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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle April 2017 | No.167

Meet sister and brother Louise and Richard Campbell Where are all the young people? A digger is laid to rest



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First Word

On the cover Rose McAllister’s “Bereft” captures an aspect of the Easter experience. See First Word, opposite.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle April 2017 | No.167

Meet sister and brother Louise and Richard Campbell



Live the Eas mysteri ter es. holic.or

Where are all the young people? A digger is laid to rest

Featured  Where are all the young people?


 All Joel’s world’s a stage


 A digger laid to rest


 Margo Nancarrow is inaugural Magdalene Award recipient


 Society encourages students to ask questions and look for answers together 11  Enter Cursillo: An invitation to experience greater joy


 Seasons of a friendship


 CatholicCare partners with parishes and schools


 Why not project an Easter message?


 Project Compassion: Aloma’s story


 Providing children with a Safe Home for Life 20


Giving rise to hope I am delighted by our eye-catching Easter cover image, artist Rose McAllister’s “Bereft”. Rose is the Religious Studies Co-ordinator at San Clemente High School, Mayfield. Rose describes her work: “When Jesus’ death came, Mary felt bereft as she watched from a distance. Mary, at the foot of the cross, helps us understand the reality of human pain and suffering, something we all experience at certain points throughout our lives. It is the Paschal Mystery that offers us all hope and courage to push through the pain of grief. She invites us not to close our eyes to suffering, but to have pity, show mercy, do good to those who suffer. She asks us to allow her to accompany and help us and this gives meaning to the crosses of our own lives.” For a long time I have been keen to bring Louise and Richard Campbell together for a conversation. It was made possible by artist Richard’s visiting Newcastle as a Caritas Australia speaker supporting the Lenten Project Compassion appeal. The closeness they share as siblings is poignant when you consider how many years they spent apart as members of the Stolen Generation.

 First Word


Contact Aurora

 My Word


Next deadline 7 April 2017

 CareTalk


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

 Two by Two


 Family Matters


 Faith Matters


 Seasons of Mercy


 Frankly Spoken


 Community Noticeboard


 Last Word


Do read The Attachment by Tony Doherty and Ailsa Piper and you can meet them both, and so many other fine writers, at this month’s Newcastle Writers Festival. Tony and Ailsa shared their experiences generously when I met them at Ailsa’s home and they look forward to visiting Newcastle. The Attachment is introduced in this edition and you can check out the festival schedule at Ruth Jacobs introduces Judaism in this month’s Faith Matters. Her story of Abraham reminded me of teaching Judaism to HSC students for many years. It was from the great stories of Judaism that Christianity arose and on Good Friday, Christians will pray for the Jewish people, “the first to hear the word of God”. May your Easter give rise to new and hopefilled possibilities.


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

A season of repentance Of course, I should have been thinking about repentance and forgiveness, sin and grace, because we are in Lent. But I actually came to be thinking about these things because I had a talk to give about Martin Luther, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this year. Luther’s reformation was very much caught up with the notion of repentance. Like other reformers, Luther was very conscious of an error in the Latin bible of his day. Knowledge of the Greek language had recently re-emerged in Europe to a significant degree, and the new scholars had spotted that where the Latin bible said ‘do penance’, the original said ‘repent’. And there was a world of difference between those statements. To ‘do penance’ was to perform certain actions, quite possibly those assigned as a ‘penance’ in Confession. To ‘repent’, however, was to be filled with sorrow for sinfulness, to ‘re-think’ one’s life and be committed to change. The obligation simply to ‘do penance’ opened the way to aberrations in the Christian life such as paying someone else to ‘do penance’ for you or purchasing an ‘Indulgence’ from the church’s stock of ‘good works’ people had already done. Or so Luther thought. In that context, you might expect that Luther would have a set against Confession itself, but quite the contrary was true. He was admittedly deeply suspicious that the church’s imposition of an obligation to confess was a ploy to give priests control of their people and, yes, on biblical grounds, he did not regard Confession as a sacrament instituted by Christ. But he retained Confession, in what became the Lutheran church, as a valuable practice because, and this is typical Luther, it had been of great value in his own life. In his dark hours, of which he had many, the reassurance of his confessor, the word of forgiveness that he heard

there, had got him through. As a young man he had confessed more than regularly, to the point that his confessor had ordered him to stop. And he confessed to his parish priest on the day he died. He was, after all, a sinner. Realising that you are a sinner was, for Luther, the first step to salvation. Until you realise you’re a sinner and there’s nothing you can do about it, you don’t realise the enormous gift that is on offer from God of being forgiven and redeemed because of Christ; you don’t begin to put your trust in him rather than in yourself. Curiously, Luther was much more in line with Catholic thinking in this regard than he is with some later expressions of Protestantism. Years ago, I was on an inter-church industrial chaplaincy course. I was a bit of an old hand, theologically and pastorally, by then, but many of the others were young folk just finishing remarkably short courses in various Bible Colleges. They were inclined to see the world as divided between the saved and the unsaved, and inclined to think that their job was to go into factories to ‘save’ the workers, whom they seemed to presume would be unsaved. By the end of the week I was more than a bit jack of that view. So, when we had a concluding session on what all Christians had in common, I cheekily suggested ‘Sin’. It got a laugh, but it wasn’t added to the list on the whiteboard. Luther wasn’t there that day. At about the same time I was on that course, Catholic bishops and priests were beginning to lament the falling off in the practice of Confession which has since become such a notable feature of western church life. They often ascribed it to a loss of the sense of sin. Back then, I wasn’t so sure. I had my ‘little old ladies’ who came in every week to confess that they ‘may have thought unkindly of their neighbour’. I had my people with ‘shopping

lists’ of trivial offences each confession. Had not the Council, or certainly the post-Conciliar experts, taught us that true repentance was a big deal, that it was about ‘metanoia’, a whole re-visioning of the direction of our lives? If people understood what the church had been saying, they wouldn’t be turning up with shopping lists of venial sins, would they? Perhaps the flight from regular confession was actually a catechetical success. My view was too optimistic, of course. There was a loss of the sense of sin going on. It was not driven by church teaching but by worship of self-esteem, the new view that it was healthy to have a high regard for oneself no matter what. We didn’t sin, we just made ‘bad choices’ or had needs that had to be fulfilled if we were not to be slaves to a morality imposed by someone who didn’t understand us! Yes, the ‘me generation’ is not good at sinfulness. Anyway, we are in Lent. I don’t say that we should go to Confession, at least not simply that. But Lent is a call to look at how we are living, and it has some useful aids. If I decided to spend 10 minutes a day reading the gospels and couldn’t manage it, what do I devote all my time to? If I was going to deny myself some pleasure and couldn’t do it, what drives really dominate my life choices? If I was going to give some substantial aid to the poor but it turned out to be a pittance, whom do I love besides myself and those who are ‘mine’? So Lent is a time for repentance, for taking stock and for regret at my, let’s use the word, sinfulness. And that repentance should lead to realising my need for grace and the gift of forgiveness, for Christ. And that might mean it’s time to confess, time to make a fresh start.

l e Al m co el w

Bishop Bill Wright invites you to join him at the

2017 Chrism Mass 7pm Tuesday 11 April 2017 Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton Followed by refreshments in the Davis Courtyard For further information phone 4979 1111

Follow us 4



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Where are all the young people? By JOANNE ISAAC

Speaking on ABC radio earlier this year, young local Catholic, Hannah Williams, challenged the stereotype that young people no longer engage with their faith. “Attending World Youth Day (WYD) in Poland really affirmed that the Catholic faith is not dying. It’s alive and there are so many young people out there ready to carry that on,” said Hannah. Hannah is right. Youth ministry is alive and well in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and it’s going to take off in new and exciting ways with an estimated 15,000 young people set to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Sydney this December. A large contingent of 15-25 year olds from our diocese will take part, kicking off the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Year of Youth in 2018, celebrating ten years since WYD was held in Sydney. There is a number of long-established and thriving youth groups in various pastoral regions of the diocese. One of these is ACTiv8 Youth in the Chisholm region. ACTiv8 is in its 12th year and brings together children from most of the primary schools in the Chisholm region, including some public schools, in three venues over three nights each week. A senior youth group for young adults meets twice a month and a youth Mass is held twice a week on Sunday and Tuesday nights. ACTiv8 is staffed by a youth ministry co-ordinator and young adult and teacher volunteers from around the region. The youth ministry co-ordinator for ACTiv8, Bec Piefke, believes that making the youth group fun is vital. “We offer a wide variety of activities to help build relationships and illustrate a particular gospel message. We start with an opening game as an icebreaker, do something fun and then, to help foster the children’s spiritual growth and understanding, we hear the upcoming gospel, explain it in a language they understand and then have a discussion or activity. The fun things we’ve enjoyed over the past year have included water games, Zumba class, Melbourne Cup high tea, Christmas photo booth and chocolate fondue night,” said Bec. The Western Pastoral Region has IMPACT Youth Connect and a monthly youth Mass at Wallsend-Shortland parish. IMPACT Youth Connect was established six years ago by Cathy Feenan with the help and blessing of retired Sugarloaf parish priest, Fr Peter Rees.

“My husband Michael and I lost our nephew to suicide when he was only 21 and had run Team Mak Youth Camp on the Gold Coast, which was designed to empower young people to discover their gifts, break through limiting beliefs and create an action plan to realise their potential. IMPACT Youth Connect was born from these experiences,” said Cathy. IMPACT occurs every six weeks with Year 5 and 6 children from St Benedict’s, Edgeworth, Holy Cross, Glendale and St Patrick’s, Wallsend and Year 7 students from St Paul’s High School, Booragul, in attendance. Blackbutt Pastoral Region enjoyed a successful youth group based on Life Teen, an American program that is a mixture of fun, catechesis and relational ministry, from 2010 until 2015 before transitioning to Pure Flame Youth. Some 15-20 regular participants have taken part in a retreat at Anna Bay every second year and a fortnightly youth Mass. Co-ordinator, Ellen Hazelton, believes parishes can support the youth in their midst by helping them to attend ACYF and WYD. “We hold an annual fundraising trivia night which usually raises around $1500 to support attendees for ACYF, WYD and our retreat. These big events provide a variety of faith experiences with kids their own age, but also young adults who can be seen as role models, loving God and witnessing to their faith as a natural part of life, not something hidden away,” said Ellen. Chair of the Diocesan Council for Ministry with Young People (DCMYP), James Elliott, agrees. “WYD and the ACYF provide a great opportunity to shake up and wake up the Church. I think their greatest value is they show people the Church isn’t a dying community, but one full of other young people on a similar journey, asking the same questions. They are not as alone as they imagined. They are a different experience and can be moving, energising and challenging while still reflecting our unique Catholic identity,” said James. The DCMYP’s vision is to provide opportunities for all young people to be inspired and empowered to “Be, Grow, Show” – to be people of faith, who grow in our faith and show our faith.

“Jesus met people where they were – he went into the houses of outcasts and sinners; people who didn’t believe they had a place at the table. I see a lot of similarities with young people who do not feel welcome, or see relevance for themselves in Mass on Sunday. Of course we want people to participate fully in the Eucharist, but arguing that God wouldn’t be going out and encountering them in their lives through their families, friends and schools seems counter to the Gospel to me,” said James.

welcoming and worshipping together,” said

Last year, Bishop Bill spoke a number of times about young people and their faith and he encouraged parishes to “truly foster and encourage ‘the young church’”.

Let’s get behind the Church of today and

“It’s a moving thing to see our young people realise that a life of faith is not just ‘going to church’, it’s a life of faith. And the thing is, they’re young enough to get it,” said Bishop Bill.

visit If

People involved in youth ministry agree on how to connect young people to their life of faith.

the DCMYP on 4979 1111 or youth.

“Youth will go where there’s fun and love and they’re accepted for who they are,” said Cathy. “To encourage young people to engage in their faith is to keep inviting them. We need to look at how we are

Ellen. “I hope that the people in our parishes are the ones who drive engagement with young people,” said Bec. As the diocese’s vision for youth ministry states, ‘we will be a Church…where young people understand that they are the Church of today and not just the Church of the future’. support as many young people as possible to attend this year’s ACYF in Sydney. For more information about the ACYF you would like to find out more about the many opportunities young people have to participate in the life of the Church in our diocese please contact



It would be wonderful if more young people were at Mass every Sunday, but just because they aren’t doesn’t mean that our youth are not engaged with their faith.

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All Joel’s world’s a stage with nine siblings. He could speak four languages but not English. His mother died when he was young and the children were reared by an older sister. His was a difficult childhood compounded with memories of an earlier life of cruelty and hunger, violence and poverty in Uganda. He flourished at St Francis Xavier’s College, becoming a student leader and a member of the Solidarity Team.

rather than laugh with.”

Enter Joel Okumu, a 17-yr-old Ugandan who completed his HSC at St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, last year. Joel is blessed with a deep resonant voice, imposing stature and a wide smile − and he oozes talent and confidence.

I was intrigued by Joel’s penchant for acting in general and Shakespeare in particular. Joel explained that he was continually acting out roles in his head, sometimes delivering imaginary lines to imaginary people when alone. He went further, taking on a character and walking into shops to see people’s reactions to his characterisations. He demonstrated − what confidence does it take to walk into a shop as the Hunchback of Notre Dame?

“Do you really do all this?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” he said, “I have to give my best.”

Mentored by his drama teacher, Kirsten Beletich, Joel entered the John Bell Scholarship event. Kirsten prepared Joel to play Othello and the ghost of Hamlet’s father. These monologues require maturity, insight and impeccable delivery. Joel Okumu obviously displayed all these and was awarded the scholarship. There was great rejoicing by Joel and his family, Kirsten and the College community! When he was just five, Joel came to Australia

I asked him to share how his back story influenced his interpretation of characters. “Sometimes,” he said, “I see characters from a view of deep sadness whereas others would see, maybe, disappointment. Often I see humour in situations whereas others may see the character as a joke − someone to laugh at,

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The scholarship experience is over now but Bell has referred Joel to The Hub, a collective of professional actors teaching methodology, film and television acting and theatricality. Does he enjoy it? Absolutely! And this young thespian is studying business in conjunction with his acting.

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What about preparation for a role? Kirsten shared her experience here. “Joel never leaves things to chance. He prepares himself in so many ways. He reads and reads about the character, he does deep-breathing exercises, he stretches and limbers up, he goes away into a quiet space and mentally gets himself ready.”

Enjoy a fabulous trip through the amazing waterways of Broken Bay, beautiful Lion Island, Barrenjoey Head, Pittwater, Kuring-gai Chase National Park. Lower Hawkesbury, Brooklyn and unique Dangar Island. This cruise is approximately 6½ hours worth of pleasure, delicious food and new acquaintances. Morning tea, buffet lunch and afternoon tea will be served whilst cruising, enjoy a good laugh at the Captain’s commentary, there is also plenty of time to take photos of the scenery. The Lady Kendall is a licensed vessel... Bookings are essential for this tour. Departing Gosford Public Wharf 9.30am. Cost: Adult $75, Concession $70, Child $45 April 8th, 15th EASTER SATURDAY, 22nd • May 7th, 24th June 11th, 17th • July 1st, 9th, 22nd. Ask about our future dates for this tour.

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Founder of Bell Shakespeare, John Bell, long ago recognised the breadth and depth of life captured in exquisite language by William Shakespeare. Bell Shakespeare is renowned for transporting the Bard’s dramas, unconstrained by time, place, gender, nationality or culture. John Bell and company take Shakespeare to the schools and sometimes his magnanimity is rewarded big time!


A digger laid to rest As ANZAC Day approaches, Catherine Murray shares her family’s strong sense of the legacy of war.


My father, Alby Murray, served in the Air Force with Bomber Command and his proudest achievement came at the end of World War II when his Lancaster crew dropped food into the starving nation of Holland. My reflections on ANZAC Day have grown stronger over the years as I learned more of my family’s military contribution. My father’s uncles, Henry Alfred Cressy (Harry) and his brother, Edward, grew up in Boolaroo. There is a treasured family photo taken outside the Cressy house in Boolaroo sometime after August 1915 when both boys enlisted. It depicts Brougham (Bro) and Ann Cressy (the boys’ parents), and other family members with the two boys standing proudly in uniform. Australia was a different place then. England was ‘the mother country’ and when war broke out in 1914 there was no question that Australia would be there. The Cressy boys enlisted, Edward at 24 and Harry at 22. Les Carlyon’s The Great War describes World War I as the worst trauma of the twentieth century for Australia. From a population of just over 4.5 million, 420,000 Australian men enlisted and 60,000 were killed. A whole generation of Australians had lost someone or had a loved one return, forever scarred. The Cressy brothers trained at Liverpool and left Australia from Woolloomooloo aboard “Aeneas” on 21 December 1915. Harry Cressy kept a diary with descriptions of his training and the effect of long hot marches, preparing for battles to come. His innocence and youthful enthusiasm come through; he described things that were new and exciting as ‘bosker’. I imagine that young men today would say ‘awesome!’ As he travelled north to the battlefields he noticed women in mourning, old men guarding the railway and the locomotives they passed on their journey north; these impressed him as a locomotive driver. He wrote, “It was a country worth fighting for.” The boys arrived in Northern France where plans were at the ready for a major offensive. The plan was to attack the ‘Sugarloaf’, a high ground near the village of Fromelles held by the Germans for at least 18 months. This

would mean that the Germans would not be able to send extra troops to the Somme. Some of our force were seasoned Gallipoli veterans; others, like Harry and Edward, were to have a baptism of fire. Gallipoli veteran from Mackay, Ronald McInnes, wrote at the battle of Fromelles, “We thought we knew something of the horrors of war, but we were mere recruits, and have had our full education in one day.” The Germans were well prepared, with comfortable reinforced dugouts, secure communication lines and reinforced concrete bunkers. If you go to Fromelles today, you will see the bunkers and realise that the German line was in a perfect position to see the plains below. The Germans had had many months to prepare. The battle began on 19 July. The 14th brigade, to which Harry belonged, crossed about 400 yards of open ground to get to the German trenches in broad daylight. The continuous accurate fire of German machine guns, which had survived the allied bombardment earlier in the day, killed many.

were never to know where Harry lay.

Cemetery on the 100th anniversary of

Some 95 years later, Melbourne teacher, Lambis Englezos, focused his attention on the lost diggers of Fromelles. Through his tenacity, their remains were found in a mass grave in Pheasant Wood, Fromelles, in 2008. The Australian government launched a project to identify the diggers through DNA matching and Harry was identified in January 2010.

the battle at the graveside of his parents,

In 2009 my sister and I visited the quiet, peaceful village where Harry lay. In January 2010, soldiers from Britain and Australia reburied with honours the remains of soldiers killed during the battle. In July of that year a new cemetery was dedicated in the village of Fromelles to all our lost diggers. I was there and it was a hot, blue sky day, I imagine very like that day in 1916.

Brougham and Ann, with many Cressy descendants present. His inscription in the little village in northern France reads: HENRY ALFRED CRESSY Born 5 December 1893 Died 19 July 1916. In Your Family’s hearts and minds forever. Catherine Murray is an Education Officer at the Catholic Schools Office.




/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday

Last year Harry was honoured at Sandgate

We know Harry made it to the German trenches and sometime after that a sniper bullet killed him. We know that Edward was wounded earlier in the battle. This probably saved his life. The fate of those like Harry who fell behind German lines was not known for another 95 years. There is a poignant record of this time. Harry’s parents wrote to the Australian Imperial Force from October 1916 up to 1922. They requested information about where Harry was and asked for Harry’s effects, which they knew must be somewhere as they had received a letter from Private Wilson who had been present at Harry’s death. His mother wrote that she knew you could have an inscription placed on the headstone, not knowing that Harry’s resting place was unknown. They received a memorial plaque for Harry, and his effects finally arrived; a money belt, wallet, bible, cards, photos, letters and diaries which his descendants treasure as the record of an ordinary Australian involved in something greater than we could imagine. His parents

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Margo Nancarrow named inaugural Magdalene Award recipient

Representing the values of courage, leadership, fidelity and strength, the inaugural “Magdalene” was awarded on 12 March. Following Sunday morning Mass with Bishop Bill as presider, the Toohey Room was filled with friends and family of the 25 nominees showing their support for some of the remarkable women of our diocese. Each has demonstrated a life being lived in ways that reflect the gospel values of mercy, peace, justice and compassion. Bishop Bill offered his congratulations to all the candidates, not only for being nominated but for the actions and contributions that have led others to put their names forward. He went on to say he did not envy the judges as the gifts and talents of these women were so diverse it was like “comparing apples with harbour bridges!” After a lifetime of service to the church and belonging to various groups and councils, Margo Nancarrow graciously accepted the award from Bishop Bill to great applause. Margo said later, “I thank the selection group for choosing me from a number of very worthy nominees. I was surprised and deeply humbled that a lifelong commitment to working for my Church and for the advancement of women was recognised. The theme of this year, ‘Be Bold for Change’, should resonate for us all. The symbolic nature of the actual

award is outstanding and I will treasure it until next year. Thank you to the Council for Australian Catholic Women in this diocese for its continued support and acknowledgement of women.” The unveiling of the perpetual award was a most anticipated moment. The simple figure of steel and stone embodies a woman standing tall with wide open arms. Master blacksmith Will Maguire’s figure has an abject beauty, inviting contemplation and quiet reflection. According to Will, the uncomfortable stance also alluded to “the difficult history and contemporary issue of women’s recognition in the church, an issue the award is addressing”. Such issues are well understood by Margo on various levels, particularly through her involvement with groups such as the Australian Catholic Bishops Life Council which advises on issues relating to family, youth and life. She is also the Catholic Women’s League Bioethics Co-ordinator and is aware of the ethical issues surrounding healthcare for all. Chair of the Council for Australian Catholic Women’s contact group, Patricia Banister, concluded by thanking the group for its support as well as acknowledging the judging panel and the nominees. Katherine Muscat is the Graphic Designer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Master blacksmith Will Maguire with the figure he created.

Magdalene Award Nominees for 2017 ff Kate Bartlett

ff Sue O’Donohue

ff Patricia Bogan

ff Yvonne Potter

ff Sue Campbell

ff Joan Price

ff Judith Crittenden

ff Maureen Reynolds (RIP)

ff Robyn Donnelly

ff Helen Russell

ff Gae Fishlock

ff Trish Scanlon

ff Vicki Grogan Griffin

ff Caprice Skinner

ff Helen Anne Johnson rsj

ff Lidy Waanders

ff Kerrie Lendon

ff Deirdre Watson

ff Patricia McPherson

ff Edith Walz

ff Bronwyn Melville ff Anne Millard Daugherty ff Ann Morris Nominees for the Magdalene Award with Margo Nancarrow centre front. Helene O’Neill, who convened the judging panel, and Carole Gan of the Council for Australian Catholic Women, are also pictured.


ff Anne Moylan rsj ff Margo Nancarrow

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Coming to terms with the changes ageing can bring Q By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist

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


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.

My father has begun to display early stage dementia and his doctor has confirmed this. My children are aged 5 and 7, and as Dad’s dementia progresses, I want them to develop age-appropriate understanding. At the same time, I don’t want them to think that dementia and the forgetfulness that goes with it is automatically part of growing older. Please give me some tips to encourage them to be patient and thoughtful. You have identified two very important aspects when it comes to supporting children in understanding dementia: the factual information they need to know and the emotional support children may need as your father goes through the different and often challenging changes associated with dementia. You are right about age-appropriate information. Children need to know enough so that they don’t become confused about why a loved one’s behaviour is changing. Pick a time when you feel ready to provide the information and support, and also when you feel your children will be most receptive to this type of conversation. You know your children best and some children are more relaxed during play time, whereas others may respond better at a time when they are not trying to focus on play.

Call Lifeline 24/7 on 131 114.

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

At the ages of 5 and 7, their understanding of medical conditions will be limited and they may not have developed an understanding of the permanency of certain conditions.

ff If you or the children have noticed any changes in your father recently, you might open the topic by using this as a starting point; for example, “You know when grandpa forgot your name the other day? What did you think about that?” If there have been no noticeable changes, you can just start by telling the children you would like to talk to them about grandpa. Anticipate some confusion if they have trouble connecting what you are telling them about their grandpa because it may not make sense if they can’t see anything different. ff Speak in plain language in terms of what they might expect to see or hear. Be really clear that this does not happen to everyone and it is not like being sick with a cold. In other words, if they ask you if grandpa will get better with medicine, you can tell them the truth – what you know to be true at the time. ff After describing some of the symptoms, ask your children if they have any questions. This helps you to know if they understand

what you are telling them and what support they might need. ff Also ask how they feel about grandpa having dementia. It is normal for them to experience a range of emotions including sadness, anxiety about the future, fear and confusion. Or you may not see a reaction at all – if you get no response and what looks like immediate acceptance, you might want to give it a few days and check in with them again just to make sure they understand. Some children, just like adults, need time to process information. Also, think about yourself: you are already dealing with knowing that your dad has dementia and telling your children further reinforces that this is real. Dementia impacts on the whole family in different ways and as your dad’s dementia progresses, you will need support too. There are many resources to support you and your family throughout this time. You could have a look at the Alzheimer’s Australia website as a starting point,


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Two by Two

Gatekeepers of a brighter future Visiting Maitland-Newcastle as a Caritas Project Compassion speaker gave Richard Campbell the opportunity to reconnect with his sister Louise Campbell.


Important symbols for brother and sister, Richard and Louise Campbell, are the gates that marked the entrance and exit to Kinchela Boys Home (KBH) outside Kempsey on the north coast. It was where Louise and her sisters last saw Richard before he disappeared into the institution, aged 9 or 10, only emerging after many years of unbelievably and inexcusably cruel treatment. He remembers clearly that when he and his older brother (now deceased) “walked into the Kinchela gates, they grabbed you and stripped you, then they started punching you. They said, ‘You are not Richard Campbell, you are number 28 now. You are not black, you are white. You speak English and don’t talk about any Aboriginal stuff. They brainwashed us…they talk about the Holocaust. We’ve got it here too. They tried to get rid of a whole race of people.” Many years later, Richard and three of his sisters, including Louise, returned to be photographed at the Kinchela gates and that photo’s a proud possession. “It’s a pretty significant symbol,” explains Louise, some 50 years after she was stolen from her parents. You might think this would be the last place the Campbells would want to preserve in memory. However, listening to Richard and Louise tell their stories – stories that ought to overlap far more than they do − it’s my sense that the photo is a talisman, offering evidence of survival against the odds. Richard reminds me that there were 300 residential institutions in NSW at the time he was resident in Kinchela. Louise and her sisters were sent to a girls’ home at Bomaderry on the south coast but spent more time with foster families than at the home. The siblings belong to a family of 11 children and the 10

youngest five are part of the Stolen Generation. Their early childhood involved “going from town to town every year, to keep ahead of the welfare”. Richard says that in one town the Sisters at the convent would ring the bell to warn of approaching ‘welfare’.Eventually the Campbells joined the thousands of indigenous children taken from their parents, allegedly in their best interests. It’s impossible to measure the impact of being raised away from parents who love you, and it was only many years later that Richard and Louise realised that their Mum and Dad had no choice in the matter. While they were reunited with their parents, the relationships remained fractured. Both Richard and Louise were eventually fostered by families. Louise had some positive experiences, Richard less so. Louise completed her schooling at St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, and has happy memories of that time. Asked when he left Kinchela, Richard says, “I don’t think I ever left institutions, it’s always in me.” Two aspects of Richard’s life have rescued him from bitterness. Long ago, he realised, “My saviour was my artwork.” Before being stolen, he remembers drawing, on boomerangs and shields, designs his father would then burn into the timber. At Kinchela, he would draw wherever he could find a surface – and suffer the consequences. There was no paint and no encouragement but still Richard sketched. Many years later, although Louise and Richard’s relationship has been sporadic, Louise found herself in a position to recommend Richard’s artistic talent to Sr Pat Adams rsm who has a long association

with indigenous members of the diocesan community. She had seen paintings bearing the name ‘Richard Campbell’ at Mindaribba Gallery and wondered if the artist was her brother. This vignette highlights the immense loss all the Campbells suffered, including the older children who were not ‘stolen’. Richard’s art led him to Fr Tony Stace and both he and Louise speak affectionately of the late diocesan priest. Fr Stace asked Richard to paint the annunciation and many scriptural paintings followed, notably the Stations of the Cross. In fact, Richard describes his years at Kinchela as a “painful, slow crucifixion”. Many of Richard’s paintings hang in the diocesan offices and his distinctive and engaging work is in demand. It’s a treat to listen to Louise and Richard converse. They have had to work hard to reclaim the stories most siblings share instinctively. Each is proud of the other’s achievements. While art is integral to Richard’s survival, Louise credits education − she is a teacher − and a determination to remain occupied, for her ongoing wellbeing. Her position as Education Officer (Aboriginal Education) provides countless opportunities for her to share her story, individually and as a Gumbainggar woman, and to deepen her own knowledge and understanding. Underlying all this, she says, “The Church saved me…I feel I developed through the institution and through meeting some really good people through my life.” Both Louise and Richard have aligned themselves to the work of Caritas Australia, especially Project Compassion. Richard is the focus of one of the Lenten stories,

committing himself to share his story with various diocesan communities. In Newcastle, he shared his story in the first week of Lent with Louise not far away. Art is a mainstay for Richard, and the other source of strength is his renewed acquaintance with the ‘Kinchela boys’ through the KBH Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC), established by KBH survivors to reunite with one another and begin healing. KBHAC’s “Unlocking the Past to Free the Future” Program works to restore the social and emotional wellbeing of survivors and their families. Initially, Richard was reluctant to become part of the program, although he freely admits that his early post-KBH years were marred by alcohol and drug use. He and the other boys had not been taught to respect themselves and to love others – they were physically, sexually and psychologically abused – so there were many memories he preferred not to retain. Eventually though, Richard, a father and grandfather, realised that the brotherhood of KBH boys could support and advocate for one another. He says, poignantly, “We had to create a country and we had to create a family.” With the backing of Caritas Australia, KBHAC is helping to do so. Meanwhile, Richard and Louise Campbell are gatekeepers who honour the past and maintain hope in a brighter future. Please visit



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News University society encourages students to ask questions and look for answers together

Michael Szmynec and Hannah Williams of the University of Newcastle Catholic Society.

By MONICA SCANLON In September 2016, a contingent of Catholic students established the University of Newcastle (UoN) Catholic Society. The group initially came together at the university’s weekly Wednesday Mass and has since continued to grow in number. At the society’s inaugural general meeting, members of a student executive team − Baden Sinclair, Caprice Skinner, Hannah Williams and Ailis Macpherson − were elected to the roles of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer respectively. Michael Szmynec, a lay Catholic chaplain employed by the diocese at the university, assisted the students in creating the society. Hannah enjoys being part of the Catholic Society as it “creates a community where I’m with like-minded young people. To identify in this day and age as Catholic is almost counter-cultural, so to have a network of other people who have an understanding of faith allows us to support each other through this journey. It’s a welcoming environment

that fosters friendship and empathy with the challenges of life as a student.”

and beach picnics. There are plans to hold an annual weekend retreat, and to attend the University of New South Wales Catholic Society Harbour Cruise and the University of Sydney’s Catholic Society Ball.

“One of the most rewarding things,” Michael said, “is seeing the large proportion of international students coming into the society. They come to us because Catholicism is a big part of their lives, and because they’re searching for people to connect with, so when they can come and feel welcomed by us, we get to witness firsthand what it means to be a universal church. It is a standard of hospitality that we hope to extend to all students of the university.”

In conjunction with the Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Council for Ministry for Young People, the UoN Catholic Society hopes to gather a group of students to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Sydney in December. The society welcomes students who are Catholic or those wishing to explore Catholicism, regardless of where they are on their faith journeys. Michael and Hannah describe the Catholic Society as an open forum to ask lots of questions in a supportive, comfortable environment where students look for answers together.

Each week during semesters, the Catholic Society gathers for a group discussion and dinner. The topics are driven by members and have included discussions on sacraments, the saints, scripture − and how these have impacted on the lives of those in the group.

Contact UoN Catholic Society on Facebook or email uoncatholic@ To learn more about ACYF, please visit

The Catholic Society also hosts a variety of social events. Past activities have included dinners in the city, birthday celebrations




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Newcastle student represents Qatar and Lithuania at UN! A former student of St Francis Xavier’s College shares her opportunity to broaden her outlook on the world. By OLIVIA MARCH At the beginning of 2016, my HSC year, I told myself this was the year to take up any amazing opportunities that came my way. I couldn’t continue to let anxiety limit my experiences, and so when the opportunity arose to travel to the United States as part of the 2017 “Harvard & Yale Model United Nations”, I grabbed it! Post-HSC I began writing position papers and dusting off my debating skills to prepare, learning so much from the Crimson Education advisors. Crimson Education provides resources to assist students seeking entry to prestigious universities. In January I flew to San Francisco with 26 delegates from Australia and New Zealand. Visiting Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia and New York Universities was wonderful, as was seeing the sights of San Francisco. The United Nations General Assembly Hall was a stirring and awe-inspiring place to be and a

Olivia March refuelling at Yale University

great precursor to our UN committee sessions. In New Haven, Pennsylvania, we began our participation in Yale Model United Nations sessions. I was a member of the UN Special Committee on Drugs. For the next three days I represented Qatar and debated the issues of the global cocaine trade and the illicit sale and use of legal drugs. I worked closely with another young woman from China and we quickly became allies and friends. At the end of the week, the rest of the General Assembly and I had reached a resolution on what actions we believed should be taken in order to tackle these world issues. Harvard Model UN involved some 3000 delegates from countries such as Korea, the Dominican Republic and Brazil and required me to work on speeches and draft resolutions. While in Boston, we toured Harvard

and attended a delegate dance and cultural extravaganza, a great opportunity to get to know our fellow delegates. I represented Lithuania on the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee. During the committee sessions we debated the issues of Mental Health in Crisis Zones and Human Population Control. The debates were lengthy, intense and incredibly rewarding. It was interesting to hear the opinions of other countries on these issues − except perhaps North Korea which kept restating, “North Korea has already abolished these issues, it’s now up to the other countries to fix it themselves.” This experience gave me insights into international relations and the inner mechanisms of politics. Someone who struggled to raise her hand in class addressed a room of over 150 people and stood firm on her point of view!


Enter Cursillo: An invitation to experience greater joy proclaims…the kingdom of God…The Lord will delight in describing…the happiness of belonging to this kingdom...” (8)


Joy: an emotion of keen or lively pleasure arising from present or expected good. This definition explains why as a Christian I should always be full of joy. At times of quietness and prayer, with the realisation and acceptance that God loves me intimately, I am filled with a deep certainty that all will be well. The diocesan Cursillo community is planning a three-day experience with the theme of “joy”. It is expected that this “emotion of keen or lively pleasure” will be experienced by those accepting the offer of participating in the weekend and by those presenting. “The Church exists to evangelise,” stated Pope Paul VI in 1975 in Evangelii Nuntiandi. “As an evangeliser, Christ first of all


My mission then as a Christian is to bring happiness and joy to those around me in my world. What a wonderful task! It is no coincidence that two of Pope Francis’ recent exhortations are The Joy of the Gospel and The Joy of Love. In his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) he advises: “…an evangeliser must never look like someone who has just come from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that “delightful and comforting joy of evangelising….” (10) Here are critical instructions, and yet as an evangeliser my ability and willingness to proclaim the Gospel fall a little short. As a practising Catholic it has not been part of my formation to witness to the love of God from the

street corners. I could do with some assistance!

primary reason for evangelising is the love of

Enter Cursillo.

Jesus which we have received, the experience

Cursillo offers a framework for people to introduce their friends to Jesus or to renew their own relationship: “Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.” It allows people to invite their friends to a three-day experience of Christian community where witnesses share their life stories, including their struggles in the Christian life. It invariably involves a renewal of the faith lives of all involved. And it makes them joyful evangelisers! And yet, even armed with this tool, the reality of life often interferes with my joy. Pope Francis shows his awareness of this in The Joy of Love. “The Lord’s presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes.” (315) Again, Pope Francis encourages me: “The

of salvation….What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make him known?” (264 EG) There is nothing more precious we can offer to others than an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; a way of life full of love for our world! You are warmly invited to join us on this year’s Cursillo at Myuna Bay, Morisset, 9-12 June. For more information P Greg Byrne 0427 918 568 or Linda Norris 0408 077 089.



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Family Matters

Are you one of the spacious and gracious people?


It’s amazing how different you are when you let yourself be in love. I’m a 59 year-old father of two young children who have taught me that you can be in love with a flower, a piece of music, a cat − and with another person. I’m the son of a 96 year-old mother who’s taught me that you can be in love with yourself, with others and with life, despite the hardships and uncertainties. These people give me a beautiful gift – something which I know I can so quickly lose touch with, in my busyness. So often I speed-skate through the day, doing all sorts of necessary things and hopefully doing them well. Yet my efforts to be efficient and effective claim a great price. Most of the time we live in a space I call ‘complexity’ − a space in which we’re so quick to compare and contrast ourselves with others and ever-ready to prove and protect our cherished perspectives. As someone who accompanies others on their faith journeys, I know we’re all in similar boats. We can so quickly retreat into our defensive positions, eager to justify why we had no other choice but to do this or that. When we’re caught in complexity, we’re never happy or content, because we fear that something is going to come along to show us up or spin us out of control. Our sense of self becomes precarious; it seems that a fall into self-loathing or a need to exact revenge is but a breath away. In complexity, I can’t do what my children and my mother can do. Their eyes are much more ready to behold reality with openness,

hope, even reverence. When I’m caught in complexity, I can’t behold anything. All I can do is critique with suspicious, sceptical eyes. In complexity, I can scrutinise life only with the mind; my children and mother encounter life with their souls. My children’s perspectives are immature because they haven’t tasted the beauty and brokenness of being human. I call this ‘naïve simplicity’. My mother, though, has certainly experienced the scarred and sacred sides of living, and can still respond with a sincere “yes” to what is before her. I call this ‘deep simplicity’. There is no chronological age when we finally throw off the yoke of complexity for the relative freedom of deep simplicity. Some days it doesn’t take much for fear to topple us from our sense of connection and participation into an icy sea of isolation and dread. One moment we can be in love, relationship or communion, and the next we‘ve fallen into lonely and needy isolation. There are people in their late twenties who understand life far better than some in their sixties. What might be some characteristics of those who have let life circumstances teach them? The first is the capacity to let failure meet and teach them. Failure and suffering are the great teachers and spare none of us. We can deny them or let them tutor us about what’s valuable and what’s lasting. Failure and suffering rip off the false self, the endless disguises of the ego that goes to extraordinary lengths to prove, promote or protect itself. Those who let the years teach them can learn to trust that if they let go this false self, they fall into a deeper, larger and

richer life than they could have constructed. A second characteristic of these spacious and gracious people is that they have a capacity to hold paradox. They don’t have to deny that they are mixtures of darkness and light; loving one moment and indulgent the next; courageous and wise, then hesitant; sagacious and imprudent; striving for the good and the true and then captured by compulsion. These people are at home in their own skin, for they know they’ll never ‘have it together’. At least on their better days, they remember that life is a mixed bag: they carry their amalgam of sharp edges with a wisdom that can forgive reality and themselves for not being perfect. A third characteristic is a capacity to let woundedness be a source of compassion and mercy, rather than a toxic pool of bitterness and resentment. No one escapes being wounded and we can’t relate honestly without an awareness of this. In this litigious society, it’s become easy to blame another for how life’s turned out and this fault-finding can get into our very cells. It’s a temptation to find someone to blame so we can gain pleasure from being the one who’s been wronged. The space of deep simplicity is always there and sometimes we just drop into it. We might hear a voice whispering an invitation that takes us past the known, through the untrodden and into the unexpected. We’re not meeting the world with the same cynicism or sarcasm, but seeing through fresh, hopeful eyes. From this space we have a less controlling grip over what should be and can operate from a broader vision. It’s where we can trust that laying down life for love is neither naïve nor a trap.

A space of deep simplicity gives the grace to no longer need to tote grievances. We choose to extend universal amnesty towards ourselves, our adversaries, and towards the way life has worked out. Here we notice that what should have destroyed us has actually recreated us, and we can love again without rhyme, reason or reward. We want to be aware of others’ soul pain, rather than forever sojourning in the land of blame. Here our spirit can sing even amidst uncertainty, for we don’t have to keep airbrushing the past or micro-managing the future. It’s from where we sense a voice that whispers that we’re not our ups and downs, our opinions or plans, our past or what’s to come. We can trust that grace can be at work even in the midst of the seemingly absurd. Our 4 year-old daughter will inevitably leave the land of naïve simplicity and soon enough bump against life’s brokenness and blessedness. And my 96 year-old mother will leave this earth, probably slipping out in an attitude of thanks that life has taught her what love is all about. May I too grow more completely, to be able to proclaim the words of Dag Hammarskjöld: “For what has been, thank you. For what will be, yes.” Please visit




/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday

We choose to extend universal amnesty towards ourselves, our adversaries, and towards the way life has worked out.

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Seasons of a friendship By TRACEY EDSTEIN

There are stones in Ailsa Piper’s home named ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’. And when I visit, to enjoy a conversation with dear friends Ailsa and Tony Doherty, I encounter two individuals who might well be named ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’ – but which is which? In a unique collaboration, arising from a fortuitous first encounter, their (largely) email correspondence has become a book, aptly titled The Attachment. Baldly, it’s a collection of emails, to and fro, categorised in seasons, over several years – but it is so much more than that. While the title refers literally to email attachments, it neatly captures the depth of friendship that arose from their ongoing correspondence. When Ailsa Piper’s Sinning Across Spain was published in 2012, Tony Doherty, a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney, emailed Ailsa to tell her how much he enjoyed the book. Ailsa wove an intriguing tale of walking a 1300km camino across Spain ‘carrying’ the sins of others in medieval fashion. Ailsa is an inveterate walker, and Tony’s a walker too, although harbour swimming is his daily passion. Tony was surprised − and delighted – when Ailsa replied immediately. While Tony enjoys receiving letters, Ailsa is the Queen of Correspondence. She loves stationery and stamps and popping a letter in the postbox. She confesses to having a cupboard filled with paper! The email exchanges continued for a number of years, with Ailsa and Tony traversing in cyberspace topics as diverse as belief, family, travel, church, memory, theology, loss – all infused with openness, grace 14

and wit. As they came to know each other better, various coincidences emerged around shared attachments to particular writers and lands, wanderings and wonderings. The conversation flowed generously, in a style redolent of the letters of leisured folk in days gone by. However, these corespondents are not people of leisure. While officially retired, and an octogenarian, Tony is still very much immersed in “the ‘sacrament business’. I think it’s my best work – marrying people, helping people to face death, celebrating new life.” The peripatetic Ailsa says she is a “writer, walker, teacher, theatre director and, once upon a time, actress”. We make time for what matters to us, and amidst busy lives, these two very different individuals continue to build a deep friendship on words. The disciple Paul wrote letters that are still proclaimed in Christian churches all over the world, and the letters of significant people continue to be valued. The Attachment is a wonderfully grounded, human, engaging collection that advocates that The Letter not become a threatened species! While Ailsa was raised and educated a Catholic, she does not profess Catholicism today. She does, however, have a deep appreciation of ritual and mystery and she values conversations that explore the big questions. She collects friends (as well as postcards) and is open to encounter, daily. The distinguishing feature of Ailsa’s second camino was “shouldering the sins of friends, colleagues and strangers….in medieval times, a person could be paid to carry the sins of another to a holy place. On arrival, the stay-at-home received absolution, while the walker got to keep any blisters they’d earned on the way.”

Fast forward a few years, and in one of their e-letters, Tony shares a piece he wrote for an online publication: “To what extent are we prepared to carry the pain of others? In a church which claims to be a supporting community of believers – how do we give hope, in some genuine fashion, to someone whose life is fast unravelling?” There was at the time a particular reference to the sexual abuse scandals of the church, but the broader question holds…and Ailsa carried others’ pain literally. She couldn’t have known, but her deepest pain was on the horizon. On 18 May 2014, Ailsa’s husband of 27 years, actor Peter Curtin, died suddenly. Later, she wrote, “Peter has taken the great leap.” A year earlier, Tony’s much loved brother, Peter, had died. Both Peters left enormous gulfs in the lives of those who loved them. Much of The Attachment ruminates on death, dying and grief. Ailsa shares the simple fact that “Tony was a stalwart. He was a quiet, reassuring presence on the day of Peter’s funeral. He wrote to me in the time that followed, of course. But he also spoke with me on the phone almost every day afterwards….He ministered to his friend.” This simple ministry, accessible to all, exemplifies a rare and deep friendship. In our conversation, Ailsa is generous in sharing her life as widow – a word she does not avoid. She writes, “My job was to get on with it; to do the work of a widow.” Building on those intriguing words, she says, “There’s this sense that your job is almost to disappear…wear black…when people asked me, ‘Do you think you will have another relationship?’ I would say, ‘The thing you don’t understand is that I am still married.’ I’m still working out the ways in which I’m inextricably, on a cellular level,

knitted to him….think of the black armband? The ways we used to say ‘I’m mourning’ were about bringing death and life into the culture. I was thinking one day on the train, it would be great if there was an app you could hit that would say, ‘There are six people in this carriage who have recently lost someone. Speak a bit gently.’” In supporting Ailsa during her darkest days, Tony embodied his understanding of parish as “primarily about healing – first aid stations for the spiritually wounded.” There is a strong echo here of Pope Francis’ epithet, “field hospital”. Tony explains how after learning the stories of the people of God in his last parish, “you see people well below the surface and it’s very satisfying, and it actually takes a good deal of sensitivity, to navigate your language around lots and lots of people…” Sensitivity around language is a specialty of both Tony and Ailsa. Tony says, “My belief in life is that we are held in the hands of a gracious mystery.” Tony’s cousin, Joan Chittister osb, writes, of “the sacrament of friendship”. I believe the deep friendship of Ailsa Piper and Tony Doherty is sacramental – it makes holy – and it is a gracious mystery into which the reader of The Attachment is welcomed. So when you read a book you really enjoy, email the writer – you never know what might ensue! Tony Doherty and Ailsa Piper The Attachment Allen and Unwin 2017. Aurora has a copy of The Attachment to give away. Please send an envelope to the editor with your name and postal address on the back before 17 April.

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Faith Matters

An ancient faith brimming with stories By RUTH JACOBS The story of Judaism begins with its founder, Abram.

changed his name to Abraham, his wife’s to Sarah.

The Jewish festivals, of which there are many,

Abram lived with his family in the bustling, commercial city of Ur. The ruler of the region was a feisty man called Nimrod who ruled with an iron fist, creating fear and oppressing the people. All in his dominion had to obey him and his laws. The land prospered.

The lines of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of Judaism, gave rise to many fascinating and instructional stories, so Judaism has always encouraged study and discussion.

The three pilgrimage festivals originally required

The Hebrew people, thanks to Joseph of the multi-coloured coat, ended up in Egypt, where they lived and prospered, until a Pharaoh set the people to hard labour and ordered them to worship Egyptian gods. The Hebrew people stubbornly held on to their belief in the One True God and Moses, a baby saved by Pharaoh’s sister and raised to be Egyptian, became the saviour of his people. He led the people through the Red Sea while Pharaoh’s army drowned. Both Egyptian and Hebrew saw the power of God as the ten plagues plunged Egypt into chaos.

wilderness; Pesach (Passover), a week when

Many gods were worshipped. Abram was an inquisitive young man who asked questions and refused to be silenced. Abram’s father made a comfortable living manufacturing images of gods, carved from wood and fashioned from clay. Abram questioned this work. Tradition has it that Abram’s father feared for his son, so he hid him in a dungeon for many years. When he thought it was safe he brought Abram out of the dungeon to work in his business. Abram had been deprived of the sight of creation, looked around him and came to the conclusion that there had to be a divine plan and order in the world, so he started to talk about this. Now Abram was a good son, he worked with his father, going into the woods, collecting wood and carving idols to be sold. One day his father had to go out and left Abram in charge of the store. A woman came in to buy a god. She chose a figure and was happy with her choice. Abram looked at her and asked her how this god could help her, because yesterday it was a log in the woods. She grabbed her purchase and ran out of the store, angry. Abram knew he was in trouble; what to do? He smashed all the idols except one, and in the remaining idol’s hand he placed a baton. Father came home and was absolutely furious. “What have you done?” he asked. Abram replied, “I didn't do it, it was that god left standing with that baton in his hand.” “Oh,” said his father, “you are lying, you know we carved that god yesterday. “Aha,” said Abram, “so how can it be a god?” Essentially this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the One True God and Abram. He was told by God to leave his house, his people, his country for a land to which God would lead him, and the father of monotheism

Through trials and anguish, the people ended up at Mt Sinai where they heard God call Moses to come up the mountain. As you probably know, Moses brought down the Ten Commandments after spending 40 days with God, so now we have the five books of the Torah. The explanations Moses gave the people were written down and taught. Time passed and the Temple was built in David’s city, Jerusalem, only to be destroyed in the year 70 and the Jews were expelled from Israel. Judaism remains strongly associated with Israel, the land God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

retell the stories of our faith. pilgrims to go to the Temple in Jerusalem. These festivals are Sukkot, the festival of living in booths, commemorating the 40 years in the leavened bread is not eaten, commemorating the Exodus, and Shavuot, celebrating the first fruit and the giving of the Torah. The ‘high holy days’ include Rosh ha Shanna, the beginning of the new year, when Jews are encouraged to examine their souls and repent, and Yom Kippur, the holiest day on which most Jews attempt to come to synagogue. It is a day of deep introspection and crying to God for forgiveness. Chanukkah commemorates the regaining of the Temple and the miracle of oil by lighting candles. Chanukkah is one of the best known Jewish holidays because of its proximity to Christmas. Many think of this holiday as the ‘Jewish Christmas’, adopting customs such as gift-giving and decoration. It is ironic that this festival, originating in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Judaism, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on the calendar. Judaism is inclusive, in that men and women are treated as equal and encouraged to participate. It encompasses a spectrum of belief from ultra-

The most important prayer said by all Jews is “Shema Israel Adonai Elochenu Adonai Echad − Hear, O Israel, there is one God and He is one.”

orthodox through to liberal.

Judaism is a faith of many books: as well as the Torah and Mishnah there is the Talmud, comprising commentaries and explanations. The bible that is familiar to many includes these books as well as the Prophets and the Books of Ruth, Job, Jonah, Esther and the Psalms.

follow the laws, to study Torah and to tell and

The order of prayers and conducting of the service is contained within the prayer book which we call The Siddur.

Judaism is a rich way of life, full of traditions and festivals which encourage every Jew to retell the stories! Ruth Jacobs sits on the Board of Management of the Newcastle Hebrew Congregation. She encourages all who want to know more to visit, or or go to YouTube and simply type in Judaism.

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Seasons of Mercy

Even in pain, each day is a new beginning


St Augustine has been quoted as saying, “the greatest evil is physical pain”. Over the past six and a half years I have come to know this evil. In July 2010, due to having severe osteoarthritis in my left knee, I was advised to have a total knee replacement. Prior to the surgery I had a career working in child protection. This, coupled with family and social commitments, meant I had very little time to myself. I am a wife, a mother, motherin-law, grandmother, a great grandmother, daughter (my 90 year-old mother is currently in an aged care facility), sister, friend − and the list goes on. I was involved in many community activities and had lots of hobbies which kept me fairly active. I had my right knee replaced some six years earlier and after six weeks had recovered sufficiently to return to work and normal activity. This was not the case with the second surgery, however. Instead of the post-operative pain subsiding, four weeks later I was admitted to hospital again with severe, non-relenting pain in my entire left leg. My leg was swollen, hard and discoloured. A few days into the admission I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain

Syndrome (CRPS) and so began the roller coaster ride which has impacted on all areas of my existence. I had never heard of this condition and a nurse in the hospital gave me some information she printed from the internet. I could not absorb the information − all I could focus on was the fact that there was no cure for CRPS. Anger, shock and despair were just some of the feelings I was experiencing. These feelings later changed to a sense of overwhelming loss. At this stage I was referred to a pain specialist and I had several spinal blocks, was placed on heaps of medications and spent a couple of weeks in rehabilitation. These strategies were not as effective as anticipated so the pain specialist decided I would be ideally suited to having a spinal cord stimulator inserted. This should have been straightforward but the trial was not successful as the doctor was unable to implant the leads due to the arthritis in my spine. After much discussion it was decided to proceed with the implant of the stimulator and that I would have a laminectomy to place the leads. At this stage I was still expecting the doctors would be able to come up with the ‘magic answers’/treatment which would

Anger, shock and despair were just some of the feelings I was experiencing. These feelings later changed to a sense of overwhelming loss.


give me my life back…it was not to be. The stimulator was implanted but the electronic signals seemed to exacerbate rather than lessen the pain. Several attempts to come up with a suitable stimulation ensued to no avail. At this stage the doctor suggested I see a psychologist. At first I was horrified. I thought that he did not believe I was experiencing the high degree of pain that was evident. I went along to the first appointment with some level of trepidation. However, this has been the signal best intervention I have undertaken. The psychologist talked about and explored with me the high degree of grief and loss I was experiencing and once we had resolved many of these issues we began to explore mindfulness as a way of dealing with the pain. I am sometimes able to use this form of meditation to deal with the pain when it is at its worst. I am often asked what I have learned through all of this. I have learned that there is a distinct lack of understanding about chronic pain both at a medical and community level. I experience pain all day, every day. Some days are worse than others and sometimes I am unable to wear shoes or clothes that touch the parts of the body that are affected by this condition. You see, the CRPS has spread. It is now manifested in the entire left side of my body, including my face and scalp. I have patches in my right leg, foot

and arm. I have learned that my husband is more wonderful than I could have imagined and is a very supportive partner, for which I am very grateful. I have learned that people know very little about this condition which has been around since the American Civil War. I have learned that each day is a new beginning and it does not matter if the exhaustion is so great that it means I have to rest on the bed after having a shower for instance. Luckily not all days are wretched. The pain in my case fluctuates. On a scale of one to ten some days the pain sits at around 5 or 6 and about 50% of days the pain is off the scale… meaning it is more than a ten. These are the days when it is hard to maintain a positive focus and move forward − but I can and I do. I have also learnt that ‘it is what it is’. Each new day is a blessing even though the quantum of the pain is immense but I try and remember that is just the way things are and ‘get on with it’.



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CatholicCare partners with parishes and schools Acting Director, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, Gary Christensen, outlines his approach to his new role. Gary is a Novocastrian who was educated in local Catholic schools and has considerable experience in the areas of child protection, out of home care, mental health and disability services.


I accepted Bishop Bill’s request to become Acting Director knowing that a key aspect of the role is ensuring that we become part of local communities so that we are part of local solutions to community need. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the leadership and dedication of former Director, Helga Smit. During my tenure as Acting Director for the next twelve months, we will be opening offices in Singleton and Muswellbrook. Here a range of services will be offered including out of home care (OOHC), disability services through the NDIS, autism and cognitive assessments and counselling and psychological services. I have spoken with Director of Catholic Schools, Dr Michael Slattery, and we are

both committed to seeing CatholicCare and Catholic schools work more closely together. One example is a partnership with St Mary’s High School, Gateshead, that will see CatholicCare employ a Community Outreach Worker to work as part of the school community to support vulnerable students and families. We will be increasing our outreach to parishes, building on our work with Holy Name Parish in Forster where we are establishing a satellite office.

Services reforms for both foster and residential care, it is time to analyse whether our current OOHC structure and processes, including clinical services and early intervention, leave us best placed to optimise our position during the recommissioning process. This is coupled with the transition of our disability supported accommodation services from the current model to an ‘end to end’ therapeutic care approach that has already commenced.

Like many social service agencies, we are dealing with an ever-changing landscape. Change is challenging − and it brings opportunity. As we are now preparing for the recommissioning of OOHC in line with NSW Family and Community

I value the work of each team member and I look forward to working closely with all as we navigate change, keeping the needs of the vulnerable people whom we support at the centre of our thinking and planning.


If you strive creatively for justice, peace, reconciliation and God’s mission of mercy in Australia and globally, please join us for the Mission: one heart many voices conference in May 2017. It is a unique opportunity to listen, converse and experience the many and diverse voices that are an expression of the one heart of mission.

Social Services Hunter-Manning


Please visit

Don’t miss out!

MON 15 - WED 17 MAY, 2017

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning spans the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Our mission is to listen and respond by working together with communities to build a stronger, fairer and kinder society that values children, young people, families and individuals. Echoing the gospel, we seek to provide opportunities for people to 'have life and have it to the full'.

A multi-sector dialogue on living the joy of the Gospel and leading mission

Above all, the conference purpose is to affirm, inspire, nurture and imagine. It will enable participants to ‘go forth boldly’ (EG 261) living the joy of the Gospel and leading mission.

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Why not project an Easter message? By ANNE MILLARD

Reprising her Advent offering, cinephile Anne Millard suggests a clutch of Easter-flavoured films.

“Easter is new beginnings. New life. Easter's about hope.” So says Bunny, voiced by Hugh Jackman in the 2012 animated film Rise of the Guardians. Bunny’s job, along with other guardians North, Tooth and Sandman, is to uphold hope and all that is good for children around the world. In Rise of the Guardians, Bunny is a fierce creature, part Ninja, armed with boomerangs he knows how to use. What a delight is this movie and its somewhat simplistic message about the struggle between hope and hopelessness. Why, you might ask, is Bunny the symbol of hope? Twenty years ago while living in the famous Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I experienced the magic of Easter in the northern hemisphere for the first time. After a brutal winter with three weeks off school and waist-deep snow, the dogwood trees lining the main streets all bloomed at Easter. It was breathtaking. The death/resurrection metaphor of nature exploded before my eyes in ways I’d never experienced. Walking to Mass on Easter Sunday I felt the newness of life all around me in flowers, in trees, in the baby bunnies hopefully exploring the newly sprung grass and in the women’s festive dresses and hats. The 1948 movie, Easter Parade, starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, captures that same magic. The film is one of the innovative “integrated musicals” of the 1940s, beginning with Meet Me in St Louis in 1944 and culminating in the great success of Singin’ in the Rain in 1952. In the 1930s musicals all took place on stage, but by the 1940s the settings were more everyday. One of the best scenes of Easter Parade occurs early in the film when Fred Astaire sings and dances “Drum Crazy” in a toy store. The scene may be morally questionable, because Fred’s goal is to distract a boy from purchasing a bunny Fred wants himself, but there’s no doubting Astaire’s exceptional talent. He’s a little old to play the love interest of Judy Garland (she’s half his age) but the studio lured him out of retirement to take the role after Gene Kelly broke his leg. Today, we appreciate the power of musicals to enable characters to sing about feelings that might otherwise be unknown to audiences. Easter Parade is a piece of that heritage, one of the great MGM studio − where there are more stars than there are in heaven − musicals


produced by Arthur Freed. It’s movie magic! The 2000 film, Chocolat, employs magic of a different kind. A whimsical fable with touches of magical realism, the film stars Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina and Johnny Depp. One might be forgiven for thinking the moral of the story is that giving up chocolate for Lent causes good people to do bad things. Perhaps the Easter Sunday homily of Père Henri better summarizes the film’s blatant theme of tolerance, love and kindness: We can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do…by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude…we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create…and who we include. The winner of this year’s Academy Award for best animated feature, Zootopia, concerns a bunny named Judy who wants to become a police officer in the big city. It’s a tough goal, one that her parents and everyone she knows tries to steer her away from, but she follows her dream to its fulfillment. Talk about a symbol of hope! Officer Judy is just a delight. I was fascinated by the personification of her bunny ears, which tell us all we need to know about her. Sad Judy: ears down. Happy Judy: ears up. Beyond great animation and a terrific pair of ears, the plot is interesting, intriguing and relevant. Judy lives the dream, but not without complications. She is not perfect. As she says, “Real life is messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you!” To succeed as a police officer in the metropolis of Zootopia, Judy has to build and sustain relationships, often with individuals she has stereotyped and wrongly judged.

classic, its message that smart phones and online media are killing human interactions is barely veiled. Zombie films often emerge during times of societal crisis. The zombie archetype first appeared in Haiti in the early 1600s, mirroring the inhumane treatment of African slaves. Many slaves believed dying would release their suffering; instead they became undead slaves − denied their own bodies and yet trapped inside them. Perhaps the first well-known zombie movie is George Romero’s great zombie film Night of the Living Dead (1968), which appeared during the height of the Cold War. In a later Romero film, the zombies infect others through the mixing of bodily fluids, an obvious commentary on the AIDS epidemic. The zombies of Warm Bodies are a little more touchy feely. Their ailment seems to mirror the modern fixation with technology that draws us away from the present to live in the isolating cocoon of the virtual. While the bunny may not be the best metaphor for hope in the southern hemisphere, Easter is certainly about new beginnings. One might argue there’s nothing Christian about the Easter Bunny. But then again, the word ‘Easter’ is derived from the Norse Goddess of fertility. As we regroup from summer’s brutal heat, Easter’s crisper air provides an opportunity to take a breath, to spend time with others, to eat chocolate and watch a movie or two! Anne Millard is Director of Music at Sacred Heart Cathedral.



Another relationship-driven movie is Warm Bodies (2013), which sets the story of Romeo and Juliet in a post-apocalyptic world, where the male character, R, is a zombie and the female character, Julie, is human. Think of the film as a zombie romantic comedy (zom rom com?), with a significant message: love makes us human. Not only does R’s love for Julie bring him back from zombiedom, but seeing the pair holding hands invokes other zombies to strive to regain their lost humanity as well. If Warm Bodies is a thinly veiled reworking of the Shakespearean

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Project Compassion 2017

Aloma’s story: our common home, our future By NICOLE CLEMENTS

Caritas Australia is supporting and empowering Filipino communities like Aloma’s in the aftermath of extreme weather events and the effects of climate change. Through Aloma’s work with an Integrated Community Development Program, supported by Caritas Australia, she has become a community leader, helping develop sustainable mangrove rehabilitation and coastal protection practices. “The greatest change in my life was to realise that the environment is very important. We grew up cutting down all the trees around us, including the mangroves…and using [them] for firewood,” Aloma said. “Now, instead, we are planting the mangroves for our own protection.” A few years ago, Aloma’s village was a scene of devastation – high winds and high seas battered a barren stretch of sand. Extreme weather is a common enough occurrence in this vulnerable area, threatening the safety and food security of families struggling to survive. In 2009, when Typhoon Santi raged, Aloma and her small children cowered while their home fell to shreds around them. With Aloma’s training, her sense of security and her confidence grew along with her

awareness of the role she could play in caring for the land.

are preparing a plan that will help them mitigate the impact of disasters in their area.

“My dream for my community is to continue

“It is important to protect the environment. We are in a coastal area, and mangroves will protect us from a tsunami or flooding,” Aloma says.

Gazing out through the rows of mangroves, Aloma shares her dream for her family, for her community and for their common home.

next generation will benefit from what we

Things first began to change for the family in 2011, when Aloma became a participant in the Integrated Community Development Program (ICDP) run by the Socio Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc. (SPACFI).

what we are doing right now, so that the

“I have a simple dream for my family: that my children will be able to finish their schooling, unlike us, and eventually they will have a better future.

have started.” Please donate to Project Compassion 2017 and help communities in coastal areas of the Philippines to care for their environment. Visit

“I was so happy … I understood that the program would help the poor people in the village.” Aloma gained a range of skills through the program, including bookkeeping, managing emergency logistics and environmental conservation. Inspired by Aloma’s leadership, the whole community now comes together – children and adults – to work in the mangrove nursery. “The community finds it enjoyable. It’s just like community bonding for them, going in this area, planting the mangroves. Now it’s become their lifestyle, to protect the coastal area [using] mangroves,” Aloma says. Community-wide training in coastal management has enabled everyone to see the value of working together. Now the villagers

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Providing children with a Safe Home for Life


According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), nearly 17,000 children and young people in NSW are in Out of Home Care. Around half are in relative or kinship care and half in foster care. A small number is in residential care or living in hotel rooms because a carer cannot be found for them, or all the placement options available have been exhausted. Put simply, this means that they have often been moved from placement to placement. Pause for a moment and think about what a Safe Home for Life means to you. I had a stable home to go to every day after school. The people in that home loved me and wanted me there, even when I was having a bad day. My home was safe − no-one was going to hurt me or abuse me and there would be enough food to eat. Sadly, for many children and young people, this is not reality. Now imagine that you are a young child who has been removed from your home and family because it was unsafe to remain there. You are placed with strangers, possibly separated from your siblings and you have no idea how long it will be before you go home, if ever. This probably means that you have to leave your friends, change schools and adjust to a different way of life. You may feel anxious, angry and scared and so you may act up. Sometimes the placement is not sustainable and a new home needs to be found.

According to a 2010 AFIS study into the average number of placements for children in care, “40% of the sample had between two and five placements, 14% had between six and 10 placements and 32% had moved between placements more than 11 times.” Multiple placement breakdowns are associated with poor outcomes for children in care. This group is grossly overrepresented in terms of unemployment, teen pregnancy, drug use, incarceration, poor mental health and youth suicide. This group is also much more likely to have children taken into care. It is tragic that these children, who have already experienced loss and hardship, should have to endure yet more when they leave the system. The Safe Home for Life reforms aim to address these issues. One of the main areas of change is the Permanency Planning Principles. These principles outline the need to place an urgent focus on identifying a long-term, stable placement for children when they are taken into care. The principles dictate that the first placement option to be explored is restoration to the child’s parents or family. This process often requires intensive support to ensure that the home environment is safe for the child to return. In many Out Of Home Care (OOHC) services, this intensive support work is beyond the capacity of already overloaded caseworkers.

To address this issue, CatholicCare Social Services initiated its Family Restorations Project. The project sits within CatholicCare’s Early Intervention portfolio, separate from OOHC. The purpose of the Family Restorations team is to provide intensive support to the families of origin, where Family and Community Services have identified family reunification as a viable option. Families are assisted with understanding the legal process and are provided with support to aid them in meeting the minimum outcomes for restoration as outlined by Family and Community Services and the Children’s Court. Over the past eight months the Restorations Team, in close partnership with OOHC, has identified a need for this same support to be offered to extended family members who are interested in assuming care for these vulnerable children when their parents are unable to do so. This aligns with the Permanency Planning Principles and maintains a strong focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for children in care by allowing more children to stay with their family. This is especially important for our children and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, where a connection to culture is vital in supporting the child to maintain his/ her sense of identity, belonging and security.

Providing intensive support to families in a timely manner aids in reducing the time a child spends in care. This in turn leads to better outcomes for the child, the family and our community. CatholicCare will continue to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care by constantly monitoring and improving our service to ensure we support as many children as possible in attaining their Safe Home for Life. We have also set up a separate project at CatholicCare specifically designed to offer in home intensive parenting support for Carers. The Sinergie program can support carers (new or old) to implement strategies and routines or to help people understand the effect trauma has on child development and behaviour. Our mission is to help build a “stronger, fairer and kinder society”. One of the ways we do that at CatholicCare is by walking in another person’s shoes – no matter what size those shoes are. If you are interested in providing a short or long-term Safe Home for a child or young person then we would love to hear from you. Please P 4979 1120.



Frankly Spoken “The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) manifests the paternal and visceral love of God, a love shown in words and concrete gestures, a love that becomes covenant. God is the greatest and most faithful covenantal partner. God desires a world in which men and women are bound to him and as a result live in harmony among themselves and with creation.” 24 February, when receiving an illustrated copy of the Torah from an interreligious group of scholars


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Community Noticeboard Ecumenical Prayers in the Spirit of Taizé Sunday 9 April at Merewether Uniting Church, 178 Glebe Road, Merewether. Commencing at 7pm for 45 minutes and characterised by the singing of simple harmonised tunes, often in various languages, interspersed with readings, prayers and a period of silence. Services are followed by supper. E minister.merewetheruca@ or P Rev Jennifer Burns 0411 133 679. 2017 dates: 18 June, 13 August and 8 October. TWEC Dinner This will be held on Thursday 11 May at the Therry Centre at East Maitland. The guest speaker is internationally renowned environmentalist and writer, and Australian of the Year 2007, Tim Flannery. The cost is $65 pp, including canapés, a two-course meal and drinks. The Tenison Woods Education Centre offers adult formation within the diocese. P Sharon 4979 1134 or E sharon.murphy@ Concerts at Sacred Spaces Singleton Sunday 30 April 2.00pm: Banney’s Baton Banter with Christ Church Camerata in association with 1233 ABC Newcastle. Be part of the live recording with ABC’s Paul Bevan and conductor David Banney. The Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music is the principal partner in presenting our Fine Music Concert Series. Cost: $35 adult, $30 concession, $25 student or child. P 6572 2398 or E office@ Seasons for Growth Companioning Training - Children & Young People’s training: Taree 25-26 July. Newcastle 8-9 November; 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. Stormbirds Training (to help children/young people after a natural

disaster): Dubbo 12 April. Enrolments for training are completed at “Before We Say I Do” 2017 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. “Before We Say I Do” is a group program held over two days or four evenings. Course 3/17 13 and 20 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. Mercy Spirituality Centre Toronto – Reflection Days Listening to the call to become the Beloved Disciple Thursday 27 and Friday 28 April 9.30am-4.00pm. An invitation to respond to the call in John’s Gospel using reflective experiences which will be framed by meditation. Facilitator: Helen Duffy rsm Cost $70 lunch included. Movement and Meditation from the heart – Presence Tuesdays 2, 16, 30 May 9.30am-11.30am. An experience of mindfulness meditation using gentle body movement, sacred text, music, imagery. Facilitator: Vicki Hancock. Cost $25 per session. Powerful Parables Thursday 18 May. 9.30am-1.00pm. Story telling: story listening, story sharing: discovering new meanings in the ordinary of our everyday. Facilitator Val O’Hara rsm. Cost $20 includes light lunch. Praying your dreams – Weekend Retreat

Friday 19 May 6.00pm - Sunday 21 May 3.00pm. Dreams are a consistent help for the process of listening to the soul. As the rabbis liked to put it, “Like a letter that is unopened from God”. The weekend will be a combination of prayerful input, reflection time and voluntary sharing. Facilitator Patrick Oliver. Cost $250 residential, $150 non-residential. P 4959 1025 or E San Clemente High School Centenary Centenary Ball, Saturday 19 August at Newcastle City Hall. Open Day, Sunday 27 August, all welcome. “Etched in Stone”: purchase an engraved brick to be set in new school hall, cost $30. To learn more, E Year 10 1966 St Aloysius’ High School Reunion You are invited to a reunion for girls who began Year 7 in 1963 and finished Year 10 in or before 1966. Saturday 16 September at noon, The Duke Hotel, Regent St, New Lambton. Lunch will be at guests’ expense. Drinks available at the bar. Please contact Gail Cornford (Crosby) P 0414 658 232, Anne Gleeson (Jennings) P 0419 229 079 or Nola Osmond (Henderson) P 49682871 or 0422 884 968. 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 youth.festival@ or mncatholicyouth.

For your diary April  2 5th Sunday of Lent

World Autism Awareness Day

 7 World Health Day  8 National Youth Week begins.  9 Palm Sunday

Way of the Cross at Kilaben Bay, 3.00pm

 11 Chrism Mass, 7.00pm,

Sacred Heart Cathedral

 13 Holy Thursday  14 Good Friday  1 6 Easter Sunday  25 ANZAC Day

For details of Holy Week-Easter liturgies please visit

For more events please visit and

Short & long term Foster Carers are needed FREE INFO SESSIONS

12 April: 26 April: 10 May: 30 May:

Taree, 6pm - 8.30pm Cardiff, 6pm - 8.30pm Gloucester, 6pm - 8.30pm Raymond Terrace, 6pm - 8.30pm

Light refreshments provided

to register visit

or call (02) 4944 0700 for more info

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Even in the Antarctic wonderland, Aurora is diverting!

Soul food Vocation: the place where your deepest gladness meets the world’s deep needs. - Frederick Buechner


Kevin Treston’s Who do you say I am? seeks to explore a paradigm shift from what Treston calls the Fall/Redemption Traditional Christian Story to a Christian Cosmic Story. He argues that the Good News of Jesus is revealed within both traditions but there is a need to make our religious beliefs more intelligible in a modern world of quantum physics and cosmology if we are to find the Good News in the twenty-first century. Within the Fall/Redemption Traditional Christian Story the focus has very much been on sin and salvation. These theological concepts have had a narrowing effect on the true mission of Jesus. People are now seeking an alternative orthodoxy that is real for their lives. We are being called to be seekers rather than dwellers. Action or witness, rather than rhetoric, is seen as the way to live authentically the Jesus story. Our Church is in a state of flux and there are important issues that require discernment so that we can be spirit-filled. Two such examples are the inclusion of women in ministry and governance in our Church, and the importance of everyone being responsible stewards of creation.

Who do you say I am? highlights the minuteness of human creation in the timeline of the world. Indeed, it reinforces that we are specks in a world that is billions of years old. Yet humanity wants to be in control and sees itself as the centre of the universe. This is a humbling insight that must surely change and challenge our behaviour in a cosmic world where God reveals Godself infinitely. The mission of Jesus is a positive movement to help all people participate in the divine life of God through the Spirit. At present many seem alienated from this, the reasons for which Treston elaborates in some detail. The challenge for the Church is to become increasingly relational so that this mission and who Jesus is can be inviting for everyone. Importantly, for those who love the Church and who wish to be challenged in their faith, this book will provide the stimulus they seek. Kevin Treston Who do you say I am? Morning Star Publishing 2016.

Homemade Olive Bread This month’s recipe may look a little plain but it tastes superb! And there is little that compares with the aroma of freshly baked bread in your own kitchen... BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - The Cathedral Café

Ingredients f f 250 ml lukewarm water f f 3 teaspoons instant yeast f f 3 cups plain flour f f 3 tablespoons olive oil f f 2 teaspoons salt f f 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives f f 2 tablespoons chopped semisundried tomatoes f f 1 cup grated cheddar cheese f f 6 chopped basil leaves f f 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs


Method In a large mixing bowl, combine the water and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy (if this does not occur, discard and repeat). Add sieved flour and all other ingredients. Mix together with a wooden spoon and your hands or a kitchen aid with a dough hook. Roll into a rough ball, return to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour. The ball should double in size.

flat disc about 2 cm thick, sprinkling with flour as needed. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over the top of the flattened disc and leave in a warm place for another half an hour.

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.

Bake in a preheated fan forced oven at 190°C for 12 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before eating – if you can wait that long!

Pull back plastic wrap and punch the middle of the dough to knock it back. Roll the mixture around in the bowl to reduce its size. Cover again with plastic wrap and rest for another hour. Turn dough out onto a clean flat bench sprinkled with flour. Roll the ball into a large

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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

NEWCASTLE 13 & 20 May 2017

SINGLETON 9 & 16 September 2017

NEWCASTLE 4 & 11 November 2017 11560

For a registration pack and brochure

 4979 1370 


Aurora April 2017  

Aurora’s April cover is an arresting portrait of Mary, the mother of Jesus, by a gifted local artist. Shirley McHugh introduces a talented a...

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