Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle February 2018 | No.176
Lina’s Project in 2018 Aurora survey findings Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord: “I always knew there was something more…”
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On the cover Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle February 2018 | No.176
Lina’s Project in 2018
Y New at the horizons Au Catholic stralian You Festiva th l!
Aurora survey findings Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord: “I always knew there was something more…”
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival was held at Sydney Olympic Park from the 7-9th December 2017. Our cover image features Johanna Soo, a student at St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton. See story page 5. Photograph courtesy of Ashleigh Banks.
Featured Festival a fantastic first
Aurora survey reveals all
Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord: “I always knew there was something more”
Lina’s Project continues in 2018
What does St Augustine have in common with fallen sporting heroes?
CSO celebrates a successful 2017
St. Anne’s girls look back 50 years
Tell him he’s dreaming
Sharing footpath stories
Ten things we don’t do (volunteering gone wrong) 20
Regulars First Word
All the best for 2018 WEL C OME T O T HE FI RST EDI T I O N O F AURO RA FO R 2 0 1 8 Tracey Edstein, our industrious Editor, is on annual leave so I have been tasked with writing First Word in her wellearned absence. First of all, to our many readers, I hope all your plans and dreams come to fruition in 2018. Secondly, it would be remiss of me not to look back at 2017. In doing so I found myself paging through the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Year in Review (which can be found at MNNews.today for those of you who enjoy reading online).
Brian, we will miss you but our loss is the Gong’s gain. Our story about Brian is on page 7. JOHN KINGSLEY-JONES Head of Diocesan Communications
Good news! You can still catch up with
Next deadline 7 March 2018
Finally, it is a very fond farewell to Brian Mascord who is leaving us after 25 years in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. This month, he will become the new Bishop of Wollongong. His ordination on Thursday, February 22 at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong is going to attract almost 4,500 people.
By the time this edition of Aurora appears, the new school term will be under way.
St Bede’s Catholic College, the newest high school in the Hunter-Manning region, has 108 students enrolled to start Year 7. All Saints, which combines the campuses of St Mary’s and St Peter’s, also opens its doors in 2018 with more than
Seasons of Mercy
While on the subject of the new, St Nick’s will open three new child care centres in Cardiff, Lochinvar and Chisholm in 2018. This to meet the growing demand for highquality child care provided by St Nicholas Early Education.
It also detailed that there are 159,151 Catholics in the Hunter-Manning Region, 38 parishes and 64 clergy as well as 58 Catholic schools. The schools had 19,235 students enrolled in 2017 of whom 8,488 were primary students and 10,747 were
Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119
On page 14 of this edition, Michael Slattery who is Director of the Catholic Schools Office, details the success the schools have enjoyed in 2017 in delivering high-quality Catholic education in a caring, pastoral environment.
One article - the Diocesan Snapshot revealed that 495,000 copies of Aurora were distributed in 2017!
There will be 19,308 students at CSO schools in 2018 with more than 1,700 are starting in kindergarten, more than 1,200 starting Year 11 and more than 1,100 in Year 12.
One by One
Wisdom in the Square
Aurora online, via MNNews.today. mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
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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Youth: Wasted on the Young? One thing I’m often asked by young people, and hardly ever by older folks, is why I became a priest. It’s a question that requires a two-part answer, but the first part is easy. I decided, straight from school, to go and study for the priesthood because, through youth groups, camps and even school, I knew a lot of priests, especially young ones, and I admired them and what they did for us young people. In time, as an older teenager, I worked alongside them and came to understand more what they were trying to do and the values they held. So I went to the seminary. (The second part of the answer is about why in the end I got ordained and that’s about a six-year conversation with God at the end of which it just felt ‘right’ for me, like something I was supposed to do.)
conspired with him to ‘get the kids involved’. A pretty heavyweight parent committee worked in the background, and it was they, I now realise, who handled a lot of the politics. When some parishioners didn’t like the kids taking over ‘their’ Sunday night Mass, it was the elders themselves who stuck up for us. It was they, I suspect, who at times sweet-talked or intimidated the Monsignor. Anyway, the youth group became the most prominent, distinguishing feature of life in that parish. Parishioners came to be proud of it, and I was in the middle of it.
It’s not a bad question, but I don’t always accept it at face value. When I suspect we’re just going to have a session of whingeing and handwringing, I’m inclined to respond, ‘I don’t know. What have you tried so far?’ All too often that brings a quick end to the discussion. Sometimes it starts a proper conversation about the quality of parish life.
These days, most parishes won’t be able to get kids together in big numbers as we did. But some things are the same. ‘What can we do about the young people?’ Don’t ask me, ask them. But first, see that a core of parishioners are fair dinkum about giving them a go, ready to give them real responsibilities in the community, ready to back them, trust them, ready to make allowances in superficial things like fashion sense and musical taste. Talk, explicit invitations to do things, trust, acknowledgement, responsibility, developing young leaders. It’s not rocket science.
Going back again to my own youth, I recognise that, while the young priest was important, my parish certainly
We’re now into the Church’s ‘Year of Youth’, so I would hope that all our communities are thinking about how
Another thing I’m often asked, by older people this time and by parish councils, is: ‘Oh Father/Bishop, what can we do about the young people?’
to recognise the contributions that our young people make and thinking about how they can do more to encourage and support them. They may be ‘the few’ these days, but how can the young people who are in our parishes be more involved, not just in special ‘youth’ bits around the edges of parish life, but in all parish events and activities? How can we be more young-people-friendly communities? How will the Year of Youth be real in our parish? Most of my readers won’t be parish council members, but many of you will be regular parishioners. So I will close with a thought for us all, from a meeting between parish leaders and young people in one of my former parishes. A 16-year-old lad who was rarely seen at church was asked directly, ‘What would make it more likely that you’d come to Mass?’ His response has stuck with me over the years: ‘Perhaps if someone said hello to me’. Some things we all can do. And sometimes it doesn’t take much.
Bishop Bill Wright Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
2017 YEAR IN REVIEW
ONLINE NOW! www.mnnews.today
Read about the many ways the people of the Catholic Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle live their faith every day.
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Festival a fantastic first
By CLAY BURKE
ACYF participants from the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
I joined a group of over 200 young people from the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle to join up with 20,000 Catholic youths from across Australia for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) held last December.
attendees to use the festival as a tool to “deepen their relationship with the Lord and to offer the Church and society the message of faith which is ‘a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on”.
In the new year, as I recall the highlight of my first-ever ACYF, what stands out most is that it was an event of grand proportions that gave Catholic youth the opportunity to ask questions relating to their faith and investigate the infinite possibilities to broaden their relationship with God.
To close off the Opening Plenary, a song from a chorus of singers delighted the crowd who waved their phone lights in a show of support that created a stunning effect reminiscent of thousands of fireflies. Inspired by the Plenary, I burst outside Qudos Bank Arena ready to hit my first event.
These are my impressions of that event.
The challenge I soon encountered attending ACYF was working out your festival picks as there was so much going on. From perusing stalls at the Expo Encounter Dome to rocking out with Steve Angrisano or laying down in a cool dark room listening to a sermon from Emily Wilson, there was a lot to choose from.
As our coach pulled into the Sydney Showgrounds the vibe was electric. Thousands of kids from across the country filled the open spaces near and around ANZ stadium bursting from countless buses with big smiles on their faces and excitement in their eyes. Soon the place was buzzing like a beehive, reflecting the vitality which is the hallmark of the Year of Youth. Festivities began inside a crowded Qudos Bank Arena for the Opening Plenary featuring Anthony Fisher OP of the Archdiocese of Sydney. He presented the year’s theme which is ‘New Horizons for Spreading Joy’ and advised all present that “your faith has to burn so bright it sets the world alight”. An eager audience listened to a message from the Holy Father Pope Francis wishing all those who attended the festival to have a gratifying and enriching experience. He urged
One of my first forays was into a panel discussion related to interfaith dialogues. The panel included Archbishop Christopher Prowse (Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn), Fr Patrick McInerney, Masheed Ansari, and Rabbi Gab Krebs. The focus of the discussion was how various religions co-exist, and aimed to promote tolerance in diversity. Later in the day I was part of the crowd that was treated to a performance by Matt Maher. As Matt performed for the faithful, the crowd began to sway to the music while raising their voices in a spirited chorus to sing along with him.
Following his set, Matt gave witness to the gathered crowd of young people and shared his own personal testimony about trying to fit in as he grew up. Matt spoke about finding a place in the world thanks to God’s love and light. It was the purpose that God had for Matt’s life, the talent he was imbued became his calling. It became Matt’s vocation to use his God given talents to share the Lord’s message.
Also, the atmosphere of the festival allowed the youth to be themselves, raise arms and sing, do things they wouldn’t usually do. They felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.”
At the end of his testimony, Matt left the audience to ponder their own unique gifts and talents, and to consider how these gifts could be used in servitude of God.
Our own Bishop Bill shared and answered questions from the youth in the X-Change on vocations.
Speaking with Kiara Conaghan, a student at St Paul’s Catholic College in Booragul, she explained what she loved most about the festival. “I love meeting new people and going to all the live music and just listening and learning new ways to express faith and religion in all these diverse ways,” she said. “A highlight of the event so far, for me, was “Hanging with Hilda”, it was enlightening how she used prayer and faith, it was nice to see how communal and personal it can be.” Group Leaders, Shane and Leanne Hyland, were impressed by the workshops their group decided to attend. They participated in “Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Society.” Leanne said: “It led to great conversations afterwards, and showed maturity, that these young people were capable of dealing with difficult issues.
In conjunction with numerous workshops to choose from, an added highlight was the Bishops X-Change. An opportunity for young people to speak directly to their bishops about issues facing society today.
As ACYF 2017 began to wind up on the third day - after providing many avenues to deepen the faith - a final highlight for me was the Pilgrimage to The Domain in Sydney for the Closing Mass. The Pilgrimage began at Milsons Point and took the youth on a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With the aid of perfect weather, the views from the Harbour Bridge were nothing short of astounding. As the young people walked, everyone was in high spirits. The enthusiasm of the day continued into the Closing Mass where the Catholic youth were joined by thousands of fellow Catholics from Sydney and throughout Australia. This was the largest Mass since World Youth Day which was held in Sydney in 2008 – and a more than fitting close to a fantastic festival. Clay Burke is the Marketing & Digital Communications Officer, Diocese of Maitland‑Newcastle.
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Aurora survey reveals all
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By JOHN KINGSLEY-JONES
1. What is your age brack et? Under 21
The survey of our Aurora readers provided some fascinating insights – and your feedback will help us in our efforts to make Aurora as appealing, accessible and sustainable as possible. It was great to see that 77% of our readers attend church on a weekly basis. The other 23% indicated they attend church only on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. It was also very encouraging that 56% of our readers were very likely to recommend Aurora to a friend while another 28% were likely.
including suggestions that we feature parishes. Those of you who are regular visitors to MNNews.today will have seen that we have taken on board this suggestion by posting photographs and information about The Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Peach Church in Scone and St Isadore’s Catholic Church in Nabiac.
ff His comments about moments of silence in mass being an important part of prayer, recollection and communion
There was a wide range of recommendations including readers wanting more content about news related to the Catholic community
Taste by Chef Bart 5. Do you have any sugge stions Auror a to about topics cover in the you would future ? like
8. Apart from receiv ing inform ation of the follow via Auror a, ing as sourc do you use es on Catho tick) any lic persp ective s? (pleas e Newsp apers Linked In Magaz ines Other social Radio (which media station s?) CathN ews TV daily bulleti n Dioce san Updat Faceb ook e (week ly e-bulle tin) 9. Are you a churc hgoer ? Yes If Yes, do you No partici pate weekl y/mon Easter, Christ thly/on occas mas, weddi ions such ngs… ? (pleas as e circle) 10. Do you have any other comm ents?
11. At prese nt some reade $30 a year rs subsc ribe – largel y to to Auror a cover the be intere sted costs of posta at a cost of in becom ing ge. Would poste d to a subsc riber you you? and havin g Auror a Yes No Please add your name and addre ss draw for a if you would $100 vouch like to enter er: Name : the Addre ss:
John Kingsley-Jones is Head of Diocesan Communications, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
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ff Pope Francis giving 2,100 of Rome’s poor a free day at the circus
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ff The Archbishop of Manila about the have and the have-nots
Recent items have included:
f f his state-of-the world to ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps
My Word by Bishop Bill First Word by Tracey Edste in Educa tion stories (variou s author s) CareTalk by Tanya Russe ll Catho licCar e stories (variou s author s) Seaso ns of Mercy (variou s author s) Peopl e profile s (variou s author s) Family Matte rs (variou s author s) Opinio n pieces (variou s author s) Comm unity Notice board Book Review
ff Bishop Richard Umbers who will be representing Australian Catholic bishops at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress to be held in September 2020
Again, we have taken this on board by posting international news about Pope. ff the Pope’s New Year’s Eve message to the faithful
4. Pleas e provid e feedb ack Very interes ting;
6. How likely are you to recom mend Auror a to Very likely a friend ? Likely Not very likely 7. Do you Not at all have any comm ents ease of readin on Auror a’s g eg length visua l appea colou r, font of l and size and style, article s, image s, layou t, use of paper qualit y?
2. Are you male or femal e? (pleas e circle) 3. How do you read Auror a? Print edition from newsp aper? Print edition from church ? Online edition
Other international news we have posted includes a story about:
Another suggestion was for more stories to help people better connect with the Catholic faith.
It was also good to find out that Bishop Bill’s My Word column is popular with both our print readers and those who read Aurora online.
(pleas e tick)
21-30 31-40 41-50
Aurora , the Dioce se of Maitla nd-Ne wcast le's month Share the ly magaz ine, stories of the seeks to: people in our Offer a Catho comm unity lic persp ective on curren t • Encou issues and rage oppor events tunitie s for stillne ss, reflect • Issue an ion, celebr invitat ion to ation, prayer all to partici It’s 21 years pate in the since Bishop local church . Micha el Malon newsp aper, e launch ed and next month Aurora as ’s will be edition a dioces an In 2011, in numbe r 175! a bold and unpre ceden six region al ted step, Aurora newsp apers, magaz ine becam initially boost of Aurora chang ing circula tion e an insert ed signifi cantly in enorm ously. to embra ce The look and a larger and feel The names of more divers e audien ce. all who comp lete •
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Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord: “I always knew there was something more...” Brian Mascord addresses young people at ACYF, Sydney in December. By TRACEY EDSTEIN
When Brian Gregory Mascord was ordained to priesthood on 31 October 1992, he took as his motto: “For all things, give thanks” (1 Thess 5:18). When Vicar General Brian is ordained Bishop of Wollongong on 22 February 2018, he will continue to give thanks for all – and hopefully the stampede of elephants currently occupying his stomach will have withdrawn by then! Since accepting the invitation to be Bishop, Brian was happy to spend some time looking forward and looking back. If you were a student of St Joseph’s Primary at Cessnock and St John’s at Lambton in the 1980s, you may remember young Mr Mascord. While he enjoyed teaching, “I always knew there was something more, but I didn’t know what it was.” The death of his Uncle Bill in 1985 was a turning point. Brian had the opportunity to bring the family together to have the conversations needed to prepare the funeral Mass – and something gelled. Only after speaking to then Vocations Director, at the time, Fr Joe Tobin, and being accepted for St Patrick’s College in Manly, for the following year, did Brian tell his parents, Margaret and Ron, that he would take a year’s leave from the classroom and begin priestly formation. He was by no means certain this was the ‘something more’ – and for the first few weeks he lived out of a suitcase, not sure how long he would stay – but he was willing to give it every chance. Fast forward six years and Brian is spending his pastoral year living at the Bishop’s House, as was the custom. Months passed and as there was no talk of ordination. When he finally enquired, he was told to write requesting ordination. He did, and on 21st March 1992 was ordained deacon, followed by ordination to priesthood on 31 October 1992. In parishes, the quality that allowed him to draw
his family together served him well. After Brian’s appointment to Wollongong was announced, Bishop Bill wrote: “Over the years he has built up and maintained so many friendships and pastoral connections that it seems like the whole place is family to him. That capacity for friendship and connection with people of all sorts will now be a gift to the people, religious and clergy of Wollongong.” A particular passion for Brian during his priestly ministry has been promoting vocations. He has encouraged young men to consider priesthood and, equally, has engaged with the religious congregations in the diocese. Bishop Michael Malone appointed him full-time Vocations Director in 2007 and he has happy memories of various encounters in schools, at conferences and through prayer and liturgy. He recalls assembling teams encompassing different members of religious congregations and embarking on a road trip to address – and listen to – secondary students. This begs the question – what opportunities does being Bishop offer in terms of promoting a willingness to hear the vocational call? “I take my example from Bishop Bill. He has a desire to encourage young people to discover their place in the church. Discovering their place means we have to honour where they stand and it’s not where we expect them to be. I recognised that at ACYF (Australian Catholic Youth Festival) in December in Sydney. Often we don’t give young people credit, for their place in the Church, because for many it’s not an involvement we expect or want, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have faith. We don’t always give them the experience of belonging either, because we think they’re not into church.” ACYF gave Brian the opportunity to meet some of the young people from Wollongong and he found it affirming. They too would have been affirmed, as he told them: “You are leaders in our community and I
want to hear what you want to say about the church.” Asked about his hopes and fears, Brian says, “The fears are obvious – I’ve lived and worked here for all of my life – the fear is leaving the security of what I know.” For Brian, his parents Ron and Margaret’s prayerful and practical support and that of his brother John and John’s son and future daughter-in-law, Damien and Kate, has been critical. “Their wisdom and their calmness have been great gifts.” The gifts of a strong and large extended family and group of friends are added gifts that are greatly valued. His aspiration as Bishop is simply, “To be myself, to work with my brother priests and the people of the diocese to build the kingdom of God together. I hope I will be able to lead that community, build on what is there and move forward together.” Brian is very conscious of the need for good counsel. There are three contemplative religious communities in the Diocese of Wollongong – Carmelites, Benedictines and Poor Clares as well as many other religious congregations – and he will be calling on their prayers, as they bring a rich spirituality to the diocese. An important theme in Brian’s priestly ministry – literally and metaphorically – has been the notion of pilgrimage. Each of us is a pilgrim on a journey, facing many unknowns along the way. While the elephants remain, it is in the nature of Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord to take willingly the next step on his journey, daunting as it may be, in hope rather than in fear. He takes with him the confidence and prayers of his home diocese. “For all things, give thanks.”
Tracey Edstein is the Editor for Aurora Magazine.
continues in 2018
By JOANNE ISAAC
To build on the work of Lina’s Project – which aims to acknowledge the devastation caused to victims and survivors of abuse, their families, friends and the whole community and seek atonement – the Diocese of Maitland Newcastle will be facilitating two regional events in February and March. The aim of these regional events is to ensure that people throughout the diocese can take part in Lina’s Project and find some measure of healing and hope for the future. Openly acknowledging the criminal history and cover-ups and seeking atonement is essential to being able to move forward in a positive way as a community. The audio-visual presentation, that was the centrepiece of the Lina’s Project launch event last September, acknowledges the lifelong impact of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and other church personnel, names both the perpetrators of abuse and those who concealed their crimes in our region, and seeks to beg forgiveness. The first regional event, with the support of the Chisholm Catholic
community, will see the presentation projected onto the façade of St Joseph’s Church in East Maitland every evening from 8pm to 9pm from Sunday 18 February until Thursday 22 February. As part of this, there will be a barbecue from 6.30pm on Wednesday 21 February. The whole community is invited to attend the barbecue to support victims and survivors and gather in a spirit of recognition, healing and hope. The barbecue will be held on the grassed area near the Therry Centre, New England Highway, East Maitland. After the barbecue people can choose to stay to watch the projection onto the church. The second regional event will take place in Taree in March. Further details will be available in February via the Lina’s Project website. We will also advertise details of the event in local media. If you would like to attend, please feel free to RSVP anonymously on 4979 1188 for catering purposes. Any other details or updates will be advertised on the Lina’s Project website as the events draw closer so please keep an eye on the website.
About the launch of Lina’s Project Lina, a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a member of clergy in our diocese, conceived Lina’s Project as a way to bring healing to the whole community - a community deeply affected by these crimes. It was Lina’s hope that, by publicly acknowledging the crimes and cover-ups, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle could take a positive step towards atonement with the community.
been impacted immeasurably by the “obscenities”, as Lina referred to them, revealed in the Special and Royal Commissions. Apologies have been made, but as Bishop Bill acknowledged: “A formal apology can never really be adequate but it still needs to be said over and over.” The Diocese can beg for forgiveness but its actions moving forward will reveal the genuineness of its intent.
The feedback received after the launch event was very positive, hopeful and challenging.
At the launch event Bishop Bill committed the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle to:
As promised at the time, these comments, received both on the night and via a feedback form on the Lina’s Project website, have now been collated and published anonymously.
f f consulting with survivors and the community to plan a permanent memorial in the grounds of Sacred Heart Cathedral
You can read them by visiting www. linasproject.com.au If you would like to add your voice to these comments please use the form on the Lina’s Project website and your comments will be added to those already on the feedback page. The brave victims and survivors and their families and friends - who attended the launch (or watched it online) - put themselves in a very vulnerable position by being there. However, the feedback from many attendees has been that Lina’s Project has been a positive thing for them and for the community. However, some found it confronting and distressing. There was also great support from the community which has
f f making 15 September a perpetual day of remembrance and holding events each year on this day to acknowledge victims and survivors in order to work towards healing in the community f f working with schools, particularly sites of abuse, to plan memorials and events of acknowledgement Bishop Bill made this commitment so that “the story is not forgotten and our determination that it not be repeated never fades”. These things will also allow the whole community “to listen to each other better and support each other with greater understanding”.
Joanne Isaac is the Event and Project Manager, Lina’s Project
Seeking ideas If you have ideas or suggestions about a permanent memorial, events that might take place on September 15 or other ideas that you feel will contribute to healing within the community, please share these ideas via the feedback form that is available on the Lina’s Project website. Consultation with victims, survivors and others will also take place in the coming months. If you would prefer to speak to someone about your ideas you can contact Jo Isaac on 4979 1188 or Zimmerman Services’ Healing and Support Team on 4979 1390. Sacred Heart Cathedral last September.
Strategies for gratefulness and happier living By Tanya Russell
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.
Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in the negativity of people around me and forget about the good things that are also happening. How can I ground myself and remind myself that life is also full of hope and good things? bounce back
It is the human condition to analyse and judge people and our experiences; and therefore, we are wired to be more “negative” than positive. So you are not alone in getting caught up in the negativity around you, as this is what our minds are geared for – just in case there is danger ahead.
8. Emotion – taking a positive approach
ff The three good things can be something that made you feel good or for which you are grateful
9. Acceptance – being comfortable with who you are 10. Meaning – being part of something bigger One strategy you can start practicing immediately is “Three Good Things”. This exercise helps you to reflect on the things that you are grateful for, and encouraging a sense of appreciation for life – despite what life throws at you. Try the following:
You are already sounding positive and grounded in wanting to achieve an emotional balance where you can also focus on the good around you. If you continue to develop this skill, you will be working towards living a more fulfilling and happy life.
ff To get started, put yesterday into your mind. On a piece of paper, write down three good things that happened. Even on a bad day, we should be able to find something that was good, perhaps something we might consider to be trivial
According to the Action for Happiness organisation, the 10 key aspects to happier living are: 1. Giving – doing things for others 2. Relating – connecting with people
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3. Exercising – taking care of your body
Email your question to email@example.com or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.
5. Trying Out – keep learning new things
4. Appreciating – noticing the world around you
6. Direction – having goals to look forward to 7. Resilience – finding ways to
long today as it meant I could get home earlier to be with my children.”
ff The good thing may be an event, a feeling, a thought or an action. Examples could be: “I enjoyed my sandwich today” or “I’m glad I bumped into Karen at the shops today as we got the chance to catch up” or “I’m grateful that I have a boss who listens to me and makes me feel important” or “I’m grateful that the supermarket queues were not too
ff When you have written down three good things, try to then write why that “thing” was a good thing ff Once you have completed this for yesterday, start to reflect on a daily basis and complete this activity at the end of each day We know that grateful people tend to be happier people so taking some time at the end of your day to reflect on the positive aspects of your day helps to take the focus off the negative parts. In saying that, we cannot completely ignore negativity as sometimes we have to act on warning signs. This strategy is just a way to ground yourself and allow you the opportunity to assess what is important to you, every day. If you would like to learn more about the keys to happier living, as well as learn more practical strategies, you can download the Action for Happiness pack at: www. actionforhappiness.org and click on the “Resources” tab.
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One by One
“You are either up for it or you are not.”
By DR LORETTA O’DONNELL
One of my former UNSW colleagues once reflected: “If you have never experienced good teaching, it is hard to become a good teacher.” My three sisters and I were fortunate to learn from great teachers. I was inspired to become a professional educator by Mrs Maree Crawford at San Clemente High School, Mayfield, and Ms Sherrill Whittington, Mrs Penny Anicich and Mr Larry Keating who taught me at St Anne’s High School, Adamstown. Because of our teachers, my sisters, Jacinta, Michelle and Gabrielle, are also professionally involved in education. Our late father, Tom, firmly believed in high-quality education for his daughters. In his volunteer work for the St Vincent de Paul Society, he often helped women with young children who were obliged to leave untenable family situations and had no income. He encouraged us all to be independent and he saw education as essential. I write these words in the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, at Nazarbayev University (NU), Astana, Kazakhstan. It is early November and light snow covers the city and the campus. At 8am it is still dark and there is a magical element to the lights shining on the new buildings and the glass skywalks. Almost all our students and academics live on campus. Most students receive free education and subsidised accommodation. Students and 10
academics use the skywalks to walk from the residential blocks to the lecture halls and classrooms so they are protected from extreme weather conditions. It can reach -40 degrees Celsius in winter and 40+ degrees in summer. Even so, it is a beautiful, well-designed and uplifting environment.
strong, ambitious and altruistic − and they are the next generation of leaders.
Working here is a chance to be part of history. It is a liminal moment as this newly independent nation moves from a postSoviet environment towards a modern knowledge economy.
Although we are young, our reputation is enhanced by high profile visitors including Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe, Narendra Modi and David Cameron. Other visitors include the President of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde; Secretary-General of the OECD, Angel Gurria; former CIA head, David Petreaus and Secretary of State, John Kerry. Nobel prize winners, including Professor George Smoot, work with our faculty on research projects.
We are growing our student numbers from 4,200 to 8,000 to meet increasing demand for our English language programs at all levels: Foundation, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate. As one of seven Australians here, I have learned it is possible to build an international research university in a post-Soviet environment under specific conditions: unequivocal political support at the highest level, appropriate funding for high quality research and for international salaries and advice from top international universities. We have had extraordinary support from all quarters. Our strategic university partners have been partners in every sense of the word. All our academics are researching and we encourage research-integrated teaching. Our students are mostly from Kazakhstan and must pass competitive entrance examinations. Students are intellectually
Students continuously ask their professors about their research projects; about what motivates them to keep challenging the boundaries of accepted wisdom; about how they know which research questions are worth asking.
Our students attend master classes and guest lectures from visitors who generously answer their questions. When speaking to students, I often quote John F Kennedy on his inauguration as President of the United States, more than fifty years ago, “I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.” After four and a half years, I have no regrets at all about taking on the role of Vice Provost of Academic Affairs (somewhat similar to a Deputy Vice Chancellor) and I hope to stay here for several more years.
Family support is essential. My husband, Tim, agreed to this unexpected adventure. Our three daughters were already attending universities in Sydney and Canberra when I was offered the role. Our daughters have thoroughly enjoyed their visits to Astana, especially the amazing “Green Energy” themed Expo held from June to September. We all ran in the recent Astana marathon and holidayed in St Petersburg and Moscow. There are times in one’s life when unusual opportunities arise, and as my NU colleagues like to say, “You are either up for it or you are not.” I often say to our NU students that their intellectual journey towards graduation is much more than a journey towards a credential. It can be a journey within ourselves, to make our tacit values more explicit, to redefine our concept of ethical leadership, to test ourselves intellectually and emotionally and to emerge knowing who we are, and what we stand for. We can’t change the world, and make our unique contribution, until we are willing to change ourselves. These are insights I learned long ago from my teachers at San Clemente and St Anne’s. Education is transformation. Dr Loretta O’Donnell is Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.
Seasons of Mercy
Spirituality of Ageing Ever since my grandmother had the first of a series of strokes, beginning when I was just about 12 years old, I have been interested in older people and their well-being. It was one of the main reasons I chose to do nursing, back in the 1950s. It has been a fascinating journey since then. I wrote my first book The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing, published in 2001 encouraged by my doctoral examiners. Since then we have continued to learn so much more about ageing and spirituality. What really started my interest in this field, as both nurse and a priest, was the question of why, given the same medical diagnosis, two different patients could have very different outcomes, even with the same medical treatment. There seemed to be ‘something more’ that we needed to understand. This continuing search has led to a number of studies since then and much listening to older people. The crucial factor - in the different outcomes for those living with the same diagnosis often seemed to come back to matters of meaning and hope, which for me are strongly linked to the spiritual dimension, to the very depths of our being.
When I was researching for and writing the first edition of this book I was really seeing ageing from the outside. I was listening intently to the stories of people who were growing older, wanting to know what the actual experience was like. I was particularly interested in knowing how people saw meaning in life and the way they lived out spirituality in these later years. Now that I have written a second edition of the book, two things in particular have happened. First, I am 16 years older, and I am seeing ageing from the inside. Second, a new cohort of people are moving into their later years: the baby boomers. The book had to include something about how baby boomers are experiencing, and expect to experience their later years of life. What do they look forward to? What kind of experiences do they think they will have? How do they think they will deal with the challenges of growing older? How will their experiences and challenges be the same or different from the previous cohort of older people? This second edition contains the words of the older people from my early studies and the words from baby boomers as they begin their journey into
By REV PROF ELIZABETH MACKINLAY AM, PhD FACN
this later part of life. At this stage they are still in the third age of life, which is about being older but still being able to live independently; but people in the third age are thinking a great deal about what lies before them and how they want to grow older. People we spoke to at the time of the first edition were living independently back in the mid to late 1990s, and now some of them have died, while others are very much into their later years and the fourth age, the age of frailty. I have not been able to go back to re-interview the people from my first study, but some of them did keep in contact with me for a number of years since then. Only about a year ago I received a letter from the daughter of one of the women from my original study (20 years since I first met her mother). The daughter was going through her mother’s papers and found a list of people who needed to be contacted when the mother died – I was on that list. The daughter wrote a lovely letter to me. In many ways, I felt that I already knew the daughter from the stories that the mother had shared over the years that I knew her. This is privileged work. The life stories of these older people have been a joy to listen to and a great source of
inspiration for me as I have continued to work with older people; older people who lived independently, older people who were frail and older people with dementia. All their stories have been important to listen to. This second edition of the book does not cover the kinds of things that you find in a lot of books about ageing, for example, about physical ageing and financial management, but its focus is on where older people find meaning in life. What does the spiritual dimension look like? Is religion important to all? Or, is it for only some older people? And, importantly, how do baby boomers understand their own spirituality as they grow older? Many of us have the potential to live out our later years with hope, resilience and growing into fullness of life, coming to new realisations of what it means to grow old in the twenty-first century. My hope is that many more people will find new ways of looking at what it means to grow older, using new lenses to see the possibilities of these added years of life. Rev Prof Elizabeth MacKinlay is a registered nurse and a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia
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What does St Augustine have in common with fallen sporting heroes? By MICHAEL O’CONNOR
How hard it is when our heroes fall. In recent times we have witnessed a steady stream of sporting heroes who seem to have taken a post-career nose dive in their personal lives, calling forth from their fans waves of concern. There has been no less bewilderment, either. How could it be that champions who have achieved their goals – goals that only the best can achieve – have suddenly hit rock bottom with reports of drug use, criminal charges or devastated relationships? The SBS program Insight last year gave a genuine ‘insight’ into what could be going on for them and – at times – for us. Fourtime Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett, basketball suprema Lauren Jackson and AFL legend Barry Hall told harrowing tales of the downs that followed their great achievements. The ending of careers, which had virtually occupied them for the best part of their lives, left them wondering what they would do next. How would they spend all the coming hours and days and weeks and months – and the years – that had previously been given exclusively to training and competition? What would fill the void? How could their lives now have meaning? The void has often been filled with activities and substances which could satisfy only partially. They would gratify for
a brief period of time, and only in a way which fell pitifully short in comparison with the exalted highs of their sporting careers. From a young age I remember asking myself regularly ‘and now what?’. I suppose the ending of good times – last day of school holidays; the day after my birthday – gave me a child’s experience of finitude. Where does the next good time come from, and when? ‘And now what?’ merged into a generalised ‘and then what?’ as I developed intellectually and philosophically. The future and the achievement of satisfaction became more important. “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?” I saw many who were hell-bent on temporary, minor satisfactions. Should we not be seeking ongoing, total satisfaction? Or is that unattainable and is the human person ultimately and woefully destined to frustration and meaninglessness? Victor Frankl’s insights in Man’s Search for Meaning accompanied me on an important part of my journey. Frankl’s image of his wife’s face as he bore the tortuous hardships of Nazi concentration camps had carried him on to survival. Just her image, her smile, her encouraging look, gave meaning to his life, even in torment. It bore, in the midst of hellishness, the supreme insight: “The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which Man can aspire…
The salvation of Man is through love and in love.” One of my greatest heroes fell but did not stay down. He rose to greatness. He wanted to stay with temporary, partial gratifications for a long time. “Make me chaste, Lord; but not yet” mouthed Saint Augustine of Hippo when he was caught up with short-term, limited satisfactions. He was eventually to find himself striving for lasting, complete fulfillment which, at that time, he was beginning to intuit was our destiny. “Not yet” had its passage, and then the period that opened out to eternal longings arrived for Augustine. Then he would say clearly and fully to God, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Recognising this human longing for eternal meaning and satisfaction changed Augustine’s life completely. From baptism to priestly ordination to installation as Bishop of Hippo, temporal milestones came along. He had asked himself ‘and then what?’ and preached the fruits of his ponderings to congregations who stood long hours listening. Fortunately, many recorded every word of his sermons for us also to ‘hear’. Augustine spoke of our eternal, complete fulfillment in terms of the scriptural image of the heavenly banquet. At this banquet, he preached, we will have “a kind of insatiable satisfaction”. Why such an
enigmatic word-play? “Because you won’t be satisfied in such a way that you want to leave the table; nor will anything be missing, so that you experience a sense of want.” What ties Augustine with our sporting heroes Trickett, Jackson, and Hall, and with our search-for-meaning man, Victor Frankl? Meaningful, fulfilling goals. All of them, and all of us, share a common human nature. On this earth we experience our incompleteness, our searching, our striving. We experience the wrong turns and the wrong efforts that result in dissatisfaction, and the turns and efforts that result in partial satisfaction. We have the drive to fulfillment. We sometimes settle for ‘inadequate fulfillment’ (a verbal nonsense) but know it is not enough. We can’t help but search for meaning and fulfillment. Even when we make meaningless and unfulfilling choices we are yet seeking meaning and fulfillment. Augustine in his circumstances, and Frankl in his, discovered the same about meaning, goals and fulfillment. We must hope that all athletes, strivers and achievers will make the same discovery. Love – loving and being loved – is the ultimate and only meaning and fulfillment. And God is love. Michael is a regular contributor to Aurora Magazine.
DIOCESAN LITURGY COUNCIL
Confirmation work space Providing a work space for Confirmation liturgy preparation
Saturday 24 February 2018 Register by 20 Feb!
Toohey Room, Newcastle West
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A just future starts with you
Through a small loan, Janaki teaches sewing with 11 machines. Photo: Richard Wainwright.
By DANIEL NOUR
Love helps us to change lives. That’s the message of Caritas Australia which, this Lent, takes as its theme: ‘A Just Future starts with You.’ Project Compassion 2018 will be launched in the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle on Shrove Tuesday 13 February by Bishop Bill Wright at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Hamilton. Members of parish and school communities are warmly invited to participate. After the liturgy, all are encouraged to immerse themselves in the daily lives of the people that Caritas Australia supports through interactive virtual reality goggles. Delicious pancakes and ice cream will also be on offer in the Southern Cross Hall. The stories of six young people will show Caritas Australia supports individuals to improve their own lives, those of their families and even entire societies, when we walk alongside the vulnerable in support and empowerment programs. One of the stories of a life changed is that of Janaki, a young entrepreneur
who has turned her life around by participating in a youth club formed by Caritas Australia partners, Caritas Nepal and the Ekata Foundation.
She is now considered a community role model.
In the Surkhet district of Midwestern Nepal, where Janaki grew up, she lived with poverty and disadvantage.
“I appreciate all those respected peoples of Australia who are supporting this wise cause. Through their help, women who experience domestic violence and who are financially vulnerable are getting new hope in their life.
Forced into marriage at the age of 12, her already vulnerable position deteriorated further following the death of her husband only two years after they wed. “I was so frustrated that I thought that my life was a waste. Slowly I realised that I need to move on and have some skills,” says Janaki. In 2015, after joining the Caritas supported youth club, part of a Children and Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP), Janaki participated in training to learn the craft of sewing better and also received a loan from the youth club to purchase her own sewing machine. “Everybody used to doubt my skills. But I stand on my determination and stand firm to learn tailoring skills,” says Janaki. Nine years on, Janaki has 11 sewing machines and is running her own small business, teaching others the craft.
“My confidence level has raised,” says Janaki.
“I thank you from bottom of my heart.” “Because of the Caritas supported Deaf Development Program (DDP,) I’ve had the opportunity to develop and to learn and increase my knowledge, now I’m much more confident in everything that I do,” Rattanak says. Father George Sigamony, Caritas Australia’s Manager of Community Engagement, has worked in Nepal with young women like Janaki and will visit the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle this March. He will speak on Caritas Australia’s work, which is changing lives and fostering social justice. As National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2016, Father George worked tirelessly with communities as the nation continued its recovery efforts
from the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, and 30 years of civil war where more than a hundred thousand people lost their lives. Fr. George also worked with Caritas Asia on Migration and Human Trafficking. Nepal is one of the countries where Human trafficking is very high within the South Asian region. He was coordinating this program in Collaboration with Caritas Internationalis. Parishes will have Project Compassion boxes and share packs available from Sunday 11 February, 2018. Please visit www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion. Project Compassion 2018 will be launched on Shrove Tuesday (13 February) at 10:30am, by Bishop Bill Wright at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. All are welcome. If you would like further information about Project Compassion 2018, please contact Patricia Banister, Caritas Diocesan Team member, 0409 300 192 or Email pabanister7@ gmail.com.
Daniel Nour is a Content Specialist at Caritas Australia.
CSO celebrates a successful 2017 By MICHAEL SLATTERY
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle have continued in 2017 to experience growth and success in delivering high-quality Catholic education in a caring, pastoral environment.
The learning agenda remains a key feature of Catholic
I am proud of the contribution of Catholic schools to the life of the diocese and the local parish communities. Some 20,000 students have benefited greatly from faith-filled staff who have worked with parents and parish clergy to form them for life.
steeped in best practice from leading world educators.
Our Catholic schools are a service to the Church and the community as they support the growth and faith of the students in a world full of challenges. Schools have continued to work collaboratively with communities to develop the faith and learning opportunities of our students.
inclusion of Stage 6 education and the Higher School
I am drawn to the prayer of Teresa of Avila that suggests that school communities are developing individuals who recognise that Christ has “no hands but yours” and refer to the important work of being Christ-like, taking a counter-cultural view of secular society and working for the greater good of the Kingdom. We are a valuesdriven system of schools and certainly counter-cultural, refusing to accept the societal norms of racism, sexism, homophobia and violence toward women. Our schools challenge those who don’t strive to assist others. They encourage giving to the poor in handfuls, working to be more tolerant, and accepting diversity within our Australian culture – whilst practising reconciliation and forgiveness. The generosity shown by school communities was evident in the $45,162 contributed to Caritas’ Project Compassion, St Vincent de Paul Society and Mercy Week appeals and other charitable works that were supported by individual schools.
Catholic Schools Week was a real highlight with a celebratory Mass and the announcement of the Bishops’ Awards to several schools and individuals. It was a joyous event with the cathedral full of clergy, teachers, students and parents – each celebrating a special moment.
education and 2017 saw the launch of the Learning Framework for Catholic educators in our schools. This framework represents many hours of collaborative work It will serve our teachers well and improve learning outcomes for our students. Memorable aspects of the year include the preparation of Gateshead and Lochinvar communities for the Certificate. Construction of St Bede’s Catholic College at Chisholm has begun and planning for Catherine McAuley Catholic College, Medowie, is underway. Several other school sites have experienced significant capital and refurbishment works to support pedagogical provision in the classrooms. Our annual Vivid campaign showcased the mission and identity of our schools and the wonderful programs on offer in our primary and secondary schools. Also showcasing the talents of our teaching staff and students was DioSounds and ASPIRE’s The Hoarders Next Door. These events placed on display a unique array of musical and theatrical talent. The performances had audiences spellbound. Catholic education in Maitland-Newcastle prioritises a school improvement agenda in a highly-visible and accountable manner. One can observe the promotion of equity and excellence to create young people who are sound learners, faith-filled and compassionate people, and active and informed Australian citizens. It is impressive to visit our schools and observe the living examples of programs which enhance faith, diverse student-learning needs, literacy and numeracy, leadership, early learning and social justice. Michael Slattery is the Director of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
From the acceptance speech for 2017 Man Booker Prize by US author, George Saunders: We are living in a strange time, he said… but “the question at the heart of the matter is simple. Do we respond to fear with exclusion and negative projection and violence? Or do we take that ancient great leap of faith and do our best to respond with love? And with faith in the idea that what seems other is actually not other at all, but just us on a different day?”
Wisdom in the Square
Where the hell is God? Seven steps to spiritual sanity By RICHARD LEONARD sj
Explorations of where or how God can be found in human suffering can be fairly academic. My passion for answers arose from experience, grappling with a tragedy which forced me to confront believing in a loving God in the face of evil. On 23 October, 1988, my sister was involved in a freakish car accident. For 28 years, until her death in March 2017, Tracey was a quadriplegic. She had lived in Calcutta for three years and nursed the poor at Mother Teresa’s House of the Dying. Then she worked with the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, running a health centre for Aboriginal people at Port Keats. Within 12 hours of Tracey’s accident, my mother was standing in a hospital room in Darwin asking, “Where the hell is God?” In the months that followed I received appalling letters from some of the best Christians I knew. “Tracey must have done something to deeply offend God so she had to be punished.” They actually
I did not know that in the many rooms of the father’s house, there are first, business and economy class suites.
believe God gets us. This theology is far more common than I imagined. I have met people with cancer, couples with fertility problems and parents who have lost a child who have asked me how they deserved to be cursed by God. “Tracey’s suffering is sending up glorious building blocks to heaven for her mansion there.” I did not know that in the many rooms of the father’s house, there are first, business and economy class suites. “Your family is blessed, because God only sends the biggest crosses to those who can bear them.” Some people, not receiving that particular blessing, see it so clearly in others’ suffering. We should all be praying, “God, I am a wimp. Do not consider me strong.” “It’s a mystery”, invoking Isaiah 55, “My ways are not your ways” and “Only in heaven will we learn God’s plan.” There is truth here, but surely the Incarnation indicates that God wants to reveal his ways and thoughts, wants to be known, especially when we are likely to despair. We do not believe and love an aloof being who revels in mystery and goes AWOL when the going gets tough. The Incarnation surely shows that God is committed to participating in all of the human adventure. All this alienated me from believing in a God who wants us to have intelligent discussion about the complexities of where and how God fits into our world. So here are seven steps to spiritual sanity that helped me hold on to faith in a loving God as I walked through the “valley of tears” in the “shadow of death”. God does not directly send pain, suffering and disease. God does not punish us, at least not in this life. 1 John 1:5 tells us, “God is light, in him there is
no darkness”, so deadly and destructive things cannot be in the nature and actions of God. Jesus reveals God as being about life not death, forgiveness not retribution, healing not pain. God does not send accidents to teach us, though we can learn from them. We do not need to blame God for our suffering to turn it around and harness it for good. Spiritual sanity rests in seeing that every moment of every day God does what God did on Good Friday. Easter Sunday is God’s response to Good Friday. God does not will natural disasters: can we please stop praying for rain? If God’s in charge of the climate, he’s a poor meteorologist. When people ask, “Why did the earthquake and tsunami happen?” I tell them, “The earth’s shelf moved, setting off a big wave.” Behind the meteorologistin-the-sky idea is not God, but Zeus. Petitionary prayer cannot change our unchanging God (James 1), so it asks our unchanging God to change us to change the world. God’s about the big picture. I believe the will of God is discovered on the larger canvas. I work with God to realise my potential, even if that involves having to do things that are difficult, demanding and sacrificial. This response comes not from fear and compulsion, but from love and desire. We should be very careful about lines like, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Did God not care about those less blessed? God did not need the blood of Jesus. This is “offer it up” theology: it was good enough for Jesus to suffer, it’s good enough for you. I cannot baldly accept that the perfect God of love set us up for a Fall, then got so angry that only the grizzly death of his perfect son was going
to repair the breach. The right question is not “Why did Jesus die?” but “Why was Jesus killed?” Jesus did not come to die, but to live. The way he lived threatened the political, social and religious authorities − so they executed him. But God had the last word on Good Friday: Easter Sunday. God’s world includes suffering, disease and pain. So many say, “I can’t believe in a God who allows famine.” I think God wonders why we let famine happen. God’s not responsible because we refuse to make the hard choices that would see our world transformed into a more just and equal place. God does not kill us off. When I’m regularly asked, “Father, why won’t God take Grandma?” I want to reply, “Because Grandma won’t stop breathing yet.” I think it’s entirely appropriate to believe that life is not a span allotted by God, but that our bodies will live until they die, and then our souls begin their journey home. I am passionate about God’s personal love and presence. Thinking that God is removed from the intricate detail of how things develop does not remove God from the drama of our living, suffering and dying. Christ meets us where we are, embraces us, holds us close when the going gets tough, and helps us find the way forward, especially on that day when we find the way home. Dr Richard Leonard sj is author of What does it all mean? A guide to being more faithful, hopeful and loving. (Paulist Press, 2017). For a longer version, please visit www. mnnews.today/aurora-magazine/
Dr Richard Leonard sj, a Jesuit priest; author and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Catholic University.
St. Anne’s girls look back 50 years Late last year the first ‘guinea pig class’ of St Anne’s Girls High School students met in Newcastle, 50 years after graduating as the first student output of the revolutionary Wyndham Education Scheme. Of the initial 66 students from the school’s first-ever Year 12, 26 ‘old girls’ attended the reunion along with three of the original teaching staff of six Sisters. Apologies were tendered from the other three Sisters, along with those of 12 classmates. Interest in getting together was very high as we’d only done so once before in the year 2000, and all of us very much enjoyed catching up and reminiscing!
The teac hing staff of St. Ann e’s 1967
St Anne’s Girls High School opened in 1966 in temporary ‘digs’ opposite the Tech College next to Throsby Creek in Tighes Hill. Meanwhile, a new purpose-built school was constructed adjacent to St Pius X (Boys) College in Adamstown, and we completed our second year there in 1967, during which time the school took on extra staff. We were an integral part of a bold new development in state education rolled out in the 1960s, under Sir Harold Wyndham, Director-General of the Department of Education in NSW. Sweeping changes were made to secondary studies. The old Intermediate and Leaving Certificates were replaced with the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate, and the syllabuses for all subjects were overhauled. The Wyndham Education Scheme began officially in 1962 with its first intake of students into what is now known as Year 7, and that beginning was not without its teething problems. The women at the reunion well remembered the ‘big blue Science text book.’ As one remarked, “It almost pulled our arms out of their sockets!”
The teaching staff of St. Anne’s 1967. (From left, standing.) Sr Mary Benignus RSJ; Sr. Marie Therese RSJ; Sr. M. Raphael OP; Sr M. Baptista RSM; Sr. Francis Xavier RSJ (From left, seated.) Sr. M. Julie RSM; Sr. Jane Frances RSJ (vice principal); Sr. M Bartholomew RSM (principal); Sr. M. Philippa OP
The infamous Messel Science book was the size and weight of two house bricks, and a problem even before it arrived. The new syllabuses for the Wyndham Scheme, most notably those for English and Science, were compiled by university professors and in their careful deliberation of what to put in and what to leave out, they dithered overlong.
Frankly Spoken While a man often abstracts, affirms and imposes ideas, a woman, a mother, knows how to ‘keep’, to put things together in her heart, to give life. If our faith is not to be reduced merely to an idea or a doctrine, all of us need a mother’s heart, one which knows how to keep the tender love of God and to feel the heartbeat of all around us. – New Year’s Day Mass
Year 12 St. Anne’s 1967
As a result, the text book for Science did not arrive in students’ hands until the end of 1964. When it finally made its appearance in science labs it was a beautiful thing to behold, much needed for those of us already two years into our Science course, and thereafter the bane of our lives. “We all ended up with one arm longer than the other,” women at the reunion agreed, a result of lugging the weighty thing back and forth from school. Despite the professors’ careful deliberation on what to leave out of each syllabus, the combined course of studies for that first senior year of the Wyndham Scheme was a behemoth. Covering all elements of the various curricula was a struggle. Staff and students of St Anne’s tried their level best to cram it all in. Extra classes were scheduled and students groaned under
the weight of work. Some spent as much time at home on schoolwork as they did during the school day, and still faced the HSC exam with whole English texts, for example, never read. The Board of Senior Studies fortunately acknowledged in time that schools had not been able to cover the entire syllabus in some subjects and exam papers were adjusted accordingly. Questions were posed on material across the entire syllabus and students were allowed to elect which questions to answer, gratefully leaving out those on which they had never had a lesson or opened a book. Those first two years of the Wyndham Scheme were fraught, riddled with bugs that needed ironing out, but “What an education we got!” the ‘old girls’ at the reunion universally affirmed. The Catholic Education
Image caption: Four women featured notably in the St. Anne’s Reunion Offspring Stakes for having the most children and grandchildren. They are (from left) Pat Feenan (14), Maria Shelley (18), Tina Palmer (18), Jenny Stivano (16).
singular women making their mark on the world and encouraging us to make ours.
Office initially brought together two teachers from three different orders of Sisters to be our mentors: Dominican, Mercy and Josephite Sisters. These dedicated women adjusted not only to a challenging syllabus but a new type of student. The Scheme, by adding an extra year to secondary studies in NSW, placed teachers in front of students who would normally be at university. Young ladies of Year 12, though still in school uniform, were old enough to drive; to drink legally and join the armed services, which resulted in a notable shift in student-teacher rapport. Our engagement with teachers went beyond the classroom, making those senior years of high school particularly memorable. Our teachers became more than instructors, they became comrades and role models. They were
We ‘guinea pig girls’ of St Anne’s pursued professions in all walks of life: teaching, law, business, science, medicine, farming and publishing to name a few. Not least of all we became homemakers, mothers and grandmothers. A quick count on the night of the reunion revealed the 26 women present had produced 75 children and 111 grandchildren. Our unique experience as St Anne’s students and pioneers of the Wyndham Scheme enriched our lives and continues to do so – and to enrich the lives of those around us.
Kate Walker is an Australian writer of Fiction for Children, Young Adults and Adults.
Immediate and Permanent Foster Carers are needed FREE INFO SESSIONS
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7 February 4 Gloucester 28 February 4 Port Stephens 7 March 4 Forster 28 March 4 Muswellbrook Call 4979 1120 to register or Visit catholiccare.org.au for more info | 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
Tell him he’s dreaming By TRACEY EDSTEIN
In the Bible, God often communicates with individuals through dreams. Joseph (of the coat of many colours) learns through a dream that he has a God-given destiny, and there are many more examples… Tea Gardens’ David Brailey is another man of God who has received messages in dreams. “I’ve had dreams that have changed my life.” The outcome of a recent dream is the simple yet profound notion of granddads praying for their grandkids. “I saw people – I couldn’t tell you who they were – but they were praying together. I asked God what was happening and he said, ‘You’re praying with these other granddads for your grandkids.’ “I wasn’t looking for ministry – I’ve discovered that’s not the way to do it,” said David. David is a father of three, grandfather of six and has served in leadership with a number of Christian congregations. He and his wife Jenny are steeped in scripture and trust God absolutely. They regularly host prayer groups in their home – but this was something new. David shared his idea with his friend Ron Sunderland. While raised a Christian, Ron wouldn’t call himself a church man. However, he came on board without hesitation. “It was such a good thing,
I had to be part of it.” The invitation to granddads is simple: gather with three or four others, including a facilitator, for just three or four weeks in succession. Share something of your story (not your life story!), and pray for your grandchild or grandchildren. Some men are distant, geographically and/or emotionally, from their grandchildren, perhaps because of a relationship breakdown. However, as David points out, there is no gap that can’t be bridged by prayer. Indeed, the image on David’s website is the Singing Bridge that links Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest. Participant Leon Bobako tells of writing letters to his four grandsons and delivering them personally. “I thought, ‘if I fell off the perch tomorrow, would they even know what granddad thought about them?’ If that’s all I do, it’s come out of a very positive initiative – it’s ecumenical and it’s for everyone.” Please visit www.granddads4grandkids.org
Tracey Edstein is the Editor for Aurora Magazine.
Sharing footpath stories By JANE DUNN
On an early morning stroll through the inner west Sydney suburb of Stanmore a year or so ago, I came upon my first street library. For those who may not have yet seen a street library, it is a place where books can be shared with those in your local community; a cupboard or box on a local street filled with books for reading, perhaps returning and taking another, or if you really loved it, perhaps for keeping! And street libraries love donations. It may be that as you’ve passed by, you have noticed one without realising what it was.
as I saw the small yellow cupboard coincidentally painted the same shade as our house and front fence - I knew I’d found my library. I initially raided my own collection of books but, having pared back my own book collection ruthlessly over the years, I felt unable to part with any more of the few hundred books I still had left. I did not ask my husband for his opinion on this matter! I then sent out a call to my family and book club buddies for any books they might wish to donate, and once I felt I had a suitable collection I was in business.
I knew nothing of the street library movement at the time, and being uncertain as to what the protocol was, I pondered, admired and moved on. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the street library movement some months later fired my imagination, and this time I determined to create my own street library. Books have been an important and central part of my life since childhood and the thought of managing my own small ‘library’ filled me with delight.
The books in my library have come and gone, sometimes have returned and then have gone again. I’ve had Booker Prize and other award winners pass through, been introduced to authors I’ve never heard of and had the chance to read the book after I’ve seen the film! I’ve had a selection of crime, history, fantasy, drama, action and adventure, literature, romance and children’s books. This week I’ve even had my first cook book - a Marie Claire no less! The trap of course for a book lover such as myself is that some of the donations I’ve received have yet to make it to the street, leading to an ever increasing
It took some time to find a suitable repository for the library, but as soon
pile of books by my bedside! Like any involvement in the community, I’ve got back more than I’ve put in. I enjoy the comings and goings of the books and feel a deep sense of contentment when I see the library has been plundered! I have three boxes of books waiting to take their place and I enjoy the daily traipse to the library to see what’s happened throughout the day. Occasionally I meet some of the patrons of my street library and very
much enjoy the ensuing conversation and book recommendations. The library sits expectantly and patiently at our front gate. All it asks is that you take a look… and hopefully a book! For further information and perhaps inspiration, go to streetlibrary.org.au. Jane is the Tribunal Director for the Marriage Tribunal, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
THE SPIRITUALITY OF AGEING Seminars for pastoral ministers, healthcare workers and anyone interested in the ageing process
Presented by Dr Prof. Elizabeth MacKinlay 9am-4pm, 20 Feb
$60 pp for pastoral & healthcare professionals Bookings to April MacNeill P 02 4921 1211 E April.MacNeill@calvarymater.org.au
1-4pm, 21 Feb
$20 pp negotiable All welcome including healthcare professionals Bookings to Adult Faith Formation Office P 02 4979 1134 E Sharon.Murphy@mn.catholic.org.au
6-9pm, 22 Feb
$20 pp negotiable All welcome including healthcare professionals Bookings to Adult Faith Formation Office P 02 4979 1134 E Sharon.Murphy@mn.catholic.org.au
www.mn.catholic.org.au | 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
Ten things we don’t do (volunteering gone wrong)
“Grass-roots communities are highly-skilled. Sharing your own abilities to further build their capacity is the sustainable way to volunteer”.
By BRENDAN JOYCE
Volunteering overseas is not as simple as some might think. Here are some things Palms Australia, a registered non-government organisation that places skilled volunteers in remote communities, does not do. Palms Australia’s objective is to facilitate the co-operation of people across cultures in order to achieve a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty. 1. “Unskilled” labour If a volunteer visitor is applying skills they have never used before, such as manual labour, then one wonders why local people are not given the opportunity to do this work. For the cost of one visitor you could employ many locals or one local for a year, keep skills in the community, stimulate the local economy and allow people the dignity of work. 2. Short-term volunteering Even if teachers are recruited to teach, nurses to nurse, builders to build, there are questions about what sustainable difference is made locally through short term placements. There may be a call for a specific technical skill which cannot be provided locally, though this is rare. Short-term volunteering is mostly a stop-gap solution which leaves a community no better off when the volunteer leaves. 3. Take local jobs All volunteer placements should be assessed against the criterion of the community’s ability to fill the role locally. If an electrician does not exist in the local community or NGO, there may still be one running a small business in town. Why fly a volunteer in for a month instead of paying a local worker? There is rarely a case when the real cost of recruiting, preparing, sending and supporting a short-term volunteer will be less than paying a local a fair wage. Even for longer-term placements, volunteers should only be sought where skills cannot be secured locally. Ideally, the volunteer’s role should involve some mutual skill exchange, so that the community develops its own skills and the volunteer learns what is sustainable from local counterparts. 4. Take control Foreign volunteers should always answer to a local boss, NGO or committee. Even if they have greater expertise in their professional field than their local counterparts, they do not know all the cultural, 20
Injecting cash to soothe one’s own ego is not sustainable and sets a dangerous precedent
political, technical or environmental barriers which affect their ‘brilliant’ foreign solutions. If an expatriate owns and drives a project it is almost bound to fail, during or after their placement. Locals must make the decisions. Expatriates may provide advice but must be prepared to be told ‘no’. 5. Send unprepared volunteers In addition to their professional expertise, volunteers should develop understandings of cross-cultural change, the process of cultural learning and adjustment and the influence of their own culture and personality. They should learn about asset-based community development, human rights, disability, gender, environmental sustainability and more. They must learn to manage expectations and to relinquish power. 6. Play Santa Claus Frustrated by slow or unpredictable progress, many volunteers desperately seek help from home to make a “tangible” difference – often a spontaneous building project. Injecting cash to soothe one’s own ego is not sustainable and sets a dangerous precedent. If the best a volunteer can show is a new water tank for which they raised $1000, they have hardly justified the thousands provided by their hosts, agency and donors to keep them in placement. A better approach might be to help some local people with an application to an agency which specialises in this type of development, thereby building local skills and relationships which last beyond the volunteer’s presence. Alternatively, there may be a local solution not requiring outside funds. 7. Live in luxury Air-conditioned expatriate bubbles can encourage groupthink where locals are judged, maligned and ‘othered’ rather than engaged and respected. As
far as possible, volunteers should embrace their vulnerability and seek to live simply. 8. Promote volunteers as saviours The ‘volunteer as hero’ story may attract more media, more donations and more volunteers, but it’s unfair to the dedicated people who spend their lives working for their local communities, with or without volunteers. While volunteers can make a valuable contribution and provide good ‘value for money’, narratives which focus exclusively on the foreigner risk simplifying the story of locals to a negative stereotype. 9. Forget to evaluate If recruiting volunteers and securing funds are the goals of an organisation, then perpetuating an idea that ‘volunteering just works’ is not a problem. However, if the organisation has a mission to reduce poverty, build capacity and build cross-cultural relationships through volunteering, then monitoring and evaluation are essential. Every volunteer placement should be evaluated from the point of view of every stakeholder – host organisations, volunteers, program beneficiaries, sending organisation, even donors. 10. Lose heart There are many potential mistakes in volunteering, but if we keep these in mind, volunteering can be the most effective and empowering method of building a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world. We take this mission seriously and are excited that so many others are prepared to consider tough questions in our quest for a better world. Please visit www.palms.org.au.
Brendan is the Digital Strategist Lead at Caritas Australia.
Community Noticeboard Triduum Take 2 The Diocesan Liturgy Council invites you to this workshop specifically about the Easter Vigil. It will be held on Saturday 10 February from 9.30am – 1pm in the Toohey Room, Diocesan Offices, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. The workshop is suitable for Clergy, liturgy teams, RCIA teams, all liturgical ministers, musicians, proclaimers of the Word, extraordinary ministers of Communion, altar services and all interested members of the community. Reflect on the meaning and nature of the Easter Vigil within Triduum, review the structure, elements and options of the Easter Vigil and bring a copy of your 2017 Easter Vigil liturgy. Morning tea provided. To register P Sharon 4979 1134 or E Sharon.Murphy@ mn.catholic.org.au. Confirmation Work Space Sacramental teams are invited to set up camp to work on their confirmation liturgies, with support from Louise Gannon rsj, members of the Liturgy Council and each other. Held in the Toohey room of the Diocesan Offices, Newcastle West on Saturday 24 February from 9.30am-12.30pm. To register, please contact Sharon Murphy E email@example.com. org.au P 4979 1134 by 20 February. Ecumenical Conversions Dialogue An opportunity to gather as an Ecumenical Community to explore: What can we learn from each other, about Ministry of Lay People. 27 February, 6pm-9pm at Jesmond Park Uniting Church, 15 Robert St, Jesmond. Light refreshments will be provided. RSVPs or further details, please contact Brooke Robinson P 4979 1111 or E brooke.robinson@ mn.catholic.org.au. RSVP by 22 February. The Spirituality of Ageing Dr Elizabeth MacKinlay, Anglican priest and renowned practitioner in the field, has recently revised her well-known text: The Spirituality of Ageing. She will be with us in February for three
seminars, accessible to individuals, families, healthcare professionals and pastoral teams. Seminars take place on 20 February in Waratah; 21 February in Muswellbrook; and 22 February in Forster. Please see advertisement on page 19 for booking details. “Before We Say I Do” 2018 Marriage Education is a vital part of planning for a life partnership. CatholicCare offers a selection of courses for married and soon-tobe married couples to assist them in preparing for, and maintaining, their commitment to one another. Couples are advised to attend a course around four months prior to the wedding. Book early as some courses are very popular. “Before We Say I Do” is a group program held over two days or four evenings. P Robyn, 4979 1370. 1. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do, 10 and 17 February in the Murray Room, 841 Hunter St West, Newcastle. 9.15am-4.30pm. 2. Facilitating Open Couple Communication Understanding and Study (FOCCUS), 19 and 26 February in the Toohey Room, 841 Hunter St West, Newcastle. 5.15-7.30pm. 3. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do, 23 and 24 March at either Therry Centre, East Maitland OR Corcoran Centre, Morpeth. Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday 9am‑5pm. 4. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do, 4 and 5 May at the Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. 5. Marriage Education Course (FOCCUS) at Toohey Room, Newcastle, 14 and 21 May. 5.15pm-7.30pm. 6. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do, 3 and 4 August, Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-7.30pm.
For your diary
7. Marriage Education Course − (FOCCUS) at the Toohey Room, Newcastle, 3 and 10 September. 5.15pm-7.30pm. 8. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do at Singleton CatholicCare, 19 and 20 October. Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Beginning of World Interfaith Harmony Week
9. Marriage Education Course – (FOCCUS) at the Toohey Room, Newcastle, 29 October and 5 November. 5.15pm‑7.30pm.
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life
World Cancer Day
10. Marriage Education Course – Before We Say I Do, 23 and 24 November at the Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.
11 World Day of Prayer for the Sick
Seasons for Growth 2018 Companioning Training, Children and Young People’s Training: Newcastle 14-15 March, Taree 19-20 June and Newcastle 7-8 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 Claiming the Date The Annual Tenison Woods Education Centre Dinner will be held on Monday 21 May 2018 at the Therry Centre, East Maitland. Watch this space! Volunteering with Palms Australia Palms is seeking qualified and experienced Australians to assist in various missionary and development activities. There are opportunities in a wide range of areas, from teaching in Timor Leste (pre-school, primary and secondary) to assisting with the development of a brass band in Kiribati; from plumbing/building in Papua New Guinea to English/Science teaching/mentoring in Samoa. Whatever your skills and experience, there is a place for you! To learn more P 9560
13 Shrove Tuesday 10th Anniversary of the Apology to Stolen Generations by the Australian Government 2008 14 Ash Wednesday
18 First Sunday of Lent 20 World Day of Social Justice 22 Episcopal ordination of Fr Brian Mascord in Wollongong 24 Confirmation work space 25 Second Sunday of Lent 27 Ecumenical Conversions Dialogue
National Epilespsy Awareness Month
World Day of Prayer
Schools Clean Up Australia Day
Third Sunday of Lent
4-10 Catholic Schools Week
For more events please visit mn.catholic.org.au/calendar and mn.catholic.org.au/community.
5333 or E firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that there are two more Catholic senior school options available for 2018?
St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead and St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar are now enrolling for Year 11, 2018.
Visit mn.catholic.edu.au for more details
Aurora on tour Aurora was spotted in Sydney. Not our Sydney, but the harbour town on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Review By LAWRIE HALLINAN
The title of the book, Being the change: Live well and spark a climate revolution, prepares the reader for a journey of depth and breadth. Fear not. The book is not the rant of a zealot screeching, “I did this and so should you.” Nor is it an alarmist scream of, “We are all doomed unless you change.” The book assumes the goodwill of the reader. It objectively explains the science of climate change and shares the personal response of one man and his family. Earlier chapters explain the causes and consequences of climate change and the culture that supports our high growth, fossil fuel-fed lifestyle. Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist with a PhD in physics, so he is well qualified. He has tried to condense considerable knowledge and present it accessibly. He hasn’t quite achieved this goal.
growing fruit and vegetables; keeping chickens; composting; buying second-hand clothes; having more vegetarian meals and buying less ‘stuff’.
The alternative mindset Kalmus offers is to see ourselves as part of an interconnected biosphere (where all creation has rights), being grateful for what we have (and not wanting more); becoming a producer (not just a consumer) and fostering love for self, other people and beings. Mindfulness meditation has been fundamental in supporting Kalmus’ mindset.
Some would say that the scale of the climate change problem means that the actions of a few will make little difference. Kalmus offers you hope that by adopting a different way of living, you will enjoy a better quality of life; you will be happier from your interconnectedness with community and nature; you will find consolation in your actions aligning with your principles, and you will be leading others to sustainable global change.
Kalmus provides examples of changes he and his family have made: using less energy and materials; using a credit union rather than a major bank; divesting from fossil-fuels; riding instead of driving;
Peter Kalmus Being the change: Live well and spark a climate revolution (NewSouth Books 2017).
In the rest of the book Kalmus provides the antidote to the economic and cultural structures that have given us climate change.
Five Spice Chicken This is a quick and easy weekday meal with very few ingredients. Hope you enjoy one of my favourites. BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - The Cathedral Café
Ingredients f f 4 chicken cutlets (skin on) f f 4 medium brown mushrooms, sliced f f 1/2 bunch Chinese broccoli f f 1 birdseye chilli, finely sliced (optional) f f 1 teaspoon five spice powder f f 2 tablespoons oyster sauce f f Pinch white pepper and salt
Method Preheat oven to 175°C. In an ovenproof frying pan, sear the chicken, skin side down, in a splash of oil over medium heat.
Chef Bart’s culinary gifts can be enjoyed at Cathedral Café, 843 Hunter St Newcastle West, 9am–1.30pm, Monday to Friday. P 4961 0546.
Place in oven and cook for 15–20 minutes. Turn chicken over so skin is now facing up and put back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp the skin. Remove chicken and allow to rest and cook slightly, then cut meat from the bone in chunks. Add a dash of oil to a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat and add chicken and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes then add remaining ingredients. Cook, tossing, for a few minutes and serve with either boiled rice or your favourite Asian noodles.
S e rv e s
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Published on Feb 14, 2018