parramatta and Broken Bay Dioceses. Martin has written and presented extensively on evangelisation, faith formation of staff and parish renewal.

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Further Reading

Bevans, S. B. (2013a). Partnering with God: Re-imagining mission for today. Available from http://mohmv.com.au/Resources/Stephen%20Bevans%20Keynote%201.pdf Bevans, S. B. (2013b). Doing mission today: Where we do it, how we do it, what we do. Available from http://mohmv.com.au/Resources/Stephen%20Bevans%20Keynote%202.pdf Bevans, S. B. (2012). Mission and culture: The Louis J. Luzbetak lectures. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. Bevans, S. B. & Schroeder, R. P. (2004). Constants in context: A theology of mission for today. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. Connolly, N. (2013). New evangelization in Australia. Available from http://www. sedosmission.org/sedosarticles/documents/nconnolly-2013-newev-en.pdf Cornish, S. (n.d.) Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching. Available from http://socialspirituality.net/introduction-to-catholic-social-teaching/ D’Orsa, J. & D’Orsa, T. (2013). Leading for mission: Integrating life, culture and faith in Catholic education. Mulgrave, VIC: Vaughn Publishing. D’Orsa, J. & D’Orsa, T. (2012). Catholic curriculum: A mission to the heart of young people. Pennant Hills, NSW: BBI Publishing House. Gittins, A. J. (2008). Called to be sent: Co-missioned as disciples today. Liguori, Mo.: Liguori Publications. Gittins, A. J. (2002). Ministry at the margins: Strategy and spirituality for mission. Liguori, Mo. : Liguori Publications. Karecki, M. (2011). Mission spirituality in a global perspective. Available from http://www. wearemissionary.org/catholic-evangelization-resources Pope John Paul II. (1990). Redemptoris Missio – Encyclical Letter. Vatican: the Holy See. Pope Paul VI. (1975). Evangelii Nuntiandi – Apostolic Exhortation. Vatican: the Holy See. Rodríguez Maradiaga, O. A. (2010). The Continental Mission in the Light of APARECIDA. Available from http://www.sedosmission.org/web/fr/sedos-bulletin/doc_view/1825-thecontinental-mission-in-the-light-of-aparecida Schroeder, R. P. (2008). What is the mission of the Church: A guide for Catholics. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. Spadaro, A. (2013). A big heart open to God. In America: The National Catholic Review. Available from http://americamagazine.org/pope-interview Tulud Cruz, G. (2010). An intercultural theology of migration: Pilgrims in the wilderness. Leiden; Boston: Brill. THE FRANCIS EFFECT – LIVING THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL

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Notes

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What is the Francis Effect and why is it significant for us today? In this book, twelve prominent Catholic leaders, from a variety of sectors and ministries, provide their perspectives on the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. They offer readers insight and challenges to living and leading the joy of the Gospel while taking great inspiration from the words of Pope Francis. This book is a must-read for any person living and leading mission in the Australian Catholic Church. Here, twelve gifted Catholic leaders provide significant insights and offer provoking reflection questions as important supports for ways we are called to implement Pope Francis’ vision for mission and evangelisation in Australia. In his first Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis declares that he “dreams of a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world”. (EG 27) This book will enable its readers to hear and action the lessons from Evangelii Gaudium today in our own lives, our ministries, our workplaces, our communities and our Church. I highly recommend reading and using this excellent tool as a resource for all those with a heart for mission who work to bring God’s love to the world with The Joy of the Gospel. Sr Annette Cunliffe rsc Congregational Leader and President Catholic Religious Australia

“My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off; it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I cannot uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world.” Evangelii Gaudium 273, Pope Francis

The Francis Effect - Living the joy of the Gospel  

“ I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets… ” Evangelii Gaudium 49, Pope Francis

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