Aurora October 2019

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle October 2019 | No.195

FLYING HIGH into first place Joel Lawrence's paper plane goes the distance

Teens and their screens How is pornography affecting relationships?

Back from the edge


shares his mental health journey

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First Word


Share the journey

On the cover Joel Lawrence from St John Vianney Primary School, Morisset is the K-2 State Paper Plane Champion.

I recently had the great privilege of speaking with John Brogden, former NSW Opposition leader and current chairman of Lifeline. I was floored to learn that in Australia, almost 10 people commit suicide every day and, that the number of people dying by suicide is increasing year on year, not decreasing.

Photo courtesy of Peter Stoop

Featured f f Flying into first place


f f Creative concepts on canvas


f f Keeping up appearances


f f Teens and their screens


f f Hear, hear to recognition


f f Listen and discern


f f You’re the voice


f f Religious freedom


f f Vale Tim Fischer, a man of the people


f f From the inside


f f Sharing skills to address disadvantage


f f Back from the edge


f f Let the sun shine in


f f Sisters bring Tenison-Woods to life


f f Fanning the flame of RCIA


f f Rare books bring social history to life


f f At peace in the presence of God


f f Life goes full circle


f f Crossing the road at risk


f f Faces and places in our Diocese


When I asked Mr Brogden why, he responded: “Cost-of-living pressures and the weakening of organisations that once bound people together, such as religious institutions ... People are lonely.” Read more about my interview with him on page 13. Mental Health Month is celebrated annually in October across NSW. The theme for this year is “share the journey”. Mr Brogden’s observation regarding the importance of connecting with others is backed by research, which reinforces that forming relationships is significant not only in improving and sustaining people’s mental wellbeing but, also their overall health. There is no doubt that close connections and good relationships with others help us appreciate the good times, but also sustain us when faced with challenges ... and the good news is, building positive social connections is something we can all try and do.

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So, how can we all “share the journey” this October, and into the future?

illness and addiction. I hope you find them to be a useful resource.

 Rather than bottling things up, consider telling your friends and family when things are a bit tough, or find a health professional you can trust.

On a different note, I would like to acknowledge the wider Aurora team whose contributions led to the magazine recently receiving two accolades. The Australasian Religious Press Association announced Aurora as the Best Regional Publication (silver), and the Australasian Catholic Press Association awarded Aurora with a highly commended gong for Best Layout and Design Magazine.

 Connect with your community — perhaps you could find a group that shares your interests such as the church, reading, dancing or even those with the same types of breed of dogs. The possibilities are endless.  Reach out to someone who you think might need your help — helping others can often be a great way to help yourself.  Make a time to catch up with that friend or family member who you’ve wanted to see for ages but haven’t got around to organising it. This edition of Aurora features several articles that touch on ways people in our community can access support when they are feeling lonely or are experiencing mental illness. Other articles share research on how to enhance relationships in our modern world and support those around us who are experiencing mental

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge Barbara Davis from Taree, who wrote to thank the Aurora team on publishing the “fine article” by Father Chris Middleton on Israel Folau, saying she found it “helpful in understanding the issues in this complex case”. In recent editions of Aurora we have made a conscious decision to publish articles that address topical issues reported in mainstream media, but offer our readership a more nuanced perspective. If there is a topical issue you would like us to report on, please send your suggestions through to me.

Lizzie Snedden is acting editor for Aurora

Aurora online

Next deadline October 10, 2019 Aurora editorial and advertising enquiries should be addressed to: Elizabeth Snedden P 0404 005 036 E

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

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f f First Word


f f My Word


f f CareTalk 19 f f What’s on


f f Last Word


Editor: Lizzie Snedden Sub Editor: Brooke Robinson Graphic Design: Neredah Goodwin 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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My 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

Saintly scholar In Rome on October 13, Pope Francis will canonise John Henry Newman, the great 19th-century English scholar, writer and preacher. I should like to be there, because Newman has been a significant religious influence in my life but, as I will have just returned from the diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, it would be a bit rich to shoot off overseas again, even for JHN. I first came across Newman almost by accident. In the seminary at Springwood a former chapel had been turned into the student common room, the old sanctuary housing a bit of a library behind a metal grill. There I discovered several sets of the eight volumes of Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons. I dipped in, and I was immediately hooked. I’m not sure if it was the message or the style that first got me, for Newman was a master of clear and telling English. One of the first sermons I read was “The Ventures of Faith”, in which Newman reflects on the requests from James and John for places in the Kingdom at Jesus’s right and left hand. “Can you drink the cup that I must drink? And they replied, ‘We can’.” They had no idea, Newman notes, what Jesus was asking of them, but they made the “venture”, risk, of faith. What would we risk on our faith in Jesus, Newman asks. I now have a single-volume edition of the P&PS, which I always take on retreat or turn to on bad days. Those sermons were the work of the young Anglican priest, mostly preached in the University Church of St Mary, Oxford, in the 1830s. Newman was in the

process of leaving behind a fervent Evangelical youth in favour of an “Apostolical” faith. Horrified that the government and Privy Council were busy ruling on what was and was not Christian belief, he looked to the Apostles and the Fathers as the fount of the church’s teaching authority. He was one of the young dons who made up the Oxford Movement, seeing the Church of England as a part of, and heir to, the “church catholic” of ancient times. In the end, Newman’s attempts to interpret Anglicanism as truly “catholic” were rejected by the bishops of his church, and he had to consider his position. He had been partly impressed and partly repelled by what he had seen in Catholic churches in Italy before 1833 but, he tells us, he had never been inside a Catholic church in England. Resigning his “living” in Oxford, he spent some years with some young disciples in a quasi-monastery outside the city, working through his problems with Roman Catholic teachings and his fears that he was leading others astray. Finally in 1845 he asked to be received into the Catholic Church. Newman then studied for the priesthood in Rome, where he had the odd experience of finding himself cited in textbooks as “our adversary”. He became a member of the Oratorians and then founded the Oratory in a poor district of Birmingham. He was chosen to deliver the sermon on the occasion of the re-erection of a Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, in his words “The Second Spring”. In the 1860s the novelist Charles Kingsley cited Newman’s words

to argue that Catholic clergy did not feel bound to tell the truth. Newman’s ultimate response, his Apologia pro Vita Sua, his account of his life up to his conversion, brought him back into public consciousness and went a long way towards changing the popular prejudices against Catholics. He also worked on his The Development of Doctrine, a critical theological contribution to the Second Vatican Council a century later. After 1870, his calm, moderate explanation of papal infallibility tempered the reactions of Anglicans and Catholics alike. He was created Cardinal by Leo XIII in 1879 and

died in 1890. He would not have liked the idea of being canonised, but I am glad that he will be, if only because, unlike so many Victorians, he saw Christianity as a call to holiness and truth rather than as a code of behaviour for the respectable. We still need him.

Bishop Bill Wright Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Frankly Spoken This is the way that God loves to manifest himself, in relationships. Always in dialogue, always in the apparitions, always with the heart’s inspiration. General Audience - Rome - 7 August 2019

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Flying into first place BY AMY THEODORE Making and flying paper planes used to be a classroom diversion that ended up with children in strife, but now it’s an important component of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Now in its fifth year, the STANSW Young Scientist Paper Plane competition is open to students from kindergarten to year 12 and gives them the opportunity to engage in a STEM activity in the form of a fun and exciting event. “Making a paper plane can be incorporated into so many different subjects,” said Corinne Roberts, year 6 teacher and science co-ordinator at St John Vianney. “Looking at maths for example, they learn about distance, symmetry, measurement and time. It gets the student engaged and it’s so rewarding seeing a smile on a student’s face while they are learning, without them realising they’re learning.” To qualify for the state championships, Joel needed to throw his paper plane at least 12 metres during St John Vianney’s school competition. Joel managed to throw his

Photo: Peter Stoop

Just ask Joel Lawrence, a year 2 student at St John Vianney Primary School, Morisset. Joel recently won first place in the K-2 division at this year’s Science Teachers Association of NSW (STANSW) Young Scientist State Paper Plane Flying Championships.

Come fly with me … St John Vianney Primary School, Morisset, year 2 student Joel Lawrence is the K-2 State Paper Plane Champion

paper creation 15m, and qualified along with two other students, Noah and Luke Chidgey. On the day of the championships, which were held at the University of Sydney’s Sports and Aquatic Centre, Joel had to make his paper plane without cutting, gluing or taping, only folding, and using only one piece of A4 paper. Joel managed to throw his plane an impressive 20m during the competition, which resulted in him taking out first place in his division.

“Becoming the K-2 State Paper Plane Champion was a great learning experience,” said Joel. “I set myself a goal and I achieved it – with lots of practice and determination.” A big congratulations to Joel. Amy Theodore is a marketing officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Creative concepts on canvas BY AMANDA SKEHAN

Each school delivered unique artworks and shared the story behind their creation, including St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, which represented and connected each element of the theme with the natural land. “The 2019 NAIDOC theme has been represented through the imagery of three young seedlings,” said the school’s artist statement. “Their roots are grounded and nourished by thick, red, earth similar to the landscape of central Australia and symbolic of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. “Nutrients surround the roots supporting their growth, representing the voices of past ancestors and generations passing on their precious knowledge, skills, stories and practices. Without this, there can be no growth … Let’s work together.”

The canvases were displayed at the 2019 NSW Aboriginal Catholic Education Conference held at the Crowne Plaza, Hunter Valley, September 11-12. The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle with Catholic Schools NSW hosted the conference, with more than 500 delegates in attendance. Acting director of schools Gerard Mowbray set the agenda for the conference with his opening remarks about providing the best learning outcomes for indigenous students in Catholic schools. “We must create a culture of high expectations and learning growth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students," he said. "The learning gap is still readily evident and confronts us to unlock solutions that will be relentlessly pursued. We are committed to building whole school awareness of closing-the-gap initiatives. We continue to champion reconciliation.”

NAIDOC Week celebration canvases on display at the 2019 NSW Aboriginal Catholic Education Conference

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle now has 59 schools with 19,600 students, including 1301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. While the state average indigenous population is 3.3 per cent, in our Diocese the average population in our schools is 6.2 per cent. Schools’ employees include

Photo: Peter Stoop

As part of NAIDOC Week celebrations across the Diocese for 2019, a blank canvas was delivered to each secondary school and they were tasked with creating an artwork that shared a story or explored a concept around this year’s theme, Voice. Treaty. Truth.

more than 50 identified Aboriginal personnel, as well as 95 staff members specifically working in the area of Aboriginal education. Amanda Skehan is the marketing team leader for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.



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

Keeping up appearances The internet can be a useful tool but an increasing number of men and women are reporting relationship conflict due to a partner spending too much time online instead of with them, according to research by Relationships Australia.

almost 20 years’ experience working with couples. She said while humans had adapted to the use of technology to stay connected in a busy world, social media was designed to keep people coming back for more.

These concerning results were revealed in a 2015 survey, titled "The Internet and Relationships", and followed an investigation in 2012 by the national counselling service, that found almost 80 per cent of Australian practitioners had counselled clients who had concerns about the impact of digital communications tools on their relationships.

“Technology use is engineered to be highly addictive,” Ms Pavan said. “A quick Instagram check can blur hours into a virtual black hole and this can prevent us from forming and maintaining healthy relationships.”

Jen*, 28, from Newcastle believes excessive use of the internet destroyed her long-term relationship after her partner began interacting with people on Facebook most nights rather than spending time with her.

"Presentism refers to a person being there in body but psychologically absent,” Ms Pavan said. “It is typically caused by the excessive internet use of one person, which leads to the other person in the relationship feeling neglected and undervalued.”

She said initially his internet use appeared to be innocent but over time he became more and more withdrawn to the point they were barely communicating at all. Later she learnt he had been flirting with multiple women online behind her back, in what she described as “emotional cheating”. “He became extremely secretive, taking his phone to the bathroom,” she said. “We stopped being intimate which made me feel so insecure. I checked his phone and discovered he’d been talking to women online. I ended things soon after.” Jen says she will never stand for a partner choosing the internet over face-to-face time with her in the future after the pain she’s experienced. Kelly Pavan, psychologist and clinical services manager at CatholicCare has


Robyn Donnelly, co-ordinator of marriage and relationship education at CatholicCare says technology is unavoidable in modern life, which is why social media use is explored in significant detail in all four of the courses she teaches. “Social media and the internet can be a great positive in a relationship when used for shared things such as booking restaurants or researching holidays,” she said. “But there are negatives; we know Facebook can make people feel like the grass is always greener. Problems arise when people develop an ‘I’ mentality.” Mrs Donnelly said the key to avoiding conflict and resentment was establishing boundaries. “Setting technology boundaries, such as not at meal times and introducing time parameters, is not about

Sarah Hoppe and husband Dean are currently completing a relationship education course

A quick Instagram check can blur hours into a virtual black hole and this can prevent us from forming and maintaining healthy relationships. power and control but loving respect,” she said. Sarah Hoppe and her husband Dean, from Medowie, have been together five years and were recently married. They are currently completing one of Ms Donnelly’s relationship education courses, to enhance their already strong connection, and have appreciated the social media section. Mrs Hoppe said early in the relationship she and her partner argued about social media use but were able to talk and resolve the issues honestly. “We discussed and saw the importance of setting specific times when we use social media,” Mrs Hoppe said.

Making it real BY TODD DAGWELL The internet can be a highly positive instrument for the advancement of society when used thoughtfully and respectfully. Unfortunately there is also a downside to this technology, as highlighted in Aurora’s examination of online pornography in schools and excessive screen time in adult relationships. These issues along with; cyber bullying, identity fraud, data protection, equal access and the danger of people sacrificing “real-life” connections to spend more time online, prompted the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference to address the subject in its 2019-2020 Social Justice Statement, Making it Real: Genuine human encounter in our digital world. The statement affirms the positive possibilities for encounter and unity offered by new digital media,

Photo: Peter Stoop

This has led to a relatively new, but widespread, relationship problem that psychologists have dubbed, “presentism”.

“When we are together we will try and limit the time spent on our phones because you don’t realise how distracting it can be. “From Robyn’s course we have learnt how important it is to openly communicate and not take the other person’s feedback as criticism. We all have areas to work on and improve – the course can only strengthen your relationship.” No doubt the majority of couples would benefit from the same insight. *Name has been changed. Todd Dagwell is a contributor to Aurora

Todd Dagwell is a contributor to Aurora

while warning of those elements that are harmful to the dignity of individuals and the common good.

1. Make your online presence one of respect

Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, the chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service, says Pope Francis has called on us to "boldly become citizens of the digital world" and has frequently referred to the need for "solidarity" to ensure the internet becomes a place where people always feel empowered to call out bad behaviour.

3. Take care of yourself and others

The statement offers 10 steps we all can take to “help each one of us incarnate our solidarity – to give it flesh and bones – both online and face to face”, Bishop Van Nguyen said.

10. We are called to be citizens of the digital world

2. Be present to others in the real and virtual world 4. Promote digital literacy in every community 5. Do not leave our sisters and brothers behind 6. Local community is a place to make the virtual real 7. Protect the personal data of citizens 8. Join the call for transparency and accountability 9. Truth and trustworthiness must be guaranteed To read 2019-2020 Social Justice Statement go to

Teens and their screens The viewing of online pornography among teenage boys in Australia is reaching worrying proportions. The amount of time youth of both genders devote to devices is also a concern, as is the continued sexualisation of girls. This is nothing new. The internet didn’t create pornography; it has just made it more accessible. Still, the teenage boy pornography-viewing statistics might surprise some. The recent SBS program Sex, teens and the digital world — surviving the internet as a teacher cited a study revealing more than 50 per cent of boys aged 14 to 18 access pornography daily. A University of Sydney study found 38 per cent of 13-to15-year-olds and 50 per cent of 16-to-18-year-olds said they had sent a sexual picture or video. Today’s world seemingly “requires” an online presence. If we’re not expressing ourselves online we’re not in the conversation. This pressure extends to interactions in personal relationships. Teenagers are forever navigating this terrain, often with potentially dangerous consequences. It’s a challenge for parents and carers, irrespective of their level of digital literacy. Kelly Pavan, psychologist and clinical services manager at CatholicCare, assisted with the research for this story. She uncovered three loose themes from “credible” research into teenagers and pornography: the impact on relationships; the problems associated with mental health; and parents’ and carers’ responses. Ms Pavan’s assessment of the studies indicates pornography can lead to a distorted view among adolescents of sexuality and sexuality’s connection to developing healthy relationships. “For example, there is an overestimation of how much sex people have, and there is the belief that sexual promiscuity is normal,” Ms Pavan said. “For young people, it impacts on their ability to form lasting and meaningful relationships. This may then lead to vulnerability, depression, anxiety and overall decrease in life satisfaction. And there are issues around what constitutes safe and respectful sexual practices.” The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)



Photo: Peter Stoop

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There is an overestimation of how much sex people have, and there is the belief that sexual promiscuity is normal. For young people, it impacts on their ability to form lasting and meaningful relationships. researched the issue and its findings suggest adolescents who consume violent pornography are six times more likely to be sexually aggressive, compared to those who viewed non-violent pornography or no pornography. “The most dominant, popular and successful pornography contains messages and behaviour about sex, gender and pleasure that are deeply problematic, in particular, the physical and verbal aggression predominately by men onto their female partners,” Ms Pavan said. What can parents and carers do? “Open communication and digital literacy are the keys,” Ms Pavan said. “It’s important for parents and carers to have open conversation about children and young people’s online experience. Critical thinking is important. Encouraging young people to question what they see; such as who makes it and why, and what does it mean? And let them reflect on their answers. This respects the ideas of the young person.” Parents and carers should educate themselves on the current online risks facing young people and take an active role in their children’s digital lives. A good start is the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and its website pages “Online pornography” and “Hard to have conversations”. Among its recommendations are: (1) encourage your children to talk if they’ve seen something that upsets them; (2) let them know they won’t be punished if they tell you they’ve viewed inappropriate content; and (3) educate them to understand that if they receive something inappropriate online, not to respond. Children exposed to pornographic material are at risk of a broad range of maladaptive behavioural issues including anxiety and feelings of disgust, shock, embarrassment, anger, fear and sadness. The phenomenon of teen sexting, the sending of sexually explicit texts and emails, has been linked to pornography exposure.

Cath Garrett-Jones is the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle family engagement officer for the Catholic Schools Office. She is also a mother of three girls aged 16 to 25, and says young people have never had so much unrestricted availability to illicit material. “Parents and carers have the critical role of establishing, early on, patterns of close communication where anything is on the table and children feel they can talk freely — judgment free,” Ms Garrett-Jones said. “Take the lead on encouraging conversations early on and make yourself aware of issues impacting children.” An AIFS media release in December 2017, “Pornography shaping young people's sexual experience”, said 44 per cent of Australian children aged nine to 16 years had encountered sexual images in a 12-month period, and of these, 16 per cent had seen images of someone having sex. Ms Garrett-Jones said parents and carers should do their own “homework” to keep themselves informed of issues impacting children and also take up any opportunities schools offer. “Use media as a platform to engage in conversations with your children about relevant issues impacting them,” she said. “If parents and carers are not comfortable to do this, ensure there is a trusted adult the children can talk to — maybe it’s an aunt or uncle who can support your child. But certainly fathers can have an important positive role to play in modelling how men should respect women.”

Darrell Croker is a contributor to Aurora



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

Hear, hear to recognition


Dedicated nun and teacher Patricia Bailey OP has been acknowledged for her 44 years of service to education, particularly for deaf and hearing-impaired children, with a Medal of the Order of Australia. Sr Patricia was awarded the commendation as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours and displayed humility when speaking about the award. “I don’t know why I got the award,” she said, “but I decided to accept it to give the deaf children a voice.” She accepted the medal at Government House, Sydney on September 6.

I don’t know why I got the award, but I decided to accept it to give the deaf children a voice.

Sr Patricia grew up in Maitland, attended St John’s Primary School Maitland and joined the Dominicans at the age of 22, attracted to the order known for its work in “teaching and preaching”. She began teaching as an aide for profoundly deaf children at St John’s Maitland when she was a postulant.

Sr Patricia was principal of Catholic Centre for Hearing Impaired, Waratah, for three years, before leaving in 1989. She was the last Dominican nun principal at the school. Sr Patricia returned to that old school with her medal, stopping to ponder the statue at the front. It is of Jesus healing a deaf man from Mark 7:3435, “And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.” She said it was while she was at Waratah that her understanding of how to teach the deaf “all clicked”.

Photo: Peter Stoop

The Dominican sisters began Catholic education for the deaf in Australia simply because a family wanted a Catholic education for their deaf child. Australia’s first Catholic school for deaf students was established in 1875 in Perkins Street, Newcastle. The school was moved to Waratah 13 years later and in 1993 St Dominic’s Centre was established as a new facility at Mayfield and named after the pioneering Dominican Sisters. Sr Patricia Bailey OP OAM at the old Catholic Centre for Hearing Impaired, Waratah

Working in early intervention has been a career highlight for Sr Patricia, including listening training with babies who are deaf. She says specialist training must begin as soon as diagnosis occurs to give the children the best opportunity in life.

advances in technology. But they need a specialised teacher of the deaf rather than a teacher’s aide,” she said. “There is a lot that they miss out on in the classroom if they don’t have that.”

Sr Patricia currently teaches deaf children at five Sydney schools and says more financial support is needed for the hearing impaired. “Some are doing so well due to

She hopes the attention she has received from her award will result in greater funding and resources for students who need it.

Sr Patricia’s passion for her work has not faulted. “I should be retired, but that won’t be happening soon,” she said. “It’s my passion, not my work, but my ministry. I love it.”

Brooke Robinson is content officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Listen and discern BY BROOKE ROBINSON The next phase of Plenary Council 2020, Stage 2: Listening and Discernment, has now begun and will continue until early next year.

then submitted online to the Writing and Discernment groups, Plenary Council Facilitation Team and Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council.

People are invited to participate in group discernment on one of the six National Themes for Discernment.

Pope Francis in his exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (166) said of discernment:

discernment, which calls for something more than intelligence or common sense. It is a gift which we must implore. If we ask with confidence that the Holy Spirit grant us this gift, and then seek to develop it through prayer, reflection, reading and good counsel, then surely we will grow in this spiritual endowment.”

The Listening and Discernment guide, “Let’s Listen and Discern”, can facilitate this process. This guide can be found at Reponses are

“How can we know if something comes from the Holy Spirit or if it stems from the spirit of the world or the spirit of the devil? The only way is through

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has been training people to act as animators for small groups. Contact your local parish if you would like to be part of a group.



Photo: Peter Stoop

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You’re the voice Regular attendees of Sacred Heart Cathedral, particularly those at weekend masses, would be familiar with a unique singing voice. It belongs to Catherine Mahony, and when she advocates on behalf of those with a disability that voice goes beyond hymns to become an expression of her commitment to social justice. Ms Mahony was born blind and she laughed when told of the proposed headline “You’re the voice”. “Those who know me well will say it fits,” she said, “because if I’m not singing I’m constantly talking.” With her parents’ encouragement she has enjoyed singing for as long as she can remember. As the youngest of five, harmonies were often shared with her siblings. “Then in the mid ’70s I went to a primary school in Sydney, St Lucy’s, run by the Dominican Sisters for children who were blind or vision impaired,” she said. “Today, we strive for children with a disability to be included in their local school. That wasn’t the case in the ’70s, so I attended boarding school from a young age, which had its challenges. “But one of the blessings was music, and for me it has always been associated with faith and church. I was often asked to lead the music at school masses and other liturgies. So that was where it all began.”

I struggle with people using words such as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘angelic’ to describe my voice, just the same as I do when people with a disability are seen as ‘inspirational’.


Singing as part of liturgy and other rituals remains an important parish role. Her other tasks for the Diocese have included work in the communications department from 2001 to 2009, during which she wrote regularly for Aurora. Ms Mahony then found a new expression for her voice when she identified a desire to advocate on behalf of people with disability. “In 2011, I became friends with a number of people with a disability and became aware of the many ways in which people with a disability are marginalised,” she said. “For a long time I didn’t want to work in disability because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed. But that all changed and then I felt it was time to add my voice to the many people with and without disabilities who I aspired to be like in their roles as powerful advocates. “As we recognise Mental Health month, I think of the many Australians who have a lived experience of mental illness or distress. There is still much to do to eliminate the stigma experienced by people living with mental illness. Advocacy for improvement in the areas of health, housing, education, employment and the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) has on-going importance as does the need for all of us to ask our neighbour 'RUOK?’” Ms Mahony is a peer worker at Community Disability Alliance Hunter — — an organisation supporting people with disabilities and their families. She is also currently working at the ABC after winning the Regional Storyteller Scholarship (see https:// and is producing a series on the relationship between people with a disability and their support workers. It will be broadcast in early December to coincide with the International Day for People With a Disability. The ABC is aware that people with a disability face additional barriers finding work in the media. “That was certainly my experience when I graduated from the

Catherine Mahony, pictured in Sacred Heart Cathedral, has enjoyed singing for as long as she can remember

University of Newcastle with a communications degree in 1995,” she said. Ms Mahony began formal singing lessons in her mid20s, which at that stage of her life were a confidence booster. And then she joined the Cathedral choir wanting to become involved in church music. “I acknowledge with gratitude the encouragement of the late Sister Clare Tobin RSJ,” she said. “I still get formal coaching from Dr Anne Millard, who is a friend as well as director of music at the Cathedral.” Apart from weekend masses, Ms Mahony also sings for weddings and funerals. “I struggle with people using words such as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘angelic’ to describe my voice, just the same as I do when people with a disability are seen as ‘inspirational’, she said. “Just because I’m a blind person who is singing doesn’t make my singing more special than anyone else’s.” Ms Mahony is presenting this month at the Australian Pastoral Musicians’ Network, where her love of church music and disability advocacy come together in her presentation on hymns that contain text referring to a disability. “When I’m advocating, it is with the voice of my own experience — as someone with a disability,” Ms Mahony said. “My disability is central to this work. There is an important phrase in the disability movement — ‘nothing about us without us’. It is a fundamental belief of mine and many others that we must always hear the voices of people with a disability.”

Darrell Croker is a contributor to Aurora



Religious freedom Humanity has come rather late to the notion of religious freedom. That doesn’t mean there were always religious wars and persecutions raging. Polytheists, the Greeks and Romans for instance, generally managed to assimilate their subjects’ gods into their own pantheon. Early Islam ruled vast areas of Christians and Jews. They found ways to make good use of them by means of differential taxation, military conscription and use of their inherited Greco-Roman scholarship. Much later, divided post-Reformation Europe slowly learnt to make a virtue of “toleration”, at least while neither Protest or Catholic forces were strong enough for decisive victory. So there have been long eras of relative religious peace. This, however, does not reflect a belief in “religious freedom”, which is a distinctly modern view of things. In the Catholic sphere, freedom of religion came to the fore in the writings of the American Jesuit John Courtney Murray after World War II. His concern was the

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growth of secularism and militant atheism. The danger he saw was not persecution by other religions, but rather persecution by those opposed to religion itself. He was rather far-sighted on that score. Anyway, his teaching was influential enough to make it onto the agenda of the Second Vatican Council where, though hotly contested, it resulted in the “Declaration on Religious Freedom”, Dignitatis Humanae, proclaimed in December 1965. As the name suggests, the declaration situated religious freedom as a right founded on the “human dignity” of persons. Made in the image of God, humans must be free to seek the truth, especially in relation to the quest to know the truth about God. The teaching reflects the council’s understanding that the desire for truth, goodness and beauty is part and parcel of being human and, essentially, is a seeking for God. All religions reflect this human quest. People cannot be coerced into faith, they must be free to see its truth for themselves, or not.

All religions reflect this human quest. People cannot be coerced into faith, they must be free to see its truth for themselves, or not. Where does that leave us in Australia as we contemplate legislation on religious freedom? The Catholic stance would suggest that the law should declare a positive right to religious freedom, bounded by the requirements of public order. The present bill, on the other hand, seeks rather to prevent discrimination against anyone because of their religion. Both approaches have their difficulties. A positive declaration of religious rights risks limiting those rights to the ones mentioned specifically in the law, leaving hostages to fortune in the form of issues that may come up later. On the other hand, an anti-discrimination bill always seems to develop a life of its own, as

the claim that various beliefs, when expressed in word or action, are inherently discriminatory because they give offence to certain groups or cast them in a bad light. I honestly don’t know what is best for the “common good”, of which the law is always to be the servant. What is clear is that, if we are to have a religious freedom law, it needs the widest possible consultation and very thorough parliamentary consideration. We don’t need it next week.

Bishop Bill Wright of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Vale Tim Fischer, a man of the people BY BROOKE ROBINSON A down-to-earth Aussie, Tim Fischer was instantly recognisable in his Akubra, whether as deputy prime minister in Canberra, on an overseas mission as trade minister, or treading the cobblestones of Rome as Ambassador to the Holy See. The much-admired politician died in hospital on August 22, aged 73, after a long battle with cancer. President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, paid tribute to Mr Fischer, saying he lived as a proud Catholic and a proud Australian. Mr Fischer, who was educated by the Jesuits at Xavier College in Melbourne, had a long and distinguished career in the NSW and Australian parliaments. At the federal level, he served as leader of the National Party during the 1990s and deputy prime minister and trade minister under John Howard between 1996 and 1999. He had earlier served in the Australian Army during the Vietnam War. Archbishop Coleridge said Mr Fischer was a largerthan-life personality who throughout his career was genuinely dedicated to service. “Tim was a man of many interests and with many talents, but those of us who have known him will remember most his warmth, his humanity and his strong conviction to pursue what is right,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

In 2008, the Labor government appointed Mr Fischer as Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See. During his tenure from 2009-12, Australia’s first saint, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was canonised. In 2012, he was made a Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Pius IX, one of the Church’s highest honours. “Tim was very proud to be our man at the Vatican at the time and was a remarkable host and ambassador for church and country,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “Tim was renowned for his love of trains and, even during his time representing Australia in Rome, he managed to reactivate the Vatican railway.” Many Maitland-Newcastle locals had the opportunity to meet Mr Fischer at the launch of his book, Holy See, Unholy Me, in Hamilton in November 2013, and again when he was keynote speaker at the Tenison Woods Education Centre dinner in East Maitland in June 2014. “He was loved by all who met him and we mourn his passing,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “But we also celebrate all that Tim gave to his family, his community, his church and his country. May he rest in the peace of Christ.”

Brooke Robinson is content officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

Tim Fischer at his Holy See, Unholy Me book launch in Hamilton, November 2013



Photo: Peter Stoop

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From the inside Motherhood, race and mental health issues are exacerbating the alarming rise in the number of women in Australian prisons. Women are going to prison at a higher rate than ever, and at least one in two imprisoned women in Australia has a history of mental illness, and/or abuse as a child. One in two imprisoned women are mothers, and 5 per cent to 10 per cent are pregnant. They desperately want to be with their babies and young children, few of whom will be cared for by their fathers. Indigenous women are over-represented in prisons. They make up only 3 per cent of our female population as a whole but account for more than one-third of Australia’s female prisoner population. The majority of Aboriginal women in prison, more than 80 per cent, are mothers.


follow-up community treatment for residents a month before they’re discharged from the program.” Ms Duncan says a significant component of the Miruma program is the relationships developed with communitybased agencies that provide support for the residents. One such agency is Mums’ Cottage. Sister Helen Anne founded the Holmesville-based Mums’ Cottage about seven years ago out of the necessity to support mothers in an ever-changing society. Mums’ Cottage uses companionship to empower women, especially those in crisis. One of its aims is to hold together the family structure, which is where its work with Miruma is so important.

Miruma is a traditional Wanaruah word meaning “to take care of, to protect and keep from harm”. It is also the name given to the court-ordered diversionary program for female offenders at the Cessnock Correctional Complex.

The Australia Bureau Statistics reports that over the past five years to the March quarter this year the number of females in custody in Australia increased by 38 per cent or 1004 persons. For the March quarter 2019, the average daily imprisonment rate for females was 36 per 100,000 of the adult female population.

Established in 2011, the program is available to female offenders with a diagnosed mental illness and drug dependency who require extra support to live a lawabiding lifestyle in the community. About 50 women participate in the intensive three-to-six month program each year.

Professor Elizabeth Sullivan is deputy head of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle, research lead of Custodial Health within the NSW Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network and Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Miruma acting manager Crystal Duncan says the program is tailor-designed to meet each resident’s needs.

She describes the increasing number of children behind bars as a silent epidemic.

“Our case management is holistic and specific,” Ms Duncan said. “It goes beyond addressing their offending behaviour and mental health. It covers many aspects including general healthcare, trauma counselling and living skills.

“Prisons aren’t intended or equipped to enable young children to thrive,” Professor Sullivan said. “Keeping mothers and their babies together is a good thing, but we could do it better.”

“The through-care we provide is crucial. It includes Justice Health organising discharge medications and

Miruma’s 11-bed residential diversionary program in Cessnock provides the opportunity for women who may be experiencing difficulties in adjusting to lawful

Sister Helen Anne founded the Holmesville-based Mums’ Cottage about seven years ago out of the necessity to support mothers in an ever-changing society

A current resident told us that by attending Mums’ Cottage she feels welcome and supported, giving her a second chance to be the real woman that she can be in the community. community life, to gain stability by way of enhanced supervision. This is facilitated by referral to and liaison with various community agencies including alcohol and other drug services, residential rehabilitation programs, Centrelink, TAFE NSW and Housing NSW. Promotion of life skills including budgeting, nutrition and general healthcare are a focus of the program. “Miruma and Mums’ Cottage have worked closely together since the inception of the program in 2011,” Ms Duncan said. “A current resident told us that by attending Mums’ Cottage she feels welcome and supported, giving her a second chance to be the real woman that she can be in the community. “One of our staff members says the women who run Mums’ Cottage provide a non-judgmental, supportive and mentoring role to our residents. They especially enjoy the cakes the ladies make for them. “Miruma staff and residents would like to take the opportunity to thank all involved in Mums’ Cottage for all they do for our residents and we look forward to continuing the great partnership.”

Darrell Croker is a contributor to Aurora



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Gary Christensen is the director of CatholicCare

Photo: Peter Stoop

I had a transferable skills set that provided me with an avenue to be a volunteer and that led to my first paid job as a youth worker, with at-risk young people.

Sharing skills to address disadvantage BY BRITTANY GONZALEZ With a career spanning more than two decades in the social services sector, there is no denying Gary Christensen has the drive to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people. Assuming the position of CatholicCare director in March 2017, Mr Christensen quickly earned the respect of staff who appreciated his collaborative approach and innovative thinking. Bringing together government and nongovernment communities to address areas of disadvantage, inequity and vulnerability across our Diocese, with his passionate and determined team, motivates Mr Christensen every day. Buoyed by his faith, he is particularly interested in the business community coming together to address men’s health, particularly, men’s mental health issues. Did you attend Catholic school/s? If so, why did your parents choose catholic schools, and what are your memories? Yes, I attended St Patrick’s Primary School, Swansea from kindergarten to year 6, then St Mary’s High School, Gateshead from year 7 to 10, and I finished my schooling at St Francis Xavier College, Hamilton. My parents wanted me to have a faith-based education, they appreciated the high academic standards taught at Catholic schools,

and they valued the pastoral care. I have fond memories of being taught by some of the Sisters of St Joseph at St Patrick’s with one of them, Sr Ellen Shanahan, still involved with my eldest son’s school at St Clare’s High School in Taree. St Patrick’s was a great school community with parents, teachers, students and the parish priest coming together for regular social events that built lasting relationships. What drew you to work in the social services sector? I have been working in the social services sector for the past 26 years. I think what originally drew me to the sector was the chance to share living skills with vulnerable young people. I thought I could help them get along in their everyday lives. I began my career as a volunteer youth worker teaching marginalised young people self defence and cooking. At the time I started volunteering, I had been heavily involved in surf lifesaving as an instructor. I was also a martial arts instructor and I was cooking in a commercial kitchen at a restaurant in Newcastle. I had a transferable skills set that provided me with an avenue to be a volunteer and that led to my first paid job as a youth worker, with at-risk young people. Since then I have worked across the social services sector in Newcastle, Sydney, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

What motivates you in your position as the director of CatholicCare?

Is faith a big part of your life? If yes, how has it helped?

I am highly motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people. At CatholicCare, our mission is to listen and respond by working together with local communities to build a stronger, fairer and kinder society that values children, young people, families and individuals. The notion of working with local communities across our Diocese to address areas of disadvantage, inequity and vulnerability drives me each day. I am privileged to lead a professional, passionate and determined team who are focused on working in partnership with participants and the wider community to achieve positive outcomes for vulnerable people.

Yes, faith is a big part of my life. CatholicCare’s vision of continuing the mission of Christ by offering opportunities for growth, healing and hope resonates strongly with me. I am buoyed by my faith each day, particularly when dealing with some of the more challenging issues that can present in the social services sector.

October is Mental Health Awareness month. You have been particularly vocal about men’s mental health. What do you think are the biggest barriers to men receiving help? The biggest barrier to men seeking and receiving help is the stigma attached to admitting we may be struggling with our mental health. Whilst there are plenty of great initiatives trying to address this issue, we as blokes need to get better at checking in on each other and asking “are you OK?” Male suicide continues to be a major social issue, young and old. In Australia it remains the biggest single killer of men aged 15–45.

Gary in year 3 at St Patrick’s Primary School Swansea

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

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Back from the edge BY LIZZIE SNEDDEN In 2005 there was a period when you couldn’t open a newspaper or turn on a television without hearing the name John Brogden. At only 36 he was the leader of the NSW Liberal Party and widely expected to become the next premier of NSW. But then, nine years into his career in the NSW parliament, Mr Brogden’s political career and personal life imploded following a now infamous night at the Marble Bar in Sydney’s Hilton Hotel, where he allegedly made personal slurs and unwelcome sexual advances. After the media reported on the events, Mr Brogden made repeated public apologies and resigned as NSW Opposition leader. Soon after, despite receiving support from those close to him, Mr Brogden attempted to take his own life. “I was so ashamed and felt like I was such a burden,” he said. “In my mind it wasn’t the only thing to do, it was the best thing to do.” Mr Brogden, a Catholic, visited a local priest to confess his wrongdoings, before attempting suicide at his electorate office. Fortunately someone raised the alarm and a police inspector broke into Mr Brogden’s office to find him unconscious. In the days following while in respite care at a psychiatric facility, Mr Brogden asked a friend to organise a priest to come and say Mass for him. “My faith was very important to me at that time,” he said. “I had taken myself to the edge, and I felt unworthy. I felt that taking communion would help me in my recovery.” On September 28, 2005 a few weeks after his suicide attempt, he resigned from his position as the Member for Pittwater. Before the incident at the Hilton, Mr Brogden had never thought of himself as mentally ill. However, he did experience domestic violence as a teenager when

his mother re-partnered with an alcoholic. “It’s very likely that I had depression since I was a teenager, but I wasn’t diagnosed until after my suicide attempt,” he said. Mr Brogden had channelled his teenage anger into ambition, which propelled him to do exceedingly well at school and in his early career. "I was never satisfied,” he said. “I always had to work harder because that's how I pushed the pain away." Since that trying period, Mr Brogden has held several executive positions at firms including the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Financial Services Council, Manchester Unity and Landcom. On Australia Day 2014 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community, in particular Lifeline. As chairman of Lifeline, Mr Brogden has a powerful platform to advocate for mental illness. In Australia, almost 10 people commit suicide every day. Mr Brogden believes we are facing a national suicide emergency due largely to cost-of-living pressures and the weakening of organisations that once bound people together, such as religious institutions. “There are a lot of lonely people,” he said. The number of lives lost to suicide in NSW — 880 in 2017 — is more than double the state’s road toll and the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44 years. Mr Brogden has long campaigned for the federal government, with support from state and territory governments, to implement and fund a national suicide strategy. In July this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $503.1 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan — the largest in Australia’s history. His announcement

I was so ashamed and felt like I was such a burden In my mind it wasn’t the only thing to do, it was the best thing to do.

follows premier Gladys Berejiklian’s December 2018 launch of the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023. However, Mr Brogden is adamant suicide prevention shouldn’t start or stop with politicians. “We, as a community, all need to make a difference as well,” he said. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month (October), Access Programs Newcastle Hunter and Manning is sponsoring John Brogden as guest speaker at the Newcastle Business Club’s

October luncheon where he will share his personal experience of depression and suicide. He will also outline how organisations can better support the mental health of their workforce.

Access Programs 1800 613 155 Lifeline 13 11 14 MensLine 1300 789 978 beyondblue 1300 224 636 Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 Lizzie Snedden is acting editor for Aurora

Let the sun shine in BY AMY THEODORE A week of kindness, joy and laughter ensued when the school community of St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar took time to remind themselves of the great things that happen when we look for the good in all moments.

“Discussing mental health can often be daunting and confronting, however Sunnyside Up Week encouraged members of our community to reach out to those around them and find the good in every day.”

The college’s year 12 students initiated their first-ever Sunnyside Up Week, full of fun activities, competitions and many other surprises.

Each morning, there were greetings on the college gates for students and staff because “saying g’day can make it a good day”, a positive affirmation wall was created in Bertrand Place and a Wings of Hope art installation was placed in the college playground for photo opportunities.

“Sunnyside Up Week was an opportunity for St Joseph's to shine a light on discussing mental health and to embrace positivity,” said Isabella Crebert, a year 12 student and college leader at St Joseph’s.

The traditional school bell was replaced with upbeat music to keep the students “bopping along” throughout

the day, students and staff battled it out in a variety of fun games and year 11 and 12 students carried out random acts of kindness to others throughout the week. “The whole school community got involved and it was a very timely reminder for everyone to look after themselves and each other,” said Liz Stokes, assistant principal at St Joseph’s. “Thank you to the community of St Joseph's for embracing the spirit of the week.” Amy Theodore is a marketing officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.



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Sisters bring Tenison-Woods to life BY SR JAN TRANTER RSJ Father Julian Tenison-Woods left an indelible mark on Australian life, most notably education, and as October 7 marks the 130th anniversary of his death, it is fitting to recall some of his groundbreaking work.

Australia, four years in Adelaide as director of education and instructing and establishing the Sisters of St Joseph, he then missioned for 11 years in eastern Australia from north Queensland to the south of Tasmania.

The Congregations of Sisters of St Joseph have delegated a committee to raise the profile of Fr Tenison-Woods and to recognise him as their founder, along with Mary MacKillop, whose 110th anniversary is also this year.

In our Diocese he preached missions in Newcastle, St Mary’s on the Hill, St Joseph’s (The Junction), Hamilton, Lambton, Raymond Terrace, Maitland (many times), Morpeth, East Maitland, Paterson, Branxton, Muswellbrook and Murrurundi. He preached retreats to the priests of the Diocese and the Dominican nuns. In the former Sacred Heart church at Hamilton (site of the present cathedral café and hall) he preached an eightday mission ending on the feast of the Sacred Heart. His missionary work here, as well as the work of Sisters of St Joseph in our Diocese, gives special relevance to recognising him in this anniversary year.

As well as being a priest, scholar, founder, scientist and educator, Fr TenisonWoods was the first director of Catholic education in Australia and created a system that is the model, be it with adaptation, in all Australian dioceses. Fr Tenison-Woods missioned widely in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. After 10 years as parish priest of Penola in South

He was also a keen scientist and had an abiding interest in the environment. Alongside his missions he continued scientific work. From Morpeth in 1878 he wrote to a friend that he usually gave one hour to science each day. Such

was the result that he was awarded the Clarke Medal in 1888 for the best natural science paper. He died the next year, aged 56. Fr Tenison-Woods was keenly aware of the natural environment, its beauty and wonder, and the need to care for it. His views and concerns are especially relevant now, with growing environmental awareness. A Sister of St Joseph has written comparing the teaching of Pope Francis to Fr Tenison-Woods www. Fr Tenison-Woods' own writings can be found on the same website. He wrote of “the peerless and priceless” Tasmanian forests and their value to the whole environment. His words resonate now with alarm at the fires in the Amazon. He saw with new eyes. “Every rock, every leaf, every insect has something beautiful, nay wonderful to tell ... The flowers will unveil the hidden secrets of their beauty, the stones reveal their crystalline structure and the tiniest insect display wonders of mechanism … All new, varied and instructive, and tending to raise the mind to higher and nobler

Fanning the flame of RCIA BY LOUISE GANNON RSJ Anyone involved in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) ministry knows about Team RCIA, Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal. These world leaders in catechumenate ministry are offering a full-day workshop on Saturday, October 19 at Newcastle West. Initiation is at the heart of the church’s life. It is the process by which we as a community accompany adults who feel called by God to become Catholics. It is a most privileged ministry where faith is shared and grows. All the baptised, not just parish RCIA teams, are commissioned to proclaim the Good News, live in the world as Christ and help those who seek meaning to know Jesus. With a steady number of individual enquiries and only a few pastoral regions hosting RCIA, the Church of

Maitland-Newcastle is primed to ignite the flame of RCIA in parishes and schools. Grounded in the texts of the Rite, this hands-on interactive day explores the sacraments of initiation for children as well as adults. Schools are central to Jesus’s mission by making the love of God known to families, children and staff. Parishes then need to be ready to welcome people seeking Jesus. This link between schools and parishes is visible through the RCIA. The workshop is suitable for anyone with fire in their belly for Christian initiation and a must for RCIA team members, parishes looking to begin RCIA, sacramental teams, parish leaders and school staff. Enquiries to or call 4979 1134. Read more at Liturgy Matters at

conceptions of what creation does to declare the glory of its Author.” The Sisters of St Joseph he founded with Mary MacKillop in Penola and Adelaide made their first foundation in NSW in Perthville near Bathurst. From here in 1883 four young Sisters made a foundation in Lochinvar. From this our local Sisters of St Joseph have grown and spread through our Diocese, with some foundations north and in Sydney. The Sisters have lived and worked in towns and especially in rural centres for the past 136 years. There are many secondary schools and primary schools continuing from foundations made by the Sisters. As well, many ex-students of the Sisters join others in educational and charitable works. The Sisters and Fr TenisonWoods have left a lasting imprint in Australia and our own region.

Sr Jan Tranter is a Sister of St Joseph, Lochinvar

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Rare books recall our social history In February 1840, 58 French Canadian exiles arrived in Sydney Harbour on the verge of death having been beaten, starved and denied water during a cruel and vicious voyage. The predominantly Catholic men had rebelled against British rule in Canada and were rounded up and transported to Australia in absolute squalor aboard the convict ship Buffalo. The horrifying tale was recounted in the memoir, Journal d’un exile politique aux Terres Australes, written in 1845 by French Canadian man Leandre Ducharme, one of the convicts aboard the Buffalo. A rare first edition of the memoir is one of the highlights of the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) new historical archive of books, manuscripts and artefacts that document the history of the Catholic Church in Australia. Antiquarian bookseller and collector, Hugh Myers, is the ACU special collections adviser for the archive and said Ducharme’s memoir was a highly “significant and desirable book” relating to convict-era history. “Having been denied water, the men basically went insane with thirst,” Mr Myers said. “It was a particularly brutal and sadistic voyage even by the standards of the time.” In Sydney to meet the stricken men were Father John Brady and Bishop John Bede Polding. The latter was to become Australia’s first bishop when he was


consecrated Archbishop of Sydney in 1841. “Bishop Polding conducted a mass in the hull of the Buffalo, which would have been absolutely putrid,” Mr Myers said. “The French Canadian exiles were originally destined for Norfolk Island, a violent and sadistic place that led many to choose suicide rather than be sent there. “Bishop Polding personally intervened on their behalf with the governor and halted their transportation to Norfolk Island, saving their lives. Ducharme later wrote of Bishop Polding in his autobiography,” Mr Myers said. The idea of pulling together rare books and artefacts was the brainchild of ACU vice-chancellor Greg Craven. Mr Craven first raised the matter in 2016 as part of the university’s broader arts and culture program and because he feared valuable material could easily be lost in the digital age. “The rare book collection is a key component of our role as a leading Catholic institution and is integral to our Arts and Culture Strategy,” Mr Craven said. “In just over two years, the collection has grown to more than 1000 books, manuscripts, ephemera and historical objects.” Some of the stand-out items in the archive include printed and manuscript

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle head of information management services, Juliet Hart

material by the first Catholic priests in Australia, who accompanied the La Pérouse expedition and landed in Botany Bay in January 1788; three pamphlets by William Duncan, published from 1843 to 1856; two books published by Edward Flanagan, celebrating the scholarly achievements of his brother Roderick; and an inscribed presentation copy of On the Volcano of Taal by Reverend TenisonWoods. Mr Myers, who has 20 years’ experience as a buyer and seller of antique books, has also been given an annual purchase budget of about $50,000 to create a rich and diverse “haven for rare books”. “I’ve purchased close to 1000 books from around the country and internationally. The material is being digitised as we speak,” Mr Myers said. For anyone who may be put off due to the religious nature of the material, Mr Myers says the collection is so much more than an ecclesiastical history. “It’s essentially for anyone interested in Australian social history, which was heavily influenced by convicts, one third of whom were Irish Catholics,” Mr Myers said. “Sending convicts to Australia was a way of taking the heat out of the political unrest in Ireland leading up to the potato famine in the 1840s and to stop rebellions, which occurred anyway in the 1860s.”

Photo: Peter Stoop

Sending convicts to Australia was a way of taking the heat out of the political unrest in Ireland leading up to the potato famine in the 1840s and to stop rebellions, which occurred anyway in the 1860s.

In Australia, however, as in Ireland, the fundamental political power lay with the Church of England, which ultimately led to divisions along religious lines. “People felt the Catholic/Protestant difference very acutely and the division became a huge part of Australia’s identity,” Mr Myers said. Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle head of information management services, Juliet Hart, helps maintain its own small collection of rare books and artefacts and says it will be “fascinating” to spend time with the ACU collection, in particular to see how this region fits into the greater picture of the history of the church in Australia. “Historical books are often just beautiful items to look at and the ACU collection will provide a unique look at a segment of not only Australian religious life but life in general in Australia,” Ms Hart said. “I’m fascinated also to see what they hold in relation to this Diocese and what we might be missing from our own archive.” The collection will be housed in North Sydney but is currently being digitised and will be publicly accessible from early next year. For more information visit the ACU arts and culture website.

Todd Dagwell is a contributor to Aurora



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Youth retreat participants at the Divine Retreat Centre

At peace in the presence of God BY MELINDA REGO

Attending services at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, is unlike any other experience. When you are there you are made to feel like family. Even those who have attended just one service have reported the same thing. I have attended this Vincentian Missionaries’ retreat at various times since it opened in 2013. The services consist of praise and worship, preaching of the Word, Adoration, Mass, and a walk with the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament during the Stations of the Cross. Whenever I am there I feel an immense amount of peace, joy and most importantly God’s presence. As with any Catholic church, here you get to encounter God in a very strong way. The preaching is not restricted by time, so the breakdown of the Word is very comprehensive. Through this, my faith, along with that of many others, now has solid foundations. Encountering God at the retreat turned me from a lukewarm Catholic to a person with great zeal for God and His people. It pushed me to step out and start ministry for young people to help them encounter God too. Through this, I have been able to meet many other like-minded young Catholics and create an amazing support system. I learnt so much about the Catholic faith at the retreat. It highlighted my lack of knowledge in my own faith, which was causing me like many others to take a relaxed approach to faith-based conversation, Sunday Mass, prayer and the way I lived my life. The preaching allowed me to reflect upon all these areas and convinced me to make some real changes in my life to become more Christ-like. Above all this, I have always found every aspect of the services from the preaching to the celebration of Holy Mass to be entirely Spirit led. Before going to the retreat centre, I always thought everything I did was through my own

ability. It was only after learning more about God that I realised that He helps me through everything and gives me the ability to continue. All my life I have heard that God provides, but I have witnessed and experienced that in reality at the retreat. The Divine Retreat Centre is a nonprofit organisation, but God has always provided for it to continue its ministry. Seeing this, it strengthened my faith and helped me understand that God will provide for me too. I witnessed several testimonies of healings and blessings at the retreat. These included receiving jobs, houses, healings of cancer and other ailments, and quick recoveries from serious illnesses. I have met and listened to someone who shared his story of being declared dead but was brought back to life by God 45 minutes later. These testimonies really brought to life the words from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke that nothing is impossible for God. The ministries at the retreat centre have changed the lives of many, strengthening their faith and parish presence. If you feel like you are one of those people with no answers when a person asks you questions about God or Catholicism, then it will benefit you to attend some services to learn more about our faith. The Divine Retreat Centre has weekly services and various ministries that cater to all ages. Most services are free to attend. If you are looking to have a God experience in your life and deepen your love for Him, attend a service.

Melinda Rego is a primary school teacher in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle



Photo: Peter Stoop

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Margaret Crockett holding a statue of Our Mother of Inclusive Love

Life goes full circle


You want to make a difference in the world but can’t leave home? You too can be “extraordinary-ordinary” like Margaret.

That contribution has made a great difference to the life prospects of countless children around the world.

Margaret Crockett never asked for this part of her story to be told. She prefers to get on with things in the background. But she recalls many years ago, in the early 1990s, hearing parish priest Fr O’Sullivan say that as little as $15 a month could transform an African child’s life.

“I was particularly moved by stories of girls and young women walking long distances daily to collect and carry water,” she said. “Often they are so vulnerable to all sorts of abuse and violence along the way. Having a safe water source nearby has many advantages for health and wellbeing.”

As a mother of three children herself, Ms Crockett was deeply moved and initially troubled by this comment. “I didn’t have a spare $15 a month,” she said. “But I was sure I could find 10 friends who could each give a dollar or two.” So it was that she tapped her Tighes Hill church friends on the shoulder, and on the first round collected $45. Since then Ms Crockett has generously acted as the hub for monthly contributions from fellow parishioners. Showing that commitment and persistence do make a difference, she has collected more than $35,000 for the Children’s Mission Partners program run by Catholic Mission.

It is a little-known fact that in 1822 a young laywoman in France began Catholic Mission, which is the Australian arm of the International Pontifical Missionary Societies. Pauline Jaricot had a passion for the missionary work of the church, but unable to leave home herself, encouraged her friends, mainly young female factory workers to form “circles-of-10”. Each person in the circle gave a small, regular contribution from their wage and each “circle” committed to pray regularly for the missionary work of the church. Within her lifetime this movement called the Society for the Propagation of the Faith

I was particularly moved by stories of girls and young women walking long distances daily to collect and carry water. was supporting the worldwide work of missionaries where the need was greatest. Catholic Mission continues to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world through its support of missionaries and the child-focused communitydevelopment programs it undertakes. Each year, October is Mission Month and Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Missionary Month for October this year. The United Nations has also since 2012 marked October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. This day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while

promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Perhaps like Ms Crockett and Pauline Jaricot you too can be missionary without leaving home, and become a Children’s Mission Partner. If you want to make a difference in the lives of children around the world by starting a circle-of-10 in your parish or friendship group, contact Mark. Alternatively, in this Extraordinary Missionary Month why not make an “extra” ordinary donation via to mark International Day of the Girl Child?

Mark Toohey is diocesan director Catholic Mission



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

Crossing the road at risk We all want to see our investments grow. So, why do we need to think about risk? Growth doesn’t happen spontaneously — it comes from how your money is invested. The rate of return is generally correlated with the amount of risk the investment takes on. The higher the level of risk, the higher the potential return. The trade-off that comes with risk is that there is a higher chance of the investment option either not meeting its investment objective — the amount of money a fund expects to make — or actually losing money. Understanding risk When you look at an investment option, its risk profile considers the chance of seeing a negative return or loss in the long term. Just as with the returns, there are no guarantees for performance. Risks — and decisions guided by risk — aren’t only found in investing. Most of the decisions we make in life are guided by risk, even if we don’t consciously think about it. One good way to think about it is to compare it to crossing the road. You could say that you should never cross a street. The risk of being hit by a car is significantly higher than if you never step off a footpath. While this is true, it doesn’t take into account the other factors that play into your decision, including ways that you can limit the amount of risk you face.


Ways to limit your risk You can do things that give you more control over the risk you face — both in crossing the road as well as investing. To start, decide what kind of road you want to cross. A busy highway is going to be a lot riskier than a country road. Likewise, with your investments, you can make the choice to invest in something with a higher level of risk — which may result in a higher return — or invest conservatively to protect your funds and see a lower, more stable return. You can look both ways before you cross the street, ensuring that there aren’t any imminent dangers. When dealing with financial matters, taking care to observe what’s happening around you — like general economic conditions — can help you prevent calamity. Without belabouring the metaphor, investing is inherently risky — but it can bring about significant growth to your investments as well. There are a lot of things you can do to help get the outcome that you want and expect.

The same goes if you have a long investment horizon, or don’t need the money for a longer period of time. On the other side, if you don’t want to see a negative return or are content with a lower rate of growth, more conservative risk may be appropriate for you. Generally, the younger you are the more growth assets you can hold because you have more time to recover from any losses. As you age, most people’s risk tolerance goes down as their accumulated wealth increases — they want to protect that money. This is the basic model we use for LifetimeOne, our default investment option. LifetimeOne automatically adjusts your investment mix, from high growth to become more defensive as you approach retirement age. Want to know what’s right for you? The best way is to speak with a financial adviser about your goals and work backward from there. Members of Australian Catholic Superannuation can receive personalised advice and recommendations from a qualified adviser for no additional cost.

How much risk is right for me?

Learn more about the ways we can help you plan for your future at

How do you know how much risk you should have in your investments? That is very difficult to answer because everyone’s circumstance is different. If you’re willing to accept a negative return or loss of some of your capital, a higher level of risk may be appropriate.

This information is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should assess your own financial situation and needs, read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement for the different financial products and consult a financial adviser, if required, before making an investment decision or a decision to acquire or replace financial products.

Need help to manage 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: Tax-effective ways to grow your balance with salary sacrifice The investment options that fit your requirements

Protecting your income and family with appropriate life insurance

Investing ouside of super

Get simple and straightforward advice over-the-phone to get on the right track to achieving your retirement goals and future financial needs.

Call us on 1300 658 776 to book an appointment

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Bouncing forward to counter tough times I used to consider myself as someone who could cope with anything, but lately I just feel exhausted by all of the negative events that have happened around me. How do I solve some of my current issues with strength and bounce back to the strong person I used to be?

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, call CatholicCare P 4979 1172 or 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.

Resilience is usually seen as the ability to “bounce back” after challenging life experiences and is a strong factor in living a fulfilling and happy life. However, life is about constant change and we never truly go back to who we were before these life events. The idea is to “bounce forward” or move forward, and learn what we can along the way. Building resilience requires flexibility in thinking and acting. Accepting changes in life can be really challenging, but recognising that change also creates opportunities and will enhance your resilience. I see many people who believe they have reached the “worst” low of their life and don’t know where to turn. Although they cannot change the past, they invariably learn new skills to help them cope and strengthen them for future challenges. Hence, the opportunity for improved mental health can arise, despite challenging circumstances. Sometimes it is not possible to completely solve a problem but you can take small steps and set achievable goals so that you are able to clearly see the progress you have made at each stage. Try not to measure success where the end

goal is the only goal, as that can be overwhelming and deflating. Where problem solving is no longer an option, find ways to nurture yourself emotionally and physically. Set time aside for activities that you find pleasant and relaxing and ensure you maintain a healthy sleeping pattern. If your self-esteem takes a battering due to negative life experiences, look for ways to build your sense of purpose and achievement. Focus your energy and effort into positive activities that also make you feel valued. You could join a community or physical fitness group, volunteer for a charity or school, undertake short courses or even join or form a book club (if reading is your thing). Also, take some time to look at what you would personally like to achieve in your life in relation to your physical and mental health, personal development, finances, leisure, spirituality ... the list is endless. Is there one thing you could do that would take you a step closer to your goals in life? Think about steps you could take within 24 hours, within one week, within one month and within three months. Focus on one thing at a time and you

will soon start to notice a more positive outlook. One of the most vital aspects of healthy resilience is having strong human connections. Do you have someone you can confide in? If not, don’t keep your worries to yourself. Reach out to family, friends and neighbours. But if any of these people are the source of your worries, engage with people from outside your immediate network. You may find some wonderful, caring people in any potential group you consider joining, as mentioned above. If you are not sure where to start, remember you can always seek counselling support to help steer you in the direction you would like to go. Stay hopeful because our circumstances are always changing. As long as you have hope, you have motivation to make choices that have the potential for a more valued life. This does not mean that you won’t experience negative life events, but it does mean that you can see the situation for what it is, assess what you can and can’t control, and make the best of that situation.

Come home to Calvary. As your aged care needs change, Calvary is there.

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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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education State Conference The Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle co-convened the eighth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education State Conference with Catholic Schools NSW, held September 11–12 at the Crowne Plaza, Hunter Valley.

Cheryl Roberts and Phil Taylor

Col Love and Tara Dever

Lisa Hall and Sr Pat Adams RSM

Louise Campbell and Gerard Mowbray

Michelle Case and John Clarke (Biripi Elder)

Monique Crick and Clare Parker

Parent information evening at Medowie Parents and future students of Catherine McAuley Catholic College, Medowie gathered for an information night on September 18.

Nicole and Alani Mudge

Scott Donohoe, Liz Toscano and Peter Antcliff

Nathan, Stephanie and Julie Hallam

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

What’s on


Community Noticeboard People of faith BBQ and picnic This will be held on Saturday October 12 at 10am at Kalyra, 1311 Westbrook Rd, via Singleton. RSVP Alan Humphreys 0427 381 311 or John O’Neill 4937 3846 by 9 October.

Newcastle West. Suitable for anyone with fire in their belly for Christian initiation and a must for RCIA team members, parishes looking to begin RCIA, sacramental teams, parish leaders and school staff. Enquiries and bookings to sharon.murphy@ or call 4979 1134.


Healing Mass

All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the US, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counselled countless women about their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. That was until the day she saw something that changed everything. Hosted by Taree Catholic Church, watch the movie on Wednesday October 16, 6.30pm Taree Fay’s Twin, cnr Oxley and Millgan sts, Taree. To book unplanned-taree-fays-twin/

Newcastle Catholic Charismatic Renewal and Jesus Light of the World Community are organising a Healing Mass with Fr Joe Faller from The Philippines for 7pm Wednesday October 23 at St Patrick’s Catholic Church Wallsend. Praise and worship starts at 6.30pm and all are welcome. Contact Paul Gleeson 0420 281 285 or Wayne Caruana 0466 631 394.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

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.

Christian initiation is at the heart of the church’s life. With a steady number of individual enquiries and only a few pastoral regions hosting RCIA, the Church of Maitland-Newcastle is primed to ignite the flame of RCIA in parishes and schools. World leaders in catechumenate ministry, Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal, offer a free, full-day workshop on Saturday October 19, 9am to 4.30pm at the Diocesan Offices, 841 Hunter St,

Marriage and relationship education courses 2019 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.

Marriage and Relationship Education Course — FOCCUS, Toohey Room, Newcastle, October 28 and November 4. 5.15pm-7.30pm, (session three to be confirmed).

Before We Say I Do, November 22 and 23, Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5pm-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. For further information on all our courses please contact Robyn Donnelly, 02 4979 1370, or Celtic music concert Deirdre Ní Chinnéide, an internationally acclaimed singer and composer of Celtic music will perform on Tuesday November 5 at 7pm, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 841 Hunter St, Newcastle West. $10 at the door, no booking required. For more information, contact Jenny Hartley RSM 4964 6400 or Diocesan Synod celebration This will take place on Saturday November 23 at the Diocesan Offices, 841 Hunter St, Newcastle West, 9.30am- 5pm followed by Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Theme: “Building the Kingdom of God together”. Register before November 14 at diocesansynodcelebration. For more information call 4979 1111 or email

Stay up to date with news from across the Diocese

For your diary October 4

Feast of St Francis of Assisi


Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary


World Mental Health Day


People of faith BBQ and picnic (see opposite)


Unplanned movie at Fays Twin Cinema Taree (see opposite)


Fanning the flame of RCIA (see opposite)


Healing Mass (see opposite)


FOCCUS (see opposite)

Blue Knot Day (adults surviving child abuse)

For more events please visit

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 Opening Doors: a seeker’s reflections on the rooms of Christian living BY ALEXANDER FOSTER

Kevin Treston says Opening Doors is for “seekers” – those “who are searching to reconcile their faith”, but I would suggest anyone who views organised religion as “the other” could benefit from its teachings. Opening Doors takes the reader on a journey through 11 metaphorical — you guessed it — doors, with each one acting as a conversation starter about common questions surrounding the Christian story. As discussed in Opening Doors, there has been a significant return to Christian fundamentalism

in the past 150-or-so years. Did God create the universe, or was it a cosmic phenomenon that took place more than 13 billion years ago? Well, Treston suggests the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In times of crisis, people tend to start pointing fingers to try and figure out where the evil is, and that’s especially the case between faiths, and between faiths and atheists too. Instead, Opening Doors proposes that Christianity should be a force for good in the world. “Evil acts are a consequence of choices in human behaviour,” Treston says. “Moral evil contradicts the very heart of the teachings of Jesus.” So then, is persecuting others based on their perspective morally wrong? As the reader makes their way through “Door 9”, which focuses on ethics in Christianity, Treston explores the concept of “ethical options”. That is, can Christian people pick and choose their morals? Due care and kinship “are

not ethical options for Christians but rather basic moral imperatives” he says. Through “Door 11”, Treston explains that spirituality is available for every person, not just “saintly people with halos around their heads”. And that’s exactly the audience Opening Doors is angled towards — those who may or may not be interested in Christianity, but who wish to better understand the roots of its teachings. Treston prays at the end of Opening Doors “Gracious God, help me to open doors, to enter the room of my deeper self, to bring love and kindness to others, to enhance and live within the wellbeing of the earth community.” This pretty well sums up Treston’s utopian take on Christianity — to live in love and kindness despite personal or religious beliefs.

Alexander Foster is the digital officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

A slice of nutrition — vegetable lasagne The Taree Community Kitchen has enjoyed the support of St Clare’s High Schoo, Taree for the past three years. Staff and students’ valued contributions assist CatholicCare in its mission to provide support for vulnerable people in the Manning community. It also provides students with an opportunity to get a first-hand understanding of the social challenges experienced by those in their community, and their power to assist in creating opportunities for improvement through connection, acceptance and support. Once a month, staff and students work together as a team to produce a meal for the community patrons to enjoy, using the donated ingredients available to them upon their arrival. Recently, they made a vegetable lasagne for the enjoyment of diners, and have kindly shared the recipe.

Ingredients  3 eggplants  125ml olive oil  Pumpkin  3 carrots  3 zucchinis  2 bunches spinach or bok choy  1 large leek or 2 onions  1 large sweet potato

 10 tomatoes or 2 large cans of tomatoes or pasta sauce  1 large bottle of tomato paste  4 garlic cloves  Fresh or dried herbs  12 lasagne sheets or 2 cups of cooked pasta

Cheese sauce    

90g butter 90g plain (all-purpose) flour 750ml warm milk 200g grated cheese Laney Tull and Emma Deudney from St Clare's High School, Taree

Method Filling

Cheese Sauce

1. Prepare vegetables, thinly slice or dice. 2. Crush garlic.

1. Melt butter, add flour, stir and cook 1 min. Add warm milk gradually and stir until pouring consistency.

3. Place olive oil in a large pan, add vegetables and sauté.

2. Add 100g of cheese and stir until cheese has melted.

4. Add garlic, tomatoes or pasta sauce and herbs.

Assembling lasagne

5. Simmer until vegetables are cooked, add tomato paste and heat until thick.

1. Spread a thin layer of cheese sauce over large dish then add a layer of lasagne noodles.

2. Add ½ of vegetable mixture / layer of lasagne noodles / layer of cheese sauce. 3. Layer of vegetables mixture / layer of lasagne noodles / layer of cheese sauce, top with 100g cheese. 4. Place in moderate oven for 25min or until lasagne noodles are cooked and cheese melted and golden brown.

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Located close to transport, shopping and medical facilities, within minutes from Maitland Hospital and only 10km to the Lovedale Wine & Art Trail. We are a safe, secure gated community manned 24 hours, 7 days a week with a 24 hour emergency call system. A GP visits the resort on a weekly basis. The NBN Internet is available for connection. The property is set on a level site with beautifully landscaped gardens. We are pet friendly and have many organised outings and activities for our residents.

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Call us today to request your FREE information pack on 1800 422 155 2350

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