Aurora March 2017

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle March 2017 | No.166

Let’s play; the possibilities are endless Mercy’s out of the box and it’s not going back



Embrac STORY eC School atholic great le s Week: arning, great commu nities

You’re invited!

Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2017 Register now!

First Word

On the cover Students of St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton, are reaching for the sky in 2017! See what 2017 holds for diocesan schools on page 6. Photograph courtesy of Alyssa Faith.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle March 2017 | No.166

Let’s play; the possibilities are endless Mercy’s out of the box and it’s not going back


Embrace STORY Catholi c Schools great lear Week: ning commu , great nities

Featured  Dinia’s Story: Love your neighbour


 Catholic schools: great learning, great communities


 Calling a CatholicCare midwife!


 Keeping Mercy in focus with the sweet taste of honey


 “Volunteers always receive more than they give.”


 Cloudy with a chance of insight


 Families, not orphanages


 Grieve in writing, because it just might help 18  Experts warn against following overseas experience with euthanasia



Seeking a way forward The last edition drew correspondence relating to two feature stories; “Journeying with Parkinson’s Disease” and “Peace and blessings of God be upon you.” Robyn Donnelly of New Lambton wrote, “The article by Warren and Christine Sheppard brought tears to my eyes as it could be any one of us. Their true spirit and commitment to their marriage vows is close to my heart, “in sickness and in health”. This is what we promise at the altar on our special day. Thank you for your courage to write such a beautiful piece, keeping your faith to get through and leaning on each other and your community. I am sure you have had many people lean on you over the years. This was also a beautiful reflection for me as Co-ordinator of the diocese’s Marriage and Relationship Education programs.” Paul Gleeson of Cardiff wrote, “I pay deep respect to the writer [Farooq Rah] and to the vast majority of the 1.7 billion Muslims throughout the world who, in peace, worship the one true God….I … challenge the…kindly...disposition which says let this guy have his say in our Catholic magazine.... I challenge it passionately!”


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Next deadline 7 March 2017

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Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119


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 Last Word


While reports from the Royal Commission’s Case Study 50 are alarming, to say the very least, various Church witnesses shared experiences, knowledge and wisdom that indicated that there is a way forward and a gospel mandate for truth, justice and healing. That way, however, will ask a great deal of each individual who remains committed to the Catholic Church. On a lighter note, and in a month in which the gospel of the Transfiguration is proclaimed in Christian churches and World Poetry Day is observed, do read John Murray’s “Cloudy with a chance of insight”. John’s poetic prose transports the reader, albeit briefly, to a calmer, cooler place – and I did enjoy selecting the image to accompany John’s words as the February dragon raged!

I invited Farooq Rah to share his commitment to Islam because I believe knowledge of any faith is intrinsically valuable, and knowledge of Islam,

 First Word

 Two by Two

in the current climate, can help to challenge the “alternative facts” that receive plenty of attention. This year the diocese is holding a series of interfaith gatherings to inform members of the community about a variety of traditions and invite them to experience worship in another tradition.



Aurora online Good news! You can still catch up with Aurora online, via


Advertising Fairfax Media Phone 4979 5259 Aurora appears in The Newcastle Herald, The Maitland Mercury, The Singleton Argus, The Manning River Times and The Scone Advocate on the first Wednesday of the month and in The Muswellbrook Chronicle on the following Thursday. The magazine can also be read at


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My Word

The Catholic Wrap-up: But only up to a point Yes, it is a quandary. You will be reading this in early March, after the Royal Commission’s Case Study 50, also called ‘the Catholic Wrapup’, has finished. If I were to write nothing about it for this edition, that would seem very strange. But the fact is I am writing this column when the Case Study still has nearly two weeks more to go. When all the evidence has been heard, the Commission will have the tremendous task of sifting through it and reaching conclusions. But I simply can’t write any more than I know today. First, we know that an appalling number of children has been abused in church institutions over the last 60 years. The Commission’s data reflect 4,444 allegations and, as Francis Sullivan said on the day, “The figures are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible.” I wrote to the people of the diocese that night, saying in part, “Statistics are statistics, but these are people, they were children. The church does have to answer for what was done to them.” We must never lose sight of that horrible history and the awful damage it has done to those children and all the people around them. I always have victims’ stories and faces before me. I always feel sickened that these things were done by priests and brothers and lay church people. But Case Study 50 has its own focus and character, and to that I will now turn. If you have not seen my letter of 7 February, please find it on the diocesan website. So far, after the release of the data, this case study has proceeded by way of questions to panels of experts on a range of topics that may represent ‘cultural factors’ in Catholicism

that contributed to the occurrence of abuse or to the way church authorities responded. Clearly this is very important because, if harmful ‘cultural factors’ still exist, they may still produce awful outcomes. So far the topics considered have been the structure and governance of the church; its discipline or law, especially in regard to secrecy and also to the sacrament of penance and the selection and formation of candidates to priesthood and religious life. On each of these topics there have been witnesses to what happened in the past, some of whom consider that nothing has changed, and witnesses to the position now, most of whom say that a great deal has changed, though more could be done to ensure that all parts of this vast church are up to speed on ‘best practice’. Obviously I’m not going to pronounce a verdict on the evidence to this point. That is the Commission’s task and, in any case, the discussions are incomplete at this point. I say that the discussions are incomplete because in the final days of the Case Study the Commission will be speaking with a panel made up of the metropolitan archbishops of Australia, and will surely be seeking the church leaders’ views on all the matters already covered. Additionally, we were told on the first day that the Commission will be releasing more data before the conclusion of the hearing. So there is still much to come.

their companions, some prominent victims’ advocates, some church people and child protection professionals and just a few others not so easily identified. Has public interest flagged? Perhaps that’s to be expected after four years, but it is unfortunate. The last thing I want to report is that each day outside the building, with placards and handouts, and inside the hearing room in distinctive shirts, there have been representatives of CLAN, the Care Leavers Australia Network. Some of their members were abused in Catholic institutions, and they are vocal about that, but many were abused in other institutions. These others often cannot get any redress or compensation, or they can get only minimal compensation from schemes in their State. CLAN is, then, the great advocate of a fair and adequate national redress scheme. They remind me daily that we all have to keep pressure on the Commonwealth to deliver on its promised redress scheme and on the states, territories and other institutions to sign up and participate in the scheme. It shouldn’t matter where or by which institution a child was abused, but at the moment it makes quite a shocking difference. CLAN members have made themselves a presence at Case Study 50, and I wouldn’t want to end these comments without drawing your attention to their efforts and their need. And so on to weeks two and three!

There are a couple of other comments I want to make. The first of these causes me concern. It is that from Day Two onwards the attendance of the public has been rather thin. In the room there are the summonsed witnesses and

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Project Compassion 2017

Dinia’s Story: Love your neighbour By NICOLE CLEMENTS

With the support of Caritas Australia, women like Dinia are overcoming the challenges of poverty in the Philippines. Pregnant with her fifth child when her husband died unexpectedly, Dinia lost not just her partner, but the financial security his job at the mines brought. She was in a very vulnerable position. In 2011, Caritas Australia’s partner, the Socio Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc (SPACFI) began working with Dinia and since then she has been able to develop a sustainable income through a Caritas supported livelihoods program that helps both her and her neighbours.

to participate in the Integrated Community Development Program (ICDP) which Caritas Australia supports.

Even in difficult times when there isn’t enough rice, we always share it with the neighbours so everyone has rice to eat,” Dinia says.

“The program aims to improve the capacity of the poorest communities, [to help] them to be self-reliant, and have more independence − to have a life of dignity and sustain their families,” says Cherie, a SPACFI community development worker.

Earlier, Dinia couldn’t afford education for her children. Now, she says, “The extra income helps a lot with the family expenses – for school, the house, and other necessities.”

“My life is much better now. It is much easier,” she says. Please donate to Project Compassion 2017 and help our most vulnerable neighbours in the Philippines to build a stronger future for their families and their communities. Visit

“Dinia showed determination and willingness to be part of the program, which offered her livelihood training in organic gardening, making natural medicines, vermiculure, and for SRI — System of Rice Intensification, or organic rice farming.”

“I have a feeling of contentment, being able to help others,” Dinia says.

Dinia also learned how to raise pigs for income and share their offspring with neighbours through SPACFI’s Hog Dispersal Program.

In her village in the Philippines, Dinia is a strong force. Active in her local People’s Organisation, she also shares her farming and natural healing skills.

“The distribution of pigs is a system of sharing. The program provides you with a pig as long as you are able to raise piglets and pass two of them to others,” Dinia says.

Widespread poverty in the Philippines means that more than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, with around 10 million of the poorest being women.

For Dinia, a strong connection to her wider community is key to her and her neighbours’ quality of life, exemplified by SPACFI’s ‘Cornerstone principle’ of holistic community development.

In 2011, SPACFI and the local government identified Dinia’s family as one of the most vulnerable in her community and invited her

Dinia’s journey of healing has ended with an integral role in her community, a sustainable

livelihood, and a brighter future for her children.

“The Cornerstone [principle] is first of all about sharing, being generous with our neighbours.

Frankly Spoken Every new tragedy that occurs in the world’s history can also become a setting for good news, inasmuch as love can find a way to draw near and to raise up sympathetic hearts, resolute faces and hands ready to build anew.

Message for World Communications Day 2017.

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Education Great schools create bright futures and for over 180 years, Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle have educated thousands of students. In celebration of this great achievement and the nature of Catholic schools as authentic, dynamic and vivid, Catholic Schools Week (CSW) 2017 will mark the start of the 2018 enrolment period for all 56 of our current schools and our newest school, St Bede’s Catholic College at Chisholm. The week will also raise public awareness of the many opportunities that Catholic schools provide and celebrate the exciting new developments that will take place over the next 12 months at many of our high schools.


Catholic schools: great learning, great communities

From Sunday 5 March to Saturday 11 March, schools across the diocese will host a variety of activities including open days, open classrooms, liturgies, grandparent days, autumn fairs and more. Our K-12 school, St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton, will be celebrating CSW this year with a number of exciting activities. On Monday 6 March, in the spirit of the CSW theme of “great communities”, the

Later in the week, students will also celebrate with Primary Band performances and the blessing of the newly erected Indigenous College Cross and Totems. St Catherine’s is just one of many schools in our diocese which will be hosting celebrations. Here’s a snapshot of some of the other exciting events that will be celebrated this CSW.

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College will be welcoming 12 exchange students from Yakayama, Japan. In line with their arrival, the Year 7s will be hosting their annual Japanese Day, a day of culture and Japanese activities including cooking, songs, games, calligraphy, origami and kimono wearing. The school will also be hosting a grandparents’ day when hundreds of parents and grandparents will gather at the school to visit open classrooms, attend a special liturgy and picnic on the College green in the visitors’ honour.

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Catholic Schools Week 2017 CSW welcome Mass St Kevin’s Primary School, Cardiff Sunday, 5 March, 9.30am: the students and staff of St Kevin’s Primary School, Cardiff, will commence CSW festivities with Mass at St Kevin’s Church, Cardiff.

CSW Mass All schools Tuesday, 7 March, 11am: Student and teacher representatives from all schools will join with members of the wider community, local Members of Parliament and parishioners for Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Dio-Theatre Sports Secondary schools Wednesday, 8 March. Staff and students will gather to watch Dio-Theatre Sports, the diocesan drama competition where school teams from Years 9 to 11 participate in a variety of short theatrical tasks. This year’s showcase will be held at St Pius X High School, Adamstown.

Student Art Competition – What does Catholic spirituality mean to you? St Pius X High School, Adamstown Saturday, 11 March, 5.30pm: To conclude CSW, artworks from students of St Pius X will be displayed and judged at St Philip’s Church, Kotara. Students have been asked to create a visual representation of what Catholic spiritualty means to them. The winner will be announced during the Vigil Mass. This is just a snapshot of some of the great events that will be happening this CSW. If a member of your family is a student of one of our schools or if you are considering a Catholic education for your child, please come along and celebrate with us. Visit for more information on CSW and activities, or contact your local Catholic school to learn how you and your family can be involved in its celebrations.

This CSW we will also be celebrating many important milestones that will continue into 2018. New senior class enrolment and new facilities

Improved learning spaces

St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar and St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead

Pius X High School, Adamstown; San Clemente

Both St Joseph’s and St Mary’s have recently undergone a name change, incorporating new school crest, colours and uniforms, and are welcoming Year 11 cohorts into the school from 2018. To help cater for these additional students, new facilities will open and construction will have commenced on other projects in the lead-up to CSW. St Joseph’s revealed its new hospitality café and school hall in late February and significant refurbishment to the school’s music, drama, science and visual art facilities will commence shortly, following CSW. Construction of St Mary’s hospitality centre will commence followed by TAS (building and construction) facilities.

Construction of improved learning facilities at St High School, Mayfield; St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen and St Clare’s High School, Taree will begin in coming weeks through the assistance of Australian Government Capital Grants. Construction and refurbishments will include new libraries and learning spaces, specialised learning areas for art, technical and applied studies, food technology and VET, fitness classrooms, multipurpose halls and improved staff facilities. These facilities will enrich student learning, reflect modern learning requirements, improve accessibility and support overall school growth.

New school enrolment St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm

The officia l opening of enrolme nts for 2018 begin s on Monday 6 March.

Next year, the All Saints region will be welcoming another high school and enrolments for our diocese’s newest school will open 6 March. In line with school enrolments St Bede’s visual identity, including school crest, will be revealed. Construction of St Bede’s has recently commenced and Foundation Principal John Murphy has set up an office opposite the school. He welcomes enquiries.

For more information on Catholic Schools Week celebrations or enrolling for 2018, please visit

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Calling a CatholicCare midwife! calibre of people working in our organisation. “Our staff and volunteers are the lifeblood of our services. Their daily passion, innovation and hard work help to set us apart in the social services field,” Helga said.


Recently I received an email with the subject ‘Baby’. It caught my attention. Intrigued, as no one I knew was expecting a baby, I opened the email. The message that followed was succinct but powerful. “What a lovely story of new beginnings. You can’t get much more of a story of continuity of care than this….Tiffany, our new Brighter Futures Case Manager (and also a registered nurse and midwife), delivered the baby of one of her Brighter Futures clients on the weekend!” The email spoke volumes to me. The manager who sent the email was correct. It is a story of continuity and one that displays perfectly CatholicCare’s vision in action. “We nurture, respect and encourage strong relationships where the individuality and strengths of each person are respected, valued and celebrated.” When I first met the Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, Helga Smit, a year ago as a new employee, it was apparent she loved her job. She beamed with excitement as she told me that the organisation’s suite of services would continue to expand. I was buoyed by this, but most significantly I was heartened when she explained that the expansion was due to the


You would almost think Helga could foresee that Tiffany would be joining our ranks ten months later! When Tiffany applied for the position of Brighter Futures Case Manager, her passion, life experience and qualifications made her stand out for all the right reasons. As director, Helga cares deeply about the people she encounters, staff and clients. This is a sentiment echoed throughout CatholicCare Social Service Hunter-Manning. It’s an organisation where the three pillars of Unity, Quality and Sustainability are more than just guiding words on a page. They are made real daily by a team of employees who care and are handpicked as much for their communitymindedness and genuine concern for the wellbeing of others as for their credentials. Tiffany had always known she wanted to be a midwife. However, after a few years in the field, she felt a calling to adapt the insights she gained supporting mums in a maternity suite in the work of building strong and sustainable families. “I fell in love with my job as a midwife instantly. I will always remember my very first delivery. It’s the biggest honour to be there for someone in such an amazing and special time of their lives,” Tiffany said. “Since then my passion for providing

a holistic service for women and their families has grown. As a midwife I was often assisting women and families who desperately needed social support but I felt I could do little more than make a referral to a social worker without any certainty that their needs would be managed. “Like CatholicCare’s management, I believe early intervention is paramount to building stronger communities. With this in mind I began my search for a position in the community and came across an advertisement for CatholicCare’s Brighter Futures team. I believed my skills could be adapted to the role of Case Manager and saw it as an opportunity to access and assist these vulnerable women and families who most needed support,” Tiffany said. CatholicCare is very fortunate to have an extremely skilled and diverse team of workers in its Brighter Futures program. All our staff use strengths-based and reflective practices when working alongside families. We have a team of six experienced staff who have qualifications in disciplines including Health Science, Social Work, Public Health, Community Services, Children's Services, Case Management and Policing Practice − and of course Tiffany is a registered midwife! We also have a dedicated parent educator who engages with families using evidenced-based parenting programs as an educative tool for change. Together, they focus on strengths of families, exploring and building on what is working well. This improves relationships

and connections within families and communities. Tiffany reflects, “I have a lot to learn but also I bring a unique set of skills to CatholicCare and in particular the Brighter Futures team. So far I have engaged with a variety of families, in particular one with whom I’ve developed a quick rapport through delivering her baby while on shift at Manning Base Hospital! This is a great example of continuity of care and the benefit of mixing my roles. The relief on my client’s face when I walked into the room was immeasurable - having that familiar face is what it’s all about. I have been able to provide support to this woman and her newborn in the postnatal period, accessing necessities and helping in the transition to home. Helga Smit often says, “There is no wrong door at CatholicCare.” This is so because of the diversity of services offered by an organisation that celebrates the individual strengths and unique skills of its employees across all service areas and encourages them to think of new and innovative ways to serve our community. Elizabeth Snedden is Marketing and Events Co-ordinator, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning.




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Exam results do not measure success in life Q

By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist


CatholicCare's Counselling Team Leader, registered psychologist Tanya Russell, will address an issue each month.

My son Jack has completed his first term of Year 12 and his anxiety levels are climbing. He has set himself high standards and wants to proceed to university. I want to support him and would appreciate some strategies, including how best to prepare him for the HSC exams. Year 12 is certainly a stressful year for students and families. It’s a time of high anxiety and fear, but also exciting as students move closer to the next stage of life. Learning to manage stress levels is vital to performing well. Some anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps us alert and spurs us on to achieve our goals. There are many practical strategies you and Jack can put into place throughout the year and during the exams to balance study with relaxation, provide emotional support and reduce stress.

The advice provided is general in nature and does not replace ongoing support and advice from your health professional. To talk to someone about counselling support, P 4979 1172.

A lot of Jack’s time will need to be spent on completing assignments while developing good study habits. It is important to create a space where he will be free from distractions.

Call Lifeline 24/7 on 131 114.

ff Download a study timetable to begin scheduling study and relaxation time. It’s vital that Jack makes time to do things he enjoys. Studying day and night with little downtime will not help concentration and energy levels. Monash University has a simple template: llonline/quickrefs/02b-blank-timetable.doc

Do you have a question for Tanya? Email your question to or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.

ff For ideas on creating a study timetable, Reachout has excellent resources:

ff Plan to study in blocks of 50 minutes with short breaks. Leading up to exam time, it might be useful to focus on two subjects per day. Begin studying for the HSC exams approximately 10-12 weeks before the first exam. Prior to this, completing assignments with some exam study early in the evening is recommended, ensuring some relaxation time before bed. Study should not be the last thing Jack does just before going to sleep. ff If there are subjects Jack finds less engaging or more challenging, he may consider study groups. ff Communicate with his teachers to help structure his study schedule. Know what he’s studying, his strengths and weaknesses. ff Encourage Jack to maintain good sleeping and eating habits and avoid using substances such as caffeine. Stay alert to potential use of illicit substances, as this can be a risky time for many teens. ff If Jack has a part-time job, he really shouldn’t work more than 10 hours per week. Teens who work during their HSC year tend to focus more on work than study. ff Encourage regular – but not prolonged – study breaks.

Students preparing for the HSC need to know that they can only do their best. As a parent, you can be your son’s voice of reason during tough times, especially when he is overcome by fear or excessively worried. Help him to put his concerns into perspective and remind him that the HSC exams reflect only his performance in those exams on that day. They do not measure success in life. Remind him that no matter what, he will be fine. There are always options for future study. Also remind him that you are proud of him and refocus his worrying thoughts on to the tasks to be completed. Ask, “What advice would you give your friend in this situation?” Come up with relaxing activities together – you might introduce him to mindfulness and download an app such as Smiling Mind. Does he like listening to music, have favourite TV shows, play sports, hang out with his friends? Encourage regular exercise, daily or at least a few times a week. It is important to keep doing these things and remain connected with family and friends. Stay focused, one day at a time and revise study schedules to fit his circumstances. If you are worried that his stress and anxiety levels are too difficult to manage, suggest he sees a counsellor. All the best for an exciting year ahead!


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Two by Two

Sisters give and receive joy in Forster Tuncurry


Josephite Religious Sisters Louise McDonell and Kathryn McCabe have lived in community together for 16 years and have become an integral part of the Catholic Parish of Forster Tuncurry. They have represented a continual Josephite presence in our community since the Sisters of St Joseph first came to the parish in 1958 to establish Holy Name Primary School at Forster. Sr Kathryn is the fifth of seven children – five of whom are teachers. Kathryn entered the Convent in 1955 and was professed in 1958. Like most Josephites she spent her life as a teacher until 1986 when she was asked to consider parish ministry. In 1994 she came to Forster when Fr Kevin Corrigan enlisted her services to organise the Sacramental Program. A Parish Assembly in 1999 suggested the parish investigate an outreach to the local Aboriginal community. Sr Kathryn took up the task which initially involved conversations with the Aboriginal Elders in Forster and study of Indigenous Culture. She remains committed

to that ministry today. When asked about her “work” with the Koori people she explains it is not work, but merely forming friendships with them. Her aim is to be a helping hand to them and so it is not uncommon for her to receive calls for assistance at all hours of the day and night. Her duties often involve her being a furniture removalist around town. She undertakes these visits with a calm serenity. And although the people she assists are often unable to repay her financially, she is rewarded by the appreciation and love they give her in return. She is held in deep respect among the Indigenous community. Sr Louise is the “senior partner” of the pair, turning 90 last year. She was born the fifth of ten children who were raised on a farm in Central Lansdowne. Louise entered the convent in 1943 and was professed in 1945. Most of her working life was spent as a teacher until moving into parish ministry at Muswellbrook. Louise came to Forster

Tuncurry in March 2000 to join Kathryn and to retire. In that “retirement” she finds time to visit the sick and elderly and takes an active role in many parish functions. She has formed strong friendships with the parishioners here and is “family” to many. During their teaching careers the Sisters had been sent to small rural towns to work in schools and so were accustomed to living in community with a small group of Sisters, unlike the large religious community that once existed at Lochinvar.

The pair complements each other and although they have different personalities they also “have a lot in common”, not the least of which is that “Neither of us is afraid to work.” The pair complements each other and although they have different personalities they also “have a lot in common”, not the least of which is that “Neither of us is afraid to work.” If you pay them a visit Kathryn will welcome you and entertain you while Louise is busy in the kitchen. Louise is the organiser, the time keeper, the accountant, the gardener. Kathryn is the conversationalist, the memory, the story teller. Both share the cooking and the cleaning. They have learnt to appreciate the gifts and talents of each other and although they have had their misunderstandings, they are always able to talk openly about it and resolve the issue. The pair has obviously seen many changes to their vocation. The most obvious outward sign was the removal of the habit but along with this were the internal changes to a


more adult way of life and added personal responsibility. They’d always thought they’d be “teaching to the death” but the introduction of lay teachers into Catholic schools freed the Sisters to be involved in parish ministry, enabled them to mix with the wider Catholic community and gave them an appreciation of the vocation of all people. Like many of our Religious Sisters the move from teaching children to pastoral care of parishioners was a great change in their role in the Church. We must never underestimate the initiative, the inventiveness and the courage of these women, many in their more mature years, who were asked to undertake additional training and formation to be able to carry out these ministries effectively. They were no doubt inspired to do so by Mary MacKillop’s motto, “Never see a need without doing something about it.” When asked to reflect on life Sr Kathryn commented that she had so much to be thankful for. Sr Louise has no regrets. She has always worked hard and formed lifelong friendships in the communities where she has lived. They both commented “compared to other people’s lives we are very lucky”. Both Sisters agreed their experience in Forster Tuncurry Parish has been different from other postings in regard to the length of time they have lived here. There is “real joy to live in a community with so many wonderful people and not have to break with them so soon”. When asked, “How do you find joy?” Kathryn replied, “Knowing the love of God and wanting others to experience that joy. If one is giving love one is giving and receiving joy.” Greg Byrne is a Pastoral Associate in the Parish of Forster Tuncurry and a regular Aurora contributor.



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Keeping Mercy in focus with the sweet taste of honey By MARGARET SWIFT The parishes of Taree and Wingham are operating a small-scale project to keep alive the message of the Year of Mercy. Parish priest Fr George Anthicad, delighted at being allocated a bee hive on the property of Lance and Helen Scriven, saw potential for using the honey produced and began by dedicating the first batch of ‘Our Lady of Mercy natural honey’ to a fund for the altar servers. This initial batch was bottled and labelled ready for the altar servers’ end of year party. Parishioners enthusiastically purchased the jars from the children and a fund, amounting to $250, was set up for the altar servers’ expenses or events. Fr George explains that any ongoing supply of honey is not to raise funds but is a way of offering visitors or parishioners a continuation of the message of ‘mercy’ beyond the official Year of Mercy. People may like to purchase a jar as a souvenir, to pass on as a gift or simply to enjoy on toast for breakfast! The income from the sale of this

honey is intended to cover the production and equipment cost – new jars, honeycomb printed lids, the standard boxes and the labels. Fr George has focused on the work of the Year of Mercy in an engaging way with the entire process up to regulation standard.

Amiel Maria Camphuis is ready for the sweet taste of honey!

A jar of ‘Our Lady of Mercy natural honey’ set off on tour with Fr Richard Shortall in his van on his Mission of Mercy back in August, and we have been assured that when that ran out another jar was ready for him. Fr Shortall may have shared his toast and honey up the coast and beyond − he certainly would have also shared his message of ‘mercy’. When Fr George first encountered the Scriven bee hives he had a lot to learn. It was not easy to know what was a bee and what was a wasp from a distance. However, not only did he learn but he also acted on an idea which came to him. We congratulate him for his initiative in encouraging the altar servers and for his enterprise in endeavouring to keep the mercy message alive.

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“Volunteers always receive more than they give” the end of 2004 after 56 years of operation. By TRACEY EDSTEIN

In these days of digital communication, such ‘vintage’ items as a parish bulletin could be thought to be outmoded, but in fact a bulletin notice was the catalyst for Taree’s Maria Rohr to take a step away from her comfort zone. Learning that there was a real need for volunteers in the Diocese of Broome, Maria felt called to respond. Many years earlier, she had volunteered at Wandalgu Hostel, Tardun, in the Diocese of Geraldton and operated by the Pallottine Fathers. Maria’s daughter, Anneliese, came to visit and decided to volunteer – ending up as Administrator at Kalumburu Mission! The hostel had a long history of educating boys and girls but Maria recalls, “I was given the unenviable task of closing the hostel at

“In February 2011 I went to Broome and was warmly welcomed by the Bishop’s secretary, Janice. I found the Kimberley very warm, but offices and houses were well equipped with cooling systems and fans so volunteers coped well with the heat and dressed appropriately. People don’t always realise there is a winter time in the Kimberley too. “I became receptionist in the Chancery Office – I suspect because on the information form I wrote that I was over running and jumping as I had done plenty of that with the children at Tardun!” Maria’s role was really one of hospitality as the mission was a place of retreat and formation for diocesan priests, teachers and volunteers. “Rooms had to be prepared for visitors and meals provided, and like any home, there were always maintenance and cleaning tasks.” After a break at home, Maria signed on again

and was assigned to the Warmun Retreat Centre. (Warmun is known by travellers on the Great Northern Highway as Turkey Creek.) “Here, staff worked together to welcome people, prepare rooms and look after the centre. When Indigenous people came in for drug and alcohol intervention programs, there were meals to be provided. There were accounts to be paid and supplies, including food, to be ordered. Contact was maintained with the diocesan office at Broome. “Volunteers always receive more than they give. This kept me going back and I would happily go again. I’m not sure I still have the same energy level but I believe I still have something to offer. “I wear my Kimberley cross deliberately in the hope that someone will ask about it and be inspired to go! Volunteering overseas is popular but the need is great in our own country. I recommend that anyone who is

interested takes the plunge and gives it a go. “You will not be asked to do more than you feel you can and age is not a barrier. You will leave your heart in the Kimberley!” Over the years, many from the HunterManning region have joined the Kimberley mission for varying periods and in various roles. If you would like to know more about volunteering in the Diocese of Broome, contact Volunteer Co-ordinator, Anneliese Rohr. E or P 08 9192 1060.



Maria Rohr glorying in the beauty of the Kimberley region

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Family Matters

Let’s play; the possibilities are endless! Play provides opportunities for observing and identifying evidence of children’s progress. Of equal importance, play brings joy and it is within this context that authentic learning can occur.


Albert Einstein believed that “Play is the highest form of research.” Lachlan says,” When I play I use my imagination. You can do anything with it, because anything can happen in your imagination.” Mia says, “You can share your imagination by whispering it in someone’s ear.” The children are right. Never has there been more research recognising the importance of play. Play is valued in Early Childhood as essential to best teaching and learning practice as well as being crucial to the child’s engagement, growth and development. The years from birth to eight are identified by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as the period of time called Early Childhood. Play is a foundational principle on which the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for Australia is based. The EYLF states, “Play is a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds as they engage actively with people, objects and representations.” Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges that play is a right for all children. There are great benefits to children when adults recognise the learning potentials in play and purposely extend these activities through conversation and action. Through play children are able to take on roles and experiment in ways not available to them in the ‘real’ world. Imaginative and socio-dramatic, constructive and investigative, exploratory and sensory play is part of a rich curriculum. Play promotes communications skills and relationships. It builds literacy and numeracy.

Children’s play allows them to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. The intellectual and cognitive benefits of playing are well documented. Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have welldeveloped memory skills and language development and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova & Leong, 2005). Physically active play allows children to test and develop motor skills. It promotes significant health and wellbeing benefits. Research shows that in play children explore what is new, refine and extend what they know, respond to uncertainty and engage in problem-solving. Research and evidence point to the role of play in children’s development and learning across both time and culture (Shipley, 2008). Many believe it is impossible to disentangle children’s play, learning and development.

Play assists with the development of social competence. Children can build relationships, learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their behaviours. In play, children usually have increased feelings of success and optimism as they make their own choices. Playing is a known stress release. The importance of play therefore has major implications for all primary schools. It is evident from the research that play is a major teaching and learning tool through which the student’s needs, capabilities and talents can be observed, assessed and addressed. It is essential that parents, caregivers, leaders and teachers understand the power of play and view play as essential in every infants classroom. By understanding better the importance of play, we are able to appreciate its potential to assist children achieve success. The importance of play is significant for families. It is essential that children have time to engage in play at home, indoors and outdoors. All too often, children are powerless in how they spend their time. Such decisions are being made by significant adults. Children are often overscheduled and ferried to activities which occupy every afternoon after school. This is not to diminish the enjoyment and interest such

activities bring; however, they should not take place at the expense of play. Children need unscheduled opportunities to immerse themselves in play. As adults, we need to advocate for the importance of play both at school and at home. Good quality resources need not be expensive. Sometimes the most engaging resources are found in nature. Play suggestions are limited only by one’s imagination. Childhood is a sacred time and play is integral to the life of every child. By valuing the importance of play we are honouring the sacred time of childhood for every child. Kim Moroney is Project Officer Early Learning at the Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. She was the recipient of the 2016 Br John Taylor Fellowship, a research prize awarded by Catholic Education Commission NSW (CECNSW).




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Play is: ff

Pleasurable − play can involve frustrations, challenges and fears; however, enjoyment is key.


Symbolic − play is often ‘pretend’ but play has meaning to the player.


Active − play requires action and engagement with materials, people, ideas, the environment.


Voluntary − play is freely chosen; however, players can also be invited or prompted to play.


Process-oriented − play is a means unto itself and players need no goal.


Self-motivating − play is its own reward to the player (Shipley, 2008).

Ms Sarah Bragato’s K/1 classroom at St Joseph’s Bulahdelah incorporates the principles which research indicates promote the enjoyment of learning.

Some playful suggestions include: f f Encourage safe play practices to assist learning and decision making. f f U se quality resources…be inspired by natural resources…rethink plastic. f f Engage all senses. f f D evelop fine and gross motor skills through cutting, rolling dough, painting, drawing, writing, mark-making, threading, climbing and balancing,

f f Physical play is vital − encourage some risk-taking. f f Engage in water and sand play with funnels, potato mashers, wooden spoons… f f Encourage socio-dramatic play using a variety of themes eg safari/zoo box…. safari animals, binoculars, safari hat, camera; tea party box; ‘real life’ items such as tea sets, hats, jewellery, tablecloths, picnic basket.

f f Collect items from nature, use items in

f f Set up a construction space with wooden blocks which can be left and added to over time.

collages, discover through magnifying

f f Set up discovery tables/tinker tables.

glasses, sketch what you find.

f f Use mats and rugs to define spaces.

digging and dancing.

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Cloudy with a chance of insight the way with art works – their lasting power resides in their ongoing mystery!

By JOHN MURRAY According to the Gospel writers, the Transfiguration was a cloudy occasion, as was the Ascension. The poet, Wordsworth, associated clouds with loneliness and clouds have frequently been favoured as subjects by painters. Joseph Turner’s “Sunrise at Norham Castle” is a fair example in that the whole canvas seems saturated by a misty, vaporous overlay. This image of Turner’s that I’ve seen so many times over the years in art books has long been held captive by my ‘inner eye’ and I have greatly admired it without being able to articulate fully the reason. A colour-imbued mass of merging clouds it undeniably is and yet, is seems so much more. My first (and most self-defeating) mistake was naively to attempt to describe to myself in literal terms what I considered to be its appeal and for that very reason my attempt remained like a rainbow, tantalisingly beyond the power of my words to grasp. ‘A picture is (after all) worth a thousand words!’ ‘Paintings speak to us in their own language!’ So many clichés and platitudes I’ve exhumed to excuse my own shortsightedness in my efforts to analyse. That is


Then I saw the original “Sunrise at Norham Castle” at the Tate in London. Those delicate clouds of mist swirling around, distorting solid forms in and around and under and through, till all the components arose like the very dawn before me and this man, this seer, was with me, speaking to me about the unity of all things, living and inanimate, in this world. He spoke to me of the unending splendour of creation; of the integral part in it of every infinitesimal thing; of an ultimate harmony. And I listened; so captivated by this other truth; so rapt by this vision. Art critics will probably say otherwise but these things Turner, the painter of light, most certainly was saying to me. And this great work I now embrace in such a different way and see through such different eyes. Joseph Mallard William Turner, you are a conjuror with clouds! When it comes to art, I am much more the dilettante than the expert. Clouds hold me. They hold me with unending fascination. I’ve heard them: ‘Cloud gatherer!’ ‘Head in the clouds!’ To all such pejorative jibes I am impervious. Clouds captivate me for a

reason a little different I think from that which seemingly engrossed Mr Turner. And that is the very paradox they point towards: their being divisibly (as water) a part of all things yet, simultaneously, their being indivisibly unique. Last winter, watching the disintegration of a misty backyard morning, I observed vapour floating all around me, hovering among the branches of trees, diffusing pale sunlight so that illumination was most intense where the fog lay thinnest – all a strange, gossamer lace-work held together by long, white, caressing fingers. And then the delicate grasp gave way to a flood of sun. Mist swirled and parted overhead, revealing a sky traversed by morning clouds. My gaze was drawn to a single cloud; a cloud unlike any other. The thought became clear: never again in the course of all time would there be another cloud taking exactly this form. Then, having merged with a bank of clouds, it moved from view. One cloud, unique, yet so like all other things in the asymmetrical natural world. So apparent now

was the message brought by this one cloud in a world of infinite and wonderful variety. I was left pondering how in this ‘non-natural’ world, at every turn we people continue to surround ourselves with an array of all the symmetrical oddments that can be devised, from bricks to breeches! Is it in some vague belief that such things, reflecting something of our essential human form, might provide a protective screen between us and...chaos? If the Creator of clouds also created us, then he turns a world that by nature of its endless, evolving variety will confound all our attempts to secure immutability. Such a Creator must surely live in the very heart of change. And so that is not to be feared, but embraced, like all our differences, in a kind of harmony of acceptance. Nebulous wisps of ideas but in a way, Mr Turner, as a kind of earthly transfiguration, they accord very much with your own... John Murray is a member of the Aurora editorial team.

That is the way with art works – their lasting power resides in their ongoing mystery!

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Faith Matters

Was the Holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen? Our series providing a window into various faith traditions continues.

English people grow accustomed to them” 1. This is significant in light of the direction Anglicanism would later take. By SONIA ROULSTON I want to begin with a few definitions of Anglicanism: ffThe Anglican Church, or Church of England, is the ancient church of the English people. (Today it is far wider than this description, the Church in Africa being the fastest growing part of the communion). ffThe Anglican Church is neither Catholic nor Reformed, embracing the best of both. ffThe Anglican Church is a church not bound by specific doctrines or confessional statements. It owns the creeds and faith of the whole Christian Church. It is the prayers and prayer books of the Anglican Church which unify and define the heart of Anglicanism. This will be a very brief overview of Anglican history, the beginnings of Anglicanism in Australia and locally, and Anglican beliefs and practices. A history of Anglicanism begins with the arrival of Christianity in Britain. The hymn “Jerusalem” suggests that Jesus himself visited those shores: And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the Holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen? Despite those charming words, we do not believe this is how it happened. Christianity probably came to England with Roman soldiers who had converted to the faith and brought their Christianity with them, at least as early as the 3rd century. In 597 Pope Gregory sent Augustine to Britain as a missionary. In his correspondence he instructed Augustine to “select from each of the churches (Rome and France) whatever things are “devout, religious and right,” and “let the minds of the

By the 16th century a question that had been recurring in the Church of England came to a head – who would have authority in the Church of England – the Pope in Rome or the King in England? The question became critical for Henry VIII as he sought to have his marriage annulled, though this was but part of a more complex issue of authority. Henry subsequently declared himself ‘Supreme Head of the Church of England’ (1534), in place of the Pope. Although he was excommunicated he remained a believer in Catholicism and opposed Protestant reform. On his death, first Edward VI and then Mary rose to the throne. During their reigns the Church of England swung first to Protestantism and then back to Catholicism. It was Elizabeth I who defined the via media (1558) and declared Anglicanism an independent church ‘of the middle’.

It is the prayers and prayer books of the Anglican Church which unify and define the heart of Anglicanism. Publication of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) in 1662 was another defining moment for Anglicanism, for BCP clearly defined Anglicanism and became the standard for Anglican worship. Anglicanism has been a part of the Australian landscape from the time of the First Fleet, with Richard Johnson appointed chaplain to the new colony. However, Anglicanism has never been the state church in Australia. In 1847 the Diocese (and City) of Newcastle was declared, and Bishop William Tyrrell

became our first Bishop. The diocese at the time was much larger than it is today. 1981 saw the Australian church become known as the Anglican Church of Australia, no longer as the Church of England. However the term ‘Anglican’ had been in common use from the late 1950s onwards. One of the defining features of Anglicanism is that we are a church whose members are bound not by confessional statements or doctrine, but by our prayers. Within the Anglican prayer books are the fundamentals of Anglican doctrine: the three Creeds, the scriptures, the sacraments, daily prayer and so on. A beauty of Anglicanism is that it is our prayers that draw us together and express who we are. Prayer book reform has brought updated language and liturgy, yet the imprint and authority of BCP remain. The Anglican Church is a diverse church, embracing the gamut from Catholic to Protestant, and everything in between. The ties of fellowship and mutual respect are important for us. Each province sets its own laws whilst the worldwide Communion is bound together in mutual fellowship. This is embraced in several ways, including: ff The Archbishop of Canterbury: Augustine was the first Archbishop of Canterbury; the current Archbishop, Justin Welby, is the 105th. He is the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ff The Lambeth Conference gathers the Bishops of the Communion together every ten years for fellowship and conversation on matters of mutual concern. Anglican belief can be described as a threelegged stool, the legs being Scripture, Tradition and Reason, held in perfect balance. We understand these as follows: Scripture: The Bible contains “all things necessary to salvation," and is the rule and standard of faith. We may differ on how we understand it, but not on its centrality. Tradition: The experiences of the early and growing churches contain truths which

shape us today. We give assent to the 3 great Creeds of the Church as statements defining the Christian faith. We also honour the writings of the early church fathers, and value the historic (apostolic) line of bishops. Reason: Reason is “tradition brought up to date”. It is our continuing attempt to define, interpret and formulate our belief. Reason leads us to ask how God is speaking to the church today. The Anglican Church is a sacramental Church. We believe in the two great sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, and in the sacraments of Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Reconciliation and Anointing. The Anglican Church is a Synodical Church, with decision-making shared by bishops, clergy and laity. In most dioceses Synod meets annually to debate both church issues of the day and our response to the wider community. Synods are where we gather the common mind of the church. Anglicans are committed to embracing our communities with the love of God. The Five Marks of Mission express how we practise this: 1. Proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. 2. Teach, baptise and nurture new believers. 3. Respond to human need by loving service. 4. Seek to transform unjust structures in society. 5. Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. At its best this is where the Anglican Church today can be found – men and women, boys and girls, seeking to love and serve, God, all God’s people, and God’s world. The Venerable Canon Sonia Roulston is Archdeacon for the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.



1. Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731 AD) Penguin 1965.

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Seasons of Mercy

Mercy’s out of the box and it’s not going back! suffering humanity desired by the living God. In hearing the cries of suffering humanity and the environment across the globe, we are called to be attuned to the loving heartbeat of a merciful God – and direct our community energy accordingly.

By VIVIEN WILLIAMS For we who worship in the mainstream Christian churches, Matthew’s gospel is shaping our lives this year, definitively revealing Jesus as the living presence of God among us. We see him continually encouraging his followers to look for signs of God’s kingdom taking shape, with one key image being that of a wise ‘master’ who brings from his treasure “what is new and what is old” (Matt 13:52). In other words, good leaders keep us surprised and on our toes: never just ‘same old, same old’! We observed exactly that when Pope Francis declared a Year of Mercy. Mercy is indeed an inexhaustible and ancient treasure to be continually plumbed. As Brisbane’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge says, “Mercy isn’t just an aspect of the gospel; it is the gospel!” So we were alerted to the ‘old,’ but with a ‘new’ or renewing focus: a year for us to declare, experience and embody mercy in myriad ways, profound and transformative. However, once out of the box, mercy could not be returned! The momentum gained across those twelve months is ongoing and unstoppable; gone is any inclination to complacency, or a less than merciful way of being. Matthew’s Jesus also affirms that mercy is what God, not just Francis, proposes: “I desire mercy not sacrifice” (Matt 9:12). Brendan Byrne sj reminds us how that might look in his insightful gospel commentary Lifting the Burden: Reading Matthew’s Gospel in the Church Today (St Pauls, Strathfield, 2004). He reflects that Matthew’s Jesus is passionate about liberating people from whatever weighs them down. We witness his scathing attacks upon the Pharisees’ imposing impossible burdens on people’s shoulders, requiring them to observe minute details of the Law rather than experience a tender God who wants to heal, free and make whole. Jesus in Matthew extols leaders (and all of us) to check what motivates our faith, ensuring that we embody, as he does, the friendship with 16

Faith is lived in community, continually inviting us to engage together in living God’s mercy in ways that respond to local need. Each week in 2016 and 2017 the National Catholic Reporter has featured a particular parish community taking seriously the Pope’s call for us to be ‘field hospitals’ – on the front line, out on the margins – as Jesus was. A huge challenge is how to ensure everything we do and the resources we maintain enable us to be freed for mission, not burdened by weighty attitudes or possessions.

good leaders keep us surprised and on our toes: never just ‘same old, same old’!

Mercy stories abound − such as the Newcastle community tangibly committed to pastoral ministry at the local hospital or running a soup kitchen. Each Christmas Beaumont Street Uniting Church community invites charities to decorate a tree. Last year there were 16, forming the Advent sacred space. Already familiar with the church as a place of welcome and outreach, many passersby came in to experience the hospitality, ponder the causes represented (Vinnies, Brown Nurses, Refugee Centres, Breast Cancer Awareness, cystic fibrosis with some trees decorated by school students) and donate. On the final Sunday before Christmas the community welcomed representatives of each charity to its liturgy – presenting each with the funds raised for the particular charity. It was a powerful interlinking of worshipping church and wider community – echoing Pope Francis’ call to respond compassionately to those close to the heart of Jesus, “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Matthew’s Jesus is unequivocal about our engaging our talents in bringing forth God’s desire that we live life “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6.10). And how urgent is our

daily prayer in a wondrous, yet troubled, complex world; might it embrace the whole earth! God works, not as a magician, but with us and within the nitty gritty of human living, family responsibilities and community engagement. Remember the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30), in which the ‘boss’ handed to his workers as he went away (yet another conference?) various numbers of talents or coins. On his return most had been productive, but one buried what had been given in fear. Recall the boss’ anger and searing reaction because the person had not taken seriously his request! A good friend died on Christmas Eve. She was a Sister of Mercy, an exciting theologian who shared her passion about the renewal invited by Vatican II with the nation and beyond. Her obituary in The Age (21 Jan 2017) honoured the breadth and creativity of her influence as a woman of faith and educator in the church − a presence and contribution many will find irreplaceable. I expected she would continue to be there, pointing a direction for people in her religious community, across the church and well beyond, a woman grounded in the world and its culture and totally committed to its becoming more whole and merciful. Jan Gray did not know that, as the Pope’s Year of Mercy came to an end, she would engage face to face with God about her lifelong invitation to embody God’s mercy. But the headline to her obituary pointed to what others (and surely God) recognised: “Talents placed at the service of mercy.” God’s desire for mercy continues through all of us who have been given our one, two or five talents, which we are impelled to utilise, develop and multiply across a lifetime. So while 2016’s Missionary of Mercy, Fr Richard Shortall sj, has returned to continue ministry in the diocese, each one of us shares the

missionary imperative. Ideally the words which encapsulate the life of my friend can be spoken of us all: see how these Christians place their talents at the service of mercy! Vivien Williams is Adult Faith Formation Officer in the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle. She recommends The Blessing of Mercy: Bible perspectives and ecological challenges by Veronica Lawson rsm for further reading. Fr Richard Shortall is leading communities “Praying in Everyday Life” at Kotara, Denman, Rutherford, Calvary Mater Hospital, Waratah, Wallsend and Toronto. See more at local-church/2017/15401-missionary-ofmercy-returns/ or P Fr Richard Shortall 0448 292 523.

Missionary on Wheels returns with a different toolkit Missionary on Wheels returns with a different toolkit Fr Richard Shortall sj will engage with participants through scripture, prayerful reflection, lectio divina and decision-making through the lens of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits to whom Richard belongs. There will be opportunities too for conversation and fellowship and all will be daytime sessions. Richard writes, “Please remember that I am very much looking forward to my weeks with you.”



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Families, not orphanages By THERESE OSLAND

During the ten years I worked in humanitarian and development programs in Asia and the Pacific, I saw increasing numbers of children in orphanages and began to ask ‘Why?’, knowing that orphanages no longer exist in Australia. As I visited more orphanages, I became increasingly concerned about the children’s wellbeing and development and began to ask, ‘What can be done?’ To answer that question I returned to Australia eight years ago and commenced work in CatholicCare’s Out of Home Care Program to learn about the framework and best practices required to support children in vulnerable circumstances. Further study in London on de-institutionalisation of orphanages with JK Rowling’s foundation, LUMOS, and links through international conferences provided a foundation to return to the field to raise awareness and provide technical support to agencies

and government departments operating orphanages. CatholicCare has allowed me to take leave without pay to assist programs in India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and on the Thai/Burma border. Many people think that children are in institutions because they are orphans but this is not the reality. Poverty is one of the key drivers of institutionalisation as parents are unable to provide for their children. Other factors include disability, ethnicity, child abuse and neglect. Orphanagebased care continues to grow in countries impacted by severe poverty, conflict, displacement and AIDS. The greatest shortcoming of institutional care is that young children do not experience the continuity of care needed to form a secure, lasting attachment with a caregiver. Children in institutional care experience developmental problems as they grow. It is estimated that for every three months a young child resides in an institution, s/he loses one month of development. When visiting an orphanage the young

children often want to touch you or hold your hand. While this can appear to be an expression of affection it is likely that it’s actually a result of a significant attachment problem. It has been shown that as these children grow they have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships and have difficulty re-integrating into society when leaving the institution. Russian research shows that one in three children who leave residential care becomes homeless, one in five gains a criminal record and up to one in 10 commits suicide. Children deserve better than this. Family-based care is recognised as giving children the best opportunities. While not all families are safe and capable of providing care for their children and not all orphanages are bad, a safe, loving family environment is best for children’s development and wellbeing. This has been a wonderful, heartwarming and at times, heartbreaking, journey for me as I continue to work with staff from governments, orphanages and local

agencies in developing understanding of the importance of family-based care and better family-based alternatives including family preservation, family reunification and family-based alternative care such as foster care. The next step in my journey begins soon when I return to the Thai/Burma border for six months! Therese Osland is Carer Recruitment and Support Officer, Out of Home Care, CatholicCare Social Services.




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Cruise the Mediterranean in style When you take out a new Car, Home or Landlord insurance policy with CCI Personal Insurance, you’re not only helping to support Catholic community programs, but you also have the chance to win a 7 night Mediterranean cruise for two!* To enter, simply take out a new Car, Home or Landlord policy before the 31st March 2017. Visit our website or call 1300 657 046 for a quote today.

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*Competition runs from 30/01/17 – 31/03/17. Prize is drawn on 05/04/17 at Level 13, 2 Market St Sydney. Winner’s name published in The Australian on 08/04/17. Authorised under NSW Permit No: LTPS/16/09927, ACT Permit No: TP16/02449, SA Licence No: T16/2238. Promotion terms and conditions available at Promoter is Allianz. Catholic Church Insurance Limited ABN 76 000 005 210, AFS Licence No. 235415 (CCI) is authorised to promote and market this insurance by the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL No 234708 (Allianz).Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision, please consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at

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Experts warn against following overseas experience with euthanasia


The practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide overseas has been a disaster, with so-called safeguards failing and doctorassisted killing on the rise, and not just for the terminally ill, says world-renowned ethicist Professor Margaret Somerville.

unconstitutional not to allow euthanasia.

“It’s a mess, and a growing mess,” she says.

“Wherever it has been legislated there are very serious problems,” she says.

Professor Somerville, who spent 40 years living and working in Canada, and most recently held two professorships at McGill University in the faculties of Law and Medicine, has recently returned home to Australia to take up the position of Professor of Bioethics in the School of Medicine at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney.

She says claims by Australian pro-euthanasia advocates, including media personality Andrew Denton, that euthanasia and assisted suicide is working safely overseas don’t stand up to basic scrutiny.

In Quebec, Canada, where doctor-assisted suicide has been legal since December 2015, a recent report on the first seven months of the law’s operation found that 262 people died by ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ – almost three times the number of deaths previously predicted by the Province’s Health Minister.

Her return coincides with the Victorian government flagging its intention to introduce legislation for assisted suicide later this year and reports that the NSW Parliament will also debate a euthanasia bill before year’s end. This follows the narrow defeat of similar legislation in the South Australian Parliament last November.

In 21 of those 262 deaths, or eight per cent of cases, the doctors had not complied with the law. Eighteen of the cases did not have the opinion of a second, independent doctor; in two cases it was found that the person might not have been terminally ill and in one case it was not clear that the person even had a serious illness.

Professor Somerville was a prominent antieuthanasia voice in the Canadian debate leading to the introduction of ‘assisted dying’ (physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia) laws there last year, following a Supreme Court of Canada decision which found it was

“Now when the law is brand new and you still can’t get doctors to comply with it, what hope have you once complacency sets in?” Professor Somerville says.


“And one of the things that pro-euthanasia people argue is that euthanasia or assisted

suicide will be rare. Well, 262 cases in just seven months is not rare. “Officially, around four per cent of all deaths in Belgium and the Netherlands are euthanasia or assisted suicide. Now if we translated that rate to the population of Australia, we’d have about 6000 deaths by euthanasia or assisted suicide a year. I don’t call that rare.” Professor Theo Boer has also expressed concerns about the explosion in numbers of people accessing euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the growing variety of reasons other than terminal illness for which people are seeking euthanasia. Professor Boer is a Dutch professor of ethics, who supported the legalisation of doctor-assisted dying, and was appointed to one of the five regional review committees set up by the Dutch government as a watchdog over the euthanasia laws when they were enacted in 2002. He says that from 2005 to 2014 he reviewed close to 4,000 cases of assisted dying on behalf of the Netherlands Ministries of Health and Justice and believed it was working well. “But that conclusion has become harder and harder for me to support,” he wrote in the Christian Century journal recently.

“For no apparent reason, beginning in 2007, the numbers of assisted dying cases started going up by 15 per cent each year. In 2014, the number of cases stood at 5,306 − nearly three times the 2002 figure.” Today, one in 25 deaths in the Netherlands is the consequence of ‘assisted dying’. On top of those voluntary deaths there are about 300 non-voluntary deaths annually, where the patient is not judged competent. “Furthermore, contrary to claims made by many, the Dutch law did not bring down the number of suicides; instead suicides went up by 35 per cent over the last six years,” he wrote. Professor Boer also noted a shift in the type of patients who were seeking euthanasia. Both in the Netherlands and Belgium, patients need only be experiencing unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement to access euthanasia. There is no requirement that the condition be terminal. In the first years of the Dutch laws being enacted, about 95 per cent of patients accessing euthanasia or assisted suicide were in the last days or weeks of a terminal illness, but an increasing number of patients now seek assisted dying because of dementia, psychiatric illnesses and accumulated age-related complaints, with

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Opinion terminal cancer now accounting for fewer than 75 per cent of cases. “In some reported cases, the suffering largely consists of being old, lonely or bereaved,” he said. Professor Boer believes that raising awareness about advances in palliative care is crucial to combatting the drive towards euthanasia, especially for people who have been scarred by poor palliative care of loved ones in the past. “For a considerable number of Dutch citizens, euthanasia is fast becoming the preferred, if not the only, acceptable mode of dying for cancer patients,” he said via email. “Although the law treats assisted dying as an exception, public opinion is beginning to interpret it as a right, with a corresponding duty for doctors to become involved in these deaths.” If doctors refuse a patient euthanasia or don’t wish to be involved, there are now mobile euthanasia units in the Netherlands who will visit patients in their homes or nursing homes to administer the lethal drugs. The situation in Belgium is similar, where the figures for 2015 show a 41 per cent increase in euthanasia/assisted suicide deaths over the last four years. In 2014-2015, nearly 4000 people underwent euthanasia in Belgium, of which 124 cases were justified on the basis of behavioural, mental or psychological disorders, rather than a terminal illness. Among the reasons given for euthanasia is that elderly patients were ‘tired of life’. Last year, the first child was euthanased in

Belgium after the law was amended to allow for this. In the Netherlands, some babies born with Spina Bifida had been euthanased. Leading Australian anti-euthanasia advocate, Paul Russell, says that the soaring numbers of euthanasia and assisted suicide cases in the Netherlands and Belgium and the expansion of the type of patient requesting euthanasia shows that those societies have grown used to the laws and no safeguards will be effective in controlling it. “What I think this tells us is that the notion of a ‘slippery slope’ or ‘incremental extension’ is not just about later amendment of the original statute, even though that is also likely and the possibility of that is inherent in the enabling act. But it is also about interpretation and the reality that black-letter law is never going to be able to keep any legislation so tightly interpreted as to always reflect the original intentions,” he says. One of the jurisdictions most often cited by pro-euthanasia advocates is Oregon in the United States. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), enacted in late 1997, allows terminally ill adult Oregonians to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for selfadministered, lethal doses of medications. The Oregon Public Health Division is required by the Act to collect information on compliance and to issue an annual report. But Professor Aaron Kheriaty, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Medical Ethics Program at UC Irvine School of Medicine, says that there are serious problems with the laws in Oregon and many documented cases of abuse.

“I have evaluated and treated thousands of patients who wanted to end their life,” he wrote in an opinion piece which appeared in California’s The Mercury News. “A request to die is nearly always a cry for help. Among terminally ill individuals, it is associated with depression in 59 per cent of cases. Yet, alarmingly, in Oregon, less than five per cent of individuals who have died by assisted suicide were ever referred for psychiatric consultation to rule out the most common causes of suicidal thinking.” Professor Kheriaty also identified the problem of ‘doctor shopping’, where if patients are refused access to assisted suicide by their doctor, they are in some cases directed by their managed care insurance company to another doctor who will prescribe the lethal drug. “In Oregon, a small number of physicians write a disproportionately large number of the prescriptions,” he wrote. “Despite the inadequate system of monitoring and reporting in Oregon, the data we have paint a distressing picture. After suicide rates had declined in the 1990s, they rose dramatically in Oregon between 2000 and 2010, in the years following the legalisation of assisted suicide in 1997. By 2010, suicide rates were 35 per cent higher in Oregon than the national average.” Returning to Canada recently to give a public address in the wake of the legalisation of ‘assisted dying’ there, Professor Somerville warned that a fundamental line had been crossed.

we’ve already taken and accept as ethical,” she said. “The intentional infliction of death has been trivialised in order to persuade Canadians to accept euthanasia, and many of them seem to have sleep-walked into doing so, that is, without understanding the full consequences of legalisation; for instance, the harm to important societal values and risks to vulnerable people. “Legalising euthanasia is not just an approval of another medical intervention, it’s a radical and seismic shift in foundational societal values, in particular, what is required if, as both individuals and a society, we are to continue to respect human life.”

Although the law treats assisted dying as an exception, public opinion is beginning to interpret it as a right, with a corresponding duty for doctors to become involved in these deaths HAVE

“The case for euthanasia has been made by making it seem harmless, that it’s just a very small step along an end-of-life-care path



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Grieve in writing, because it just might help


It was a clear intention of the Director of the Hunter Writers Centre, Karen Crofts, to use the verb ‘grieve’ in naming the Grieve Writing Competition. This title is the perfect clarion call for those who, for a multitude of emotional and creative reasons, unveil their deepest and most personal feelings about loss and grief through writing. In 2012, Karen Crofts and palliative care nurse and local writer, Kathleen Wurth, organised a small writing competition for the members of Hunter Writers Centre. The competition was topped off with a live reading of the top 20 stories during Grief Awareness Month in August. From the outset the response to the competition and the live reading was so overwhelming that Karen and Kathleen decided to extend it to writers farther afield. In 2014 the competition went national. This was a prescient decision by the Grieve group as entries increased exponentially. Due to rising interest in the competition and requests to include poetry alongside prose, the 2016 Grieve Writing Competition resulted in a 50/50 split in entries across each genre. The National Association of Loss and Grief (NALAG NSW) was the initial sponsor of the competition and it is that support and cash prize of $1500 for the winning entry that makes the competition significant on the Australian writing calendar. The ongoing success of the competition has resulted in a wide range of ‘not for profits’ and commercial businesses from loss and grief, 20

mental health and funeral providers joining the competition as partners. One wonders what it is that elicits such creative and deeply emotional pieces of writing from men and women across the age range. Of course loss and grief will affect each and every one of us. But how often do you sit with a family member or friend or workmate and talk about a loss? It seems we shy away from these uncomfortable moments more often than not. We tend to suffer in solitude even when a hand reaches out to us. It is too painful for most. The strictures of our less than empathetic society manifest that aloofness. The continued success of the Grieve Writing Competition may, in some small but significant way, allow one who is griefstricken to cast off the black cloak of smothering grief. I know, having spoken to writers who have entered the competition, that many tell of the cathartic effect of writing a story. They do this, not with an eye on winning a prize, but with the sole intention of telling someone their story, hopeful of an empathetic ear. That was my motivation when I wrote my first piece for the competition titled “The Letter”. As a police detective in the small country town of Narrandera, most of my call-outs at night were to attend a suicide. There is something about the blackness of the night and the emptiness of the vast daylight space that evokes melancholy for some country folk.

Early one morning, a few days after Christmas, I was called from my home to investigate a suspicious vehicle hidden out of sight alongside a rarely used railway line. The usual trepidation that followed me on these call-outs was faithful and heavy. Approaching the small van cautiously, knowing what I was likely to find, I wrestled with the reality that confronted me. I discovered the badly decomposed body of a middle-aged man in the carbon dioxide-filled cabin on the back

When I medically retired from the Police Force a decade later I joined the Hunter Writers Centre as a way of normalising my life. I had always dabbled in writing but lacked the confidence to reveal my work in a public arena. Almost immediately Karen Crofts and others in the Centre gave succour to my desire and I quickly wanted to learn more. I learned how to express myself in a creative way through writing and talking to other writers. My story of Robert was not only a way to unburden myself of the grief I felt for him and

I learned how to express myself in a creative way through writing and talking to other writers.

his family − it was also the best way I felt I could pay homage to this man and his life. Although we never spoke, I felt a closeness to him, albeit from across the Rubicon. For me, the beneficial effect of writing about Robert was immeasurable. I would not have done this without the Grieve Writing Competition. Ted’s story received the Calvary Mater

of his small van. His name was Robert. A crumpled suicide note on the front seat of the van was apologetic but lacking in detail about the unidentifiable corpse in the rear of the van. I did my duty and reported the matter to the Coroner in as much detail as possible. But this suicide was different. I could not unburden myself of a puzzling feeling of responsibility to pay homage to this man. His messy and complicated demise, I’m sure, was not intended to harm me so I held no grudge.

Award (Special) in 2014. To learn more about Grieve 2017, please visit www. html. Grieve anthologies are available here from shop.html as print or e-books



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Community Noticeboard Living Waters Meditation and Spirituality Centre, Hildegard of Bingen - Her Music and her Spirituality Anne Millard will sing and Sr Carmel Moore rsj will speak about Hildegard’s spirituality at St James’ School Hall, Vista Parade, Kotara, on Saturday 4 March, 10.00am - 3.00pm. Morning tea provided, byo lunch. Cost $20. To rsvp, E or P 0407 436 808. International Women’s Day/Magdalene Award Since 1911 International Women’s Day has been celebrated as the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. This day is an opportunity to reflect on the dignity and role of women, in the family, society and the Church. We pray that we, the Church, ensure that women are encouraged to flourish within the Catholic Church in Australia and that all women are appreciated for the contribution they make to the fullness of the life of the Church. The 2017 theme is “Be bold for change.” International Women’s Day 2017 will be celebrated at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, commencing with Mass at 9.30am on Sunday 12 March. The inaugural Magdalene Award will be presented by Bishop Bill to a member of the diocesan community and morning tea will be served. A warm invitation is extended to all. For further information P Patricia Banister, 0409 300 192 or 4932 5601. Seasons for Growth Companioning Training - Children & Young People’s training: Newcastle 15-16 March, 8-9 November; Taree 25-26 July. Adults’ training: Newcastle 17-18 May, 13-14 September. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/ young people or adults. Please P Jenny or Benita 4947 1355 to find out more about becoming a Companion. Enrolments for training are completed at

2017 Dates for “Before We Say I Do” Marriage education is a vital, yet often overlooked, part of preparing for a life partnership. The marriage education courses offered by the diocese are run by CatholicCare, which offers a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples to assist them in preparing for, and maintaining, their commitment to one another. Couples who are marrying are advised to attend a course which falls around four months prior to the wedding. Book early as some courses are very popular. To learn more, please P Robyn, 4979 1370.

Australian Catholic Youth Festival This event will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney from 7-9 December 2017. Expressions of interest are now open for young people in year 9 (2017) to 25 years who would like to be a part of the Maitland-Newcastle contingent. Those over the age of 25 are encouraged to register as group leaders. Register your interest now at For more information, contact us at or

“Before We Say I Do” is a group program held over two days or four evenings.

The School of St Jude Tanzania An information evening will be held on Tuesday 14 March at 7pm for 7.30pm at Toronto Workers’ Club, 9 James Street, Toronto. Australian Gemma Sisia opened the school which provides free, high-quality education to 1,800 promising yet impoverished students. During the presentation, Gemma and St Jude’s graduate Winrose will share their inspirational stories. Refreshments will be available for purchase. P Monica Scanlon 0447 597 930.

Course 2/17 25 March and 1 April at Morpeth Course 3/17

20 and 27 May at Newcastle

Course 4/17

22 and 29 July at Newcastle

Course 5/17 9 and 16 September at Singleton Course 6/17 4 and 11 November at Newcastle. Sacred Spaces at Convent of Mercy, Singleton Fine Music Concert will be held on Sunday 26 March at 2pm. The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra will perform ragtime and other popular tunes and songs of 18951923 in the Chapel. You are encouraged (but not obliged!) to dress in a costume of the era, just as the musicians do! There will be a workshop for local musicians at 11am. Cost: $35 adult, $30 concession, $25 student or child. P 6572 2398 or E office@sacredspace. TWEC Dinner: Date Claimer The annual dinner of the Tenison Woods Education Centre will be held on Thursday 11 May at the Therry Centre, East Maitland. Further details next month.

Walk the Camino! 20 day pilgrimage from Leòn to Santiago de Compostela (17 May-5 June). Catholic Mission’s pilgrimage balances walking, companionship and simple hospitality with silence and reflection-prayer. Small group led by an experienced guide, Sr Veronica Rosier OP. P Veronica 0451 387 906 or Bianca 9919 7825 or E

For your diary March  1 Ash Wednesday  3 World Day of Prayer  5 First Sunday of Lent

Rite of Election at Sacred Heart Cathedral

Catholic Schools Week begins

 8 International Women’s Day  12 Second Sunday of Lent  17 Feast of St Patrick

Close the Gap Day

 19 Third Sunday of Lent

Feast of St Joseph

 21 International Day for Elimination of

Racial Discrimination

National Harmony Day

 25 Earth Hour begins at 8.30pm  26 Fourth Sunday of Lent  29 National Youth Week begins.

April  2 Fifth Sunday of Lent

Retreat opportunity The Divine Retreat Centre at Somersby is a ministry of the Vincentian Missionaries. Throughout 2017, retreats will focus on young people, families, healing, liturgical feasts and divine mercy. To see the schedule or to learn more, please P 4372 1598, E drcsydney@ or visit

For more events please visit and


hey smile, they heal, they teach, they comfort. Around the globe Catholic religious sisters quietly perform their dedicated and heroic service without remuneration and barely even noticed by the wider world. But in order to assist others, they themselves also need to be helped, for although they minister to so many, they themselves still need their daily bread and a roof over their heads.

Each year the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) supports over 9,000 religious sisters in every corner of the earth. It is vital that the indispensable work of religious sisters in Christ’s Holy Catholic Church continues. Religious sisters are the unsung heroines in the Church. ACN is proud to assist the inspirational work carried out by religious sisters in some of the poorest, most dangerous places in the world.

I/We enclose $................... to support the work of Religious Sisters for the poor and persecuted Church.

Mother Teresa, now St Teresa of Calcutta, was canonised on September 4th 2016. The rosary carries the following inscriptions on the reverse side of the crucifix and central medal: “A little pencil in the hand of God” and “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do”. The colours of the rosary beads represent the simple white sari worn by Mother Teresa and the blue, her devotion to the Virgin Mary.

A complimentary Mother Teresa rosary designed by the Vatican rosary makers will be sent to all those who can assist with a donation of $20.00 or more to support this cause and tick the box in the coupon.


Help Religious Sisters - the unsung heroines in the Church!

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Sr/Rev:............................................................................................. The Mother Teresa rosary will be sent out to all those who can assist this cause with a donation of $20.00 or more and tick this box *

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Aurora took a break at the beautiful Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania.

Soul food Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight - Joan Chittister

Review By MARIE CRADDOCK rsj “The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” That was the opinion of a man about to retire after years in public office. In 2015, the Newcastle based Catchfire Press gratuitously endorsed that tenet in announcing a competition for Hunter Valley writers under the theme, “Home is the Hunter”. Launched in 2016, the book of the same name is an impressive anthology of those writers’ stories. In poetry and prose, they reminisce about their affinity with the Hunter. They write with warmth and honesty, gratitude and affection that reflect their deeply ingrained sense of identity with a place, a time, a happening somewhere in the Hunter. The reader will see it and know its character through their writing. The broad scope of the theme allows for a wide range of memories. There are echoes of the past in stories that tell of a swaggie at the door, of bread and dripping in depression years, of a wooden clothes prop. There are human interest stories, like the one about a Chinese immigrant who came to a sense of belonging and being “busy as a bee” after struggling with loneliness and English language learning. A Congolese refugee endured years of suffering and an initial “not Australia” welcome in Newcastle before finding acceptance and fulfilment. In the 1860s, the old lady seen around her Hunter’s

Hill property was the Elizabeth who, with her husband and fifty merino sheep, left Ireland in 1822. Some writers came to a deeper selfknowledge through their association with the Hunter. For one, it was by way of negation, finally finding his true self in reclaiming the home-spun values embedded in the breathtaking beauty at his Newcastle doorstep. For a skateboard rider, exploring suburban streets and the rough and smooth of vacant spaces was how he found the self he wanted to be. In the poetry entries, Newcastle and the Hunter are portrayed in imagery with a perception that goes beyond description, yet still delights with verbal pictures like “pelargoniums throwing their red skirts over a wooden fence”, “the peach blush at the edge of a day”, “the sunburst of wattleglow”. Little wonder that home is the Hunter for this book’s gifted writers. Their acquisition of memories and skill in recording them augur well for “the business of life” in the Hunter. Home is the Hunter is published by Catchfire Press and is available at MacLeans Booksellers, Beaumont St, Hamilton.

Satay Chicken This is a simple, versatile recipe that will satisfy the whole family. I serve this dish with steamed long grain rice and fresh broccolini, but it can also be accompanied by an Asian salad or stir-fried vegetables, or even used in a gourmet lunch wrap. BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - Cathedral Cafe

Ingredients f f 6 free-range chicken thighs f f 2 tablespoons olive oil f f 2 tablespoons red curry paste f f 2 tablespoons brown sugar f f 1 tablespoon fish sauce f f 1 x 400 ml can coconut milk f f 6 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter f f 6 long metal skewers or 9 soaked wooden skewers f f Long grain rice f f Bunch of broccolini f f Coriander


Method Preheat oven to 185°C (fan forced). Cut chicken thighs into halves. Thread chicken onto 6 long metal skewers or 9 soaked wooden skewers so pieces are evenly distributed. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and the red curry paste in a pot on the stove, cooking for 1 minute on medium heat. Reduce heat, add sugar and stir until dissolved.

in a hot pan and cover with some of the satay sauce. Finish cooking chicken in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, depending on how thick skewers are. Serve skewers on a bed of steamed rice with broccolini. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with fresh coriander and enjoy!

Chef Bart’s culinary gifts can be enjoyed at The Cathedral Café, 843 Hunter St Newcastle West, 10am–1.30pm, Monday to Friday. P 4961 0546.

The remaining sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few days and reheated for another dish.

Stir in fish sauce then coconut milk and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and add peanut butter. Heat gently, stirring, for about 5 minutes – be careful not to bring sauce to the boil. Turn off heat. Satay sauce should have a semi-thick texture. Drizzle skewers with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear skewers

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49 Boo 79 k tod 13 ay 70

Are you planning a wedding? Explore your relationship, build on your strengths and gain essential knowledge and skills that you will use for years to come. Register now for the next ‘Before We Say I Do’ program.

‘Before We Say I Do’ Marriage Education Course 2017 COURSE DATES

NEWCASTLE 22 & 29 July 2017

SINGLETON 9 & 16 September 2017

MORPETH 25 March & 1 April 2017

NEWCASTLE 13 & 20 May 2017

NEWCASTLE 4 & 11 November 2017


For a registration pack and brochure

 4979 1370 


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