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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle October 2017 | No.173

Voluntary Assisted Dying – what will it mean? Is someone in your family getting ready to begin school? The gift of Salome – child of peace



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First Word

On the cover

Matters serious and not so serious

Students from St Joseph’s, Merriwa, Patrick McLaren, Darcy Taaffe, Mikayla Telfer and Helena Parker, cook up a storm in the kitchen. Photograph courtesy of Gabrielle Sutherland.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle October 2017 | No.173



Our sch are co ools up a heoking eating althy future

Voluntary Assisted Dying – what will it mean? Is someone in your family getting ready to begin school? The gift of Salome – child of peace

Featured  Our schools are cooking up a healthy eating future 5  The interreligious blame game


 Mother and son share enthusiasm for ACYF


 John Jacob Smith, our dedicated WWI soldier


 There’s a bear in there


 Voluntary Assisted Dying – what will it mean? 14  Come to the living waters, you who are thirsty


 Innovation adds colour to World Mission Month 18  It all seems new. And it is.


Regulars  First Word


 My Word


 CareTalk


 One By One


 Family Matters


 Faith Matters


 Seasons of Mercy


 Frankly Spoken


 Community Noticeboard


 Last Word

This month there is, I feel, even more reading than usual, with a number of substantial pieces by writers who are expert in their fields. This year has seen a host of overseas visitors speak in the diocese, and two, Fr James McEvoy and Dr John D’Arcy May, have kindly written for this edition. The golden thread running through the offerings of the various visitors (John May will be here in November) has been the dynamo that is Pope Francis: his words, his gestures, his ability to see beyond the accretions of time and uncover another, often simpler, way. James McEvoy writes, “In Pope Francis we see a man of deep prayer and relationship with Jesus, influenced by Ignatius Loyola, the sixteenth century founder of the Jesuits. We also see a skilled communicator; one with a symbolic imagination.” Also writing for Aurora is Mark Green, National Director of Mission at Calvary Care. Mark asks some powerful ‘questions arising’ from the proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation. As Bishop Bill wrote last month, we live in an era of profound social change that is increasingly reflected in legislation, or at least proposed legislation.


On a lighter note, do read Monica Scanlon’s charming story of a long-standing custom in a Newcastle family, initiated by (now) retired priest John McEnearney. There’s a bear in there… Jill Shirvington OP wrote following the reference to LM Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables (et al) books. “I caught up with your August edition and was so delighted to learn that you, too, are an “Anne” fan! My Dad’s mother gave me all the LM Montgomery books for birthdays and Christmas! “I have been to Prince Edward Island to see Anne, stayed in a farmhouse in Cavendish, saw the Lake of Shining Waters, her House of Dreams, and everything else I could manage in one day. I learned that Lucy Maude wrote her autobiography later in life but I have never located a copy in any library. Thanks for releasing these memories within me…” And for other “Anne” lovers, there will be a treat before the end of the year!


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Aurora online, via MNNews.today.

Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E aurora@mn.catholic.org.au PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119



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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 mnnews.today.


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My Word

A case of conscience Last month in this column, I concluded that Catholics could make up their own minds as citizens on what they thought the law of the land could define as marriage. Not everyone agrees on that, of course. But one of my learned friends who does agree with me remarked that I could have said that people should ‘vote’ according to their conscience. He was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t said that, and I had to ask myself why I had not done so. The answer wasn’t hard to find. I simply am not confident that the great mass of people understands what is meant by ‘conscience’. To too many it simply means ‘follow your feelings’. This diminished, and frankly somewhat childish, understanding of conscience, is part of a larger malaise in Western civilization. In many areas of life, there has been a falling away from the Western tradition of confidence in reason, thought and principle and a corresponding rise in the tendency to be guided by feelings, emotions and desires. We don’t allow this in scientific or technical matters, of course, because we don’t really want our bridges to fall down. But in many personal, human and social spheres, feelings are seen as the best guide. Footballers even use ‘emotional’ as a generalised term of approval, as in ‘The boys was very ‘motional, it was a really ‘motional game’. For this, as for so many things, I blame consumer culture and the advertising industry. It is so much easier to sell something by stirring up a feeling of desire to have it than by explaining factually what the product actually is and does. And, of course, if you want it, it’s right that you should have it, or as they


Two Bishops’


say so often, ‘you deserve it’. Anyway, the retreat from thinking into feeling as a guide to conduct is well under way.

the King’s new laws, but it is Thomas More whom we remember as the man of conscience.

By contrast, the classical understanding of conscience was always about getting beyond emotional responses to a rational decision about what was right. In the dry and clunky language of Scholasticism, conscience was ‘the last practical judgement’. In other words, after learning all you could, studying all the arguments, weighing up all the logic of the situation, the teachings of religion and the accepted ethical principles, the moment of conscience was the final decision, ‘Right then, this is what I must do.’ Conscience was ethical decision-making, a rational process of deciding what was right, here in this particular case. It might be the absolute opposite of what I wanted to do, it might be quite contrary to what I first felt about the question.

There is another way of diminishing our notion of conscience. Often associated with talk about ‘informing our conscience’, it is the view that really all one needs to do is look up the teaching of the church. Then our conscience is ‘informed’, and we know what to do. If only it were so simple! In the late 1930s the Papal Nuncio to Bulgaria, a certain Angelo Roncalli who would later be John XXIII, lied his head off and breached all diplomatic rules by issuing fraudulent baptism certificates to a whole shipload of Jews fleeing Fascism. If he had not, it looked as if no country would accept them. A tricky decision, to lie and to involve the papacy indirectly in a massive lie. His conscience was not ‘informed’, then, simply by the church’s teaching on telling the truth! Conscience will consider the general moral rules, certainly, but it always comes down to the immediate and the personal, ‘What must I do, here and now?’.

Another classical thing about conscience was that it really came into play when the decision was about what I must or must not do. That was where you had to ‘follow your conscience’, á la Martin Luther or Thomas More. It wasn’t really about deciding what you didn’t have to do (‘Well, my conscience says it would be all right’), it was about what you had to do. I’m not sure when the idea of conscience as a way of excusing yourself from following the moral law or the teaching of the church came in, but it seems to me a bit of an innovation in the theory of conscience. In practice, of course, most of the bishops of England in 1533, for example, found ways of excusing themselves for going along with

So I didn’t say ‘follow your conscience’ in my piece on the gay marriage survey. Too often that is simply taken as an invitation to ‘let your heart decide’. Instead, I said read all the information, pray about it, talk about it, think hard. I meant that we should get beyond ‘what I want, what I like, what I feel’ to deciding ‘I believe this is what is right, what I really should do’. That sounds like a conscience decision to me.

ST LUKE’S ANGLICAN CHURCH WALLSEND Both Bishops invite you to join them in conversation about Morals, Ethics and Good decisions. To RSVP please contact Brooke Robinson P 4979 1111 or E brooke.robinson@mn.catholic.org.au RSVP by Thursday 5 October



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Our schools are cooking up a healthy eating future


With rising obesity and school children regularly missing breakfast, it’s more and more vital to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to make healthy food choices.

supporting our local area to growing nationally following the success of Shark Tank which has helped scale our business to reach all corners of the country,” said Holly.

When two Sydney mums discovered students were going to school hungry and didn’t have the life skills to make themselves breakfast or prepare proper lunches, they felt compelled to make a positive and affordable change.

“The important part about our cooking program is that it teaches children the importance of nutrition and how easy it is to use healthy products and create really interesting dishes. Our research shows that children are more likely to try new food if they have made it themselves.

Food Educators, Joanne Bowskill and Holly Boal, founded ‘Get Kids Cooking’ in 2013 and since then, have cooked with over 60,000 primary students across Australia. Get Kids Cooking is a curriculumaligned, hands-on, cost-effective cooking program that builds knowledge, skills and experience to empower students to establish good eating habits early. The program teaches children to cook and to appreciate the value of preparing and eating nutritious food. Get Kids Cooking complements garden programs schools may already have which encourage students to pick fresh produce to enhance the flavours and continue ‘paddock to plate’ learnings. Last year on Shark Tank Australia, Holly and Jo captured the imagination of Dr Glen Richards who has since invested $150,000 to support their business. “Our business has grown from

“Research also shows that hands-on learning promotes success in science, numeracy and literacy and develops collaboration and critical thinking skills.” There are two options: 1. The Kitchen Kart is a compact, mobile, commercial grade teaching kitchen that includes everything needed to run cooking classes at school. It features an oven, stove top, equipment, cooking utensils and even the kitchen sink! 2. Cook In A Box brings an easy cooking program to students for a single class, a term or as part of the yearly teaching program. It is a simple module that provides everything teachers need to run a cooking class and it is only $3-4 per student per recipe. There is no shopping required – everything is

delivered to school! The Kitchen Kart and Cook In A Box education kits teach students ageappropriate cooking skills in hands-on lessons. Schools have many options to purchase The Kitchen Kart, including leasing, renting or applying for grants. “Schools without access to a teaching kitchen, nearby canteen kitchen or module kitchen are still able to use our Cook In A Box modules – you can opt for a lesson that can be taught in a classroom,” says Jo. Tried and tested by students at St Joseph’s Primary School, Merriwa, and St Joseph’s Primary School, Bulahdelah, Get Kids Cooking has had remarkable success. St Joseph’s Merriwa is into its fifth week of the eight-week Cook In A Box program where a suite of eight expertly chosen lessons and recipes have helped students from Kindergarten to Year 6 develop an interest in cooking. Following a cooking demonstration and safety lesson, students are organised into class groups where they work collaboratively to collect, measure and prepare the ingredients for the meal. Utilising fresh produce from the school’s garden, students have learned the skills and discovered the joys of cooking Moroccan couscous, stir-fry, corn fritters and scones.

“The program is an easy, cost effective cooking program that has meaningful curriculum links and − best of all − comes with all the ingredients needed and instructions to teach effectively. “Cooking has never been so much fun and so educational as it is with our students at the moment,” said principal, Helen Whale. During NAIDOC week at St Joseph’s, Bulahdelah, the school community participated in a one-off cooking class experimenting with bush tucker. “Linking to the History curriculum, our students loved the lesson using authentic ingredients to make damper with lillypilly jam,” said principal, Joanne Trotter. Mrs Trotter is eager to continue using the program with other celebrations such as Anzac Day as “the lesson plans and notes were very relevant and reinforced learning in a fun and interactive way,” she said. Holly and Jo have travelled across Australia attending principals’ conventions, visiting a number of schools in one area, attending teachers’ meetings or community fundraiser events. They will visit Newcastle next year to host a free cooking demonstration to educate children about healthy food choices. “By 2019, we would like to see our cooking programs and our kitchens in at least 20% of schools in Australia and beat the increasing problem of obesity…63% of children and young adults will be overweight or obese by 2020,” they said. Get Kids Cooking has gathered national momentum across primary schools and continues to focus on rural areas nationwide. To find out more about bringing the program to your school, contact the team on 1300 853 357 or info@ getkidscooking.com.au. You can also find them on Facebook @ GetKidsCookingAustralia.

HAVE YOUR St Joseph’s, Bulahdelah, students, Laura Howarth, Chloe Hodges and Summer Watson, learn to make damper.


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Fraught with promise: the interreligious blame game


The greatest objection to religious belief in our time is possibly the perceived connection between religion and violence. All the religions have messages of peace; all are historically complicit in violence. This is perhaps especially the case in the so-called ‘Abrahamic’ traditions − Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All, though in different ways, are monotheistic: they inherit the powerful concept that, if it is truly God that we are talking about, then God can only be One and absolutely transcendent. Reinforced by cultural patriarchy, this would seem to be at the root of much divinely sanctioned violence, beginning with the Hebrew Bible.

In the West, such exclusivism took the form of anti-Semitism, or more accurately Christian anti-Jewishness, which some trace back to the New Testament itself. Throughout the Middle Ages this led to the ghettoisation of Europe’s Jews and ultimately to the Nazi Holocaust, what Jews call the Shoah or ‘catastrophe’. Today we are faced with a new phenomenon in the West: Islamophobia, the deep antipathy to Islamist ideology as the primary motivation for terrorism, whether individually (the promise of paradise) or collectively (the prospect of reviving the Caliphate). Politicians and church leaders are quick to reassure us that this

has ‘nothing to do with Islam’, properly understood, as professed by countless peace-loving Muslims. Yet there is a sense in which Islamism does have to do with Islam, just as centuries of Christian exclusivism (Christianity is the only true and salvific faith) and supersessionism (the Church supersedes Israel in God’s plan of salvation) prepared the ground for the Holocaust. The problem is not just political but theological, and in the end only Muslims can solve it, just as only Roman Catholics could (begin to) solve the problem of their own absolutist heritage by convening

the Second Vatican Council (19621965). For Muslims the Qur’an is the ‘inscripturation’ of the words and will of Allah, closely parallel to the Christian belief in the ‘incarnation’ of Godself in the human Jesus. Each doctrine leads to acute conceptual problems, which need to be worked on as the doctrines are continually reinterpreted in new cultural contexts. It follows that if anyone should understand the present situation of Muslims in the West, increasingly resented as an ethnic minority with an alien cultural identity, it is Roman Catholics. Only a generation ago

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in Australia, Catholics too were regarded as culturally foreign and beholden to the pope’s authority. Even their democratic credentials were doubted. Muslims, for their part, can seem ill at ease in Western settings, deeply resentful of the imperialistic subjugation of their countries, afraid of the freedoms flaunted by their Western contemporaries and bound by cultural practices in clothing, diet and behaviour which for them are an integral part of their faith. How much is culture and how much is religion? Again, only Muslims can sort these questions out. This situation, though problematic, is fraught with promise. Jews, Christians and Muslims share much more than they realise. Their most cherished prayers – al-Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Qur’an, with its invocation of God’s compassion; Shema Yisrael, ‘Hear, O Israel’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), which pious Jews bind on their arms

and foreheads and the doorposts of their houses; the Lord’s prayer given by Jesus, the most Jewish passage in the New Testament – all share the

All the religions have messages of peace; all are historically complicit in violence.

simple but profound invocation of the One God and the command to live justly. This is surely the basis not just for an interesting comparison, but for theological collaboration in trying to fathom the meaning of this faith in the light of historical guilt for crimes of violence. A dialogue capable of raising and facing these questions without recrimination presupposes a high level of

500 Years after the Reformation... is ecumenical identity a real possibility?

After centuries of ecumenical dialogues why has so little actually changed? There are no longer any doctrinal reasons why Catholics and Protestants cannot achieve visible unity. Reasons must therefore be sought elsewhere.

spiritual maturity. One might call it ‘deep ecumenism’: going beyond the inherited hostilities and cultural barriers to arrive together at the very bedrock of faith. Though its inspiration is spiritual, this collaborative theology would be public and political. It could undermine the supposed ideological justification for so many fruitless stand-offs and selfjustifying arguments. It could be summed up as an exercise in acknowledging the Other, welcoming the Stranger and reconciling the Enemy. This is no wishy-washy liberalism or cheap ecumenism, soft on doctrine and willing to compromise. It is the ethical core of all genuine religion. Christian ecumenism tends to restrict itself to the well-worn theological questions stemming from the Schism with the East and the Reformation in the West. The confrontation with the world’s religions, now all present in virtually every society, forces Christians to reexamine the very foundations of their

faith. Buddhism knows neither soul nor God, yet there are increasing numbers of Christians who regard themselves as both Christian and Buddhist. Like Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Hinduism in India is in the throes of religiously legitimated ethnic nationalism, which often issues in violence against those of other faiths. There are also the countless ‘little religions’, the traditions of Indigenous peoples which are now, too late in many cases, seen to be deeply spiritual. Exploring these relationships is the ecumenical alternative to fundamentalism and violent extremism. Dr John D’Arcy May will visit the diocese in November 2017. See details below.




/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday

Thursday 16 November 2017

3.30pm for 4pm start to 7pm

Victor Peters Suite, 841 Hunter St Newcastle West Includes light refreshments 3 hr FEA available for CSO staff $20 per person ($10 concession)

Presenter Dr John D’Arcy May In this seminar, Dr John May FTCD emer., provides a framework for making sense of what we are already doing, examining factors which have influenced the progress – or lack of it – of the ecumenical and interfaith movement.


For further information please contact Sharon Murphy E Sharon.Murphy@mn.catholic.org.au P 4979 1134 | C AT H O L I C D I O C E S E O F M A I T L A N D - N E W C A S T L E | W W W. M N N E W S . T O D AY / A U R O R A - M A G A Z I N E



Mother and son share enthusiasm for ACYF Ellen is wearing the blue head band and Jarrod, the black hat, here in Krakow at WYD 2016.


Newcastle mother and son, Ellen Hazelton and Jarrod Moore, attended the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) in Melbourne 2013 and Adelaide 2015. Last year they attended World Youth Day (WYD) in Krakow, Poland. What draws them to these global church experiences? Ellen explains, “I was there in Melbourne and Adelaide as a youth leader with Pure Flame (ministry to youth). I was asked to go to WYD2016 as the health and wellbeing nurse so I had a specific role, and Jarrod was going. I thought it would be a good thing to do together.” For Jarrod, it was simpler, “I wanted to see the Pope!” It’s not surprising then that this pair is heading to ACYF Sydney in December. “I’ve been before and to WYD, and I’m going to as many as I can before I’m too old to go. It’s like having a coffee; it wakes you up. If your faith has stagnated, then these types of events can remind you to get back on the horse,” says Jarrod, 21, a full-time student at the University of Newcastle, majoring in

philosophy and political science. “I also work part time as a trolleyologist.”

between events, swapping things, getting a little glimpse into their world”.

Ellen describes ACYF as “a short, intense experience to be with so many enthusiastic Catholics in one spot. To me, that’s the main attraction. Even though it’s geared for youth, for me it’s a privilege to be able to go, because if I wasn’t a group leader, I wouldn’t be in the age group and would miss out on it. The first time I went it blew me away. It was one of the things that encouraged me to go to WYD. Once I had experienced ACYF it encouraged me in that it was a taste of what WYD would be like. It’s very hard to describe.”

Of course Ellen and Jarrod didn’t share every aspect of the experience. Ellen thinks it worked because of the “natural giving and taking of time and space. There were times we just hung out, particularly towards the end, when we were tired. We spent the last three days together in Vienna. The secret was knowing when we needed to spend time together and apart. We were really two pilgrims.”

Looking back, Ellen recalls “walking to the Mass with the Pope” as a highlight. “Walking 17kms, the vigil, that whole 24hour experience, really felt like a pilgrimage. The mass of people walking along, singing, just the feeling of good will, even as people were dropping like flies from the heat and the crowd! Just coming together as church.” Jarrod “really enjoyed sitting down and eating with people from different countries, in

“I didn’t think twice about it,” said Jarrod, “and I don’t think she did either.” Jarrod and Ellen are keen to encourage others to register for ACYF Sydney. Ellen looks forward to “revisiting those mountain top experiences, you have a whole arena full of people and the powerful experience you have in that moment. It’s not accessible at any other time. You have the opportunity to experience the uncommon. There’s something that happens when people travel a long way and come together with a common purpose. You have this magnification effect

of faith. Anyone who comes along in the right frame of mind will be strengthened by it. It’s not just somewhere you go for a good time. If you go because of faith, you are absolutely guaranteed to come out stronger.” Jarrod acknowledges that it can’t all be ‘mountain top’ experience. “At WYD I went through times where I wasn’t particularly happy at all, and one time I was sitting in a big cathedral somewhere in Italy, by myself, and the bishop came up and told me some stories. That really helped me.” There will be storytelling bishops at ACYF Sydney, including Bishop Bill Wright, and in fact, everyone there will have a story to share. To learn more, P 4979 1105, E youth. festival@mn.catholic.org.au and find us on Facebook @MNcatholicyouth. For package details and to register go to mn.catholic.org.au/acyf.




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Standard Package ......................... $550 Festival Essentials Package ............ $270 For package details and to register go to mn.catholic.org.au/acyf

7th-10th ...

DEC 2017 8

Open new horizons for spreading joy

Contact ACYF Hotline: P 02 4979 1105 E youth.festival@mn.catholic.org.au @MNcatholicyouth

Council for Ministry with Young People

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Building resilience in children By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist

CatholicCare’s Manager of Counselling and Clinical Services, registered psychologist Tanya Russell, addresses 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. Call Lifeline 24/7 on 131 114.

Do you have a question for Tanya? Email your question to aurora@mn.catholic.org.au or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.



I’m a parent of two young boys and would like some tips on helping them cope with making mistakes. I see other parents with great intentions trying to fix their children’s problems but I’m not sure that telling my children everything will be okay will teach them about life’s disappointments. How do I support my children to build their determination and resilience? As parents, it is natural to want to protect our children from disappointments and unpleasant situations. It can be difficult to see our children upset and our instinct is often to fix problems for them. But you do raise an important point in that life is full of disappointments. How we choose to deal with those disappointments can often be a reflection of our past experiences with failure including what we were taught about failure as a child. We all want to succeed and ‘win’ in life – however, think about the most successful adults you know. Successful adults have had their fair share of disappointments and difficult times; times which have created opportunities for learning, growth and success in life. Teaching our children to accept and deal with failure has many benefits, with the main one being a well rounded, resilient child and future adult. Additionally, through failure, children will learn social and emotional skills, confidence to try again when they experience a setback, different ways of solving problems and the ability to see things from someone else’s perspective.

Here are some tips to find ‘teaching moments’ with your children. When your child achieves something, even something small s/he may have been struggling with, praise their effort. Praise them for their persistence and the fact that they are trying. Let them know you are proud of them for taking a small step, even if it doesn’t work out exactly as they had hoped. Encourage your children to practise skills. This does require patience, especially when your children become upset and want to give up. My son really struggled to become confident riding his scooter. After many tears, patience, his throwing the scooter to the ground in anger, and encouragement, he is finally riding his scooter with confidence. Did I stress the part about patience? And staying calm as well because you’ll certainly be challenged in this respect. When you do praise your child’s successes, be careful not to link that success to how much you love them. Make sure your children know you love them regardless of how they perform at a task.

Model positive reactions to your own mistakes and failures. Pick something you feel comfortable in sharing with them and be honest about how you felt at the time, what you did to improve the situation and perhaps what you learned that would be helpful for the future. Expressing negative emotions is normal and healthy and it is important that children see what you choose to do with negative emotions that have arisen due to failure and disappointment. When your children make a mistake, or something goes wrong, instead of giving them the answers, ask them a few questions to get them thinking. For example, “How do you think your friend feels?” “Why do you think he feels that way?” “What can you do to make things better?” “Do you think you might do something differently next time?” Encouraging your children to reflect on a situation can be time consuming, but reflection can provide opportunities for learning new skills. 



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One by One

Dual citizenship’s not always a liability! By VIRGINIA TSANG

Not many people can say that they have a family in two different continents but CatholicCare’s Virginia Tsang is very used to having a Mum and Dad in Australia and a 媽媽 and 爸爸 in Hong Kong. She shares her story. I was born in Hong Kong and my journey to CatholicCare began when I was just 13 years old. My parents suggested that I experience living in another country for 12 months on a school exchange program.

After 12 months adjusting to life in Australia, I realised that one year just wasn’t enough. With the support of my parents and my host family, I continued my schooling and graduated from Year 12.

After a lengthy application process, I took my first step on Australian soil at the age of 15, when I was placed with a beautiful host family of five in the mid north coast town of Wauchope.

From a very young age I had my heart set on social work. I was attracted to a role I thought would be rewarding, helping people and changing lives.

Moving from bustling Hong Kong with a population of over 7 million, to a small country town of around 7000, some culture shock is only to be expected. Skyscrapers and congestion were replaced with open fields and animals I had only ever seen in movies. I had never seen cows before, never seen farms and suddenly I was surrounded by both. I was enrolled at the town’s only high school, Wauchope High, and went straight into Year 11, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. When I first arrived in Australia, I had very basic English and my grades weren’t good as a result. Every afternoon, I would go home and watch “Neighbours” and “Home and Away” to improve my English! 10

I enrolled in a Community Service Welfare course at Port Macquarie TAFE before leaving Wauchope for Newcastle to study a Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Newcastle. Fresh out of university, my very first job was at CatholicCare Social Services − and I’ve been there ever since! I began in the Youth Service Links to Independence Homelessness Program. Hungry to further my skills, I moved on to the position of Out of Home Care Caseworker, where I remained for four years before gaining the position of Accreditation Project Officer. I also had the opportunity to build on my knowledge while being seconded to Young Adult Services and Disability Services. I’m currently working as Acting Program

Development Manager for Out of Home Care.

about the car, insurance and who was

CatholicCare has so many different departments that have given me the freedom to work out what I’m good at and what I really want to do.

offered more emotional support. My

Having two families and living with ‘nonbiological parents’ gave me a deeper understanding of children in foster care.

sometimes be a challenge, I consider

at fault, whereas my Aussie family Australian Mum made me a cup of tea and brought me flowers. While juggling two family dynamics can myself lucky – I have double the love! I’ve always maintained a close relationship with my family members in Hong Kong and they plan a holiday

While juggling two family dynamics can be a challenge, I have double the love!

in Australia or Hong Kong every 18 months. In 2016, I became a dual citizen of Hong Kong and Australia, reflecting my life shared between the two countries. Although I have settled into the

Having two sets of parents requires a special set of skills to navigate dayto-day situations, especially when experiencing divided loyalty. Both my sets of parents have two distinctly different approaches to parenting! Perhaps the best example of this is their reactions after I was involved in a car accident. My parents in Hong Kong were worried

Australian way of life and have ‘Summer Bay’ to thank for my English, I still struggle with Australian slang. My friends are always teaching me crazy new phrases. Hopefully I’m becoming a fair dinkum Aussie!




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This year marks the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium. On Saturday 14 October at 10.30am for 11am a march and memorial service will be held at the Cenotaph at Maitland Park, to remember the 34th Battalion, “Maitland’s Own”, along with 35th and 36th Battalions from “Newcastle” and all soldiers and nurses who fought in World War I. There are 690 names on the Maitland and District “Roll of Honour”. One of those is John Jacob Smith, born at Clarence Town to Jacob and Elizabeth Smith. He was 38 when he enlisted to join the 34th Battalion D Company on 5 January 1916. His unit embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A20 Honorata on 2 May 1916. The family possesses six letters Jacob sent home. The first was written on 30 April 1916 from the Military Camp, and the last was sent from England dated 14 November and sent to Jacob’s brother Philip, one month and two days before he was killed. This letter tells much of the times in which it was written.

Dear Brother I am writing my last note before going to the front and I hope you will not be surprised, and please let my brothers and sisters know and old friends. It may be a few weeks before we get to the firing line, but I don’t think we will last long there by all accounts. Well dear Brother I am well prepared, and I suppose I will have another chance of going to Communion. I was at Mass and Communion last Sunday, and I have several Blessed medals. Tell Father and Mother not to worry about me as it may be a good place to face death, for a man gets prepared to meet his creator as well there as anywhere else. It was Father’s birthday a few days ago, and I wish him many returns of the day. If I get killed outright I want you to draw my money and give one third of it for the education of Priests, and one third to the Nuns in Brookfield for the upkeep of their Order, and the rest you may divide amongst the rest of my brothers and sisters equally if they are in want of it, yourselves included. I want a few Masses said for me out of it too before you divide it. If any of my private articles are sent home to you, I want you to keep the Fountain Pen, and Belt, and send my Pocket Book to

Katie Gippel. This will be all so I wish you all good-bye, and tell Father and Mother I am sending my best love. I remain your fond brother, Jacob Smith If any of the articles are not sent through, do not worry for after all it may not matter so much if you have tokens or not. A Merry Christmas to all. Jacob was killed on the Western Front on 16 December 1916. He is buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. France. He was a soldier for 11 months and 11 days. The Smith family also has a letter from Bishop Dwyer to Father Keenan, 22 December 1917. This letter acknowledges receipt of a cheque for £20 from Philip Smith of Clarence Town on behalf of his deceased brother for the education of priests. All are welcome to the march and memorial service on 14 October. For details, please P 0407 588 954.






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John Jacob Smith, our dedicated WWI soldier



There’s a bear in there By MONICA SCANLON

The parents of retired diocesan priest, Fr John McEnearney, have 111 direct descendants, including Fr John and his nine siblings, ranging in age from 86 to 69 years. Fr John is the eldest. Fr John’s journey to priesthood is an unusual one. As a young man he studied for the priesthood. He was at the seminary for ten years and was 18 months from ordination when he became unwell. He went home to recover. His mother died when he was 32 and he promised, as the eldest, he’d help his father raise the family. He stayed until his father died and then built a home. He was challenged by a parishioner to go back to the seminary, as there was such a need for priests, so in 1984 he returned. He was ordained in November 1987 so has been a priest for 30 years. He was the last priest to be ordained in St John’s Pro-Cathedral, Maitland. Prior to priesthood he worked at BHP, doing clerical work in offices. He taught himself organ and piano and still plays. He played at the churches at Boolaroo and Warners Bay. Fr John’s parents reared 10 children and 8 are still living. His mother gave birth to 13 children but three died as babies. One brother died at 24 and one sister died last year. For the past 60 years, since his first nephew entered the world, Fr John has

bought a teddy bear for each baby born into his family. This includes nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great, great nieces and nephews. The current teddy bear tally is 96 and two more babies are expected, so this will bring the tally to 98. Only two more and there will be a party to celebrate 100 teddy bears! To inform Fr John that a new baby’s on the way, a family member rings and says, “Can you manage another teddy bear?” Fr John said all the family, most of whom live around Newcastle, “think the teddy bear gifts are marvellous”. Some who are grandparents still have their bears. For his 80th birthday, his nieces and nephews gave him a teddy bear, presented by his eldest nephew. His sisters dressed it in clerical clothes and it’s fondly referred to as Father Ted. One of his nieces by marriage composed a poem for his 80th birthday which included the line, “To others you are Fr John but to us you are Uncle Jack.” Fr John continues to see family regularly and is included in their gatherings. He has presided at many family weddings and christenings. His sister Margaret said, “all the family love Uncle Jack as he has been the head of the family for a long time because our parents died over 50 years ago. Everyone loves him because he is such a kind, gentle man. He supports everyone, is generous and doesn’t judge anybody. He’s just Uncle Jack to everybody.” Once a baby is born, Fr John looks for a teddy bear that appeals. It has to be one he likes. Whilst Fr John now sometimes sends someone else to purchase the teddies, the family members love the tradition of the gift of “one of Uncle Jack’s teddy bears” when each new descendant is born.





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Family Matters

Transition to school… a process of continuity and change If we use the term ‘readiness’, it is now represented by the following equation:


Starting school is one of the major transitions of life. It can be a time of excitement and expectation and it can also be a time of anxiety and fear. No matter how many times teachers have engaged in transition practices, or how many children from a family have already started school, the transition is unique for the child. The changes which occur with transition are not only evident for children but for families as well. Transition is not just to school, but from home and prior to school services (preschools, child care centres). It is a process of continuity and change as children move into their first year of school. The process happens over time, beginning well before the child begins school and extending to the time when the child and family feel a sense of belonging at school and when teachers recognise this. In the past, transition had more of a ‘school readiness’ focus. ‘School readiness’ was traditionally thought of as a simple outcome of maturation or chronological age and was focused on the child’s skills. Once these were achieved, the child was considered ‘ready’ for school. This view has been shown to be too limited. With such a mindset, the implication is that schools are not players in getting ‘ready’ to meet the capabilities and needs of the child. ‘Readiness’ does not reside solely in the child, but reflects the environments in which children find themselves: families, prior to school services, school and communities.

Ready families + ready prior to school services + ready communities + ready schools = ready children. To add to the equation, there needs to be a ‘ready society’ which involves a wide understanding of the crucial importance of the early childhood years (birth to eight years) backed by governments, policies and funding. This includes an understanding of early learning philosophy and best practice. I refrain from using the language of ‘readiness’ and concentrate on a more contemporary understanding of transition. There is a great deal of recent research about the transition to school. Recurring themes include: ff Children’s transition to school has implications for their learning at the time of transition and beyond ff Relationships are the foundation of positive transition to school experiences ff High expectations for all children, coupled with the recognition of their needs, strengths and capabilities ff Notions of readiness and transition are often conflated and much discussion still focuses on individuals’ skills as they start school. There is no ‘one size fits all’ transition to school process as all school communities are different and processes evolve according to the local context. Effective school transition processes: ff involve experiences for children as well as parent/caregiver

information sessions ff promote schools as safe and joyful places ff acknowledge that children have individual needs, capabilities and interests ff allow and encourage positive communication between children, families, prior to school services and school ff allow children to spend time in the school environment before starting school. It is important that there are sufficient experiences for children and families to begin to feel a connection to the school; however, not too many experiences that take children away from their current place of belonging. Here are some ways in which families can support the child transitioning to school. ff Give your child time! There is no need to rush childhood! ff Give your child opportunities to play! Deep learning comes from play! Play produces positive academic, social, physical, creative, problem-solving and well-being outcomes. ff Don’t present starting school as the most wonderful and exciting thing that will ever happen — it may not live up to such lofty expectations! ff Know the importance of oral literacy. Use language to communicate, ask questions and listen to others. ff Enjoy books! Read to, and with, your child. ff Spend time outdoors and experience nature. ff Paint, draw, create and discover!

ff Promote independence and selfhelp skills. ff Develop routines for morning procedures, afternoon pick-up, bedtime. ff Don’t overcrowd afternoon schedules. Your child will most likely be tired when beginning school. ff Become familiar with what’s needed for school such as uniform, bag, lunch box. ff Provide honest information to the school about your child. Ask an educator at your child’s prior to school service to complete the NSW Transition to School Statement. The statement summarises the child’s strengths, interests and approaches to learning and suggests ways these can be supported to continue learning. The prior to school educator, family and the child can contribute to the statement. Children who have a positive start to school are more likely to engage fully and experience academic and social success. This places great responsibility on all stakeholders to support the child transitioning to school. It’s a time of new beginnings and adventures, to be embraced and celebrated. Kim Moroney is Project Officer (Early Learning) and the winner of the Br John Taylor Fellowship 2017. 




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Voluntary Assisted Dying – what will it mean?


A private Members’ Bill will shortly be debated in the NSW Parliament. The effect of this law would be to permit euthanasia or voluntary assisted dying for people experiencing severe pain, suffering or physical incapacity to an extent unacceptable to themselves – provided they are over 25 with a terminal illness likely to result in death within a year. What will such legislation mean to those of us who lead difficult lives, to people facing isolation and loneliness or to survivors of painful experiences? What will such a law mean for our physicians and other health professionals, families and carers? I am conscious of those who face the prospect of their death every day and many who have had their lives ripped from them. We hear stories about North Koreans who live in grim circumstances; we have learned about the plight of millions affected by floods in Bangladesh, Nepal and India; the conflict in parts of Iraq and Syria continues; famine still affects many in South Sudan and stories are emerging about the suffering of Rohingya people in Burma and Bangladesh. Closer to home, through our work at Calvary, I am conscious of people who have difficult lives in our own community: the survivors of institutional sexual abuse who have been damaged by some of our leaders; our first peoples, people who live with isolation and loneliness; those with


chronic illnesses; people fearful of growing old and women and men facing their own imminent death. And for many, their grief and loss is not relieved by medicine, but rather through the solidarity of presence, the enterprise of research, imagination and grit, together with the multiple acts of service of those who give to those who have not. This is how we have assisted those who experience loss and grief and face their death every day – until now. Few of us have been present with a person as they die. Many of us may not know what to do or how to be. We are perhaps a little afraid of those who remind us of our vulnerability and mortality – the displaced, the homeless, the mentally ill, those living with dementia and the elderly. Until now, however, we have not publicly contemplated eliminating this suffering by making it lawful for a person to take his/ her life and for another over the age of 18 to assist. Have we thought about the implications? What will be the impact on our common enterprise as human beings? On our efforts to build solidarity and on our claim that each one’s life is precious and matters, every moment of every day? Until now a medical practitioner’s essential duty has been to protect life and do no harm. That will change if the law

permits assisted suicide. The concerns voiced by doctors’ groups representing those who will be asked to administer the regime are legitimate. Such a law will drive divisions in the profession. Others who work in our aged care sector worry about those who are lonely and depressed and who may take the momentous decision to seek an assisted death because of heartache or loneliness or because they feel a burden to their carers or children. Then there is the process. How will people die? How is a person to take his/ her own life? What substance would a person use? What are its side-effects and complications? What if the substance doesn’t work? If a doctor is called on to assist because a person can’t ingest a substance orally, what intravenous medications will the doctor use? What will be the effect of administering and watching such a procedure? How are the vulnerable to be protected? How will authorities and doctors assess signs of risk factors such as coercion; abuse of persons who are dependent on the care of others; family violence; substance abuse; gambling addiction and mental health issues? Who will be responsible for providing family support, counselling and conflict mediation, bereavement counselling for people choosing voluntary assisted dying and those it affects?

Laws affirm what we value. They reflect to the community the ideals, attitudes and behaviours the community holds as precious. Sometimes the law limits an individual’s actions, not to harm or hinder or to devalue personal experience, but to protect others in the community and ourselves. When I am particularly vulnerable, the only protection left may be the boundaries set by law and our justice system – institutions which will speak for me because I cannot. The common good, rather than what is good in the eyes of a particular individual or group of individuals, determines our law. If together we cannot answer major questions about the implications of the voluntary assisted dying legislation, such law is not in the interests of the common good. Mark Green is National Director of Mission, Calvary Care. In addition to his work in health and aged care, Mark has worked in Timor-Leste, with refugees and with our nation’s First Peoples. He is qualified in law, economics, theology and education.




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Faith Matters

Adventists desire to see our broken world restored


In the early nineteenth century, Seventh-day Adventism arose from a renewed interest in the return of Jesus Christ. The “Second Great Awakening” in America formed part of a larger religious movement that stirred Europe at the same time, when people became very agitated about the end of the world and Christ’s second coming. It led some to calculate a date for Christ’s return. One of the more well-known of these was Baptist preacher, William Miller, a retired army captain from New York State. He had almost given up on religion, believing God to be distant and irrelevant. However, as he read his Bible and his faith rekindled, he too became absorbed by the prospect of Jesus returning. Miller became a popular preacher, convinced that Jesus would return between March 1843 and March 1844. One of his colleagues eventually settled on the date of 23 October 1844, but when that day came and went, Miller and his followers were held to scorn, with most of his former followers abandoning the movement. However, a small group held to its convictions, developing the idea that the prophecies concerned the ministry of Jesus in heaven on behalf of his saints rather than his return to earth. From that group arose the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Jesus is central to the key areas of belief: God, humanity, salvation, the church, the Christian life and last day events.

Soul Food

God is love, power, and splendour. His ways are far beyond us, but he still reaches out to us. God is infinite yet intimate, three yet one, all-knowing yet all-forgiving. God reaches out to us most dramatically through Jesus, who chose to become one of us. Jesus returned to heaven but God has not left us alone. The ministry of Jesus to society’s broken and vulnerable continues through spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit initiates in the “body of Christ,” the church.

We desire to see our broken world restored, the disenfranchised to be given a fair go, and to see the face of God.

The Bible describes human origins in terms very different from other ancient religious documents. Rather than arriving by accident or mistake or as a means to lighten the load of the over-worked gods, God gave purpose, dignity and free will to the human race. A key reminder is the Sabbath, the day Jesus called a gift (Mark 2:27,28). It affirms that we are not machines or slaves, but need time out to reconnect, replenish and be free. However, along the way the original harmony was

disrupted and distorted – between us and God, between us as humans, between us and other creatures, and between us and the earth. But Jesus remains with us through his Holy Spirit to empower each of us to make a difference. The Spirit activates the “body of Christ,” the church, through spiritual gifts and a humble attitude of service and compassion. Jesus’ self-sacrificing death shows that God is willing to pay the cost of our perversity. His sacrifice unmasks the true horror of sin and makes it clear God can be trusted. Because Jesus lived the perfect life we’ve each failed to achieve, and because he died the death we each deserve, we can live for him, now and eternally. Jesus left his followers with an epic mission: to tell the world of his love and of his promise to return; to love people the way he loved them. Entrusting humans with this task is a bold and risky move. Even though God knew people would often fail him, he wants to work with us. And he wants us to selflessly serve others, strengthened and motivated by his Word, demonstrating God’s love to the world. God desires us to live in wholeness and balance, caring for our bodies, refining our minds and nourishing our spirits. Knowing the price Jesus paid to redeem us motivates us to glorify God in every aspect of our lives. As the Spirit lives in us, we seek to uplift others and embody God’s grace in our actions and interactions. As careful witnesses

for God, we advance his priorities in our use of time, consume only that which nourishes our minds and bodies and consider our impact on ourselves, others and society. Seventh-day Adventists meet on Saturdays at 9.30am for “Sabbath School”, when the congregation divides into age groups for Bible study and discussion groups. Then at 11am the main service is conducted, usually with singing and special features, followed by a sermon by the pastor or a layperson. Communion is usually held four times a year, and includes foot-washing as described in John’s gospel (ch 13). When this concludes, the members regroup in the sanctuary to partake of the emblems; unleavened bread and unfermented wine. Members are baptised by immersion when they decide to commit their lives to Jesus. So what is a Seventh-day Adventist? There are the very conservative and the very liberal, the very pious and the very secular. What we hold in common is our desire to see our broken world restored, the disenfranchised to be given a fair go, and to see the face of God. Dr David Tasker is Postgraduate Course Convenor, Avondale College of Higher Education.




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Christianity, if false, is of no importance; and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important. − CS Lewis

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Seasons of Mercy

The gift of Salome –

child of peace Matt Lamont with an artwork capturing the memory of Salome.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day is observed on 15 October. Newcastle’s Matthew Lamont shares his story of loss – and gain.


When he’s asked how many children he has, Matt Lamont replies, “We’ve had four – but one passed away.” It’s one of many ways he honours his daughter, Salome. The experience of Matthew and his wife Trea is that few are comfortable with this level of honesty – and yet the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or death soon after birth is not uncommon. Salome was Matt and Trea’s third daughter, following Hannah and Bridget. Until fifteen minutes before delivery, there was no indication all was not well. Salome lived for two days. She never left hospital, she could be lightly touched but barely held, and was unresponsive for most of her short life. Salome means ‘peace’ in Hebrew. St Paul wrote, “The life and death of each of us has its influence on others”. To listen to Salome’s family’s story is to learn that one’s influence is in no way related to length of days. During her short life, Salome’s older sisters and grandparents spent time with her. She was baptised into the Catholic Church, a baptism bookended by birth and death. When Hannah was born, the decision to introduce her to a faith community was “fraught”. Matt and Trea met through the Student Christian Movement. Matt had been raised in Perth without much formal religion but confirmed Anglican in his late teens. Trea was a committed, but not uncritical, Catholic. 16

Along the way, Matt has been drawn to Quakerism, particularly its silence, and to the monastic tradition. “Often this busy household doesn’t feel at all like a monastery…but I do try, regularly, to return to some sense of presence or relationship with God.” Trea and Matt agreed, “we want to give the kids something, in terms of faith, and starting somewhere is good.” Matt says, “I’ve struggled with the official Catholic position around non-Catholics and Eucharist [but] I have quite a bit of love for the Catholic church.” Pope Francis’ insistence that “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (Evangelii Gaudium n47) resonates here. “I want our children to be in that tradition…to have some critical thinking around it [and] to be able to delve in and find the richness” so baptising Salome was not a difficult decision. Looking back, Matt recalls recognising “how much needs to go well for any of us to be here”. Salome was born with an e-coli infection and was simply not strong enough to live. “It’s the most extraordinary thing to go from birth and then you find yourself in funeral parlours and cemeteries…” But as Trea said, ‘These are the only decisions we get to make for this child.’ We were blessed to meet Sr Annie Laurie…I felt reasonably at peace with it all and I asked her, ‘what’s going on?’ Her response was,

‘She’s not suffering anymore.’

sister who died, he grieved for her.

“We were suffering though, of course…I felt like I was going through a real live stations of the cross. I remember saying to my mother-in-law, ‘This is what Christ looks like, this child.’”

Also rising from the ashes was an artistic gift Matt didn’t know he had. His practice of meditation has expanded to include paintings embodying elements from Celtic and Indigenous worlds. The conviction that the family is still connected with Salome across

I started to grasp, with Salome, what the kingdom of God actually is

boundaries of life and death is strong. Having long reflected on the grief and wonder of it all, Matt says “I started to grasp, with Salome, what the kingdom of God actually is….crossing all my barriers and boundaries, the most

Sr Annie led a funeral for Salome and remarkably, Trea spoke about the birth, and death, of Salome. Matt recalls, “She was able to say …where are you God? [yet] we needed the Christian tradition to help us get through those days.” Matt and Trea have always honoured the precious memory of Salome, and the experience has been different for Hannah and Bridget at different stages. Matt recalls a recent camp concert when, given the option of dressing as someone who inspired her, Bridget wore wings and announced, “I’m Salome, my sister who died.” Their son, David, now aged 6, is the next chapter of the story. Matt says he’s a “Phoenix baby, rising from the ashes”. Remarkably, as David reached an age when he understood he had an older

inclusive reality that I can possibly come across, grounded in love…” One way of helping Hannah, Bridget and David to glimpse the kingdom is through silence. “We’ve started meditation at home on a Sunday evening…it can be done but it often requires enormous patience…you can feel quite frustrated…but we do achieve some stillness!” Clearly it’s possible too to reach a place of peace after a devastating loss. After all, ‘Salome’ means peace. *Some names changed for privacy.




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Come to the living waters, you who are thirsty


Image: Courtesy of Magnolia Star Photography.

‘Living Waters’ is a meditation program which has now been in existence in Newcastle for twenty years. What a wonderful, limitlessly evocative name! It’s a reminder that this program’s first home was in premises by the sea in Merewether. ‘Living Waters’: a source, a beginning, an endless flowing… Sr Carmel Moore rsj has overseen the initiative over the past twenty years until recently when Anne Cuskelly took over the role of director. Activities now take place at 34 Kenrick Street, The Junction, with three weekly sessions: one on Monday at 6.30pm, Wednesday 7.45am and Friday 11am. Sr Carmel maintains her long-held belief that the meditation programs offered are relevant, if not vital, in what seems to be an increasingly busy world. Participants come from widely varying backgrounds. Deriving benefit from involvement requires little more from a person than a desire to take a break from the everyday routines of life to try to find one’s true

self; an impulse to find some inner peace; a yearning to discover some personal truths. For some it might be a particular crisis that has drawn them to the practice; for others, perhaps an urge to discover something spiritually meaningful or a great need to cope better with a physical illness by learning how to process thoughts and emotions with calmness and control. After initiating the ‘Living Waters’ experience and remaining deeply committed to its smooth running, Sr Carmel is more confident than ever that its relevance will ensure its continuance well into the future. After all, meditation practices have been part of the Christian tradition from at least the third century and they have long been centred in other faith traditions. People down the ages have searched for that ‘still point’ in their lives, for the inner peace that comes from hearing the ‘still small voice’ emanating from the silence and sanctity [the ‘temple’] of one’s soul.

When asked the highlight of her long involvement with ‘Living Waters’ Sr Carmel unhesitatingly spoke of her joy at seeing people gather, “…learn in the silence of inner space” and, having found a measure of peace, “…light up with pleasure in the company of likeminded people” ready for the next step in life’s pilgrimage.

whether clearly realised or not, to stop

Most of us have become acutely aware of the accelerating pace of modern times; of the hurly-burly confronting us as we seek to negotiate a way through the various structures, schedules, appointments, bells, clocks and whistles that can become our bonds. Sadly, it seems to me, the marvellous technologies of our world which promise so much can lead to their misuse. In particular, it saddens me to see vulnerable children held willing captives by technology while their unwitting ‘real selves’ are, ironically, left to wander outside the digital cage.

her expertise, zeal and dedicated

In many lives, it seems, there is a need,

and set aside some precious ‘me’ time; time to let the living waters flow; time to grasp a little of what St Augustine taught – “know your self and let that knowledge become your stepping stones to God”. Sr Carmel is to be congratulated for involvement with “Living Waters”. An event will be held on Saturday 4 November at the Parish Centre, 25 Farquhar Street, The Junction, from 9.30 am till noon. All are welcome to this twenty-year retrospective celebration and information session. E annecuskelly@hotmail.com or P 0407 436 808.






We can help. Our phone-based advice service offers members clear and concise personal advice on four specific topics. A qualified adviser can provide personal recommendations for you on: 1. The most tax-effective way to build your super via salary sacrifice and personal contributions. 2. Which investment option/s may be right for you. 3. How to protect your income and your family with insurance through Australian Catholic Superannuation. 4. Investing with non-super money. Simple and straight forward financial advice over the phone can start you on the right track to achieving your super goals and help build towards the future.


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It’s ‘Mission in 360’ as innovation adds colour to World Mission Month Catholic schools in Maitland-Newcastle are a little more colourful this month, with students donning their wackiest socks to raise funds and awareness for Catholic Mission’s Socktober celebration. This year, the focus is on Uganda, and walking in the shoes − or socks − of another has a whole new meaning. The annual event, which is held across Australia during World Mission Month, encourages students at primary and secondary level to join in the fight against poverty, and consider how life is for children like them from developing countries. This year, an innovation is helping to change the experience completely. For the first time, Catholic Mission is introducing 360-degree video for school students learning about life in remote Uganda. It totally enhances the formation experience, as students can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of a place

different from their own. This year, Socktober invites students to the heart of Africa, and a small village called Bujuni, three hours from the Ugandan capital Kampala. There, they will meet Harriet, a thirteen-year-old girl in grade 6 at St Thereza School, which is run by the local Catholic Church. The new interactive experience, Mission in 360, which is accessible via the Catholic Mission website, involves students in the story in a completely new way. Footage shot with a special camera captures the entire surrounds of the location, in this case rural Uganda. Using a smartphone device and specially designed goggles, students see a 360-degree view of the environment from their classroom, navigating the camera simply by moving the phone. The effect is that students are placed in the scene, joining Harriet for ‘a day in the life’. Students will also learn about the St Luke Health Centre down the road from

Harriet’s school, where she received critical care after she fell ill with malaria last year. Harriet’s home is a four-hour walk from the school and health centre, and with no ambulance, the only option for Harriet was to travel on the back of a motorcycle. The health centre is run by Sister Mary Goretti and the Daughters of Mary, a local Ugandan order. They provide a critical service for the entire Bujuni community, especially for expectant mothers, as the only affordable health centre in the region with a maternity ward. Their most urgent need is for an ambulance. “I think if we get a vehicle it will really help us to save the life of the mother and the baby,” says Sister Mary. “People come with hope that you are going to help them…then you look at the condition, it’s beyond our care here.” Some parishioners in MaitlandNewcastle may have met Sister Mary when she visited the diocese in June



Marriage annulments are often misunderstood, and very little is known about the process. Would you like to know more?

For further information, contact the Tribunal Office on 4979 1370. 18

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on her trip to Australia to meet with Catholic Mission supporters and share stories of life in her home in rural Uganda. She returned to Bujuni in July, but the impression Sister Mary left on all of us endures. I know she very much enjoyed her visit here and I’m excited that we can continue to share her story and that of Harriet with schools in the diocese during World Mission Month. Students are encouraged to support the World Mission Month appeal through their advocacy, prayers and donations. You can support this wonderful work, or find out more, by visiting www.catholicmission.org. au/wmm or contacting the MaitlandNewcastle office of Catholic Mission, 4979 1141.




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It all seems new. And it is.


“I love your new boss” was said to me numerous times after Pope Francis’ election to the papacy in March 2013. Often the remark was made by someone who did not share my Catholic faith; often, too, by someone under thirty. To this day, there’s a freshness and vibrancy in Francis’ leadership of the church. When he welcomes African refugees to the Italian island of Lampedusa, when he builds a barbershop and a laundry at the Vatican for the homeless of Rome, when he urges bishops at a synod to be fearless in speaking their minds—it all seems new. And it is. In Pope Francis we see a man of deep prayer and relationship with Jesus, influenced by Ignatius Loyola, the sixteenth century founder of the Jesuits. We also see a skilled communicator; one with a symbolic imagination. Yet his leadership only makes sense in the context of the church’s long tradition of faith and particularly of the Second Vatican Council’s (1962-1965) reflection both on the nature of the church and on the ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. The fundamental understanding that pervades Francis’ leadership comes from Vatican II’s document on the church, Lumen Gentium. He sees the church as the people of God journeying through history. The church is not primarily an institution but a people of faith responding to God’s call to live in love and to allow that love to transform their personal, relational and social lives.

Of course, a people of our size and complexity needs institutional structure. But Francis insists, again and again, that the institution must be at the service of the people. His emphasis on the church as the people of God has implications for many aspects of our common life, and here I want to focus on three: his condemnation of clericalism, his call for a more incisive role for women in the church and his view of the church as a “listening church.” Firstly, Francis speaks out often against an “excessive clericalism” in the church, in which ordained ministers draw power to themselves and place themselves at the centre of church life. He responds: “Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the people of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service” (The Joy of the Gospel, n102). With one of his most evocative images, he says that shepherds should take on the smell of the sheep. Secondly, he calls us to “create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the church” (#103). As I see it, through this statement Francis recognises that, along with the whole of western culture over many centuries, the church has simply assumed that men are superior to women and children. Since the 1960s, however, we have come to recognise and value women’s equal dignity and are in the process of transforming our common life to express this understanding, one articulated clearly in the Christian scriptures. This

transition has been especially difficult for the Catholic Church because we must be faithful both to the tradition that we bear and to the Spirit who renews and transforms us. Yet the challenge to recognise women’s equal dignity remains.

Yet the challenge to recognise women’s equal dignity remains.

Thirdly, another strong challenge: Francis speaks of the church as “a listening church.” In October 2015, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first Synod of Bishops, Francis insisted that synods are “one of the most precious legacies” of Vatican II because they give expression to the real life of the church. The word “synod” has its origin in the Greek language, with its root meaning “to walk together”. For Francis, “A synodal church is a listening church….It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn.” For the church’s ordained ministers, the listening that Francis commends has two functions; educative and theological. It is educative in that only through listening can leaders teach insightfully and credibly. Everyone has something to learn, and the process must begin by listening to the whole people. But even more importantly, the listening is theological because only

through listening can the community discern what God is saying to the church. Through listening to one another, we are a church listening to God. Perhaps the following words from that same speech best sum up Francis’ vision of the church: “As a constitutive dimension of the church, synodality gives us the more appropriate interpretive framework within which to understand the hierarchical ministry. If we understand as St John Chrysostom did, that ‘church and synod are synonymous’, since the church means nothing other than the common journey of the Flock of God along the paths of history toward the encounter of Christ Lord, then we understand that within the church, no one can be raised up higher than others. On the contrary, in the church, it is necessary that each person be ‘lowered’ in order to serve his or her brothers and sisters along the way.” When the church lives in this way “it all seems new,” and the gospel is proclaimed. James McEvoy is a priest of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, teaches in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University, and in June delivered the 2017 Cathedral Lecture.



Frankly Spoken We are a people more of Spring than of Autumn: we notice the blooms of a new world rather than the yellowed leaves on branches… We do not cherish nostalgia, regret or complaints: We know that God wants us to be heirs of a new promise and relentless growers of dreams. Patti Miller, photograph courtesy of Sally Flegg.


Rome, 23 August

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Community Noticeboard Mercy Spiritual Centre

Two Bishops Dialogue (Adult)

6-8 October Biblical scholar, Elaine Wainwright rsm, will lead a weekend exploration entitled Stories Told and Untold on the Journey, exploring the ways in which stories emerge from and shape a community through the lens of a gospel narrative. Cost $250 residential, $150 non-residential. Commences with evening meal Friday and concludes after lunch on Sunday.

You are warmly invited to attend the 2017 Two Bishops Dialogue, an opportunity to gather as an ecumenical and interfaith community, with Bishop Peter (Anglican) and Bishop Bill (Catholic). Both Bishops invite you to join them in conversation about morals, ethics and good decisions on Tuesday 10 October 6-9pm at St Luke’s Anglican Church, 11 Brown St, Wallsend. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP by 5 October or for further details please P Brooke Robinson at the Diocesan Offices, 4979 1111 or E brooke.robinson@mn.catholic.org.au.

Thursday 26 October 9.30am-1pm Reflection Day Things to be Desired: “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence”. This will be a reflection day of quiet and peace, using the Desiderata as our focus. We will explore the depths of meaning in the poem, employing art, music, drama and the magnificent environment of our Spirituality Centre to draw us into prayer and contemplation. Facilitated by Val O’Hara rsm. Cost $20, light lunch included. Thursday 16 November 9.30am-1pm Reflection Day Soul Sisters: Using images of Louis Glanzman and poetry of Edwina Gateley, there will be an invitation to explore stories of women in scripture and to notice how their voices and experience speak powerfully to our own. Facilitated by Helen Baguley rsm. Cost $20, light lunch included. Thursday November 23 Dinner Conversation 6.30-9pm An invitation to share conversation around the one table. Mark Toohey, social worker and Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission, will initiate this conversation about life journeys and meaning-making in light of the question ‘Providence or Coincidence?’ Cost $40, bookings essential, maximum of 9 guests. Please advise of critical allergies at the time of booking. Mercy Spirituality Centre, 26 Renwick St Toronto P 4959 1025 E mercytoronto@mercy.org.au, www.mercytoronto.org.au. Taizé Prayer Ecumenical Taizé service will be held on Sunday 8 October at 7.00pm at Merewether Uniting Church, 178 Glebe Rd, Merewether. The service commences at 7pm for 45 minutes and is 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. New members are invited to join the music team. All are welcome and for further information or to be added to the email list, please P Jennifer Burns 0411 133 679 or E minister.merewetheruca@ gmail.com.

Mental Health Forum The Diocesan Social Justice Council invites you to a Mental Health Forum, to be held on World Mental Health Day, 10 October, at Broadmeadow Parish Hall, 137 Broadmeadow Road, Broadmeadow, 9.30am-12.30pm followed by lunch. Speakers include CatholicCare Social Services’ Tanya Russell and Gail MacDonald and the Under Construction Choir will entertain. Morning tea and lunch provided, no cost! RSVP by 6 October to Brooke, brooke.robinson@mn.catholic.org.au or P 4979 1111. Retreat for Parents The Federation of Parents & Friends Associations is holding a retreat day for parents of children in schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle on Saturday 14 or Sunday 15 October at Monte Pio Inn, New England Highway, Rutherford. It will be a day to stop and take time to be refreshed, strengthened and renewed for the all-important task of parenting. No cost! E bronwyn.melville@mn.catholic.edu.au. St Laurence Centre Library The St Laurence Centre Library will be closing its doors on Friday 27 October. The collection will be placed in storage until July 2018 when it will be combined with other collections at the library’s new location in Parry Street Newcastle. The library will continue to operate as usual until its closure in October: Tues 11-3, Wed 1-6 & Fri 11-3. Please ensure all borrowed items have been returned to the library no later than Wednesday 25 October. Lora Murray, Librarian, 4902 9100 or lora.murray@mn.catholic.edu.au. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) The diocesan RCIA team invites clergy, parishioners and anyone who is interested to an Inservice day on Saturday 28 October at the Abermain School Hall. The theme for the day is “RCIA’s mission in parish communities”. There will be presentations by members of existing

For your diary

diocesan teams and by people beginning a team in their parish, and a forum for questions focused on ‘where to now?’ or ‘show us the way’. To learn more P Daphne Peterson 0412 318 074 or E daphne.peterson68@gmail.com.


“Before We Say I Do”

 4 Feast of St Francis of Assisi

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.

Joint Clergy Day for clergy of dioceses of Broken Bay, Newcastle and Maitland-Newcastle.

 5 World Teachers Day  10 Two Bishops Dialogue (with adults) at Wallsend

World Mental Health Day

 11 International Day of the Girl Child  15 World Mission Sunday

“Before We Say I Do” is a group program held over two days or four evenings. Course 6/17 4 and 11 November at Newcastle.

International Day of Rural Women

 15-20 Clergy retreat  16 World Food Day

Seasons for Growth

 1 7 International Day for Eradication of Poverty

Companioning Training, Children & Young People’s training, Newcastle, 8-9 November. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/young people or adults. Please P Jenny 4947 1355 to learn more about becoming a Companion. Enrolments for training are completed at www.goodgrief.org.au.

 2 0-22 Bishop Bill visits Merriwa & Denman and

 2 5 Bishop Bill presides at Schools Mission Mass

Mater Graduate Nurses are most welcome to attend our 71st Reunion on Sunday 12 November commencing with Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, at 9.30am. Lunch follows at the Victor Peters Suite ($60). Please P Stacey 0412 741 451 for catering purposes. The annual Deceased Nurses Mass will be on Friday 24 November at noon at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. All are welcome to celebrate the lives of these special women. …after centuries of ecumenical dialogues why has so little actually changed? Dr John D’Arcy May will speak on this topic on Thursday 16 November, 3.30/4-7pm, at the Victor Peters Suite, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. Cost $20 ($10 concession), negotiable… includes light refreshments. E sharon.murphy@ mn.catholic.org.au or P Sharon, 4979 1134. Payment at www.mn.catholic.org.au/about/ parish-payments (Enter ‘Reformation’ at payment notes.) See page 6.

at Kotara.

 2 8 Bishop Bill presides at Mass to celebrate

Mater Graduate Nurses

500 years after the Reformation…

confers confirmation.

 2 4 United Nations Day

consecrated life at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 10am

 31 Two Bishops Dialogue (students) at

The Factory, Adamstown.

For more events please visit mn.catholic.org.au/calendar and mn.catholic.org.au/community.

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 www.mn.catholic.org.au/acyf. For more information, contact us at youth.festival@ mn.catholic.org.au or www.facebook.com/ mncatholicyouth.

Locals caring for locals Calvary Retirement Communities provides safe, secure and relaxed community living through residential aged care, respite services and retirement villages. We have care choices available in: • Belmont • Cessnock

• Eleebana • Maitland

• Muswellbrook • Sandgate

• Singleton • Tanilba Bay

• Taree • Waratah

To arrange a visit or for more information on services near you call 1800 222 000 or visit www.calvarycare.org.au. Continuing the Mission of the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Pigs might fly but this keen reader was not to be distracted!


Doug Saxon’s Michael Scott: An Artistic Life is an account of a man whose connection with the Hunter region, national significance and international connections will surprise and engage the reader. Michael Scott was born in Sydney in 1910 and began his schooling at Morisset East, where his father was the Principal Medical Officer of the Morisset Mental Hospital during the First World War. His parents died within eight months of each other and in 1923 Scott and his siblings were swept into the care of their uncle, Archibald Rankin, an extraordinary figure in Newcastle at the time. On finishing school Scott began the long journey to becoming a Jesuit priest. Among many achievements during his distinguished career he founded the Blake Prize for religious art in 1951. Although the Blake has attracted significant controversy over the decades, it remains one of Australia’s major art prizes. His influence on church architecture was less contentious but also significant. In both he wanted religious art and architecture to reflect the times. Scott’s abandoning his priesthood to marry Mary Lavin, one of Ireland’s most distinguished authors, is another intriguing element in Saxon’s work. Beyond the headlines, Scott was a friend of many, an ecumenist and one who challenged boundaries of social status and jurisdiction. A portrait of Scott hangs in the dining hall of Newman College Melbourne, a testament to the esteem held for him during his time as rector and beyond. Saxon’s book is extensively researched and the result is a

significant contribution to local and national history. While at times it can be dense with detail, the text is punctuated with photographs, many of which will remind readers of their own family albums. Saxon spotlights a largely unrecognised figure and provides a unique insight into a period of liberalisation of thought, expression and tradition following the Second World War. It will appeal to readers of local and family history but also to those interested in a deeper exploration of its central character.

Tuna, celeriac and radish salad This salad makes a fresh, crunchy spring lunch, and can also be served as a side dish (without the tuna) with a pan-fried fillet of fish. It’s quick, easy and delightfully tasty.

BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - The Cathedral Café



f f 1 grapefruit-sized celeriac bulb f f 1 lemon, juiced f f 4 tablespoons whole egg mayonnaise f f 1 tablespoon seeded mustard f f 4 radishes, julienned f f Half a bunch of dill, finely chopped f f 2 x 210g tins high quality tuna f f 1 radish, sliced finely to create thin discs for garnish f f Salt and pepper.

Julienne the celeriac and place into a bowl of cold water with the juice of one lemon and leave until ready to use.


Whisk together the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl. Drain off celeriac. Place the celeriac and radish matchsticks into a salad bowl along with the dill. Season to taste.

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.

Flake the tuna through the salad then stir in seeded mustard mayonnaise. Serve on fresh cos lettuce leaves and top with extra radish discs.

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Register your interest now, visit: www.stnicholasmn.org.au or phone 4979 1110 for more information

New centres at Cardiff, Lochinvar and Chisholm to open in 2018!

www.stnicholasmn.org.au 16270

Lovedale Rd 10mins Masters

New England Hwy

Anambah Rd

Opal Nursing Home

Newcastle 40mins Newcastle Airport 40mins Sydney 90mins

To Hunter Valley

Domayne BCF Harvey Norman Ten Pin Bowling

Rutherford Shopping Centre

Medical Centres Woolworths, Coles, Chemist, IGA, Aldi

To Newcastle Railway Station

01710 16270

Profile for Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Aurora October 2017  

Aurora’s October cover features some of our Upper Hunter students cooking up a healthy eating future and having fun in the process! Bishop...

Aurora October 2017  

Aurora’s October cover features some of our Upper Hunter students cooking up a healthy eating future and having fun in the process! Bishop...

Profile for diomn