Aurora June 2019

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle June 2019 | No.191

New school a bold initiative St Laurence Flexible Learning Centre opens 7

Attention blokes: Take a raincheck on bravery 13

Interfaith solidarity will heal Fr Figurado honours victims of Easter Sunday terrorist attack 5


More to Seafarers th an just staying afloat Page 10

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An edition packed with variety

On the cover Mission to Seafarers Chaplain Richard Bergolcs, with volunteers Lauren Elliott, Diane Terry, Christine Smith and Cedric Marrett.

As I write this for the June edition of Aurora, I find it hard to believe we are almost halfway through the year. Time certainly flies and this year has been no different. It seems every month is filled with major events and activities – and it is a major challenge keeping on top of these many events and activities.

Featured f f Fr Figurado honours victims of Easter Sunday terrorist attack


f f Classy first group walking the walk


f f New school a bold initiative


f f Boys to men paramount in our schools


f f Working together for a shared future


f f Plenary council to spark change


f f More to Seafarers than just staying afloat 10 f f Celebrating unity in diversity


f f Take a raincheck on bravery


f f Who will lead our parishes in the future? 14 f f A new deacon for our Diocese


f f Sea-change but spirit remains




Joel Fitzgibbon

First Word


For this reason, I have decided to add Elizabeth Snedden to the Aurora team as Production Editor. Lizzie is a product of the Catholic school system, has a keen interest in social justice issues and has a nose for news that is second to none. She is already playing a key part in making sure that each month Aurora has a good blend of stories about events and activities in the Diocese. Lizzie’s influence can definitely be seen in this issue which is packed with a variety of stories. For example, one about Fr Figurado who organised a memorial service for victims of the Easter Sunday terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on p5. On the education front there are a number of firsts – on p6 you can read about

the first Year 12 students at St Mary’s Gateshead and St Joseph’s Lochinvar while on p7 you can read about the first ever Flexible Learning Centre to open its doors in the Diocese. St Laurence Flexible Learning Centre is also the first of what the Diocese hopes will be several such centres in the HunterManning region. As acting Director of the Catholic Schools Office, Gerard Mowbray says: “Through establishing flexible learning centres, we can best support young people who – for a range of reasons – have not stayed in mainstream schooling.” A major event for your diary is NAIDOC Week which will open with an ecumenical service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on 7 July. There’s more information about this wonderful week on p9. Another week to remember is National Refugee Week which runs from 16-22 June. On p12 you can find out how best to celebrate unity in diversity.

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f f Lifelong learning needs early investment f f Faces and places in our Diocese

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On the Plenary Council front, it was great to see that more than 220,000 people from the length and breadth of Australia took part in the Listening & Dialogue phase – and further details are on p9. Equally exciting was the news that we have a new deacon in our Diocese – Kevin Gadd. If my maths and memory serve me correctly, we now have 14 deacons in the Diocese. Last but not least, on p14 there is a great read about two Nigerians who are passionate about their call to be priests in the Diocese – Kizito and Kingsley. As I am out of Africa myself, I really enjoyed their story and I am sure you will too. John Kingsley-Jones is the Head of Diocesan Communications for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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There is also a bit of a ‘sea’ theme in this issue with our cover story on the amazing work done by the team at Mission to Seafarers - and there is a sea-change for the Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar on p15.

Let’s not forget Men’s Health Week which runs from 10-16 June – and the story is on p13. In the same vein, we write about

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supporting the well-being of male students in our schools on p8.

Subscribe E @MNnewstoday Aurora appears in The Newcastle Herald on the first Saturday of the month, in The Maitland Mercury, The Singleton Argus, The Manning River Times and The Scone Advocate on the following Wednesday and in The Muswellbrook Chronicle on the following Thursday. The magazine can also be read at

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The Christchurch effect One night at the recent Bishops’ Conference, a number of us were sitting around talking when someone remarked on something surprising. He said there had been greatly increased numbers at his Easter Masses, which was hardly what one would expect after all the bad news in churches in recent times. This, however, matched my own experience. There were more people in the Cathedral on Easter morning than I can recall in any of my time here. And other bishops had the same thing to report. What had happened? One somewhat plausible theory was “the Christchurch effect”. Remember that on Easter morning here, the tragedy in Sri Lanka had not yet happened. The notion is the horror in the Christchurch mosques had been especially appalling because the victims were simply faithful people coming together for their prayers. Somehow, the theory goes, that made the whole “image” of coming together in church seem more like a good thing, or a thing good people do, in peace and harmony. Perhaps, too, there was a touch of defiance: “We’re not going to be driven out of our mosques, churches, synagogues by the men of blood.” Who knows? But something made this Easter bigger than usual. Now, I’ve been asked many times since I first arrived eight years ago this month, how will the church win back trust? I believe I’ve always said something to

the effect that, in the end, it will be the witness of the good and faithful lives of ordinary believers that will win people’s respect. The kindness, honesty, staying power and faithfulness of “ordinary” Catholic people will have its impact on how people outside see Catholics and will gradually wear away the hostility built up by the present public image of the church. It’s like the way that even the thickest of our fellow citizens will come to realise that Muslims can’t be all that bad, despite the shock-jocks, because Mustafa next door is a great guy. Seeing real, good people simply living their faith, evidently sustained by their prayer and their community, breaks down barriers and stereotypes. Of course, the church as an organisation will also have to get its house in order. Some of the things that will undoubtedly be on the agenda of the Plenary Council 2020/21, such as; good governance; the meaningful participation of women and young people in decision making; greater financial accountability; better preparation for clergy; ensuring safety for children and the vulnerable; and dealing firmly with transgressors – are important. But the X-factor of church renewal is that we provide better opportunities for people to learn about their faith, to grow spiritually, and to engage in their vocations in a Christian spirit. How can our communities, parishes and schools and families, be academies of prayer, faith and charity? The “institution” will

then look after itself. As it happens, I’ve just come back from celebrating Mass in one of our parishes. At the end, I thanked the congregation for the way they had sung and responded, and kept quiet and focused when appropriate. Their participation had lifted and up-lifted me. All right, even here there were some, mostly male, Novocastrians exercising their God-given right to remain silent and sullen, but not enough to quench the spirit of worship and prayer. I asked the community to pray for the spirit to really be the driving force of the Plenary Council

because, with this group, I felt that for the most part they actually would. The “Christchurch effect” witnesses to the power of peaceful, praying communities to make an impression even on a jaded and sceptical society. It’s just a pity that it takes a tragedy for this to be widely noticed.

Bishop Bill Wright Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Frankly Spoken The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church... Vos estis lux mundi - 7 May 2019

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Father Figurado honours victims of Easter Sunday terrorist attack BY TODD DAGWELL

The Sri Lanka terrorist attack on Easter Sunday caused shock and sadness around the world, but one Hunter priest believes interfaith solidarity is the only way for the country to truly heal. Sri Lankan-born Father Joseph Figurado is the assistant priest at Christ The King in Mayfield West and St Peterin-Chains Stockton. Last month, he held a memorial Mass at the church of Christ the King, attended by more than 100 people, to support his countrymen and to offer comfort to Sri Lankans living in the Hunter. “The Mass was held to show solidarity with all Sri Lankan families living in Newcastle,” he said. “My homily message was ‘Let us rise again and let us all strengthen one another with love and concern’.” Father Figurado was born in Mannar in northern Sri Lanka. He entered a seminary in Negombo in the south in 1993 and became a priest in 2006. He served in Negombo until he came to Australia in October 2016.

now finds itself, all of us Sri Lankans have to stand together in solidarity regardless of whether we are Buddhists, Christians, Muslims or Hindus. We must strive to live in harmony because we are, first and foremost, all Sri Lankans.” Describing the attack as an “insult to humanity”, Father Joseph said he still has friends and family living in Sri Lanka struggling to come to terms with the carnage they have witnessed. “The day of resurrection, which is normally a day of celebration, became a day of death. Many of my friends and family have been affected by this attack, as have my brother priests and nuns who live in Sri Lanka. It is so sad to hear their stories,” he said.

On 21 April, Easter Sunday, three churches, three hotels, a housing complex and a guest house were bombed in a series of co-ordinated attacks that killed 253 people and injured more than 500. The BBC said evidence indicated Islamic extremists, backed by Islamic State (IS), were responsible for the brutal suicide attacks.

In his homily at the memorial mass, Father Joseph said the cruel targeting of innocent men, women and children attending church had left so many questions unanswered. “After all these questions there is a huge silence. Each one of us has been extended beyond what we have thought possible,” he said.

Father Joseph said Sri Lanka was a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country where Buddhists, Christians, Muslims and Hindus had been living together peacefully for a long time. He said continued co-operation and compassion between the faiths was vital to the nation’s recovery. “In this chaotic situation in which the country

“We are tired, the strain and pain still shows on our faces and in our eyes. The hurt and shock ... is deep in our lives, it has displaced our sense of order, it has disrupted our routines, it has changed our plans, it has altered our future and it has challenged out understanding of right and wrong and of good and evil.

Father Joseph Figurado.

“Perhaps the best way to deal with the silence of the hurt and of the shock is to seek refuge and strength from God and from each other – for all of us to unite, for all of us to stand together with the aim of healing.”

Todd Dagwell is the Senior Content Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.


Council for Australian Catholic Women

ReKindle Our Story with fun, food and faith! Saturday 22 June, 2019 All women are welcome – please extend an invitation to your friends. Come along, share your story and listen to the stories of other women. You may be surprised!

TIME 9.30/10am - 2.30pm COST $10.00 VENUE St Joseph’s High School, Segenhoe St, Aberdeen RSVP Essential by 14 June, 2019 to or 0421 876 221

Our guest speaker Helene O’Neill Family Ministry Coordinator Representing the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle



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Classy first group walking the walk BY TODD DAGWELL

Generations of Hunter Catholic students have walked the pathway from feeder high school to senior college, but this year St Mary’s Gateshead and St Joseph’s Lochinvar will finally farewell Year 12 classes of their own. Both schools were established decades ago by the Sisters of St Joseph who long dreamed of them being expanded to offer Years 7 to 12. St Mary’s principal Larry Keating said that in previous years the long commute from Lake Macquarie to St Francis Xavier College (SFX), Hamilton, added significant pressure to students’ schooling. “The tyranny of distance meant after Year 10 concluded we were losing kids to state schools who didn’t want to travel,” he said. “Now students don’t suffer the disadvantage in the learning process of having to change schools and start all over again. Maintaining continuity means the teachers already know the specific support kids need.” Despite the obvious advantage of studying closer to home, the decision hasn’t been easy for the first class of students offered the choice to stay or go. St Mary’s Year 12 leadership group member Georgia Hayes said she originally moved to St Francis Xavier at the start of Year 11 but changed her mind and moved back to St Mary’s. “Going to SFX was just the done thing so I went without giving it much thought – I only lasted three weeks,” she said. “St Mary’s was my home and I was happy to come back home.” Her friend and fellow Year 12 leader, Sooay Smith, said it was a particularly hard decision after all of her friends chose SFX. “I stayed and became close with people I wouldn’t normally have spent time with. It is much easier than driving all the way into town,” she said. St Joseph’s Lochinvar students used to attend All Saints’ College Maitland for their final two years of schooling but are now free to finish where they started. Principal Patricia Hales said there had been great excitement among the first cohort of Year 12 students as the HSC drew closer. “This group is forging a new identity for the college and the school has focused on providing support and encouragement without placing too much pressure on them,” Patricia said.

Now students don’t suffer the disadvantage in the learning process of having to change schools and start all over again. Maintaining continuity means the teachers already know the specific support kids need.

Coen Harvey, Georgia Hayes, Sooay Smith, Cohan Geelan and St Mary’s Gateshead Principal Larry Keating.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle acting director of schools Gerard Mowbray said the expansion was started following an extensive study in 2014-2015 into the future provision of secondary education in the Diocese. “Students, staff and parents requested that the continuity of schooling from Years 7 to 12 in these regional centres be considered,” Gerard said. “Parents and carers have shown their great support for the structural change by seeking attendance at the schools in ever-increasing numbers. The local demand cannot in fact be met.” At St Mary’s, the wait list to join Year 7 was 50 this year and 70 last year. St Mary’s students also benefit from a decision by the school to cap enrolments at six streams, which equates to 180 students per year in Years 7 to 10 and will eventually result in about 150 in Years 11 and 12. “You can become too big and then you lose the capacity to care for kids,” Larry said.

Understandably, St Mary’s first-ever graduating Year 12 class is only small, but the 43 students soon to make history are relishing the extra support and attention. Year 12 school leaders Coen Harvey and Cohan Geelan said class numbers were very small so it felt more like having a personal mentor than a normal teacher who was trying to assist a large number of students at once. “Being the first Year 11 and 12 class we’ve really been eased into our senior years. The teachers always remind us it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the ATAR you want,” Coen said. “There’s a great sense of pride in being the first year to do all these things at the school. It’s a unique and special experience,” Cohan said.

Todd Dagwell is the Senior Content Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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New school a bold initiative BY DARRELL CROKER

A “ground-breaking” education initiative from the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle has come to fruition with the opening of the St Laurence flexible learning Centre in Broadmeadow. Established in partnership with Edmund Rice Education Australia, the new centre is the first in the Hunter, and the third in NSW. The others are in Wollongong and St Marys. The Diocese hopes it is the first of several flexible learning centres for the region. Gerard Mowbray, Acting Director of the Catholic Schools Office at the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, said the idea for the centre came out of a study looking at future provision of secondary schooling. “That study identified a significant group of students who don’t fit the mainstream,” Gerard said. “Kids fall through the cracks, and for various reasons they don’t succeed or engage. The flexible education system gives them an opportunity.” Flexible learning centres were developed to cater to small numbers, with small class sizes. The curriculum is delivered in a manner better suited to them. As the name suggests, it’s flexible. “It’s a response to the needs of the young people of this region,” Gerard said. “It teaches the same curriculum as the rest of the state, but conveyed in a range of ways. Class sizes will optimally be 15 students to a teacher.” The new centre provides highly individualised learning encompassing core skills, and vocational or practical skills. “It will operate as a systemic school for the Diocese,” Gerard said. “This is a ground-breaking initiative from the Diocese. It sits parallel to the mainstream system, and complements it. One in five students are not suited to

the mainstream system. We have provided a meaningful option.” Edmund Rice Education Australia through its Youth+ program is operating the centre. It currently has an enrolment of 30 and the aim is to gradually increase that to about 50 by the end of the second year, and then to 80. “We see the Manning and Maitland as areas where, through establishing flexible learning centres, we can best support young people who, for a range of reasons, have not stayed in mainstream schooling,” Gerard said. “There is the potential to develop other centres within the next 10 years given the need for flexible learning.” Executive Director of Edmund Rice Education Australia, Wayne Tinsey, said the need for flexible learning options in Australia had been well documented. Brotherhood of St Laurence research showed the number of young people disengaging from schooling at an early age was increasing. Data from 2014 showed about onefifth of secondary-age students did not attend school and a further one-fifth did not feel connected to their school. “It is also known that lower educational participation leads to lower income levels, higher unemployment and greater reliance on social services,” Dr Tinsey said. “Keeping ‘at risk’ young people engaged reduces by more than 50 per cent their likelihood of becoming NEET ‘not in employment, education or training’.”

Darrell Croker is the Senior Content Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Student Eva McInnes with teacher, Janelle Roberts

“That study identified a significant group of students who don’t fit the mainstream. Kids fall through the cracks, and for various reasons they don’t succeed or engage. The flexible education system gives them an opportunity.”



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Boys to men paramount in our schools BY GABRIELLE SUTHERLAND

When it comes to supporting male student wellbeing, our Catholic school communities are committed to a proactive whole-school approach.

Implementing effective wellbeing practices within schools is important to ensure students develop positive relationships with themselves and others, build resilience, and have an enjoyable school experience. At St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, there are a number of wellbeing initiatives and programs for male students. The Boys Group is a mentoring group for selected male students who require individual support throughout their schooling. The group is run by the college’s male year leaders of learning and provides students with the opportunity to discuss issues or concerns they have. The Barbecue Crew is another initiative of St Joseph’s, and it provides a more informal mentoring opportunity. The crew allows students and staff to cook breakfast on Friday mornings during the winter season, helping students, particularly boys, build a strong sense of community in a supportive space. “Students also have access to services such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Headspace or other provided activities and opportunities including meditation, yoga and mindfulness,” said Assistant Principal, David Crawford.

our pastoral framework that assists in identifying appropriate wellbeing support levels, services and opportunities for students. “Our learning mentor groups meet each morning where students have the opportunity to ‘check in’ for their wellbeing each day.” At St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton, male students are part of the LiveRESPECT coaching program. Developed in the United States by the A Call to Men organisation, the program aims to challenge harmful cultural and social norms and empower boys to make decisions that are better for themselves and those around them. The program runs once a week and is facilitated by members of the counselling team from the Catholic Schools Office, with the initial group made up of boys from Year 9. During the program, participants complete a number of activities that focus on student mental health and wellbeing in the school environment.

“In 2019, we appointed a leader of wellbeing whose role is to promote the wellbeing of all members of our community.

For example, the group focused on “how can young males break out of the man box” by creating their own “man box” that contains the participant’s definitions of manhood. The aim of the exercise was to break the cycle that prevents young males from becoming healthy men and experiencing healthy relationships.

“We have a wellbeing component of

“Student wellbeing is paramount for

Boys and Relationships Group from All Saints’ College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland

Implementing effective wellbeing practices within schools is important to ensure students develop positive relationships with themselves and others, build resilience, and have an enjoyable school experience. young men and women as they transition to adulthood,” said Geoffrey Morley, Professional Officer (Psychologist) at the Catholic Schools Office. “Wellbeing is a prerequisite for positive relationships, feelings of autonomy and purpose, and resilience now and in the future. LiveRESPECT is a program that has the potential to change the behaviour of males towards females and, in so doing, improve the wellbeing of both males and females as they mature into adults.” Boys and Relationships is a group offered at All Saints’ College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland, that aims to provide support in the areas of relationships, anger management and decision-making for male students. Initiated by the college wellbeing team, the group offers students in stages four and five a place to communicate and participate in hands-on challenges and physical activities. The group’s 10 members usually meet for

an hour once a week over an eight-week period. Students often find they “feel a strong sense of support and connection to the other boys in the group”, said Kathryn Johnstone, Assistant Principal (Wellbeing) at All Saints’ College. “It also allows them to access support from staff in a non-confrontational manner. Moving forward, they can then reach out if they need to talk to someone.” Each week, the group has a different focus, which allows staff to provide a contrasting perspective for the students. “As a large school, we have a number of boys with differing needs, therefore this group addresses the needs of smaller groups of boys and is a good way to use our resources,” she said. To find out more about student health and wellbeing within our schools, click here Gabrielle Sutherland is Marketing Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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Working together for a shared future


“Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future.” This is the theme for NAIDOC Week 2019, which opens with an ecumenical service at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newcastle West, at 1.30pm on 7 July. NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, and found its beginnings in the Day of Mourning march in 1938. Originally NAIDOC was observed on the Sunday before Australia Day. In the 1950s, the date was moved to July in order to capture the importance of celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Today, NAIDOC is a celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is hosted by local communities throughout Australia. Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future. There is an ongoing effort in Newcastle to ensure we come together in an ecumenical spirit of shared listening. The NAIDOC service is held on the first Sunday of NAIDOC week – the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals host it on an alternating basis. The arrangements for the service are co-ordinated and organised by a working party drawn from many denominations and previously has included interfaith representatives.

The liturgy and program itself have been developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives. Over the past 40 years, local Newcastle churches have supported and worked together to promote and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. In September 1980, when the Newcastle Aboriginal Support Group was first formed, its founding members included representatives from several churches. This led to the development of ongoing relationships between churches and community groups. In 1981, when the possibility of a treaty was discussed, the local churches provided free meeting space for the ongoing conversations. It was also in September of 1981 that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples flag was first flown from the bell tower of Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle. In July 1997, George Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury (the symbolic leader of the global Anglican Communion) visited Newcastle and participated in a statement of confession and reconciliation to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This service of apology was held in response to the release of the Bringing Them Home report. It was led by Gloria Schipp, the first Aboriginal woman to

be ordained in Australia, and included local representatives from 11 Christian denominations. A few years later during a summer school on Aboriginal spirituality, a healing service was organised and hosted in conjunction with Saint John’s College, Morpeth, the theological school attached to Newcastle Anglican diocese. This too was an ecumenical event that included representatives from many denominations. At the heart of this ceremony was a cross, painted by Mini Heath, a Worimi woman. Mini Heath was the NAIDOC Inaugural

Plenary Council to spark change BY BROOKE ROBINSON More than 220,000 people from throughout the country shared their stories recently, and considered the question, “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” The contemplation occurred in the Listening & Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council, which closed in March, and Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge predicts it will spark cultural and structural changes in the church. “I think we have to accept the fact that Christendom is over – by which I mean mass, civic Christianity. It’s over,” he told Catholic Leader. “Now, how do we deal with that fact? “This is no time for the church to be putting up signs that say ‘business as usual’.” The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Director of Pastoral Ministries, Teresa Brierley, said respectful listening was the “pearl in the process”.

“What I have noticed is that the Plenary Council question and process invited those who gathered in the listening and dialogue groups to listen deeply to each other, which led them to listen more intently to what the spirit is saying,” she said. “That deep respectful listening was the pearl in the process. People were amazed as to what was shared and then what finally emerged from that engagement with each other and the spirit.” Teresa hopes the experiences will carry into other areas. “It would be my hope that this process of listening and dialogue becomes the normal practice of those of us who participate in pastoral planning for our church because it is a planning that will and should impact on the whole of Australia, not just the Catholic Church,” she said.

NSW Aboriginal Artist of the Year in 1983. This cross now stands in a courtyard at the Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocesan offices. There are many more moments such as these throughout our history, and many more to come, as we work together for a shared future.

Emma Clark is Legal Clerical Officer for the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle

The Diocese engaged 150 trained animators to run listening and dialogue sessions throughout the region. Helene O’Neill was one of the animators and said she loved the sessions, and was surprised by the topics raised. “I think many people thought it would be all about the women priests and the married priests, but I was so surprised that most of the ones I led were about getting back to basics,” she said. “They were saying, ‘Let’s live by the scriptures, live by the gospels’. For me it was quite a revelation that the media virtually tells people what we’re thinking. These people aren’t thinking that at all. They really want to belong to something.” The National Centre for Pastoral Research is currently collating and analysing all responses. A draft preliminary national report will identify emerging themes for the 2020 Plenary Council. This report is to be released in the next few months. For more information, visit



More to Seafarers than just staying afloat

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Seafarers are responsible for 95% of all goods and products that come into Australia, yet they are an “invisible workforce” enduring tough and lonely conditions, and confronted with genuine threats to their lives.

We’ve all seen the queue of vessels off the Newcastle coast and their lights at night on the horizon. But we probably never imagine that all those seafarers are longing to come ashore. Time is a killer for seafarers. They are on nine or 12-month contracts and many never touch land in that time. Mental health is a huge issue. The International Transport Federation (IFT) estimates suicide is 20 times more prevalent in the seafaring community than in land-based industries. The Port of Newcastle is the biggest exporter of coal in the world and 2500 vessels enter and depart the harbour every year, which amounts to 40,000 seafarers. It presents a huge opportunity to offer ministry. The Mission to Seafarers centre in harbourside Wickham is ably meeting the challenge with the Apostleship of the Sea offering care for all nationalities visiting Newcastle port. “At least half of them coming to Newcastle avail themselves of the opportunity,” said Garry Dodd, Anglican Senior Chaplain at the seafarers’ centre. “But that’s a conservative estimate.” The Hannell Street centre is an ecumenical service provided through the Anglican Church in concert with Stella Maris, with Port Chaplains offering practical, pastoral and spiritual support to seafarers. The mission also celebrates Mass at the centre every week. Newcastle is one of the ports that allow seafarers to come ashore - and what a beautiful sight it must be. But not every seafarer gets to disembark. The short turnaround times for the vessels often make it impossible. If that’s the case, Mission to Seafarers teams visit them on board with books, magazines, CDs, knitted beanies, and souls full of hope.

“One thing about seafarers is they trust the Mission to Seafarers brand,” says Rev Dodd. “They see the flying angel or the Stella Maris anchor and cross, and they know we’re not government, we’re not union, we’re not agent. We represent God. They know they can trust us and that gives us access to everybody on board, from the captain down.”

Just before Easter this year, a captain died of a heart attack and the vessel spent two days off Swansea waiting for permission to dock. When it finally berthed, on Good Friday, Chaplain Richard Bergholcs and volunteer ship visitor Maureen Grealy were allowed on board. “We made sure the seafarers were OK,” said Chaplain Bergholcs. “The captain was well respected.”

Last year, Mission to Seafers teams visited 51% of available vessels, “but it’s a false number” said Rev Dodd. “How do you measure the value of that? You can go on board one vessel and have a five-hour conversation with the captain and hear his pain, heartache and despair, and offer encouragement as opposed to going on 10 ships in five hours with a cursory ‘Hi, how are you, here’s a gift’.”

For seafarers permitted to disembark in Newcastle, the mission’s minibus takes them wherever they want to go. Volunteers help them change money or find medical supplies. Importantly, they are brought to the centre for meals, and the mission gives away at least 100 a week. Committed volunteers are passionate about what they do and create a great atmosphere at the centre.

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Feature Rev Dodd said the Catholic and Anglican churches work beautifully together in Newcastle. “It’s purely the generosity of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese that funds the chaplain,” he said. “It’s the gift of the Bishop that makes it happen”. The volunteers are the key. The people of Newcastle fund the mission – there’s no federal or international money. “The beautiful thing is,” said Rev Dodd, “they are employing a missionary but instead of us going out into the world and sharing God’s love, the world comes to us.” A painting on the wall of the centre’s chapel shows resurrected Christ offering a blessing with his hand and has “God Is Love” displayed in 36 languages. “It’s emblematic of the mission and Stella Maris,” said Rev Dodd. “It’s a beautiful ministry,” he said. “It is the church sowing into people’s lives with no expectation of any returns. We may never see these seafarers ever again. We give them hope and strength to face a tough voyage.”

“We provide a quality service to these young seafarers, men and women,” said Chaplain Bergholcs. “But the thing they really like to do is chill out at the centre and be in private contact with their families.” Often that contact is bittersweet. Nearly every week there is a seafarer at the centre who has never seen their baby. “We have really fast, free Wi-Fi,” said Rev Dodd. “They are able to Skype home and see their babies and there are tears everywhere but it’s really good. It is digital chaplaincy at its best.” Conversely there is sadness when they find out about a death or sickness in the family. “And here we are ministering to them in their grief,” said Rev Dodd. Australia is considered one of the best countries in the world for seafarers’ rights. “The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) does a brilliant job at caring, looking out for, and protecting seafarers,” says Rev Dodd. “We are not aligned with

any other organisation, but we are happy to work hand in hand with AMSA and ITF. Seafarers from around the world trust the mission and we are often their eyes and ears. They’ll come to us. They might be fearful of losing their job. Sometimes they haven’t been fed, or they haven’t been paid for six months. That is common. We can inform AMSA. So we’re in a position where we can care and offer the sacraments, but we can also be doing the social justice stuff.”

The annual Day of the Seafarer (DotS) will be celebrated on 25 June. Sea Sunday is celebrated on 21 July and includes an ecumenical event at the Anglican Cathedral. The mission needs volunteers. Please call 4961 5007, or email Darrell Croker is the Senior Content Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

One thing about seafarers is they trust the brand, they see the flying angel or the Stella Maris anchor and cross, and they know we’re not government, we’re not union, we’re not agent. They know they can trust us, and that gives us access to everybody on board, from the captain down.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week from 7 – 14 July 2019 Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future. Join us to celebrate the beginning of NAIDOC Week Sacred Heart Cathedral, 841 Hunter St, Newcastle West 7 July from 1.30pm to 4.30pm Please RSVP to Jenny Harris E: or P: 4979 1111 by 2 July 2019.



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Celebrating unity in diversity

As part of National Refugee Week, 16-22 June, the Hunter community is invited to take part in a welcome walk and festival celebrating Newcastle’s cultural diversity. Now in its fifth year, the Newcastle: Celebrating Unity in Diversity Festival event has grown to become the largest multicultural festival in the region. It reaffirms Newcastle as a refugee and asylum seeker welcome city. Event spokesperson, Phillipa Parsons, said Unity in Diversity has gained widespread support from the community and aims to share a message of peace. “The family friendly festival is a celebration of humanity, of the rich tapestry of cultures that contribute to a sense of place,” Phillipa said. “It is a chance for people to participate in something positive; an event that promotes a fair, kind and just community.”


The premise of the event echoes sentiments of Pope Francis, who has, on numerous occasions, spoken about the importance of “unity in diversity”.

also opportunities to take part in traditional crafts, drumming and circus workshops, have your hair braided, or get a henna tattoo.

One such occasion was his visit to the University of Roma Tre in 2017. In speaking with students, he said: “We must always seek unity. Unity that is a totally different thing to uniformity. Unity needs differences: unity in diversity ... when you do that, you go that way, cultures grow, and the cultural level grows because it is a continuous dialogue … I believe that the danger today, it is a real danger, is to design a unity, a uniform globalisation.”

And so, in taking inspiration from Pope Francis, let us all rejoice in our diversity and come together to celebrate at the Newcastle: Celebrating Unity in Diversity Festival. May the occasion be viewed as an opportunity to encounter and accept others in their distinctive religious beliefs and cultural differences and view them as enriching our own experiences through the power of diversity, in a relationship marked by goodwill and by the pursuit of ways we can work together.

With a focus on highlighting and celebrating the cultural diversity of our city, the festival will encompass three stages with more than 20 free multicultural performances and many international food stalls. The ever-popular “language lounge” will return, where you can learn a new language, and there are

Lizzie Snedden is the Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

The Newcastle: Celebrating Unity in Diversity Festival will be held on Saturday 22 June, from 11am-3pm. The community is encouraged to meet at 11am at Gregson Park, Hamilton, for the welcome walk. As a show of unity in our diversity, participants are welcome to wear traditional dress. Following the walk, an Awabakal Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony at the park will open the festival. A highlight will be a special dance performance by newly arrived Syrian refugees and African youth. The festival is sponsored by Newcastle City Council and held in conjunction with Refugee Action Network Newcastle, community group Newcastle: Unity in Diversity, STARTTS, Hunter Community Languages, Refugees and Partners, Navitas, and Northern Settlement Services.

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Take a raincheck on bravery BY GARY CHRISTENSEN

As we come into Men’s Health Week from 10 – 16 June, it is important we take a few moments to stop and do a quick “how’s my health” checklist. A recent article published by The Conversation said “men can expect to die approximately five years sooner than women, and men are more likely to die as a result of unintentional injury and suicide relative to women”. The authors state “one possible explanation is that men are more reluctant to go to the doctor and less likely to be honest once they get there”, primarily because men have bought into a cultural script about masculinity that says we need to be tough, strong, brave and selfreliant. There is a place for men to be brave, strong and self-reliant, but it should not come at the cost of our physical or mental health. According to Beyond Blue, “men are at least three times more likely to die by suicide than women”. Evidence indicates men are far

less likely to seek help for mental health conditions than women. The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing study found that in the previous year, only 27.5 per cent of males with a mental disorder and recent symptoms had accessed services for their mental health problems compared with 40.7 per cent of females. This is concerning given Beyond Blue says the number of men who die by suicide in Australia is nearly three-times the number combined who die in all types of road accidents. Equally concerning is the number of deaths by suicide in young people in Australia, which is the highest it has been in10 years. The Black Dog Institute reports that in 2017, about 75 per cent of people who died from suicide were males. To help address this issue the onus is on us as men to take the time to role model good physical and mental health behaviour to boys and young men in our communities, which includes

There is a place for men to be brave, strong and self-reliant, but it should not come at the cost of our physical or mental health

checking in on them regularly to make sure they are OK. Granted, this is not always easy when you ask your 16 or 17-year-old son how they are doing and they grunt back with the all-too-familiar eye roll and look straight back down at the screen in their hand. But we must find a way. One of those ways might be to change the script about what makes a “real man” and spend some time to reach out to the blokes in our world and check that they are doing OK. Not in a weird “sit in a circle, hold hands and sing kind of way”, but in a manner that lets men in your world know that we all have lived experiences of trying to be the best we can be, we all have worries, anxiety and pressure and that while there is a place to unwind with a beer after work or on the weekend, sometimes we need more than that to keep us healthy and whole. So, this Men’s Health Week I encourage you to make an appointment with your GP for an annual health check, support a mate to do the same, and reach out to blokes and young men in your local community to make sure they are OK.

Gary Christensen is the Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning



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Who is being called to lead our parishes in the future? BY BROOKE ROBINSON Two young Nigerian men, Kingsley Chidiebere Dibia, 23, and Kizito Chukwuemeka Ogbonna, 25, are in their first year of study at Good Shepherd Seminary in Homebush. They join Solomon Omeiza, featured in the September 2018 edition of Aurora, who is at the same seminary. Kingsley and Kizito came to Australia after meeting Parish Priest of The Good Shepherd, East Lake Macquarie, Fr Gerard Mackie. “I met Fr Gerard in my home parish when he came to Nigeria for the thanksgiving Mass of Fr Camillus Nwahia,” Kizito said. “He told me about the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and the shortage of priests. I made my intention of desiring to be a Catholic priest known to him. Exactly one year after, the visa came and then we travelled to Australia.” Kizito felt the draw to become a priest when he was very young. He remembers watching the priest intently when he would go to Mass as a child, instead of playing with other kids. He would also practise celebrating the Mass at home. “At the age of 11, after I received first Holy Communion, I joined the altar servers in my parish still having the desire to become a priest,” Kizito said. “I find a kind of fulfilment and joy each time I serve at Mass, and I love doing it even now.” For Kingsley, the desire to become a

priest came later than Kizito’s. Kingsley attended a minor seminary with his brother and recalls a profound moment. “It all started the first time I was exposed to Eucharistic Adoration in the minor seminary,” Kingsley said. “I remember gazing at the Eucharist and being pierced to the heart, knowing how Christ died on the cross for the sake of my sins. Tears rolled down my face, my heart was filled with invitation. I was overwhelmed by God’s personal love for me.” That invitation led Kingsley to continue in the seminary in Nigeria, until a call to do mission work interrupted that plan.

Kingsley and Kizito serving at Chrism Mass

“During my time as a seminarian in Nigeria, I was sent to different places, villages and parts of rural areas for pastoral work,” he said. “In my third year in the seminary (third-year philosophy), I was posted to work in a small village with many difficulties where people were really suffering and needed the word of God and sacraments. I started developing a love for missionary work. I prayed that I would be able to do mission work, and then I met Fr Gerard Mackie. He helped me in answering my call for missionary work in Australia.” Kingsley has been encouraged in his vocation by a quote from Pope Francis: “The priestly vocation is truly a treasure that God places in the hearts of some men, chosen by Him and called to follow Him in this special state of life. This

A new deacon for our Diocese Surrounded by friends and family, Wallsend-Shortland parishioner Kevin Gadd was ordained to the deaconate on Saturday 27 April. Kevin was a Novice with the Marist Brothers in Armidale in the 1970s, but it was not until later in life that ordination came about. In 1992, he married Betsy, who passed away from pancreatic cancer only three years ago. Kevin and Betsy were valued members of the Wallsend-Shortland parish, and Betsy supported Kevin in his growing call to become a deacon. Parish Priest of Wallsend-Shortland, Fr Tony Brady,

Kizito felt the draw to become a priest when he was very young. He remembers watching the priest intently when he would go to Mass as a child, instead of playing with other kids. He would also practise celebrating the Mass at home. treasure, that must be discovered and brought to light, is not made to ‘enrich’ someone alone. He who is called to the ministry is not the ‘master’ of his vocation, but rather the administrator of a gift that God has entrusted to him for the good of all the people, or rather for all humanity, even those who have drifted away from religious practice or do not profess faith in Christ.”

Kingsley and Kizito are passionate about their call to be priests in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, and encourage others to be open to God’s leading in their lives. With open hearts, who knows who else God may call to lead our parishes in the future? Brooke Robinson is Content Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.


had recommended to Bishop Bill that Kevin be considered for ordination, and the process began. Bishop Bill said the process had been long, and one in which Kevin consistently grew in faith and service. “Kevin has been continually serving, and has evolved into the deaconate,” Bishop Bill said. The sacred moment of ordination occurred as Kevin knelt before Bishop Bill. Bishop Bill then put his hands on Deacon Kevin’s head, and with Chrism oil and a prayer, sealed him as a deacon.

As Bishop Bill presented the Book of the Gospels to Deacon Kevin, he said the following words: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

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Sea-change but spirit remains BY SISTER LAURETTA BAKER

“We are but travellers here,” is an oft-quoted Mary MacKillop saying, and it is something for which the Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar have come to have deeper respect over the past 18 months. As our name suggests, the Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar have always been associated with the beautiful Hunter village just west of Maitland. Lochinvar is the place of our beginning. It was the destination of our first four Sisters in 1833. It is the site of our Mother House and the place where much of our history was formed, and a significant source of our identity. The geographical became the personal, part of the general psyche. But after 135 years, we have taken heed of St Mary of the Cross’s dictum. We have journeyed on. Our congregational administration centre has “travelled” and relocated from Lochinvar to Warners Bay. We are generally known as “Lochinvar Josephites” – and we will continue to be so – but now, all of our congregational business is conducted from 85 Albert Street, Warners Bay. Initially, those first four Sisters in 1883 lived in a hotel. They arrived in Lochinvar one day, and began school the next. Convent and school coexisted in those early days. The Diocese purchased the first land to accommodate the growing religious order and school, and to separate one from the other. At that time the “Sisters’ rule” did not allow them to own property. Nevertheless the early Sisters worked hard, and scrimped and saved to pay off the debt, and when the rule changed they took over ownership.

Decades later, as numbers increased and the functions of administration and management became more complex, the concept of discrete congregational offices was entertained. With changes in religious life after Vatican II, and increasing professionalisation and diversification of our ministries, separation of convent life and the management of our affairs became essential. The decision was made to relocate the offices from a space within the convent complex to what had been the novitiate building and which then came to be known as “the generalate”. And there we stayed, happily, for more than 20 years. In 1976 we handed over the administration of St Joseph’s to the Catholic Schools Office. We continued to operate the boarding school until 1993, when the secondary schools in the Maitland area were reorganised as All Saints’ College – one college with three campuses. However, the winds of change continued to blow, and in 2010, St Joseph’s College was facing another restructure. But by 2010, the college was ready to withdraw from the one-college-with-three-campuses union. Enrolment numbers were increasing, the drive to extend to Year12 was again gathering momentum, and more and more of the Sisters’ land – which had been added to over the decades – was being sought to cater for the expansion.

Faithful to our strong commitment to education, and facing the reality of our own frailty and decreasing numbers, we decided to negotiate with the Diocese over the purchase of the land and the buildings we occupied. These negotiations were completed in October 2016 and one year later, in late-November 2017, the congregational administration centre moved to Warners Bay. Today, most of our Sisters live within the Greater Newcastle area, and we maintain a presence in the Maitland, Upper Hunter and Manning regions. Six Sisters continue to live in-community at Lochinvar. They are deeply involved in parish life, frequent visitors to the schools and greatly welcoming of anyone who comes knocking at their door. The office location at Warners Bay is very convenient for the majority of Sisters and our very dedicated staff are enjoying the change of scene. The two-storey building we now occupy was once a medical facility and offers space for offices, archives and small group gatherings. The streetscape is very suburban, but calm and peaceful, and the shores of Lake Macquarie are an easy walk away. This change, however, has not been without some sense of deep loss and grief for many of us. By profession, we are Lochinvar Josephites, and proudly so. Once our geographical centre, now the term “Lochinvar” identifies us symbolically, and, in one word, gathers up our past and present. And, while cherishing that past and all it means for each one of us, with gratitude and vitality, we live each day, open to the new, the uncertain, and the future. Many of our Sisters joined Bishop Bill at the blessing of our offices on May 1, the feast of St Joseph the Worker. Each Sister brought a jar of water from her home locality and during the prayer, poured it into a bowl to be used in the blessing. The symbolism was powerful for everyone.

After 135 years, we have taken heed of St Mary of the Cross’s dictum. We have journeyed on. Our congregational administration centre has “travelled” and relocated from Lochinvar to Warners Bay

Do come and visit us and enjoy a cuppa any time you are in the Warners Bay area. The new address for the Congregational Administration Centre, Sisters of St Joseph is 85 Albert St, Warners Bay, NSW, 2282 (PO Box 514, Warners Bay, NSW, 2282).

Sister Lauretta Baker RSJ is Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar



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How to say “no” I would like to learn how to say “no” more often. Over the years, I have constantly given in to everyone, especially my family, to do whatever is asked of me. However, my “people pleasing” is taking its toll and I don’t feel people are as willing to help me, as I am to help them. Saying no should be as simple as saying no, but I struggle with this.

CatholicCare’s Assistant Director and 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 P 131 114.

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

You are clearly a person who cares about others, but I also wonder if you strongly care about what people think of you, particularly as you say you are a “people pleaser”. Many people find it difficult to say no, for a variety of reasons, and they are not necessarily bad reasons. For example, people genuinely care for others and want to do the best for them, especially when it comes to close family and friends. Sometimes we say yes out of a sense of obligation, because that’s what we do for family; sometimes saying yes helps us avoid conflict; and other times, we just want to be liked and don’t want to create a negative impression. Just a disclaimer: if this were a work-related issue, my advice would be different because sometimes we have obligations that prevent us from saying no. Struggling to say no can be quite debilitating. It is easy to lose yourself and forget that you are also important too. Stress levels go up and you can end up not having time to live your own life. Your physical and mental health can also suffer if you are too busy looking after others. Resentment towards the people to whom you are saying yes can grow, as well as resentment towards yourself. Long term, saying yes constantly is just not sustainable or fair to you. It’s also not fair to your own family, and any immediate family you live with such as children and a partner. You can learn to say no but still be

respectful of others. Try some of the following.  If you are asked to do something immediately, and you would like to help but you know you can’t drop everything straight away, you don’t have to say no. You can say yes, but let the person know when it is convenient for you to help. Even if it doesn’t suit their timeframe, you can still help when you are available. Be realistic and leave the final decision with the other person – they can choose to accept your help at a later date or find another option.  Just say no, and keep it simple. You could say, “I’m really sorry, but I’m not available”; “I’m sorry, I won’t have time”; “I’m sorry I can’t lend you the money” – and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. As soon as you try to justify why you have said no, some people will keep pushing you into further conversation and it may go around in circles until you agree. Stay firm and don’t get too caught up in the other person’s story, as guilt may make you give in. You could always help the person come up with other options, but this is not really up to you. When it comes to children, this advice is especially important. Children, teenagers and our adult children, know that if they keep at it, we may just give in and say yes.

I know this to be true from personal and professional experience, and I end up becoming annoyed with myself at giving in to pressure.  You don’t always have to reply immediately, especially if you need time to figure out how you will manage the request. Let the person know you will get back to them, being mindful of their timeframe too. Even if your answer is no, let them know as soon as possible.  Don’t let guilt take over when you have said no. Try looking at the situation from a different perspective. Even if the person acts like you have hurt their feelings or have rejected them, saying no is not a rejection of a person.  Remind yourself why you are saying no. Again, regardless of how bad you feel, consider how much better you will feel in the long run if you are including more balance in your own life? Saying no can temporarily increase your stress levels and even make you feel anxious, but if you want to say no, ignore your pounding heart; or fear of saying the word no. Do it anyway and then find a way to deal with any stress or anxiety. Saying no is going to give you more time to look after yourself, which is better in the long term for you and your family.

Supporting your changing needs Calvary Retirement Communities provides safe, secure and relaxed community living through residential aged care, respite accommodation and independent living villages. We have care choices available in Belmont, Cessnock, Eleebana, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Sandgate, Singleton, Tanilba Bay, Taree and Waratah to assist you.

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Joel Fitzgibbon is a familiar name to many of us. Born in regional NSW in the town of Bellingen, Joel is a long-standing Federal Member for Hunter, retaining his seat in the most recent election. First stepping into politics in 1996, Joel was influenced greatly by his father, Eric Fitzgibbon. Eric held the seat of Hunter for 12 years from 1984 before his son was elected. Since succeeding his father, Joel has served in Labor governments as minister for defence, and minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Before entering politics, Joel was an auto-electrician running his own business for more than 10 years. In addition to this trade, Joel received a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Newcastle.

It isn’t all work and no play for Joel. A former footballer himself, he is now a proud patron of both the Newcastle Knights and his local club, Cessnock. A man of all trades, Joel is a local success story with a strong drive to give back, in particular to regional and rural Australia. Which Catholic schools did you attend? St Patrick’s Primary Cessnock and Maitland Marist Brothers. Why did your parents choose Catholic Schools for you?



I was influenced by my father’s involvement and learned it was a great way of helping people and making Australia a better place.

Winning the 100-metre sprint in Year 6. Why did you decide to enter politics? I was influenced by my father’s involvement and learned it was a great way of helping people and making Australia a better place. You have held the position of Member for Hunter for 23 years, and have just been re-elected. What do you enjoy most about your role? Assisting people who have no power and the opportunity to give people the best chance of fully participating in the economy and the community.

Because they are Catholics.

What’s something most people wouldn’t know about you?

What is your favourite memory from your schooling years?

I once supported the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

June 10 – 16 celebrates Men’s Health Week. How important is it for your mental strength and personal wellbeing to be part of an organisation that has a healthy and supportive work environment? I’ve always felt that people who are busy and who work in healthy environments are the most likely to enjoy good mental health. Idleness is a curse. What is your biggest motivation in life? Giving back.

Brittany Gonzalez is a Communications Co-ordinator for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

ASPIRE Presents





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How your super can help you at tax time BY AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC SUPERANNUATION Here are some simple things you should know to make the most of your finances before the end of the financial year. With the end of the financial year coming up, you might be looking for ways to make the most of your money. Your super might be able to help. Here are a few things you might not realise about super. There are contribution limits to super Generally, making additional contributions to superannuation is in your best interest. Small contributions to superannuation can result in a big difference to your balance when you’re ready to retire. Regardless if you have 1 account or 100, there is a limit to how much you can contribute in a year. There are two different types of super contributions: Pre-tax contribution (AKA concessional contributions) Concessional contributions like your SG or salary sacrifice are taxed at 15%, which is lower than most people’s marginal tax rate. The most that can be contributed in a single financial year to a superannuation account is $25,000.

contribution caps to make a pre-or-post tax contribution, there’s also still time to make a contribution before the end of the financial year.

Post-tax contributions (AKA nonconcessional contributions) In any year, you can contribute up to $100,000 into your superannuation from after-tax money. This could be from the sale of an asset, like property or shares, or from an inheritance or insurance settlement.

To avoid a bank processing delay, it’s best to submit your contribution as soon as possible. No later than the 26 June. Some ways to make an additional contribution?

If you have a windfall and want to put it into super, you may be able to contribute up to $300,000 to your super, essentially “making up” for past years where the cap was not reached.

Lump sum You can make lump sum contributions for both pre-and-post-tax contributions.

What happens if I exceed the contribution caps?

You’ll want to submit your funds with a form from our website so we know what to do with that money.

Contributions that exceed the pre-tax contribution cap will be taxed at your regular marginal tax rate and counted as post-tax contributions.

Making regular contributions into your super can save on tax in the short term and help give your balance a big boost. Every little bit can help! Members of Australian Catholic Superannuation can receive a personalised salary sacrifice and contribution strategy plan from a financial adviser at no additional cost. It takes about 30 minutes, and you can do it over the phone.

There is still time to get us contributions If you still have room under the

The government co-contribution scheme provides a matching contribution up to $500 if you qualify, which means earning less than $37,697 for the full amount or less than $52,697, for a reduced government co-contribution. To receive the contribution, make sure you file a tax return. The ATO then calculates and deposits your co-contribution directly into your superannuation account. You can see the complete eligibility criteria at our website. Have a chat with us to make super, simple Sometimes, just knowing where to start can be tricky. That’s where we can help.

Salary sacrifice

If you exceed the post-tax contribution cap, that money will need to be withdrawn or that excess will be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate. This is a rare situation and, if you have any concern about it, we suggest you speak with a financial adviser.

The government offers extra contributions

We offer seminars to help you plan for retirement, make the most of your super or plan for aged care for you or your loved ones. Want to chat with a financial adviser? We offer our members help with a range of topics over-the-phone at no additional cost. Visit us online (, call us up (1300 658 776) or visit with us in person to learn what we can do for you.

Need help to plan your super? 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: The most tax-effective way to build your super via salary sacrifice and

How to protect your income and your family with insurance through Australian

personal contributions.

Catholic Superannuation.

Which investment option/s may be right for you.

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.

Call us on 1300 658 776 to book an appointment Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Port Macquarie, Sydney, Townsville

PO Box 656 Burwood, NSW 1805



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St Nicholas


Lifelong learning needs early investment BY LIZZIE SNEDDEN Local and international studies demonstrate the first five years of a child’s life are the most critical for building the foundations for learning, wellbeing and health. Despite this, Australia currently ranks below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average for its investment in early childhood education. Sean Scanlon is the Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle and head of its rapidly expanding early childhood agency, St Nicholas Early Education. On the back of the recent federal election, Sean is calling on politicians to devise a long-term strategy for early childhood education in Australia, stating it is “imperative for the prosperity of our nation and the wellbeing of our community”. “As elected representatives prepare for the 46th Parliament of Australia, I urge the government, opposition, minority parties and independents to show unified support and a long-term commitment to the education of children of pre-school age,” Sean said. “We wouldn’t, shouldn’t and don’t accept short-sighted funding and policies for the education of children of primary and secondary school age. The newly elected government has a great opportunity to adopt the same approach for our youngest cohort and, if they do, we will all reap the rewards both now and well into the future.” Sean’s views echo those adopted by James van Smeerdijk, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who in 2014 said: “Too often we measure

success or failure on too short a time horizon when we know that the gains that are likely to accrue from high-quality early childhood education and care will be realised over a longer time period.” At the time, PwC published a report that surmised if all Australian children could access quality early learning, this would add $10.3 billion to our gross domestic product by 2050 and, if all vulnerable children attended early learning, it would add $13.3 billion. These findings are consistent with Nobel Laureate James Heckman’s research, which found early childhood education is an efficient and effective investment for economic and workforce development. James says every child needs effective early childhood supports, and at-risk children from disadvantaged environments are least likely to get them. He asserted these children come from families that lack the education, social, and economic resources to provide the early developmental stimulation that is so helpful for success in school, college, career and life. Data collected by the Australian Early Development Census and published in 2018 concluded children who attended preschool were less likely to be developmentally vulnerable across all five developmental domains assessed including physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, communication and general knowledge. In contrast, higher rates of developmental vulnerability were witnessed across children who attended daycare without a preschool program and those who

On the back of the recent federal election, Sean is calling on politicians to devise a long-term strategy for early childhood education in Australia, stating it is “imperative for the prosperity of our nation and the wellbeing of our community”. received informal non-parental care or parental care only. “It is time for service providers, government, carers and parents to strike a genuine partnership to ensure every child has access to quality education, in line with a scale and intensity that is proportionate to their level of need and vulnerability,” Sean said. “We know that children who attended preschool were less likely to be

developmentally vulnerable and so, a long-term commitment to early childhood education by government, which ensures equity of access and quality of teaching for all, can only benefit children, families and the future prosperity of the nation.”

Lizzie Snedden is the Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Soul Food The wisdom of the scriptures is learned rather by prayer than by study. St. Philip Neri



A U R O R A 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

Faces and places in our Diocese Opening of the Hunter’s first Flexible Learning Centre The opening of the St Laurence Flexible Learning Centre in Broadmeadow on 21 May celebrated a groundbreaking education initiative in highly individualised learning. Read the article on page 7. Dale Murray and Michelle Murray

David White and Tim Young

Kelly Anderson and Brian Lacey

Teresa Brierley and Dr Wayne Tinsey

Trinity Ford and Kylie Olariaga

Zoey Ford and Dio Reed

Joanne Palmowski, Sonia Liddiard, and Stacey Cameron

Maria D’Andrea, Lucy Harvey and Jessica Wedesweiler

Marion Gardiner, Fr Terry Horne, Christine Wright and Jim Gardiner

National Volunteer Week movie premiere As part of National Volunteer Week, all diocesan volunteers were invited to the premiere of the movie POMS at Events Cinema Kotara. This was to say thank you for the amazing work done in many different areas of our Diocese.

Term investments with the CDF offer a way to invest while also supporting the Catholic community. Earn a competitive rate of interest, while choosing the timeframes that are right for you. Choose from 3, 6 or 12 month options. For more information about our services, including our Terms and Conditions. Freecall 1800 810 330 or visit Investments with Catholic Development Fund (CDF) are guaranteed by Bishop William Wright, Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle Diocese and CDPF Limited, a company established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for this purpose. We welcome your investment with the CDF rather than with a profit oriented commercial organisation as a conscious commitment by you to support the Charitable, Religious and Educational works of the Catholic Church. The CDF is not subject to the provisions of the Corporation Act 2001 nor has it been examined or approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The CDF is also exempt from the normal requirements to have a disclosure statement or Product Disclosure Statement under the Corporations Act 2001(Cth). Neither CDF nor the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are prudentially supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Contributions to CDF do not obtain the benefit of the depositor protection provisions of the Banking Act 1959. CDF is designed for investors who wish to promote the charitable purposes of the Diocese.

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


Community Noticeboard

Community Noticeboard Marriage and relationship education courses 2019

ReKindle Our Story with fun, food and faith!

Marriage education is a vital part of planning for a life partnership. CatholicCare offers a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples.

The Council for Australian Catholic Women (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle contact group) invite you to meet new friends, hear diverse voices, share your story and respond to the themes from the recent Plenary Council listening and discernment process. This will form a local contribution to that process which culminates in 2020. Helene O’Neill will share her unique story and her boundless energy. All women welcome.

Couples are advised to attend a course about four months before their wedding. Book early, as some courses are very popular. Before We Say I Do is a group program held on Friday evenings and Saturdays, as advertised, and the FOCCUS group program is three Mondayevening sessions. Before We Say I Do, 7 and 8 June, Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. Marriage and Relationship Education Course – FOCCUS, Toohey Room, Newcastle, 15 and 22 July. 5.15-7.30pm, (session three to be confirmed). Before We Say I Do, 23 and 24 August, Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. Marriage and Relationship Education Course – FOCCUS, Toohey Room, Newcastle, 28 October and 4 November. 5.15-7.30pm, (session three to be confirmed). Before We Say I Do, 22 and 23 November, Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. We also have a wait list for our Bringing Baby Home workshop, which assists couples transition to parenthood. FOCCUS Individual sessions by appointment only.

Saturday 22 June 9.30am-2.30pm at St Joseph’s High School, Segenhoe St, Aberdeen. Cost $10. RSVP to tracey. or 0421 876 221 by 14 June. Mums’ Cottage Wild and Wonderful Wednesdays at Mums’ Cottage, 29 St Helen Street, Holmesville, is an opportunity for women to gather for fun and company. Each Wednesday is different, with possibilities including games of Scrabble, sharing stories, singing karaoke, or watching a movie together. Other upcoming events: • A fundraiser trivia night will be held on Saturday 22 June, 6.30pm, at Cardiff Bowling Club, 175 Myall Road Cardiff.

Youth Mass On the last Sunday of each month, the 5.30pm Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Macquarie St, Wallsend, has a youthful flavour. Everyone is welcome.

For your diary

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

June 2

Communion Rite Guidance Exploration, 11.30am, St Joseph’s Aberdeen


Week of Prayer of Christian Unity


Pints with a Purpose, 6.30pm, Northern Star Hotel Hamilton

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: phone 02 9560 5333 or email palms@


World Environment Day


Before We Say I Do (see opposite)


Neophytes Mass, 6pm at St Joseph’s Church, The Junction.


A Hunter Community Alliance? Workshop, 8.30am, 406-408 King St Newcastle West


World Refugee Day


Celebrating Unity in Diversity Festival, 11am, Gregson Park, Hamilton

For more events please visit


ReKindle Our Story with fun, food and faith! (See opposite)


Mums’ Cottage Fundraiser Trivia Night (see opposite)

Adoration takes place at St Philip’s, 31 Vista Pde, Kotara every Sunday evening 6pm-7pm. For more information contact Wayne Caruana 0466 631 394. Volunteering with Palms Australia

• A garage sale is held in the Mums’ Cottage grounds every second Monday. For more information: Mums’ Cottage 4953 4105, Visit

Stay up to date with news from across the Diocese

For further information on all our courses please contact Robyn Donnelly, 02 4979 1370, or




For the latest news & events in our Diocese You can download the Diocese phone, iPad or tablet app here

Last Word


A U R O R A 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

Book Review A Reckless God? Currents and Challenges in the Christian Conversation with Science BY PAUL ROBINSON

Has there been a continuous ‘war’ between Christianity and science for hundreds of years? Are the beliefs of Christians and the findings of science irreconcilable? This work answers “no” to both questions. The ‘war’ between science and religion is teased out as a recent invention of the New Atheists, who partially ignore the history of scientific thought and development and its genesis in, and debt to, Christian philosophy. Likewise, the argument about the seeming irreconcilability of science with Christianity is challenged, and shown to be a lessthan-rigorous application of scientific principles. A Reckless God is keen to present Christian faith intersecting with the best of mainstream science. The work is structured around short

chapters from a variety of contributors. It covers a wide array of topics, 65 in all, which allow the reader to examine short snippets of information presented by world-leading Christian scientists and thinkers. These include Oxford mathematician John Lennox, cochlear implant inventor Graeme Clark, and theologian Jurgen Moltmann. There are serious challenges in the work for both the New Atheists and fundamentalist Christians, and there is no joy for either extreme. As theologian and scientist Alister McGrath says: ”It’s time to recognise that human beings need both science and religion if they are to flourish, and move on from the simplistic and ignorant approach of some New Atheists and fundamentalist Christians.” As the title suggests, it asks the fundamental question: is God a reckless God? How can a loving God create a

world that comes complete with suffering, evil and ignorance? In teasing out his answer, Stephen Ames uses the parable of the prodigal son. The father acts recklessly in giving his son his inheritance, knowing he will waste it on a life of debauchery. Yet he does it out of love, and gives his son the freedom to fail. The father in the parable gives us a glimpse of God “recklessly” allowing freedom to his creatures. And not just to his creatures, but to the whole universe, to all the development of a system governed by the fundamental laws of science. This book provides no easy answers, but it offers much in terms of pointing us in the right direction. As Chris Mulherin says: “These are important questions for Christians, but the answer is not to bury our heads in the sand. It’s to do the hard work of thinking about them.” A Reckless God - Roland Ashby, Chris

Mulherin, John Pilbrow and Stephen Ames - published by ISCAST – Christians in Science and Technology 2018.

Easy Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach Sauce This month’s recipe is a very simple way of making a delicious vegetarian meal the whole family will enjoy. I do recommend you get the kids involved with the making of the ravioli. It is fun and rewarding for them to eat the fruits of their labour.

Method Place pumpkin on a roasting tray and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and a pinch of dried mixed herbs. Roast on 180ºC fan forced for about 20 minutes.

Ingredients  500 grams Japanese pumpkin – 1 cm cubed  Mixed herbs  Olive oil

Allow to cool to room temperature. Crumble in the feta and parmesan, mix through, and season. Take a wonton wrapper and place it on the bench. Place a teaspoon of the mixture in a ball shape into the centre of the wonton wrapper. Wipe cold water around the edge of the wrapper and place another wrapper on top to match up. Press together, squeezing out any air pockets. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used.

 100 grams Danish feta

Place onto a lightly floured tray.

 30 grams parmesan

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.

 Extra parmesan for garnish

Squeeze out any water and moisture from the spinach.

 Packet of wonton wrappers  100 grams frozen spinach – defrosted  1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil  Sprinkle of grated nutmeg

In a pan on medium, pour in the oil, spinach, salt, pepper, and a little grated nutmeg, and heat through until warm. In the pot of boiling water, using a slotted spoon, place the ravioli into the water and once it has popped up to the surface, it is ready. Pour some of the heated spinach sauce onto the plate and top with the ravioli and some extra parmesan. Enjoy.

Chef Bartholomew Connors, Cathedral Café.

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.

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