Aurora November 2019

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle November 2019 | No.196

Speaking out against violence Fr Rod Bower weighs in on

religious freedom

Australian Catholic University partners with our Diocese

Every teacher shapes a life We are seeking employees across our network of 59 Catholic Schools. Our schools are located in the Manning, Upper Hunter, Maitland, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.

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First Word


On the cover Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning Gary Christensen speaks out before the international day of violence against women. Photo by Peter Stoop.

Featured f f Males must hold each other accountable


f f Living, learning, growing


f f A-team’s app creates a vibe


f f From antiquity to Toongabbie


f f Soft landing for post-school pathways


f f Magdalene maintains focus on leadership roles for women


f f On a path to making a difference


f f Partnership puts belief in leadership


f f TWEC-ACU partner for pastoral


f f When Greta was the world


f f Service of the sick


f f Community votes to feed the homeless


Domestic violence: silence is its greatest ally Domestic violence is a reality I struggle to accept. It is also one of the most important discussions that needs to be had. That’s why we have made “Males must hold each other accountable” the cover story for this edition of Aurora. It’s important to remember the problem is bigger than the act of violence itself. Domestic violence has devastating psychological, physical, and economic consequences for those who experience it —and for the children who are exposed to it. Survivors often suffer from a host of long-term physical and mental health problems that have a significant impact on their ability to live a healthy, productive, and fulfilled life. And it’s not something that happens just to other people; it occurs in all areas of the community and across cultural groups. Domestic violence is a pervasive, complicated public health issue that requires an equally pervasive and multi-pronged response. In addition to legislation and survivor support programs,

we need to educate our community through awareness-raising campaigns aimed at transforming attitudes of both survivors and perpetrators. It’s a problem too immense and devastating to ignore. Accordingly, I am buoyed to know the Newcastle and Hunter White Ribbon Committee, which is aligned to the international campaign and not the national body, is proceeding with plans for its annual breakfast that raises funds to fight domestic violence, saying it expects to be unaffected by the collapse of national body White Ribbon Australia.

Parish; and Calvary Mater and its group of passionate volunteers, which demonstrate the immense potential that is possible when we work together.

Changing pace — in this edition of Aurora you will also find many other interesting articles, particularly in the area of education. I continue to be astounded by the bright young minds in our schools, such as the “A-team” from St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar. All only 14 years of age, they’re making incredible headway, and I am certain will be future leaders. There are also many great examples of partnerships, including between the Diocese and ACU; DARA and the Toronto

*In the October edition of Aurora, the article “Sisters bring Tenison-Woods to life” included a hyphen in Father Julian Tenison Woods’ surname, which was added during the editing process and not consistent with author Sr Jan Tranter’s spelling of his name.

Finally, in the August edition of Aurora, we featured an article entitled “Zimmerman Services upgrades with an expanded mandate”. In response to this article, and one featured in the Newcastle Herald, the Diocese received three anonymous letters, to which the Director of Safeguarding, Sean Tynan, has responded and made public on the Office of Safeguarding website

Lizzie Snedden is acting editor for Aurora

f f Consensus on religious freedom laws is proving elusive


f f Customised care f f In the steps of Jesus


Contact Aurora


Next deadline November 8, 2019

f f Simple ways to start saving for Christmas 18 f f Life options from literacy


f f Faces and places in our diocese


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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

Spirit sets timetable for listeners The Rule of St Benedict opens with an impassioned call for the reader to “Listen”. The purpose of listening, the Rule continues, is not just for the sake of hearing, but so that the one who listens might obey and so grow in faithfulness to the call of the Christian life. The Latin root of the word “obedience”, which in today’s thinking can be something we need to outgrow, has the additional meaning “to listen, harken to”. I mention this because the Church of Maitland-Newcastle will gather at the end of November for the first session of a diocesan Synod. One of the primary tasks of the Synod, of the People of God who gather as part of the Synod, is first of all “to listen”. And the purpose of listening is so that we, the People of God, can be obedient to what we have heard. The question, of course, is to what are we called to listen? In providing an answer, it is perhaps more appropriate to give some thought to what it is that we are not called to listen. First, we are not called to listen to those with the loudest voices. Such people might think they have all the answers, but there is also wisdom to be found in those who are, by nature, quieter and more reticent to speak up. The task of true listening means that everyone needs to be heard, not just those more used to giving voice to their views. Second, we are not called to listen to those “who have the numbers”. The most


effective voice might well be the lone voice, the voice who speaks insistently and honestly in the face of the majority. True wisdom in a synodal process is not just about seeking a majority but seeking the truth. Third, we are not called to listen only to those “who turn up”. The task of listening and seeking God’s wisdom requires us to listen to everyone, including those who will never attend a session of the diocesan Synod. Seeking to listen to the Holy Spirit means that we need to go out and ask rather than wait for people to turn up and speak when we believe they should. The Spirit of God does not work to our timetable; we work to the Spirit’s plan. A Synod process such as we are about to embark on is first and foremost a call to listen to the voice of God. Through listening to the voice of God made manifest in the People of God gathered to listen prayerfully to the Holy Spirit and to each other, we are trusting that together we will discern God’s wisdom for the Church of Maitland-Newcastle as we seek to serve the mission entrusted to us. And that is one reason why our diocesan Synod is not just one day but will extend over three years. It will take that long and be that involved because we are seeking to know God’s wisdom. The process of listening and listening so we can obey requires the investment of our time in a way that might seem alien

to the immediacy so common to our contemporary society.

discerned, and heard with an openness to the Spirit.

But prayerful listening — to the Spirit, to each other — requires our time and our willingness to concede that we might find God’s wisdom in people and places we never imagined. God’s wisdom will come from the whole of the Synod process, not just in terms of the individual contributions that are part of the Synod, but from the whole, listened to,

But first, we need to listen.

Fr Andrew Doohan Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Frankly Spoken To say "Jesus" is to pray, and prayer is essential. Indeed, prayer is the door of faith; prayer is medicine for the heart. Homily – St Peter’s Square – 13 October 2019

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To effectively address the issue of domestic and family violence, we must ensure we are having intentional conversations with boys and men about the way we speak and act towards women in and out of their presence.

Photo: Peter Stoop

Males must hold each other accountable BY GARY CHRISTENSEN

This month marks the commemoration of White Ribbon Day as part of a global social movement of men and boys to end men’s violence against women. Whilst violence against any person, female or male, is never to be accepted, the significance of recognising the commitment of men and boys to ending violence against women cannot be understated. Year on year, statistics show that domestic and family violence is mainly perpetrated by men in an intimate partner relationship or after separating from the relationship. It is more than just physical violence and can often involve the exploitation of power imbalances and patterns of abuse. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) says “in the 24 months to March 2019, the number of recorded domestic assaults increased by 6 per cent and the number of indecent assaults and acts of indecency rose by 5.8 per cent”. With “the main change in regional NSW was that seven of the 13 statistical areas showed an increase in recorded rates of domestic assault”. The victims of domestic violence murders in the year to March 2019 included 15 women, 14 men, seven young people who were killed by a parent or guardian and two people of unknown ages. It is important to understand that domestic violence does not just happen in some areas of society. Domestic and family violence does not discriminate. It occurs in all areas of the community and across cultural groups. Domestic and family violence is an abhorrent abuse of power that affects the physical, emotional, social and financial wellbeing of all members of a family including

children and young people. The effects are devastating and can cause lifelong trauma and damage. I once heard it said that we are male by birth but men by choice and while that may seem like a tag line, it does bring into focus the need for boys to be exposed to positive male role models who respect women as equals and who demonstrate, through their attitudes, words and actions a commitment to doing their part to create a society where all girls and women can live in safety and free from violence and abuse. When thinking about domestic and family violence, there is, at times a tendency for us to focus on the extreme end of a detestable violent episode perpetrated by a man on a woman, but the issue of violence against women and girls runs much deeper than that. To effectively address the issue of domestic and family violence, we must ensure we are having intentional conversations with boys and men about the way we speak and act towards women in and out of their presence. Those conversations need to be honest and real with a focus on boys and men being accountable for our behaviour towards girls and women. That includes each of us having the courage to step up and hold our mates and colleagues accountable rather than be a passive bystander when we hear or see another man speaking or acting inappropriately to or about women or when someone in our circle makes a “harmless joke” about women. In my work in social services, there is an adage that “language impacts on practice”; when it comes to violence against women, a parallel could be drawn

to say that boys’ and men’s “language impacts our behaviour”. The responsibility for ending men’s violence against women starts with each man taking stock of our own attitudes, beliefs, language and behaviours to ensure they reflect the attributes of respect, equality and empowerment towards women. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please do not remain silent, reach out and seek help by contacting your local police station or by calling one our friendly professional staff at CatholicCare on (02) 4979 1120. Domestic violence is a serious problem that impacts many NSW families. In 2016, an estimated 17 per cent of Australian women aged 18 years and over (or 1.6 million women) had experienced violence by a partner since the age of 15 years (ABS Personal Safety Survey 2017). CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning is an event sponsor of the Annual Hunter White Ribbon Day Breakfast, which this year will be held at Wests, New Lambton on Friday 29 November. CatholicCare’s sponsorship enables 30 senior students from schools across the region to attend the event free of charge, in a bid to educate our future leaders on the importance of the elimination of violence.

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



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

Living, learning, growing Stacey Peterson Mansfield was four years old when she entered out-of-home care, and now, against the odds, and thanks to an innovative University of Newcastle program, she is on track to achieving her goal of becoming a social worker. The motivation for the 19-year-old “care leaver’s” career path comes from the heart. “I always found my caseworkers to be a great support,” Ms Peterson Mansfield said. “I want to be able to provide others with the same level of care I received, whether that be through out-of-homecare, aged care or working in other, similar environments.” In Australia, children who experience out-of-home (foster) care are drastically underrepresented in higher education. However, the University of Newcastle is on a mission to change this scenario for care leavers. In 2015, the university in consultation with stakeholders across the sector, developed an innovative project that seeks to enable care leavers to engage with higher education. Live Learn Grow (LLG) is the first program of its kind in Australia and provides practical, academic and social support to open up opportunities for students with a background in care to access and actively participate in higher education.

To date, the program has supported 40 people, including Ms Peterson Mansfield. Emily Fuller works as part of the LLG team as a “navigator”. Part of Ms Fuller’s role includes working with children and young people currently in care, their caseworkers and carers, to talk about education and post-care options, and to support young people navigate higher education systems. During the first two years of the program, 75 per cent of participants indicated that before engagement with the LLG team no one had spoken to them about university as an option; and 90 per cent said they would have withdrawn from study before Census Date without the support of the LLG program. “We understand that attaining a higher education is not of interest to everyone,” Ms Fuller said. “However, our aim is to ensure that care leavers understand that, regardless of their background, they have an opportunity to pursue post-secondary study in a supported environment, if they want to.” Ms Fuller said anyone with a prior care experience who is interested in studying with the University of Newcastle can apply for the program. Ms Peterson Mansfield found out about the program through her caseworker in 2016, when she was in Year 12. She had been experiencing bullying and did not want to complete Year 12. But with


Photo: Peter Stoop

Had I not been part of the program, I think it would have been reflected in lower grades.

support from Ms Fuller in the LLG team, she was able to enrol in the Newstep program.

Ms Peterson Mansfield as part of the Supported Independent Living (SIL) program.

“Once enrolled, the LLG Program continues with processes such as finding suitable accommodation, identifying employment opportunities at the university, navigating course structures, applying for scholarships and providing social and emotional support,” Ms Fuller said.

Ms Pratt says she has been impressed by the opportunities afforded to Ms Peterson Mansfield through the LLG program.

Ms Peterson Mansfield says while she always aimed to complete her Honours in Social Work, the support provided through the LLG makes the journey a lot less stressful. “LLG has given me a lot of knowledge that I wouldn’t have otherwise known and given me the confidence to not only ask for help but know who I am best to seek advice from,” Ms Peterson Mansfield said. “Had I not been part of the program, I think it would have been reflected in lower grades.” Ms Fuller has also assisted Ms Peterson Mansfield to seek employment at the university, which she loves.

“University can be daunting,” Ms Pratt said. “The LLG program complements CatholicCare’s SIL program by providing customised support, specific to students’ higher education experience, which has been invaluable when navigating the, at times, complex higher education system. As well as being convenient, securing employment on campus has also been great at building Ms Peterson Mansfield’s social and financial independence.” In 2018 the Live, Learn, Grow program received an Innovation Award from the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies for innovative practice responding to an area of need in the community. The framework has the potential to be adopted for other groups in the community that may also have lower transition rates into higher education.

“I assist with events at the university, which have provided a great opportunity to meet fellow students,” Ms Peterson Mansfield said. CatholicCare Social Services HunterManning employee Kylie Pratt mentors

Lizzie Snedden is the team leader content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

A-team’s app creates a vibe The intricacies of coding, and the creation of a cool logo and compelling advertising pitch, are all part of the entrepreneurship when you’re an app-developing “A-team” Tech Girl. So too is learning the business of business, coping with feedback, and navigating tricky time zones. Layne Wilks, Emily Pockett, Isabel O’Brien and Violet O’Brien are Year 8 students at St Joseph’s, Lochinvar, and part of the Virtual Academy program. They were the recent winners of the NSW Secondary School Regional division in the 2019 Tech Girls Movement Competition. The competition provides girls with access to technology and programs to build their skills and confidence. The St Joseph’s foursome worked maturely and consistently on an app design over semester one of the program, collaborating as a team, engaging with their coach for fortnightly video conferences, taking on board feedback from a variety of sources, organising their school commitments alongside their Tech Girls activities and negotiating the whole process with their class teachers and gifted education mentor, Kate Hart. The girls overcame time-zone differences to engage with Tech Girls mentor Rachael Richards, the global head of manager capability at Salesforce in San Francisco. Their conversations with Ms Richards involved learning more about real-world app start-up scenarios such as raising revenue and users, purpose and audience, budgeting, advertising and creating a credible business image. Ms Richards was an incredible help to the girls and provided a real-life perspective on creating and managing an app. Their final app, Avo (Awesome Vibes Online), provides a medium to educate people about safety online while also




Photo: Peter Stoop

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Avo (Awesome Vibes Online) provides a medium to educate people about safety online while also acting as a platform to report potential online threats to others’ wellbeing. acting as a platform to report potential online threats to others’ wellbeing. Avo allows parents and teachers to be aware of online threats to their children and students such as cyberbullying, inappropriate sexual and violent content, grooming, and unsafe viral social media trends. It also uses data analysis to raise awareness of these threats before they cause harm. It is preventive, and therefore unique. Avo stops the threat before it influences a young individual’s health, whereas most other online-safety apps are reactionary. The A-team’s submission to the Tech Girls competition also involved creating an app name and logo, a viable business plan, a pitch video, a tutorial video, as well as a wireframe and app prototype. St Joseph’s principal Trish Hales describes the girls as “an amazing team”. “They worked collaboratively and creatively to not only produce an app, but to extend their capabilities and be future focused,” Mrs Hales said. “The direction and guidance provided by their teachers and mentors has enabled them to be ‘open to possibilities’ — something all students at Lochinvar are asked to consider. Our mantra ‘Lochinvar students can do anything’ has truly come alive for these young entrepreneurs.” Virtual Academy educator and team coach Rebecca Heath says the girls displayed exceptional skills in

negotiating and organising their learning with various parties including their Tech Girls mentor, their gifted education mentor, as well as classroom teachers and executive staff. “Their app showed their concern for the safety of their peers in the online space and they thought deeply about how to protect young internet users from cyber harm,” Ms Heath said. “They were able to listen to the concerns of their peers about online safety and incorporate that into their app. “Their business plan was of real-world standard and showed their critical thinking about a business model, budget, branding and advertising. Above all, I commend the girls in stepping outside of their comfort zone in many ways. They have grown so much as self-directed, independent and confident learners.” They will display their app and present a three-minute elevator pitch to industry experts at the Hunter Region Tech Girls are Superheroes Showcase, Newcastle Museum, Wednesday 20 November. The A-team have also been given the opportunity to submit their app to the global competition Technovation Girls.

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

From antiquity to Toongabbie


“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there is one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” This was advice from one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, to his nephew Peter Carr when the young man was commencing his studies. A beneficiary of the Enlightenment, Jefferson was front and centre in the Age of Reason — a statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and architect. Carr followed his advice and he too became a great supporter of education, setting up colleges in the US state of Virginia in the early 1800s. In 1802, while serving as president of the US, Jefferson wrote to artist Charles Willson Peale of his concept of a university that would be "on the most extensive and liberal scale that our circumstances would call for and our faculties meet”, and it might even attract talented students from "other states to come, and drink of the cup of knowledge". Jefferson eventually founded the University of Virginia in 1819, conceiving and designing the original courses of study in the liberal arts tradition, as well as the original architecture. The tradition of critical discourse or liberal arts started with Plato’s dialogues and the course of education outlined in Republic VII (527–34; 535–41). Liberal arts was considered essential education during the era of classical antiquity, and covered three subjects: grammar, rhetoric and logic, collectively known as the trivium. In medieval times this was extended to include four further subjects — arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy — named the quadrivium. The aim of a liberal arts education was to produce a virtuous and ethical person, knowledgeable in many fields and highly articulate. Although modern liberal arts curriculums have a larger range of subjects, they still retain the core aims of the medieval universities: to develop well-rounded individuals with general knowledge of a wide range of subjects and with mastery of a range of transferable skills. While liberal arts has long had an established place in the US higher education system, it has only recently resurfaced in continental Europe, where it

Paul Morrissey

originated. And now Campion College, in Toongabbie in Sydney’s west, describes itself as Australia’s first Catholic liberal arts institution. Campion president Paul Morrissey says the college’s degree is designed as foundational education, teaching students to think critically about the world through the disciplines of philosophy, theology, history and literature. “Students who complete a liberal arts degree gain ‘soft skills’, such as critical analysis, effective communication and even proficient literacy, which are designed to be applied to any field of work,” Dr Morrissey said. “There is more and more evidence these kinds of soft skills are increasingly sought-after.” Liberal arts is not in competition with

Students who complete a liberal arts degree gain ‘soft skills’, such as critical analysis, effective communication and even proficient literacy, which are designed to be applied to any field of work.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), but is complementary. Business, it seems, wants self-motivated and articulate workers who can think on their own. It's not enough just to have tech skills.

to Australians,” he said. “But we feel what we’re doing is vitally important; that is, preserving the great cultural heritage of Western civilisation in a political climate that is increasingly hostile to its own past.”

Ideally, students attending Campion complete an undergraduate liberal arts degree, and then go on to specialise in postgraduate study and/or specific qualifications. Those three years as an undergrad do provide enough soft skills to enter the workforce, but also time to formulate other career plans. Campion is still a young institution but did make the news during the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation’s search for a home. “The Ramsay Centre is simply trying to do what Campion is doing, and that is preserving and imparting the history, literature and ideas of the West,” Dr Morrissey said. “A liberal arts degree is about thinking critically, and that includes examining Western civilisation itself.” Dr Morrissey acknowledges the “long, proud history” liberal arts colleges have in the US. “Campion is on its own little frontier introducing a liberal arts degree

Thomas Jefferson

Darrell Croker is a contributor to Aurora

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At the centre of every child’s education is the developing of the core skills that create mature literate and numerate capacities.

Photo: Peter Stoop

Soft landing for post-school pathways BY GERARD MOWBRAY

At this time of the year as we await the release of HSC results and ATARs there is great focus on secondary education and the pathways students will be taking beyond school. At the same time, Geoff Masters has released findings into a review of the NSW schools curriculum. Professor Masters says the curriculum is overcrowded and inadequate for developing student skills to best equip them for their adult life. It provides a timely focus on how we view the purpose of secondary education. Certainly, at the centre of every child’s education is the developing of the core skills that create mature literate and numerate capacities. We aim to have each and every child reach their potential appropriate to their abilities and aspirations. At a time when there can be microscopic focus on HSC marks and ATARs, it does us well to step back and truly

understand the purpose of secondary schooling, the HSC and a student’s future. In developing well-rounded young people, we essentially want to ensure each student can move into a purposeful post-school pathway. This is at the core of what we must prepare students for and guide them into such a pathway. Teachers, hand-in-hand with student and parents as well as school leaders and careers advisers, assist in this development. This has increasingly shone a light on the skill set students need. Countries around the globe are focusing on the century that lies ahead, on the life and work and the type of competencies that will best equip a student. Countries such as Australia, the US, Denmark, South Korea and New Zealand have been focusing on the so-called 21st century skills and competencies, perhaps more explicitly than in previous eras.

Such skills would be inclusive of problem solving, collaboration, creativity, working solutions to real-world problems, teamwork, the application of knowledge (not just knowledge acquisition), resolving conflict, managing questions in which there may not be clear-cut answers, and complex digital literacy skills. We need to develop mature social and emotional skills and emphasise cultural and global citizenship. It is critical that schools and school systems grasp the “soft” skill set students will require. We must ensure through the curriculum offered that these skills are at the forefront of what we develop, as students move into their post-school pathway.

Gerard Mowbray is the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle acting director of schools.

Soul Food Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the cosmos. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection. -

Sarah Ban Breathnach



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

On a path to making a difference

My response is yes, if you dare to care about humanity and the world in which we live, and believe in the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit. Those who choose not to participate can’t give voice to how the Catholic Church is seeking to renew itself and the world around it, and will be missed. This Synod is about having deep conversations, listening to the other while listening to the Spirit. The word synod comes from the word synodos, which means “together on a path”. The church is a people journeying together. The theme of "Building the Kingdom of God Together" will be explored through the Plenary Council questions and themes of How is God calling us to be a Christcentred Church that is:

 missionary and evangelising  inclusive, participatory and synodal  prayerful and eucharistic  humble, healing and merciful  joyful, hope-filled and servant community  open to conversion and renewal? The ancient institution we call “church” continues to evolve and with God’s help will be renewed because of the work of the Holy Spirit through the prayerful and thoughtful imagination of the people, which in the Catholic Church we call the sensus fidelium, the sense of the faithful. We are called to discern together in matters of faith. Join us on Saturday 23 November from 9.30am finishing with Mass at the Cathedral at 5pm. To learn more visit the diocesan website at and follow the registration process for workshop participation and catering at bit. ly/2NbETJT or phone 02 4979 1111.

Photo: Peter Stoop

Almost 23 per cent of Australia’s population identified as Catholics in the 2016 census. There are about 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. So, would your coming to the Diocesan Synod on Saturday 23 November really make any difference to how we live our lives in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle as Catholics, and would that make a difference to our local communities, the life of Australians or indeed the global community?


Teresa Brierley is director of pastoral ministries for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Magdalene maintains focus on leadership roles for women BY HELENE O’NEILL

Now in its fourth year, the Magdalene Award was conceived as a result of the report, Listening to Local Women, which recommended the establishment of an annual award to recognise local women who demonstrate leadership in the life of the church. The inaugural winner was Margo Nancarrow, and subsequent winners were Claire McWilliam and Lidy Waanders. Perhaps we are slow learners in the church. Back in 1996, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) launched a major research initiative focusing on the participation of women in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Clancy launched the research

project with these words: “We know that the church as a whole has much to learn from and about women, who constitute more than half of its membership … We know their contribution over the centuries and today has been (and is) enormous, even if not fully recognised and valued. “We are also aware, as Pope John Paul II has acknowledged, that the church’s history has often been characterised by mistaken attitudes and actions in this as in other areas; and that the brief period between now and the church’s Year of Jubilee (AD 2000) is an appropriate time for us to acknowledge, repent for and begin to remedy the mistakes of the past.” Following on from the research project was the ACBC’s Social Justice Statement 2000, Woman and Man: One in Christ Jesus. A Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan Pastoral Council subcommittee response to the statement recommended “it should be recognised that women are able to exert influence, guidance and direction at all levels of the church. Formation, training and support for such leadership are seen as important facets in this process.”

Photo: Peter Stoop

The themes for the 2020 Plenary Council were released recently and it was interesting to note one of the recurring comments was to include women in the leadership of the church. Here in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle we are keen to acknowledge the role women play in their parish, and beyond, via the presentation of the annual Magdalene Award.

In a recent article in The Good Oil (October 2019) Clare Condon SGS expressed her hope for a better future. “The role of women within the Australian Catholic Church has been a constant and fraught issue for well over 20 years,” she said. However, Sr Clare added there is a strong “desire for women to continue to gather together and take responsibility for their own faith journeys, responding positively to each other’s needs and aspirations, whatever their particular situation”. Therefore, it is vital for parishes and agencies within the Diocese to nominate a woman who demonstrates commitment

to her parish community; promotes leadership and/or decision-making capabilities and who ministers in the parish or diocesan community. Women make a difference and we need to share their gifts and talents so others can see that their role is also significant. It’s no longer 1996 so let’s work together to make the Magdalene Award of 2020 a real celebration of women in our Diocese. See Community Noticeboard p21 for details on how to submit a nomination.

Helene O'Neill is the family ministry co-ordinator for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle



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Partnership puts belief in leadership In an effort to develop leadership through the prism of theology, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is partnering with Australian Catholic University to offer a Graduate Certificate in Mission and Culture (GCMC). The course will provide a theological skill set to use when exercising leadership that allows the promotion of a Christian and specifically Catholic culture. From my perspective, the agreement between the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at ACU and the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle on the design and delivery of the GCMC gives full expression to the term “partnership”. The course is a means of advancing mutual interests and achieving shared Mission priorities. More specifically it conveys ACU’s clear commitment to support insight and understanding that engages with and seeks to transform our cities and our regions.

new patterns of thinking, of learning, of working, and of being that support and advance the Catholic character and ethos of the Diocese and all who serve it.

If a university is to be a part of its local and regional community in some meaningful and strategic way, it must be willing to prioritise its relations with that community. The sharing of knowledge should be of direct and immediate benefit to the community.

As Executive Dean for the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, I am delighted and honoured to be working with the Diocese, its leadership team, and with all who support and participate in the GCMC.

This is an exciting development that perfectly illustrates the innovation and excellence agendas that define the work of the faculty. Fostering creative and constructive dialogue on real-world issues, this program takes the interests, needs, and questions of individuals as the starting point for theological learning and reflection. In this way it is directly responsive to demands for creative renewal, considering the various dimensions of church life and practice.

The Diocese is launching its partnership with the Australian Catholic University on Tuesday 12 November, 5.30pm, at Sacred Heart Cathedral and will be followed by a soiree of nibbles, drinks and conversations at Cathedral House. Contact Jenny Harris 4979 1111.

This is a partnership that enables learning to be shared and theological understanding to be developed collectively, collaboratively, and progressively. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, a partnership that enables

TWEC-ACU join for pastoral


Professor Dermot Nestor is Executive Dean, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University


The ongoing faith formation of people in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is about to enter an exciting new phase with the launch of the Tenison Woods Education Community (TWEC) and its partnership with Australian Catholic University (ACU).

In the implementation of that plan, priority was given to the provision of adult faith formation, as parishioners throughout the Diocese recognised that since leaving school, they had been given little opportunity to develop an adult understanding of the truths of our faith.

diocese — seminars, reflection days, retreats, short courses and longer systematic courses in theology and scripture — with special emphasis on face-to-face interaction between participants and presenters in a community setting.

Those who participated in our last diocesan Synod in 1992-93 were keenly aware of the reality that the mission of the church could no longer be left to a declining number of priests and religious. They had also deliberated on, and made a commitment to, the Vatican II understanding of the church’s mission, and in particular, the teaching that every baptised person is called to be “a witness and living instrument” of that mission. So, the synod adopted a pastoral plan whose purpose was “to hear God’s people and empower them to participate fully in Christ’s mission”.

The Sisters of St Joseph made the decision to support the diocesan plan by establishing the TWEC at Lochinvar. The centre was named after Fr Julian Tenison Woods, who, with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, founded the Sisters of St Joseph in order to bring the good news of God’s love to Australian families, especially those deprived of opportunity through distance and poverty.

In 2017, the administration of TWEC was transitioned to the Diocese so that its purpose and spirit would continue under the name of the Tenison Woods Education Community. TWEC offers several faith formation pathways — scripture, theology, liturgy, leadership — and this partnership with ACU will provide another one for those seeking to be educated and formed in faith.

Over the years, in collaboration with fellow religious and lay associates, the Sisters have offered a variety of formational opportunities to parishioners across the

Sr Patricia Egan is a Sister of St Joseph Lochinvar

Invitation Date:


a o






Information: or 4979 1111 Registration:

Disclaimer (October 2019): Information correct at time of printing. The University reserves the right to amend, cancel or otherwise modify the content without notice.



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Service of the sick BY BRITTANY GONZALEZ

From replacing sheets and bandages more than 90 years ago to its role today as the major fundraising arm, the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital Auxiliary has had an evolving association with the infirmary. The Mater Auxiliary formed on 24 August 1927 and its purpose over the past 92 years of duty has remained the same — service of the sick. The auxiliary’s efforts are ongoing and significant with its dedicated troop of 29 members in no shortage of work. In the 2018-2019 financial year alone the two men and 27 women, ranging in age from 57 to 101, complemented the healthcare offered at Calvary Mater Newcastle, working a total of 46,285 hours, and amassing a whopping $326,276.13 in donations.

Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital Auxiliary

Mark Jeffrey, general manager, Calvary Mater Newcastle, says while the auxiliary’s role has evolved throughout the years, the selflessness of members, both past and present, remains.

responsible for countless fundraisers — from craft and cake stalls, to functions, bowls days and even fashion parades.

“This inspiring group continues to be an integral part of the hospital with the bare foundations laid by the courageous and dedicated women who formed the Mater Auxiliary in 1927,” Mr Jeffrey said. “Every year our loyal and dedicated auxiliary astounds us with a significant donation. It is because of its dedication we can purchase much-needed equipment for the care and comfort of our patients throughout the hospital.

The auxiliary works closely with the hospital on wish lists.

“We are constantly inspired by the hard work and countless hours the members put in each and every week and are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support they provide to our patients and staff.” For Margaret Dougherty, auxiliary secretary, volunteering has always been a part of her life. “It is a feel-good feeling knowing you are helping someone in the community,” she said. “You always get your own personal satisfaction.” Ms Dougherty has been volunteering with Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Auxiliary for more than two decades. The Adamstown woman, along with the others, has been

As the main fundraising arm, the auxiliary is considered essential in enabling the hospital to provide leading-edge care through new oncology equipment for cancer patients that it wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.

“On the first Thursday of every month we [auxiliary members] have our meeting at the hospital to discuss business, vote on what equipment we would like to fund and the ways we can help the hospital,” said Ms Dougherty. “These meetings are also attended by staff of the Mater. The staff explain exactly what equipment they may require, and we vote from there.” Over the past year, the auxiliary has purchased hospital equipment and made donations to the hospital to the value of $225,315 with further equipment to the value of $87,000 on order. It is an astounding effort.

Originally the Greta Army Camp in

And there’s no slowing down. Next on the wish list includes new scalp cooling caps that assist patients with hair follicle preservation during chemotherapy, and three cough-assist machines. While these funds and contributions speak volumes for the auxiliary’s dedication, the ovation it receives from the community is a testament to the inspiring impact it has on the patients, staff and visitors it continues to serve. If you wish to join this dedicated and inspiring group or wish to engage in one of its monthly meetings, please contact the Calvary Mater Newcastle public relations department on 4014 4714.

This equipment purchased on behalf of the hospital for the care and comfort of patients includes integrated work

When Greta was the world With a port city and industrial hub, Newcastle and the Hunter have played an intrinsic role in Australia’s migrant history. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first official arrival of immigrants to the region when the post World War II migrant ship Fairsea docked in Newcastle with 1800 passengers. Many were accommodated at the Greta Migrant Camp, just outside the township on the New England Highway.

stations for the Day Treatment Centre, a full anatomy model for the Emergency Department, chair scales, wigs, a contribution towards a microscope for plastic and breast reconstruction, observation machines, a treadmill and compression garments for lymphoedema patients, as well as an assortment of occupational therapy equipment.

Brittany Gonzalez is a communications co-ordinator for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.


which about 60,000 Aussie soldiers trained from 1939, it was dramatically transformed into the migrant camp after World War II, and for another decade from 1949 post-war arrivals continued to settle there. They have made an immeasurable contribution to the prosperity and development of the Hunter region. Adamstown, Mayfield, Nelson Bay, and Port Stephens were other locations of the federal government’s post-war migration accommodation centres, but

the Greta camp seems to occupy a special place in Hunter Valley history. A world away from war-torn Europe, it enabled refugees to start lives afresh, in peace and safety. Most had come from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, with later intakes from Poland, Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Hungry, Austria, Germany and Russia. CatholicCare's assistant director, Tanya Russell, was born in Australia

to Macedonian migrant parents. She says she remembers many things from growing up with parents “learning how to be Australian”. Maitland-based writer Alek Schulha was born at the Greta camp to a Yugoslavian mother and Ukrainian father. His mother Nada and father Peter arrived at Greta in 1949 and they were the first couple married in the Russian Orthodox Church at the camp, in which Alek Schulha was also christened.

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Community votes to feed the homeless BY BROOKE ROBINSON Vulnerable people in West Lake Macquarie are receiving the gift of a safe place to eat after the Catholic Diocese’s Development and Relief Agency (DARA) won $34,000 funding in the My Community Project state government grants.

Photo: Peter Stoop

Once a week, the newly established Toronto Community Kitchen offers a free meal and for a small payment guests can receive a box of groceries. It is a collaboration between DARA and St Joseph’s Catholic Parish, Toronto. Director of DARA, Gary Christensen, is looking forward to increasing the number of people who can be helped through this new venture. “This partnership will provide muchneeded services to people doing it tough in our local community,” Mr Christensen said. “According to the 2016 census, there were 1747 homeless people in the Hunter region. That is an increase of 12 per cent on the 2011 census figures. “DARA’s community kitchens not only provide hot nutritious meals, they also provide a safe, non-judgmental space where individuals, couples and families can find support, friendship and importantly referral pathways to social services like the ones offered by CatholicCare Hunter-Manning. “The Toronto kitchen is truly community driven, with DARA receiving support from the parish, local volunteers and business owners to deliver this vital service.” The project is in line with the objectives of the NSW government’s My Community Project scheme, and the people of the Lake Macquarie electorate demonstrated their support through their votes. Three projects in the Lake Macquarie electorate were awarded funding, with the

"Between 1949 and 1960, 100,000 people representing 18 nationalities called Greta camp home,” Mr Schulha said. “It played a significant role in the development of our society as we know it today. In 1949, 1000 children had their first bush Christmas in the camp's then great hall. “That hall was later dismantled and rebuilt at Karuah by the Tahlee Bible college. And Catholic primary schools including St James’ at Kotara South, St Benedict’s at Edgeworth and Holy Cross Glendale relocated huts from the camp.” Vitaly Lupish arrived at the camp aged

The Toronto kitchen is truly community driven, with DARA receiving support from the parish, local volunteers and business owners to deliver this vital service.

kitchen receiving the most votes out of the 16 projects put forward.

to and from the kitchen from nearby suburbs.”

DARA program co-ordinator Baden Ellis says the funding will cover the cost of 12 months of service, and “is a fantastic opportunity to be able to give to the community, which is what the My Community projects are about”.

This newest community kitchen adds to DARA’s outreach food programs already operating in Islington, Nelson Bay, Raymond Terrace, Woodbury and Maitland.

“The kitchen is in a bush setting, which is a benefit to our friends using the service, as it is peaceful and private,” Mr Ellis said. “Some of our friends live in their cars. We plan to partner with a community transport organisation to provide rides

14 having already spent more than five years living in huts in Germany during and after the war. He recalls learning to speak English at Greta. The mass influx of Europeans changed Australia for the better, creating a more diverse and less insular nation. People from around the world are still arriving in the Hunter, enriching our culture as they seek peace and a better life. Together with the Diocese’s Development and Relief Agency (DARA), CatholicCare’s refugee services team works with people from a variety of

The aim of each community kitchen is to decrease the financial stress on families, the elderly and those experiencing homelessness. They also provide an opportunity for socialisation and friendship. Mr Christensen is grateful for all the

cultural backgrounds. Many migrants maintain a connection with the customs of their homeland and music is a universal language that plays a significant role in bridging the continental divide. Mr Lupish is honorary patron of the Newcastle and Hunter Multicultural Choral Society, which is staging its 42nd Annual Christmas Concert, in the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Sunday 1 December (see Community Noticeboard p21). And on Saturday 7 December the Dutch Society Concordia is keeping another

support DARA receives from the community, saying, “the success of all our community kitchens is driven by the generous support offered by volunteers who operate the service and by local business owners who donate fresh and canned produce every week”. Toronto Community Kitchen operates every Tuesday evening 5pm-7pm at 140 Wangi Road, Kilaben Bay. For more information on volunteering or donating, see Brooke Robinson is content officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

tradition alive, says honorary secretary Joop de Wit, when it stages the very popular St Nicholas Arrival at Marmong Park. That’s St Nicholas, as opposed to Santa Claus. St Nick encourages compassion and is a role model for all. Santa encourages consumption and belongs to childhood. Bush Christmas or bayside, universal goodwill resonates throughout the Hunter.

Darrell Croker is a contributor to Aurora



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Consensus on religious freedom laws proving elusive BY TODD DAGWELL

The Morrison government’s controversial proposed religious freedom laws appear on the surface to be straightforward. The bill aims to protect a person from charges of discrimination when making a statement of belief. A statement of belief is defined as being of a religious nature, expressed in good faith and of a view that “may reasonably be regarded as being in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings” of the religion. (It can also be a statement of atheism.) So far, however, a compromise has been unachievable. The response to the draft bill has been critical from all sides. Churches want the protections to go much further, while LGBTQI groups believe the new laws will lead to more discrimination. The government maintains it is still consulting widely on the issues raised and debate on the final make-up of the bill is welcome.

Who is driving the discussion? So why exactly are we discussing a religious freedom bill? Well, partially because Christianity is no longer in the driver’s seat, and that’s an uncomfortable position for those who are used to being in control. The marriage equality legislation, and recent women’s health reforms have caused so-called religious conservatives to feel marginalised. Of course, when you are used to privilege, equality feels like persecution. Unsurprisingly, the federal government’s proposed religious freedoms bill is now receiving criticism even from those for whom it was designed to placate. The progressive side of the political spectrum has always rejected the concept, rather opting for a bill of rights to protect everyone rather than just an advantaged few. But now the bill is being condemned by the very religious conservatives it was

designed to benefit. Predictably, the ultra-conservative Anglican Diocese of Sydney has rejected the bill because it does not go far enough in supporting its entitlement. If only the Church of England was still in charge. The good old Church of England tended to keep the extremists at bay and embrace the moderates of every kind, even the moderate secularist could feel at home in her embrace. Remember, the Pilgrim Fathers did not set off for the New World fleeing religious persecution as is often said. They left England because the established church was too accommodating, and they wanted to impose their own form of puritan tyranny. Perhaps, at least in part because of this, religious persecution was never really a big thing in Australia whereas religious privilege certainly has been. Sure, there was always a little argy-bargy

Last month, the Newcastle Institute, a not-for-profit organisation established to increase the involvement of the Newcastle community in the discussion and development of public policy, hosted Father Rod Bower, from the Anglican Parish of Gosford. Fr Bower, an Anglican priest and Archdeacon for Justice Ministries in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, discussed whether more protection for religious freedom is needed. He is particularly well known for the thought-provoking signs he erects outside his church at Gosford, often on social issues such as asylum seekers or marriage equality. An edited version of his speech discussing the issues around the draft religious freedom bill and whether there is a case for strengthening existing laws has been published below with permission. Todd Dagwell is a contributor to Aurora


between Catholics and Protestants. BHP executive lunches were always held on Fridays and beef was always served. The Masons had the fire brigade, the Legion of Mary had police, or something like that … There were never that many Muslims, and the shadow of the Holocaust kept anti-Semitism at bay. It all seemed to work out OK. What I am trying to illustrate here, while not indulging in delusions regarding the “good old days”, is to suggest that the prevailing religious moderates “contained” the extremists, and society “contained” them all. It was all about containment. Now it’s all changed. The generation who held the memory of the Nazis is almost gone and anti-Semitism is on the rise. Neo-Nazi groups can gather with impunity. Mosques are vandalised. A quiet country town like Grafton can produce a mass murderer, driven by the kind of unimaginable hate that inevitably leads to catastrophic harm.

Something has definitely changed. A new kind of containment is needed. But is this religious freedom bill the answer? Importantly, the Ruddock report did find there was still no widespread systemic religious persecution in Australia. In my view, schools and other religious organisations who sought exemptions from anti-discrimination laws should have to explain why and make that explanation public on their websites and in prospectuses. For human rights and social justice to exist, everyone must live in the same civic universe. This bill provides for the religiously inclined to inhabit a more privileged civic universe than others. History has shown where that will lead. The vilification of others will be licensed under the veil of “what may reasonably be regarded” as religious belief, and the impacts will range wide across society, including medical care, education and employment issues. The medical aspect

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My wife Kerry and I are fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, never failing to be ever more deeply disturbed as we watch the Gilead story unfold, a story of dystopian theocracy.

of this legislation is truly frightening. The bill seems to preference the religious sensibilities of the medical provider over the needs of the patient. This raises special concern for women in minority ethnic groups who already experience, in some cases, a limited horizon of information that can seriously limit their ability to make informed choices regarding their healthcare. Religious schools, if they wish to continue to be publicly funded, must teach from a curriculum that meets public expectations. Therefore, in a civics class in a Catholic school, it could be reasonably expected that students be made aware of the fact that it is lawful for two people of the same sex to enter into a legal civil marriage. Where in the divinity class, it would not be unreasonable for the students to be taught that Catholic marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. The civics class being publicly


religiously inclined on everyone else but the religious person themselves. It also seems to enshrine the very worst aspects of religion, such as bigotry and prejudice, rather than encouraging religion’s best expressions such as compassion and charity.

funded, and the divinity class being funded by the church. The same logic would apply to any religious school. But of course, that is not the real issue.

It would be far better if we could develop a culture where while the right to hold a belief or opinion is respected, the responsibility for that belief or opinion is that of the holder. So, if you don’t agree with your employer’s ideological framework then you shouldn’t work for them.

This becomes far more complex and murkier when it comes to employment of teachers in religious schools, especially when public funds are being expended. Should a Christian school have the right to insist on a Christian maths teacher, when there is no such thing as Christian maths to teach?

If you are a gay secularist teacher, then perhaps a public school would be a better fit than a Christian school. If you are a fundamentalist Christian, then why would you have any desire to work for an organisation that has a clearly articulated policy for the inclusion and support of the LGBTQI community?

Every organisation should have the right to expect that while engaged in work an employee upholds the culture and ethical framework of their employer. But there is a very valid question as to how far that expectation should be able to go. The proposed legislation does not bring clarity in this regard, potentially overriding workplace law to the advantage of the religious.

So, what to do? The Prime Minister suggested at one stage, albeit unsarcastically, that these issues are best dealt with by culture rather than law. I wholeheartedly agree.

The religious freedom bill seems to place the burden of the freedom of the

The Christian community has been up in arms about comments made by Kyle Sandilands about the Virgin Mary, the Bible and faith in general. His comments only serve to reveal his ignorance and insensitivity to about 50 per cent of the planet’s population.


By taking responsibility for our responses to such comments, while ensuring they remain within existing legal structures, and supporting and enabling marginalised and minority groups in their civic agency, we are more able to negate the power of these sorts of remarks. But for this to become a reality, the media model also must change. My wife Kerry and I are fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, never failing to be ever more deeply disturbed as we watch the Gilead story unfold, a story of dystopian theocracy. A story of containment in its most extreme and unhealthy form. Slippery slopes. Recently we put up a sign on our old battered street sign in Gosford … and I leave you with this as a metaphor for what I think about the religious freedom bill… It’s time to leave Gilead … Praise Be! Go to to read an extended version. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily in keeping with Catholic thinking, are not endorsed by the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, and are published with a view to stimulating public conversation.

Rod Bower Anglican Parish of Gosford

St Nicholas OOSH


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Customised care BY LIZZIE SNEDDEN

Welcome to 2019 — a time when many families can no longer afford to have one parent staying at home while the other does all the earning. The most recent ABS census data says almost half of all two-parent families have both parents working; either full-time or part-time. And with the official retirement age increasing, the opportunity for some grandparents to take care of their grandchildren is becoming less feasible.

Research suggests OOSH providers offer busy families far more than just a convenient babysitting service. Benefits for children include improved social skills and boosted confidence, a heightened sense of belonging, academic support from educators and increased opportunities for play-based learning and physical activity. Tracey Sweetman is the general operations manager of St Nicholas OOSH, one of the region’s newest and fastestgrowing providers. Ms Sweetman said St Nicholas OOSH actively encourages children and their families to contribute their ideas for activities and learning experiences. “When children come to St Nicholas OOSH we want them to be excited to be there, to have a strong sense of identity, enabling them to be confident and involved learners,” Ms Sweetman said. “Our educators focus on customising activities that are in line with the children’s interests — whether they be physical, cultural, creative or imaginative — and that they may not have the opportunity to take part in at home or school.”

Photo: Peter Stoop

Accordingly, out-of-school hours (OOSH) enrolment figures released by the Department of Education and Training should come as no surprise. From June 2017 to June 2018, there was an increase of 17,320 students accessing OOSH services across the country. The rising cost of living, coupled with an expected primary school population increase of 44 per cent in NSW by 2041, suggest demand for OOSH services will only continue. What does this mean for our youngest generation?

Grant Diggins, principal at St Aloysius Primary School, Chisholm, says the onsite St Nicholas OOSH operations are “highly valued” by families.

They’re given time to do what interests them, including running around in the fresh air with their friends, burning off energy,” Ms Sadlier said.

“In addition to providing families with support and convenience, it’s also a place where they know their children will be safe and can take part in interesting activities,” Mr Diggins said. “I’ve recently had parents tell me their children have begged them to go to OOSH care, even when they’re available to look after them.”

Children also have the opportunity to build on friendships outside a structured classroom setting and form new relationships with students beyond their immediate peer group.

Rebekah Sadlier’s children, Molly and Samuel, attend the St Nicholas OOSH service in Chisholm. She said as a working mother it’s a service she “couldn’t do without” and takes great comfort in knowing that when the school bell rings, and she is in a meeting, her children are safe and well looked after. “One of the things I love about St Nicholas OOSH is that it gives children a chance to be children without devices.

Since St Nicholas OOSH commenced operations at Glendale in October 2018, it has expanded to serve nine schools across the Diocese, with three more services to open later this month. In line with commitment to serve and support families, St Nicholas OOSH will eventually expand its operations to all Catholic schools in the Diocese that require before-school, after-school and vacation care. Lizzie Snedden is the team leader content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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In the steps of Jesus Diocesan pilgrims journeyed through the Holy Land these school holidays to walk the places that Jesus once walked. Bishop Bill Wright and his executive assistant Elizabeth Doyle led the pilgrimage for 32 school principals, religious education co-ordinators, ministry co-ordinators and teachers in our Diocese. The group visited the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and Cana, Mount Tabor where the Transfiguration took place, and Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, which is built over the stable where Jesus was born. They also visited Jerusalem and explored the Garden of Gethsemane, the Cenacle room of the Last Supper at the Church of Dormition, Jericho and Masada. Religious education co-ordinator at St Patrick’s Lochinvar, Maryanne Hacker, said the pilgrimage for her was a time of renewal, “to prioritise my connection with my faith and in turn, how that connection impacts on my vocation as a Catholic educator”. Mrs Hacker said that from the moment the group landed in Amman, Jordan, everything felt “different”. “The sights and sounds of the desert landscape were overwhelmingly different, but the difference was bigger than the just the landscape,” she said. “It was almost as though the moment we landed there was a sense of God’s presence in a very tangible way as we began to walk the land that Jesus once trod.” Mass was celebrated on most days in a


variety of locations such as on the bank of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised. Mrs Hacker said the pilgrimage was filled with special moments such as on that bank. “As Fr Greg Barker led our group through renewing our baptismal promises, a gentle breeze came across the river, rustling through the reeds. It was almost as though the breath of God was touching us confirming his commitment to us as we confirmed our commitment to him,” she said.

It was almost as though the moment we landed there was a sense of God’s presence in a very tangible way as we began to walk the land that Jesus once trod.

Photo: Peter Stoop

Our diocesan pilgrims in Jerusalem

One of the last experiences for the pilgrims was walking the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) through the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City. Commencing from where Jesus was condemned to death they prayed as they followed Jesus’s footsteps along the narrow streets of Jerusalem to the site of his crucifixion. Mrs Hacker reflected on the effect that day had on her. “Sometimes it can be hard for us to connect our daily struggles to the profound sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Sharing the burden of the cross and reflecting on Jesus’s passion as we walked in his footsteps, as the day was dawning, brought this connection to life in a very real way. Jesus bore the pain of our suffering, and how privileged we are to be able to, in faith, ‘cast all our anxiety onto him because he cares for us’ (1 Peter 5:7).” Another pilgrim, principal of St Joseph’s Primary School, Bulahdelah, Glen Rooke, enjoyed “watching the gospels come

Aurora in the Dead Sea

alive” and found retracing the Stations of the Cross as his most moving moment of the pilgrimage. “It is through reading and listening to the Gospels that we hear Jesus speak, we hear his vision, his dream, his message to us all,” Mr Rooke said. “Our participation in this pilgrimage has allowed us to follow in his footsteps. It has allowed us to not only visualise his life and ministry but to touch, smell and see the locations of his birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection. We were deeply moved during our journey

of faith formation. A truly life-changing experience.” Our diocesans schools will benefit from the incredible experiences shared by this group of pilgrims, as their renewed faith and life-changing moments are shared with their students.

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



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Simple ways to start saving for Christmas BY AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC SUPERANNUATION

Christmas may seem a long way off but taking small steps to save today can prevent a holiday debt hangover. Getting into the holiday spirit is great. Letting the spirit take you — and your credit card — on a wild ride can leave you with a lot of January regret. Last year, a survey from au predicted spending for the average Australian to be close to $1300 per person. You’re not alone in thinking that seems high. The thing about Christmas spending is, it can inflate quickly without you even noticing it. The survey found some significant areas where our money tends to go, such as:  $464 for gifts  $131 for alcohol  $122 for food. Then there’s the decorations, travel and

impulse buys along the way … it all adds up. Here are a few ways to help limit the costs without sacrificing the spirit of the season. Set up a separate savings account early To avoid putting everything on plastic and then having to pay down your balance as a New Year’s resolution, you can create a separate account and have a little bit of your pay put in there every fortnight. It’ll make saving more manageable and make the festive season spending less painful because you’ve already built up a nice pot of money from which to draw. Set up a budget Of course, creating a budget should be at the top of your list. Your budget should be a guide of the things you want to do and who you want to buy stuff for, but should still have some wiggle room to allow you to do things spontaneously.

Be aware of the Christmas creep

Your budget should also help you feel better about understanding just how much you have available to spend in total, reducing some of the anxiety you might feel during the season.

It’s easy to get carried away by the spirit of the season, especially as it seems to start earlier and earlier every year. There were even Christmas decorations on sale on Father’s Day this year (1 September).

Start looking for sales today There are great sales on all year. Just because you bought it in September doesn’t mean that it won’t be a great gift at Christmas. And the gift receiver will be none the wiser. Stick it in the back of your wardrobe and, when you find it, it’ll be like a special present for yourself as well. Just think how excited you’ll be remembering that you’ve already done your shopping — and paid it all off — by the beginning of December. The same goes for travel deals. Travelling around Christmas time can be expensive, but if you start looking months in advance, you might find some exceptional opportunities you’d miss if you’d waited until the last minute.

You don’t have to completely lock down your spending or stick to a tightly regimented plan. Being flexible and spontaneous can bring enormous amounts of joy to you and your loved ones. So long as you’re paying attention to the amounts you’re spending, don’t get too obsessed with the total, and enjoy the time you get to spend with your friends and family. Would you like some help setting up a budget? Speak with an Australian Catholic Superannuation financial adviser today. Book an appointment by calling 1300 658 776.

We have seminars coming up in your area! Let us answer your questions about super and your future. Register now to reserve your seat at

Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Port Macquarie, Sydney, Townsville

PO Box 656 Burwood, NSW 1805



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Don’t put your wellbeing on hold I feel I am terrible at managing my work-life balance. It might be that I’m just exhausted being so close to the end of the year, and also that work and my personal life have been extremely busy pretty much all year. I feel stuck and not sure how to make more time for me with all these competing demands. 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.

A healthy work-life balance is important for preventing or managing burnout, but it seems like one of those things that we find so difficult to achieve. I would start by looking at the different domains of your life and see where you can make small changes after considering what work-life balance could look like for you. What would you be doing if you could make more time for you? List these things — some may be small snippets of time to read a book or join a group activity in line with your interests. Some may be things you can do at home, whereas others require effort. We often say we don’t have the time to do these things for us. But you can’t afford not to make yourself a priority. If something is that important, you will schedule “me time” somewhere. For some of us, it means we must wake up earlier in the day to get everything done. If you have children, consider whether you can get someone to occasionally care for them, perhaps a service provider or friend, so you can make time for yourself.

Remember, things will stay the same if you don’t make some changes — which is not what you want. With work — review your workload with your supervisor — is it achievable? Do you have access to flexible work arrangements in terms of start and finish times or working from home? Are you in a “family friendly workplace”? You might even ask yourself if you're in the right job and working the hours you would like? You may not have control over your workload, but is there something you can do differently? Do you schedule time off just for you? Use your annual leave? Many of us mostly take annual leave because we have something that needs to be done in our personal life. Often it is for holidays with our families/ children, but what about time off just for you? To do only what you want to do? Or some of us barely take annual leave, and it just sits there, building up. We might tell ourselves that work is too busy to take time off but think about the potential consequences of burning out. Don’t wait

for a crisis to make time to look after you. Have something to look forward to — make plans and set goals: small goals, (personal and work-related) such as having a day off for yourself; as well as big goals, such as planning a trip. Plan; and then do it. Imagine just living life in automatic pilot mode: waking up every day, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, feeding people, bed, wake up, and do it all again. And again. And again, with no relief in sight. Although this is life for many of us most of the time; having things to look forward to can break up the monotony of everyday life. As you can see, my suggestions require effort. It’s not easy so approach this with one small step at a time and one small goal at a time. Life may still be stressful, but you will feel more balanced by making time for you, as well as everything and everyone else. It’s so worth it, so don’t put your wellbeing on hold. You are too important. What small thing could you start doing, or change, starting tomorrow?

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

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Life options from literacy BY BRITTANY GONZALEZ

Jackie Coleman has travelled far and wide pursuing her desires to support linguistic minorities achieve good literacy in their societies’ dominant languages and in their own. As a Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL), and with a PhD in Education and an Advanced Diploma in Spanish, Dr Coleman has worked as a teacher, academic and consultant in English as an additional language in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Melanesia and Australia. Dr Coleman has a strong drive to not only support teachers of bilingual and multilingual students but address multilingual approaches to literacy at the national, systemic level. 1. What Catholic school/s did you attend? Do you know why your parents chose Catholic education for you? I did my last two years of primary school at St Columban’s Primary School, Mayfield after my family moved to Newcastle. Then I went to San Clemente High School, Mayfield for Years 7-10 and following that to St Anne’s Girls High School, Adamstown. My parents were Catholics and our parish church was Corpus Christi in Waratah. 2. What are your fondest memories from your schooling years? Fetes, mission days and similar activities that built community are happy memories. I was lucky to make a friend on my first day at St Columban’s who is a still close friend. I have good memories of some excellent teachers too, particularly English teachers, who guided me to understand the power of language. 3. You have travelled far and wide as an educationist. What’s been the motivation? Good literacy in a society’s dominant language includes the capacity to critique existing practices and imagine new ones. The article in July’s Aurora on revolutionary approaches to literacy in indigenous communities rightly identified literacy as the key to having life options and to full participation in social, political and economic life, particularly for linguistic minorities. My motivation

is the desire to support such groups to achieve good literacy in their societies’ dominant languages and in their own. As a consultant to Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Education I’ve been proud to be part of an international team addressing this issue at the national, systemic level. 4. Have cultural differences influenced your delivery or the reception of your teaching? The most important things to do in any new culture are to shut up, listen and watch, to try to get an understanding for how things are done and what things are valued. Only then can you ask questions and think about what you might have to offer, and how you can work in culturally respectful and productive partnerships with local colleagues.

7. What are some of the best innovations you have witnessed in education programs? A context-specific model of mothertongue education in a school on a remote island in Vanuatu. Teachers taught content first in Bislama, the common language, then students discussed it in their tribal language groups. Teachers then checked students’ understanding in Bislama before teaching the same content in English. This approach works because it values and uses the kids’ languages and cultural knowledge.

8. Is faith a big part of your life? If yes, how has it helped? Faith is something I struggle with. It isn’t important to me in terms of personal piety, rather in how it impels and connects me to social action, such as my work and my membership of the support community of the House of Hospitality ministry of the Sisters of St Joseph. Brittany Gonzalez is a communications co-ordinator for the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle.

5. What is the best or most interesting experience from your travels or career? There are many, all involving interactions with inspiring educators. For example, I cherish the experiences I had with the dedicated and joyful educators I trained and supervised in pre-schools for AIDSaffected kids in marginalised communities in Zimbabwe. I often went home during those years with an aching jaw from laughing all day. Recently in Zimbabwe I was inspired anew by a colleague, an educator and former MP, who has established a school for disadvantaged kids in the centre of Harare. His strategy is to employ highly skilled, justice-oriented teachers in small classes, rather than having well-appointed classrooms and resources. The friendly, confident, bilingual kids I met were testament to his strategy and to the immense power of literacy. 6. What are the greatest hurdles to improving literacy? The first is the belief that literacy is valuefree and something that we “give” kids, rather than something we build with them. The second is the disconnection between what evidence-based research tells us works for kids with different literacy learning needs, and the marketoriented way that education has been conceptualised, delivered and funded by governments and the education industry.

Kids’ Cosmic Bowling Party

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What’s on


Community Noticeboard 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. 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, with the next course taking place over Friday 22 (5pm-9pm) and Saturday 23 November (9am-5pm) at CatholicCare, 50 Crebert St Mayfield. For further information on all our courses, including costs, please contact Robyn Donnelly, 02 4979 1370, or Diocesan Synod celebration This will take place on Saturday 23 November at 9.30am-5pm followed by Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Lunch and free childcare will be provided. The theme is “Building the Kingdom of God together”. Registration is essential for workshops and catering. Register before 14 November at For more information call 4979 1111 or email Magdalene Award Nominations for the 2020 Magdalene Award are now open. This award recognises a woman who demonstrates commitment to her parish community, promotes leadership and/or decisionmaking capabilities and who ministers

in the parish or diocesan community. Entries close on 29 November 2019 with the winner presented with the award at 9.30am Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral followed by morning tea on International Women’s Day 8 March 2020. See for the nomination form. Newcastle and Hunter Multicultural Choral Society Christmas Concert The 42nd Annual Christmas concert from around the world will be held at 7pm on Sunday 1 December at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hunter Street, Newcastle West. Many renowned choirs and individuals take part in this annual event including communal singing. Admission is free; however, a collection plate will go around to cover the night’s expenses. All are welcome to attend. The concert finishes around 9.45pm. To learn more, contact the PR officer Joop de Wit: or P 4954 5227. Voices for Justice This is Micah Australia's flagship event, and a unique opportunity for you to gather with like-minded Christians to lobby your MP and state senators on the issue of global poverty. By inspiring, training and equipping Christians to speak with federal politicians about global poverty, Voices for Justice has provided a catalyst for building long-term relationships between Australian Christians and their local MPs, and set the stage for major aid announcements and breakthroughs. It will be held 30 November to

3 December 2019, in Canberra, ACT.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

All ages are welcome; the only prerequisite is that you have a heart for justice.

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

The $175 early bird covers entry into the four-day conference, which includes two days of training, and workshops with world-class speakers and then two days of lobbying in Parliament House, plus other exciting events. Apply today at voicesforjustice. Annual Dutch Day in the park with the arrival of St Nicholas This Dutch Christmas celebration will be held Saturday 7 December at Marmong Park — 31b George Street — Marmong Point. Look for the Dutch flags. Commencing around midday. St Nicholas will arrive for the 62nd time — rain hail or shine — during the afternoon. Attendance is absolutely free for all — but you must book attending children. Presents to be supplied by those responsible for the children. Please keep cost within reason. One present per child is recommended — clearly mark each present with first and last name. For further information & bookings contact the secretary of Dutch Society “Concordia” Joop de Wit on 4954 5227. You may also book your child(ren) via email, stating their full names and age(s) to:

For your diary November 1

All Saints Day


Pints with a Purpose 6.30pm at Northern Star Hotel, Beaumont St, Hamilton

22-23 Before We Say I Do (see opposite) 23

Diocesan Synod Celebration (see opposite)


International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Stay up to date with news from across the Diocese

For more events please visit

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



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 CatholicCare Foster Carer’s Dinner Guests gathered at Honeysuckle Hotel for an evening of mingling, grazing and appreciation. The evening provided a great opportunity for CatholicCare staff and foster farers to connect with one another and more importantly, recognise and thank carers for their ongoing commitment and willingness to open their homes and hearts to vulnerable children.

Alan Holt, Suzette Holt and Katrina Cooper

Rachel Armstrong and Fiona McCalden

Caroline Kennedy and Jo Bourke

Aimee and Nick Gaudion

Carla Te Koeti, Lori Hitchcock, Jackie Mason

Maryanne Murray, Sharon Tutton, Giavanna Angeli

Raising happy and resilient children The Federation of Parents & Friends Associations invited parents, carers and staff of our Catholic schools to attend an interactive presentation by Dr Michael Carr-Greg, one of Australia’s highest profile adolescent and child psychologists. The event was held at St Pius X High School, Adamstown.

Mental Health Month Breakfast The Diocese hosted a Mental Health Month Breakfast event in October, which featured a number of guest speakers who shared their story of resilience in the face of trauma. Donations collected at the event were provided to Nova Women, DARA’s Refugee Hub and CatholicCare’s Supported Independent Living Program.

Hayley Wright and Lucy Karbowiak

Mark Davidson and Cedric Baumgartner

Teresa Brierley and Fiona Hansen

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.


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Book Review Communal Wisdom: A Way of Discernment for a Pilgrim Church BY FR ANDREW DOOHAN

There can be very little doubt that the Catholic Church in Australia in late-2019 has a growing understanding of the practice of discernment. In the lead-up to the Plenary Council in 2020, the process of discernment has been central to preparations for this unique opportunity in the life of the Australian church.

deliberate approach to the task of listening to what God is asking of them. The approach outlined in Communal Wisdom would be a good place from which to start the practice of giving more attention to a wise, Spirit-inspired, and communal approach to decision making, particularly in light of the issues now facing the Australian church and in the lead-up to the Plenary Council 2020.

The term “discernment” should also be no stranger to anyone who has followed the unfolding of the pontificate of Pope Francis. It features in many of his writings and, as a Jesuit, has been part of his spiritual, pastoral and theological life for many years. To expect anything else would be fundamentally to misunderstand who Pope Francis is.

Given the way in which many dioceses, and one assumes parishes within those dioceses, are taking the opportunity of the Plenary Council to undertake similar processes in preparation for the council, or alongside it, there will be an increasing need for people to prepare themselves for the primary task of listening.

In a revised and expanded edition of his work, Communal Wisdom, Brian Gallagher draws on his own studies in the practice of individual discernment and his own extensive experience as a facilitator of group discernment. In doing so, he lays before the reader a process of communal discernment that he has developed in collaboration with Sue Richardson, the name of which gives the book its title. To be sure, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach to the task of communal discernment and thus communal decision making. It is, however, a guide that would assist any group — parish, religious community, sub-parish group — to take a more

Listening to the Spirit, and to each other, is at the heart of the Plenary Council and associated processes. Starting with an understanding of the practice outlined in Communal Wisdom would be helpful and beneficial to the success of the tasks that lay before us. Brian Gallagher, Communal Wisdom: A Way of Discernment for a Pilgrim Church, 2nd ed., revised and expanded (Bayswater, VIC: Coventry Press, 2018). ISBN: 978-0-6483601-4-8.

Father Andrew Doohan is the Vicar-General for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

A Syrian staple — baba ghanoush Ramzi Khalouf, a chef from Syria, arrived in Newcastle in May this year with his wife Sanaa, son Jawad and daughter Jule. Mr Khalouf connected with DARA’s Refugee Hub, and met multicultural family support worker, Mirja Colding-Moran. “Mirja is a wonderful person,” he said. “I talked to her about my cooking skills, and she helped me to find a job. I am now working at Talulah Bar in The Junction two days a week. I am very excited about work and I am trying to improve my English through the Australian community.” Mr Khalouf has generously shared his recipe for baba ghanoush, which is a Syrian appetiser, served with flat bread.

Ingredients        

2 large eggplants (about 1 kg) ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 green capsicum, cubed 1 yellow capsicum, cubed 6 tablespoons lemon juice 2 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste 1 teaspoon salt Pinch cayenne pepper

Method 1. Place eggplant on baking sheet, prick and bake in a preheated oven at 230°C for 25 minutes or until skin is browned and inside is soft.

3. Scoop out the pulp, place on a board and chop.

2. Cool, cut in half lengthwise, drain off excess liquid.

5. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and serve with flat bread.

4. Add remainder of ingredients and mix well

Last Word


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