Aurora June 2017

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle June 2017 | No.169

Meet Scone’s inspiring Carrigan family − and friends What’s core Catholicism and what’s cultural Catholicism?

A World Youth Day tragic shares her story



At St Jo seph’s Lochin school var, is wher e the hea rt is

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First Word

On the cover

Responding to needs with loving deeds

The community of St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, supported the family of Harry Hughes whose home burnt down recently. Read more on page 5. Photograph courtesy of Alyssa Faith.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle June 2017 | No.169

Meet Scone’s inspiring Carrigan family − and friends FEATURE

What’s core Catholicism and what’s cultural Catholicism?

A World Youth Day tragic shares her story


At St Jos Y eph’s Lochin school var, is wh the hea ere rt is

Featured  At St Joseph’s, school is where the heart is


 Church dialoguing with the world in a secular age 6  Bringing light to darkness and colour to lives


 A conversation with Sister Libbey: “It’s all of us” 8  Get creative as Australian Catholic Youth Festival approaches!


 Local community responds generously to Project Compassion 2017


 Child labour and slavery – it’s real and it’s big 14  CatholicCare’s serving the Muswellbrook community 17  Telling the stories of sacred spaces


 What’s so special about Special Religious Education? 19  Core Catholicism and Cultural Catholicism

Every so often, there is an opportunity to write a story that just won’t leave you alone − and it’s invariably a good thing. For some time I’ve wanted to meet the Carrigan family of Scone. Following the loss of her son Will to suicide, Pauline Carrigan and her sister Kathy founded “Where there’s a Will”.

“May one of the lovely hours

In Australia, suicide – particularly the suicide of young men – is, tragically, not uncommon.

dinner of the Tenison Woods Education

f f One in four young Australians aged 16-24 years has a mental disorder. f f Suicide is the leading cause of death for males and females aged between 15-44. One person dies from suicide every four hours in Australia.

Of memory return Like a field of ease Among these gravelled days.” On a different note, a significant announcement was made at the annual Centre (TWEC) held in May. The Sisters of St Joseph began the Tenison Woods Education Centre in 1993. Because the Sisters cannot continue forever, they are entrusting the TWEC ministry of adult faith formation and its charism to the diocese to continue to serve the people of this local church.

f f The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, depression will be the leading health burden globally. (

I am one of many members of the diocesan,

“Where there’s a Will” is a local registered charity that’s working hard to promote the skills that equip young people to see beyond their struggles. Please read the Carrigans’ story on page 7. It will distress you – but also give you hope in a situation that could lead to despair.

St Joseph Lochinvar under the auspices of

and indeed Australian, community who has benefited enormously from the generous, creative and joyful ministry of the Sisters of TWEC. May they reap the rich reward their goodness deserves.


In the words of John O’Donohue,



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My Word

Looking back a bit It was a dark and stormy night... And then it seemed to rain for weeks afterwards. June 15, 2011, the night I was ordained and installed as bishop of Maitland-Newcastle, just on six years ago. Anyway, as I said, it was a dark and stormy Wednesday night that just happened also to be a State of Origin night, something for which various family and friends and numerous members of the clergy have never quite forgiven me. For all that, I recall the night with great joy. It was then I discovered that our cathedral at Hamilton really is a fabulous setting for a big enthusiastic celebration and that this diocese can do these things in style. It may be a prejudice of mine, of course, but though I’ve had occasion to attend quite a number of such installations since then, ours here was clearly the best. Of course I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But you may be wondering why I am thinking about this after six years. Surely the significant anniversaries might be the fifth or tenth or twentieth, not the sixth. The fact is, the normal term of appointment for a parish priest is six years, though he may go on for a second term or even longer. But we think in six year cycles. Personally, the last appointment I had that lasted more than six years ended in 1991, and that was a seven-year job. If I last out my full term as bishop here (another ten years) it will be by far my record for stability in one place, ever. That’s why my sixth anniversary seems of significance − to me at least. Anyway, in those rain-drenched weeks of June 2011, I began. On the Friday night I was celebrating Confirmation in one of our larger parishes, trying to

look like it was all second nature to me but actually having a devil of a time with the ‘hat-on, hat-off’ rigmaroles of bishops’ ceremonial. It was weeks before someone pointed out to me that, at the end of Mass, a bishop gives the blessing by making the Sign of the Cross in the air three times, not once. Thirty-four years a priest, and I’d never really noticed that! There was a lot I had to learn. I was fortunate in my teachers. Bishop Malone had in place superb senior staff when I came. It was just as well because the diocese was still struggling financially after taking a pounding in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, but under Bishop Malone’s people the recovery had begun and I have had things relatively easy in that regard. Other things that had been put in place were working well, too, notably our child protection systems and the services we could provide to survivors of abuse through the staff of Zimmerman Services. Everyone knows that this diocese has a lot to answer for in its past failures to protect children or deal properly with abusers, but it was a real tribute to how we do things now to have the Royal Commissioner, Justice McClellan, telling me in the public hearing room that I should make sure that all Australian bishops knew about how Zimmerman Services operates. Again, I thank God and Bishop Malone that these things were in place when I came. It’s a funny thing to be a bishop. Officially my job description is that I am the chief teacher and preacher of the faith here, the chief ‘sanctifier’ or celebrant of the Mass and sacraments, and the ‘shepherd’ of the people and clergy under my care. That, of course, is simply

the priesthood writ large. It is what I felt called to give my life to when I was still a teenager, and still do. But as a bishop these days one is caught up in all ‘the other stuff’. Through its schools, social services, housing schemes, child care and so on, the church is one of the largest employers in the region and, for all legal and civil purposes, the bishop is the head of the church. And so it goes on. Meetings about schools, finances, property, IT systems, training schemes, industrial relations, whatever. Of course there are managers and boards, but in the end the bishop is responsible and has to be kept in the loop. And there’s a helluva lot of loops! Every bishop I know is trying to work out how to discharge his responsibilities in this world while still having time to do something for the Kingdom of God. At this time in church life, it’s a work in progress. So, I look back over six years. In some ways they have passed quickly, but on the other hand, my time at Liverpool seems already long ago. Time is funny that way. I’ve had lots of good times out in our communities, sharing their special occasions and their worship. I’ve had some tough times. Overall, I remain grateful to the people of the diocese for their welcome, friendship and support over these six years. I hope I won’t do too terribly badly in the times ahead.

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Imagine arriving home to find you no longer have a home. Tragically, this happened to Year 10, St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, student, Harry Hughes and his family when their home burnt to the ground recently. In response to the tragedy, the St Joseph’s community banded together to embody the Josephite spirit: “Never see a need without doing something about it.” Within great tragedy, there is often an unseen benefit. On this occasion, the positive aspect included an opportunity for the St Joseph’s staff, students and wider community to come together for a worthwhile cause. The response of the school was truly inspirational. It included

At St Joseph’s, school is where the heart is many fundraising activities including a symbolic “buy a brick” which involved students purchasing a paper brick to help build a future for the family. There were also food and drink stalls, a regular lunch time car wash, a “feeder school of origin” touch football game and a silent disco. The College was able to raise in excess of $7,000 for the cause − and counting. However, something far greater than dollars was achieved. The College community – students and staff, supported by families − recognised the need, and together we did something about it − wholeheartedly! This was evident in the participation, teamwork, voluntary work and most importantly, the selfless actions of the students in the weeks

leading up to and on the day of the Harry Hughes Fundraiser. A short prayer from our principal Paul Greaves, which highlights that often you say more when you say less, best sums up the day: “This generosity and the work of our students, families and staff yesterday in supporting the appeal is our prayer for this week. Sometimes prayer is better expressed in actions than in words. St Joseph, pray for us. St Mary of the Cross, pray for us. Amen.” Michael Eccleston teaches Religion and PDHPE at St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar.

Expanding learning options across the diocese through satellite learning While curriculum delivery for students is typically defined in terms of a teacher and a physical classroom, within the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle learning options have been developed to provide flexible delivery of courses, expanding options for students across the diocese.

student need. In 2015, due to the number of students looking at this option, the Catholic Schools Office saw an opportunity to engage teachers throughout the diocese to offer classes through mix-mode delivery – faceto-face learning and satellite classes. Some courses, especially some of the higher level courses, typically attract a smaller cohort of students in a number of schools. It was apparent that groups of students in three or four schools could readily form a class.

For many years, students have engaged in correspondence courses through a number of external providers to cater for individual

This was also true of specialist areas of tuition offered in centrally located schools but not necessarily in regional schools. In


addition, when course selections are being made in any given year, individual schools may offer courses that do not attract sufficient students to be viable. Again, a diocesan cohort could be formed. In 2015/2016, HSC Music Course 2, specifically designed for advanced music students, was the first of the mixed-mode classes to be offered to cohorts at St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, St Clare’s High School, Taree and St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton, under the direction of a teacher at Hamilton. It proved a great success. In January this year, Year 11 Dance began operating with students from three secondary schools being taught by a teacher from St Catherine’s, Singleton. Course delivery is a combination of online learning, whole class and individual tuition via video conference (VC) and face-to-face instruction. Additional mixed-mode options are currently being prepared for delivery from 2018, including Dance and Music Course 2 (Years 11 and 12), History Extension, Mathematics Extension 2 and English Extension 2 (for the HSC).

Sarah Purnell uses satellite classes to allow students across the diocese to excel in a subject which they love.

Sarah Purnell, teacher at St Catherine’s Catholic College, Singleton, has been teaching Diocesan Distance Education Dance since the start of 2017. An advocate for this mode of learning, Sarah is enthused that her

students are being given the opportunity to choose subjects they are passionate about in the creative arena. “I aim to have three individual lessons with each school (St Catherine’s, All Saints College, St Mary’s Campus, Maitland and St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton) via VC or in class (for St Catherine’s students), one group lesson through VC and a twohour block face-to-face school visit every fortnight,” says Miss Purnell. “I have set up a website with the weekly work and resources so that all work is in one space and students know exactly where to go each week.” The flexible delivery offered through this mode of learning provides students with expanded curriculum options and valuable learning opportunities. Further opportunities across the learning stages will continue to be explored, providing diocesan students with additional options, allowing them to explore their passions and thrive. Gerard Mowbray is Assistant Director, Catholic Schools Office.



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Church dialoguing with the world in a secular age By ANDREW DOOHAN

“Christians see themselves handing on the faith of previous generations to the following generation, and so faithful to it in that way, but always open to what is new. I heard somebody contrasting the lazy tradition that simply repeats what’s said previously to the real tradition that brings the faith to life for a new generation, grasps the very heart of it and hands it on and brings it to life. And that’s what tradition most deeply is. It’s not simply a bland repetition.” 1 So said Rev Dr James McEvoy of Australian Catholic University, speaking to Margaret Coffey on Radio National. James McEvoy is the guest speaker at this year’s Cathedral Lecture on Wednesday 21 June at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. The annual Cathedral Lecture offers the opportunity for engagement between the Church and Society

on contemporary Catholic themes through the opportunity to listen to lecturers of significant standing in Australia and internationally. This year’s title is “Christian Faith in a Secular Age”. There will be no bland repetition! The Cathedral Lecture Series was launched in 2016, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s first resident bishop, James Murray, and the inaugural lecturer was Rev Dr Richard Lennan. James McEvoy lectures in systematic theology and is a priest of the Archdiocese of Adelaide. For almost two decades prior to 2014 he taught at Catholic Theological College and Flinders University’s Department of Theology. His doctoral thesis engaged in the fields of theological and philosophical anthropology, studying the works of Karl Rahner and Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. His current research studies the place of religion in the contemporary West and the church’s understanding of its role and social relationships in that context. He has published

numerous journal articles as well as a book, Leaving Christendom for Good: Church-World Dialogue in a Secular Age (2014). The lecture will begin at 6pm (gathering from 5.30pm) and will be followed by a brief question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served afterwards in the adjoining facilities. RSVPs for catering purposes via www.cathedrallecture2017. would be appreciated. Sacred Heart Cathedral stands at the centre of the life of the diocese, and aims to be a place within the local civic community where Church and Society meet and interact. programs/encounter/theologyand-a-new-generation/4256748 1.



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Jesus was immersed in his society − its promise and its shadows. As Christians in the modern world, that is also our calling, navigating the 21st century path. Let us reflect with others about issues that matter. A series of conversational opportunities across the diocese, considering our questions in the light of the key document of Vatican II: The Church in the Modern World.

Facilitator: Dr James McEvoy 20 - 25 June 2017 Program Tue 20


Raymond Terrace Old Parish Hall

9.30am 12.30pm

Seminar (light meal provided)

Forster Parish Hall, Lake St

5.00pm 8.00pm

Luncheon Conversation

The Junction Pastoral Centre, Farquhar St

12.00pm 2.00pm

Cathedral Lecture

Newcastle West Sacred Heart Cathedral


Thu 22


Morisset Parish Callinan Centre

2.00pm 5.00pm

Fri 23

Seminar (light meal provided)

Kurri Kurri Holy Spirit Primary School

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Sun 25

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Aberdeen Catholic Church, Segenhoe St

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Wed 21

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A $5 donation towards costs is appreciated, with the exception of the Cathedral Lecture which is a free event. This course will go towards FEA (Faith Education Accreditation) for CSO staff. Please get the Course Co-ordinator at the venue to sign your FEA Form.

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Bringing light to darkness and colour to lives “Where there’s a Will” committee members Louisa, Polly, Pauline, Pip, Andrea and Kathy.


Pauline Carrigan describes herself as a farmer’s wife. She is a mother of four, a grandmother of five and a gardener. The common thread here is giving life and love and care – nurturing. Recently Pauline and her husband Hilton have moved from the family property, “Whiterock”, to “Dalmore”, outside Scone in the Upper Hunter. She longs to weed and mulch the garden to prepare for the white roses that will line the path to the front door. Her ability to do this is compromised, however, because she’s on a mission. On Christmas Day, 2015, Pauline and Hilton’s son, Will, committed suicide. Will, 24, was successfully running his own electrical business, he had bought a home, he had a loving partner and he was cherished by his large extended family. There was – and is − no explanation. The Carrigan family paid tribute to Will during his funeral Mass, buried him with love and tried to imagine life without him. Pauline talks easily about her youngest and says that now when she thinks of him, she’s more likely to smile than cry. “Will was fun, he was normal, he was our baby. He was a larrikin, often in ways that made others feel comfortable. He loved sport. He was very special to us and he held a huge position in this family. He could turn his hand to anything. He hated school, although St Greg’s at Campbelltown was good for him − because he could play lots of sport. “I often wish he could see himself through our eyes − maybe that was his struggle? Since Will died, each of us carries a burden.” Pauline’s grief manifested itself in a deep need to research mental health issues and suicide. What she learned propelled her to action, and since Will’s death, she and her sister, Kathy Burns, have co-founded “Where there’s a

Will”, a registered charity that focuses strongly on developing in young people the skills and qualities that promote good mental health. Pauline describes “Where there’s a Will” as “a hub − we’re looking for the best of the best and bringing it here”. It says a great deal about the Carrigans that others who shared their need to do something quickly came on board. Pauline’s sisters, Mary McPhee and Kathy, are deeply committed and Kathy is treasurer. The chair of “Where there’s a Will” is local entrepreneur Jason Brooks. He admits that not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of Will, and as a father of three sons, the issues are very real for him. “If you can find a more inspirational person than Pauline Carrigan, I’d like to meet them. “The fundraising’s been easy because people want to help. I’m really proud of our community and I’m super proud of these guys. I’ve actually seen the change in people – they’re showing more compassion – it’s changed the community for the better. “I’d like to think that so far, we’ve helped a lot of people. We’ve made a difference.” Jason admits that he’s “a bottom line bloke” and it’s hard to measure the bottom line with “Where there’s a Will”. However, over $250,000 have been raised and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence – often gained over shopping trolleys and petrol bowsers – that the organisation has sparked conversations that needed to happen. A significant partnership’s been formed with Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), the vision of which is “To lead and promote the science of wellbeing and positive psychology, enabling all students, schools and communities to flourish.” This partnership highlights the fact that “Where

there’s a Will” aligns with organisations with programs that promote good mental health. Pauline says, “Research tells me that the foundations for young men to suffer mental health problems are laid when they’re around 12-14 years old. This means we absolutely have to get into our primary schools and make sure our teachers are given training to ensure our kids are resilient enough to bounce back from the challenges that they will inevitably face in life.” Most schools in the Upper Hunter have signed on to the Positive Education strategies, including St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen and St Mary’s Primary, Scone; St James’ Primary, Muswellbrook; St Joseph’s Primary, Denman and St Joseph’s Primary, Merriwa.

communications, a key task in spreading the message of “Where there’s a Will”. Pip Baker is the co-ordinator of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and there is funding for 360 participants to undergo a twoday course with Professor Toni Noble of Australian Catholic University. Significantly, Professor Toni and Rose Pennington are researching the success of the Bounce Back! Program in six Upper Hunter schools over three years. Toni and Rose trained over 100 teachers and will continue to assist. Andrea Burns is secretary of “Where there’s a Will”. She describes herself as “the one everyone contacts”. Her superb skills in the kitchen help to fuel a hardworking team!

Previously schools were offering wellbeing programs but with the help of “Where there’s a Will”, they have more funding and the strength of a collaborative school voice.

Daryl Dutton co-ordinates funding and grants and Sarah Carrigan is involved with MHFA. Jane Callinan brings business skills to “Where there’s a Will”.

The logo of “Where there’s a Will” has evolved into a flourishing tree with a rainbow wash, capturing the tagline, “Bringing colour to lives.” A simple exercise that brings this to life occurs regularly at St Mary’s, Scone. The children are invited to choose a colour from a wall that represents how they feel and to explain briefly. They learn that ‘how I feel today is not necessarily how I feel tomorrow – or even this afternoon’. That’s a profound lesson.

There is so much more to say, but Pauline should have the last word.

The committee members who guide the direction of “Where there’s a Will” bring a depth of commitment as well as particular expertise. Louisa Bragg is responsible for branding and marketing and she brought the logo to life. “The tree shows new cycles, laying down roots and continuing to grow. It needed colour and warmth.”

“I’m lucky to have my faith and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I keep busy, and pray; otherwise I’d be in deep trouble. “This work has to be done. I can’t let go of it yet. My children say, ‘Mum, you’ve done enough’ but this work brings positive energy. If I was gardening, I would be crying all the time. I’m doing what I feel called to do.” Please visit http://uhwheretheresawill., and



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Education Feature

A conversation with Sister Libbey: “It’s all of us” By TRACEY EDSTEIN

“I’ve got this passion for helping people make sense of faith and life and link the two together….Often, the people in the pews are the ones who miss out….to reach everybody, you need to be in the parish.” This statement by Sr Libbey Byrne captures a central tenet of her ministry as Parish Leader at Myall Coast Catholic Parish. The parish encompasses St Brigid’s, Bulahdelah; Our Lady of the Rosary, Karuah and St Stephen’s, Tea Gardens. While her home is at Tea Gardens, Libbey has pastoral responsibility for the communities that gather around each of the three churches, often participating in clergy gatherings along with other lay leaders. It’s nothing for Libbey to clock up 1000 kilometres in a week! As a Sister of Charity for 35 years, her focus is service of the poor. She quotes founder Mary Aikenhead, whose mission was, ‘To bring to each person the love, tenderness and concern of Christ for the poor, seeing Christ in everyone we serve.’ This begs the question the Sisters are always asking: ‘Where are the poor now? What does ‘poor’ mean?’ Libbey grew up in Sydney, educated by the Sisters of St Joseph and the Sisters of Charity. Her mother had been raised in Newcastle so the Hunter region is familiar to her. She taught in Catholic secondary schools before joining the congregation. The Sisters were the first women religious in Australia, arriving in 1838 and ministering initially to convicts in ‘female factories’ in Parramatta and Hobart. This led to teaching the children of convicts and later,

establishing medical services that were the foundation of St Vincent’s Hospitals, now under the banner of Mary Aikenhead Ministries which the congregation set up to continue the governance of its ministries in perpetuity under lay leadership.

The parish calendar is an indication of the variety of activities on offer, ranging from Anointing Masses and St Vincent de Paul Conference meetings to community initiatives such as Women’s Shed, Wrap with Love, men’s discussion group and Yummies 4 Mummies.

Now there are different needs – including parish ministry and adult faith formation, particularly in isolated areas. Having studied theology and worked in Special Religious Education, sacramental formation and congregational leadership, as well as completing a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality at Boston College, Libbey is well qualified to walk with people and offer opportunities to grow in faith, understanding and community. She brings with her ministry experience in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Dioceses of Wollongong, Parramatta and Broken Bay. While Libbey has administrative responsibility for the parish, her pastoral focus is caring for those whom she frequently calls “my people”.

When families choose a funeral liturgy outside Mass, Libbey leads the community in prayer. She recalls a recent early morning request to visit a home where a woman had passed away during the night. She regards the time spent with the family members before their loved one left the home for the last time as an enormous privilege.

Libbey works with others to prepare the parish liturgies and the communities are served by sacramental ministers, Fathers Kevin Kiem and Phil Doyle cssp of Raymond Terrace, as well as occasional visiting priests. For the recent Triduum (Easter liturgy) she ensured that members of each Mass community were prepared for ministry and that all was in readiness. While the Eucharistic liturgy is the domain of the ordained minister, there are other liturgies, including those at local aged care facilities, some ecumenical, all of which need to be prepared and co-ordinated.

Like all parish communities, the Myall Coast Parish has had to grapple with the reality of sexual abuse by some clergy and church personnel and the revelations of the Royal Commission. One way Libbey sought to support her people was by offering a Liturgy of Lament during Lent. As she says, “We all have to sit in the ashes and we have to do it collectively. People are expected to ‘get on with it’ and often they’re not asked how they’re feeling. It’s very hard for the priests and we need to ask them how they are − and it’s all of us, and we need to support each other as the People of God.” Another initiative is what parishioners call ‘Conversations with Sister Libbey’. Participants sit at tables, café style, and an icebreaker question leads to easy chat. A popular starter was ‘What is your favourite hymn?’ (singing a few bars was optional). Libbey provides some input on a topic such as ‘Formation of conscience’ or ‘Morality’ and there is opportunity for questions and, of course, spirited conversation.

from Kurri Kurri to Tea Gardens. Cathie is committed to the parish community and says, “We are very fortunate to have the strong leadership skills of Sr Libbey, who displays a genuine feeling of community. Sr Libbey is not only committed in ministering pastoral care in a kind and caring manner but also demonstrates a passion to provide opportunities which help encourage continued faith development. No doubt working within three parish communities can be at times a heavy workload but Sr Libbey does this with dedication.” Like all parish leaders, Libbey’s ministry is guided by the five pillars of the diocese: Mission & Outreach, Formation & Education, Worship & Prayer, Leadership & Structure, Identity & Community. The scope of her ministry is limitless – but then again, she’s not doing it all by herself, she’s leading her people. She says, “You’re an enabler, not the be all and end all. You need to be empowering other people.” There is a parish pastoral council and a team attached to each Mass centre. Like her predecessor, Sr Margaret Valentine rsc, Libbey is passionate about using her God-given gifts to strengthen and encourage the People of God on the Myall Coast to live lives infused by faith and enriched by belonging to a faith community. The church that many knew as younger people is different − smaller, hopefully humbler − but always, God’s pilgrim people. Leaders like Sister Libbey Byrne are effective because not only do they have the gifts of leadership, but they are always looking beyond themselves and beyond tomorrow. They know the words of the prophet Habakkuk:

On a lighter note, old-fashioned movie evenings are popular. A thought-provoking film is accompanied by sandwiches and sausage rolls, and afterwards, there are Jaffas and Fantales!

Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets so that one can read it readily.

Cathie Henry and her husband Robert are relative newcomers, choosing a sea change

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;



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Being mindful, thinking mindfully Q By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist

CatholicCare’s Manager of Counselling and Clinical Services, registered psychologist Tanya Russell, addresses an issue each month. The advice provided is general in nature and does not replace ongoing support and advice from your health professional. To talk to someone about counselling support, P 4979 1172. Call Lifeline 24/7 on 131 114.

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


I have friends who highly recommend mindfulness meditation as they say it quietens their minds and has done wonders for their worrying thoughts and mental health. However, I am not one for meditation and would like some ideas of how to incorporate mindfulness and mindful thinking into my everyday life. What do you suggest? Every moment of every day presents as an opportunity to think mindfully and live mindfully. However, as humans, we tend to spend a lot of time lost in our thoughts (especially negative thoughts) and unfortunately, this way of thinking can contribute to worry, as well as depression and anxiety. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”. Although meditation may not be for you, mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve mental health and general wellbeing. If you later consider adding mindfulness meditation to your daily life, there are many apps you can download to your phone to start some simple mindfulness activities such as the Headspace app (see for more information). So, keeping in mind the principles of mindfulness stated by Jon Kabat-Zinn, here are some tips to incorporate mindful thinking and mindful being in your day to day life: ff Practise mindfulness during routine activities – instead of completing activities like washing

the dishes, eating breakfast, having a shower or mopping the floor on autopilot mode, put all your focus and your senses on the task; in particular, the sight, sound, smell, texture. Deliberately think about these aspects of your task. ff Feel your feelings – it’s okay to not feel good all the time. Whatever emotion comes up for you, acknowledge it, name it and accept it. Tell yourself “it is what it is” and try one of the other strategies to help you manage emotional challenges when they arise. ff Go outside – spending times outdoors in nature can relieve stress and improve energy levels, memory and attention. Which part of nature appeals to you the most? Being by the beach, river, forest, a beautiful garden? Pick one, and truly take in your surroundings using all your senses. It’s okay if your mind wanders – this is natural. Let your mind go where it wants to, but bring it back to what is in front of you. ff Go for a walk – some of us use walking time to clear our heads or solve problems. If this is your intention, that is ok, but you might be

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missing a mindful opportunity. When you go for a walk, just walk; and try to think about the present moment, the ground under your feet, the houses you walk past, the plants you see, the animals you hear etc. ff Create a healthy relationship with your mobile phone – when you are in the company of others, keep your phone in your bag – unless there is an important reason not to do so. Do not get distracted by Facebook or the internet when you are with friends. Otherwise you are missing the point of just being with friends. Focus on the present moment and the experience of conversation. By practising daily mindful habits, you are training your brain to be more open, flexible and non-judgemental. It is impossible to be mindful and in the moment 100% of your day, and this would not help us achieve our goals. We do actually need a little stress in our lives to move us into action.






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Catholic Church Insurance Limited (CCI) ABN 76 000 005 210, AFS Licence No. 235415 is the promoter of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited (Allianz) ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. Travel insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631 trading as Allianz Global Assistance as agent of Allianz. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before deciding please refer to the Financial Services Guide and relevant Product Disclosure Statement for more information available by calling 1300 655 003; or online from *Competition runs from 01/05/17 – 30/06/17. Prize is drawn on 04/07/2017 at Level 8, 485 La Trobe Street, Melbourne. Winner’s name published in The Australian on 11/07/2017. Authorised under NSW Permit No: LTPS/17/12977. Promotion terms and conditions available at

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One by One

“I finally get this God stuff!” As the Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2017 approaches, launching the Year of Youth, Aurora invited ACYF/WYD veteran and Religious Education Co-ordinator at St Patrick’s Primary, Lochinvar, Maryanne Hacker, to share something of her story.


I am the fourth of six children. Growing up in East Maitland, our Catholic faith was a very central part of our lives. We attended church weekly and would often pray as a family. Our family hosted a weekly rosary prayer group which we always participated in, though sometimes reluctantly! I became quite involved in various ministries (potentially as a way of keeping myself occupied more than from any great calling!) and was always looking for something more to do. My parish priest at the time, Fr Geoff Mulhearn, was very supportive and encouraged me to become involved in a number of initiatives. This support, from Fr Geoff and others, was vital in keeping me involved. I felt isolated in many ways at school as practising your faith was definitely not the norm.

When I was in Year 10 Fr Geoff approached me about attending World Youth Day (WYD) which was being held in Paris. While I had never heard of WYD, as a 15 year-old the idea of travelling to Italy and France was very appealing. Little did I know that WYD would be such a transformative experience! Before WYD my faith was my family’s faith. After WYD, I had a faith that was mine. It was certainly built on the wonderful example I had from my parents and grandparents, but now I had experienced the joy of celebrating my faith and developing a real relationship and connection with Jesus. My grandmother was a talented and committed primary teacher and her love of teaching, combined with the opportunities I had to lead girls through my involvement in Guides Australia, was what inspired me to want to teach. When I finished my degree I was lucky enough to gain a position in a Christian school. It was here I began to realise how important it was to me to have the opportunity to share my Catholic faith. In a Christian school there were plenty of opportunities for me to share my faith, but I always felt that there was something missing and that I could share more. So I pursued roles in Catholic education.

There are far more opportunities available for young people today − it’s almost a case of being spoilt for choice. I think that’s why our ways of connecting with young people need to change. Once, a pizza and movie night fulfilled people’s need to be connected. Now there are so many more ways to be connected, we need to be more creative about how we present our point of difference as church. I also think you can’t discount the impact of the sexual abuse crisis and the Royal Commission on young people − although there is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to be proactive in safeguarding those who are vulnerable. My involvement in diocesan youth ministry began when I returned from WYD with a passion for my faith and a need to share it with others. I became a representative on the diocesan Youth Commission and I’ve been involved, one way or another, ever since! I worked part time as the Diocesan Youth Ministry Co-ordinator in my final years of university. Not long after having my first child I was appointed to the Australian Catholic Youth Council, on which I served for six years. After spending 12 months in Brisbane I returned to the diocese at the beginning of 2012 and was invited to join a group of young people who had returned from WYD Madrid with a passion for diocesan youth ministry. We worked together to reignite a diocesan approach, leading to the establishment of the Diocesan Council for Ministry with Young People (DCMYP). Being privileged to share people’s moments of transformation is a huge highlight. At the ACYF in Adelaide a student from my school turned to me and said with such a joyous look on her face, “I finally get this God stuff!” Moments like those make the time and effort worth it. At the same time, it’s almost impossible to explain the ‘mountain top’ experiences that are WYD and ACYF. They give young people a chance to live their faith in a vibrant, energetic way that makes it real. There is something for everyone and you would be hard pressed to come home not having connected in some way.


Young people considering going to ACYF in Sydney this year can expect to step outside their comfort zones and explore new horizons! ACYF is a chance to explore, ask questions and experience what being a part of our Church can be. I’ve taken away so many things from WYDs and ACYF − friendships, a sense of community, challenging teaching and engaging worship. One of the most significant would be the sense you are part of something bigger than you can imagine − and that has challenged me to be something more than I think I can be. The best way for parishes and families to support young people is firstly to encourage them to go! Plant the seed and encourage it to grow. Secondly, financial support is always needed. People ask if I would like my husband Andrew and my boys, Dominic and Liam, to come to WYD with me sometime. Maybe, when the boys are old enough − but maybe they wouldn’t want their Mum hanging around! I’m involved to ensure that my children and others have the opportunity to connect with their faith the same way other people gave me the opportunity to connect with mine. I’m looking forward to the Year of Youth next year because it’s a chance for everyone in our community to revisit the impact we can have on each other. Young people are the future of the Church but also a vital part of the Church of the present. In some ways there is an ‘us and them’ mentality in the Church. In Pope Francis’ message for WYD 2017 he talked about how “extraordinarily enriching the encounter between the young and the elderly can be”. He said that young people’s hearts are full of great dreams and that they want to ‘soar’ but to do so effectively, they need the wisdom and the vision of those who are older. “…to build a meaningful future, you need to know and appreciate the past. Young people have strength, while the elderly have memory and wisdom.”



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Get creative as Australian Catholic Youth Festival approaches! By BROOKE ROBINSON

For thousands of years, faith has been expressed in myriad ways, including through various forms of art. Art allows faith to be expressed uniquely in ways that words may not be able to achieve.

will also vote for their favourite art work and film with a People’s Choice prize of $400 on offer. The closing date for entries is 16 October. Now is the time to get creative!

If you are a young person between Year 9 and age 30, there is an opportunity to create an artwork or short film to be shown at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Sydney in December. These competitions are a way to use God-given talent to inspire others. Those who see your artwork or film may want to know more, or deepen their faith because they see the joy your faith gives you.

Malcolm Hart, Director of the Office for Youth, Archdiocese of Sydney, said, "These artistic and creative elements of the festival are a unique opportunity to showcase and celebrate the many gifts and talents of young people.

Entries will be curated into an exhibition which will be shown at Sydney Olympic Park for the duration of the Festival, 7-9 December 2017. A short three-minute film or artwork must reflect the Festival’s theme, “Open new horizons for spreading joy: young people, faith and vocational discernment”. A completed body of artwork must not exceed one square metre in area for two-dimensional works and one cubic metre in volume for three-dimensional works. Short films can be no longer than three minutes. First prize for each of the competitions is $500 and the second prize is $300. Participants at the Festival

“I encourage every parish, school and community in Australia to invite and encourage their young people to participate and to grab hold of this opportunity by exploring and sharing their faith through film making and artistic creations. A personal encouragement can be just the spark needed for a young person to seize an opportunity, so spread the word in your local school, parish or youth ministry team." Whom can you encourage to apply? Further competition details are available at Festival registrations are now open at




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Local community responds generously to Project Compassion 2017 By DANIEL NOUR

Caritas Australia, the international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church in Australia, has just run its annual fundraising appeal, Project Compassion, in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. The Lenten fundraising appeal seeks to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity all over the world and this year took as its theme, “Love your Neighbour.” Already, the diocese has contributed over $75,000 to Project Compassion. Project Compassion was launched locally on 28 February by Bishop Bill Wright, who commissioned parish and school community members to take up Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion with love, compassion and generosity. Patricia Banister, Team Member with Caritas

Australia for Maitland-Newcastle, noted the powerful community response this year’s campaign generated, and the enthusiasm and passion shown by students, teachers and parishioners.

cultural beliefs,” Patricia said. For Aloma in the Philippines, Caritas Australia has been an empowering force, enabling her to take a leadership role in environmental conservation − an initiative which is crucial to her entire community.

“The Caritas Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle thanks the parish and school communities for their generous support to Caritas Australia,” Patricia said.

In 2009, when a major typhoon raged, Aloma and her small children cowered while their home fell to shreds around them.

Patricia also explained that investing in the existing skills and assets of communities, rather than emphasising what they might lack, is what makes Caritas Australia’s approach to development unique.

“My kids were traumatised with that experience, as well as me. We were lucky to survive,” Aloma said. But through training from Caritas Australia’s partners, Aloma has prepared her community for new high risk scenarios. She’s encouraging villagers to practise disaster risk management and to value the natural environment.

“The development programs of Caritas Australia always promote and build on the existing skills and resources of people to help them improve access to food, clean water, education, healthcare and income, regardless of their religious, political or

“The greatest change in my life was to realise that the environment is very important,

because we grow up cutting down all the trees around us, including the mangroves…and use [them] for firewood,” Aloma said. “Now, instead, we are planting the mangroves for our own protection. It is important to protect the environment. This will protect us, because we are in a coastal area, from a tsunami or eventual flooding.” It’s not too late to help people like Aloma who are facing challenges all over the world. Caritas Australia is working with marginalised and disadvantaged people in 29 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific and with Australia’s First Peoples. Daniel Nour is Content Specialist, Caritas Australia. Please visit www. to make a donation today.

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Family Matters

To address bullying, everyone has to be involved


School bullying is an issue of significant concern to parents, schools and young people themselves. Bullying occurs when a student or group of students targets an individual aggressively and repeatedly with the intention of causing harm, and the individual is unable to defend him/herself or stop the bullying (Hemphill, Heerde, & Gomo, 2014). Bullying behaviour can take various forms, including physical aggression (hitting, pushing), verbal teasing, damage to possessions, rumour-spreading, social exclusion and ‘cyberbullying’. Cyberbullying is a particularly damaging form of bullying that occurs when an individual or group uses information and communication technologies to victimise others, such as by sending nasty or threatening messages via the internet or mobile phones, sharing others’ images or messages without permission, deliberately excluding others online and impersonating others to hurt or embarrass them. While the prevalence of bullying varies internationally, around a quarter of young people are thought to be actively engaged in bullying others, are themselves victimised, or both (Juvonen & Graham, 2014). Some young people are targeted very frequently; in Australia, a national study revealed that 1 in 4 school students (in Years 4-9) reports being victimised every few weeks or more often (Cross et al, 2009). Nine per cent reported bullying others frequently and four per cent reported both being bullied and bullying others. Hurtful teasing is

particularly common among this age group. The study also indicated that bullying tends to peak in times of school transition (eg transition to secondary school) and the experience of cyberbullying is more likely in secondary school. Approximately 7 per cent of students aged 8-14 years report being frequently cyberbullied (every few weeks or more often) and 3.5 per cent of Australian students report frequently cyberbullying others (every few weeks or more often) (Cross et al, 2009). Those who are victimised by bullying behaviours are at increased risk of a range of negative emotional, social, academic and psychosomatic outcomes, including increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, increased loneliness, poorer academic engagement and achievement and poorer physical health (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013; Hase, Goldberg, Smith, Stuck, & Campain, 2015; Hemphill et al, 2011; Hinduja & Patchin, 2010; Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Smokowski, Evans, & Cotter, 2014; Sourander et al., 2010). These consequences can affect health and wellbeing on a long-term basis, and bullying is harmful both for those who are targeted and those who bully others (Ttofi, Farrington, Lösel & Loeber, 2011; Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013).

Dealing with bullying Children and adolescents are often reluctant to report bullying experiences to their parents or teachers, for fear that adults will make the situation worse (Cross et al, 2009). Young people should therefore be encouraged to tell a parent, teacher or trusted adult and ask for their help to resolve bullying experiences. Adults should be careful not to overreact, but instead work with the young person and the school to resolve the situation. Retaliating or bullying in return may make the situation worse and is harmful for both the person who is bullying and the person who has been bullied. One of the most effective ways to stop bullying behaviours is when peer groups make it clear that bullying is not acceptable. Those who witness bullying can play a positive or negative role in the situation – doing nothing may allow the person bullying to think this behaviour is acceptable. Peer bystanders should be encouraged to intervene, stand up for the person being bullied or tell a teacher or adult what happened. There are many websites that can offer more help and advice to those who experience bullying and cyberbullying, as well as their teachers and families, including https:// and There are also free and confidential helplines that can be called or accessed online, such as Kids Helpline (https://

School bullying prevention The most effective interventions to reduce harms associated with school bullying have typically involved multi-level strategies, targeting all members of the school community including students, their parents and families, teachers and other school staff (Ttofi & Farrington, 2009; Vreeman & Carroll, 2007). These interventions develop a school ethos that discourages bullying through school practices and policies, the school curriculum, professional development for staff, involvement of families and improving school physical and social environments. For example, the Friendly Schools Plus program ( was developed by Australian researchers to be used in Australian primary and secondary schools. The program involves information and activities that can be used by the whole school environment, including students, teachers and parents. The program has been adopted by thousands of schools throughout Australia and internationally.

Donna Cross is the Winthrop Professor, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia. Please visit For full references, please contact the editor.



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Opinion A Jogini girl during the ceremony of dedication

Child labour and slavery – it’s real and it’s big


World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12 June. Child labour is often defined as work that denies children their childhood, their dignity and their potential, and that is damaging to mental and physical development. Child labour comes in many forms and includes work that is physically, mentally, socially or morally dangerous and/ or harmful to children. Child labour also includes work that interferes with a child’s schooling, either by requiring attendance at school to be combined with excessively heavy and long work, forcing a child to leave school prematurely or depriving a child of the opportunity to attend school in the first place. Extreme forms of child labour can include children being enslaved, the sale and trafficking of children and debt bondage and compulsory labour, which can lead to the children being separated from their families and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets. Child labour violates human rights. There are over 14 million people in modern slavery in India, which is equivalent to 40% of the world’s slaves. Of those trapped in slavery, approximately 9 out of 10 are Dalits. Dalits are a group of people who fall below the caste system and are considered ‘untouchable’. The word ‘Dalit’ literally means ‘crushed, oppressed or broken’, a name they have taken upon themselves as they feel it epitomises their reality. Even though Dalits gained equal status under the law over 60 years ago, there has been little change in their daily lives. They face systemic discrimination and exploitation, and restricted or no access to healthcare, education and justice. Many live in extreme poverty. There are an estimated 10.1 million children working in India, with the majority of those being Dalit children. More than half 14

are employed in the agriculture sector in areas such as cotton and tea growing, and a quarter in manufacturing. Other occupations which engage child labour include construction work, domestic work, mining and stone quarrying and small-scale industries such as bangle-making, cigaretterolling and matchbox and lock-making. These industries often use toxic substances and metals, exposing children to myriad health issues. One particular atrocity within modern slavery is the Jogini system where girls as young as five are dedicated to a temple goddess. The practice is illegal but not uncommon. Once the girl reaches puberty she becomes the ‘property of the village’ to be used sexually by any man, anytime, anywhere. This religiously sanctioned sexual slavery creates a life for a Jogini that is almost unimaginable. Sexually transmitted diseases are common, mental health issues are rampant and dignity is shattered. Daughters of a Jogini have little option than to become a Jogini themselves. Shockingly, it is estimated that more than 80,000 girls and women are Joginis in India. Many factors contribute to child labour including poverty, lack of access to education and skills training, illiteracy of parents, lack of awareness of the negative effects of child labour, the family’s social and economic circumstances, family indebtedness, high levels of adult unemployment and the cultural values of the family and community. Children are valuable employees as they are cheap, unaware of their rights and unlikely to refuse their employer’s demands. One quarter of children in the workforce suffer injuries or illnesses while working. This may be because unskilled and labourintensive jobs are often more hazardous but also due to a lack of training and supervision,

as well as a lack of experience. Povertyrelated health problems, such as fatigue, malnutrition and anaemia, further increase the risk of work-related hazards. What can we do to change the huge number of children involved in child labour? While there is no single strategy that will eliminate child labour, areas needing to be addressed include enforcement of anti-child labour laws, reducing poverty and increasing the awareness of the atrocities occurring. There needs to be co-ordinated action between governments, communities, NGOs, media and the wider society.

Education is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against slavery and child labour.

One key action in preventing child labour is accessible and affordable education. If children are engaged with their schooling, they are less likely to have time to participate in menial jobs. Education gives children the practical skills they need to help themselves out of poverty and exploitation and is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against slavery and child labour. Kala’s story shows how lives can be transformed through education, advocacy and support. Kala’s parents were Dalits and they worked as manual scavengers, cleaning sewers by hand. Her parents were desperate to earn favour with their god to improve their situation as societal outcasts, so when

villagers approached her parents when she was six years old about dedicating her as a Jogini, they agreed. Thankfully for Kala, a social worker from the Dalit Freedom Network’s Anti Trafficking Unit heard about the upcoming dedication and along with several activists in the village, including some former Joginis, pleaded with Kala’s parents. Her parents stopped the dedication and agreed to send Kala to a place where she could be safe. Kala now lives in the Pratigya Shelter Home for Girls and attends a Good Shepherd School, both run with assistance from the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN). Kala dreams of becoming a teacher, getting married and having a family. What a different life she now leads! The DFN Australia works through Good Shepherd Ministries. They offer hope and dignity to Dalit communities through education, healthcare, economic empowerment and preventing or freeing people trapped in slavery. Currently DFN’s work involves over 3,000 national staff and 107 schools throughout India, providing over 26,000 Dalit children education with a Christian worldview and access to healthcare. In some areas of India, up to 4 in 10 of their students would likely be in modern slavery if they were not being educated. What a joy it is to bring change and hope to the future generations! For more information about the Dalit Freedom Network Australia, please visit



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Faith Matters

The Uniting Church – an ongoing experiment!

Happy members of Adamstown Uniting Church! Rev Rod Pattenden is at centre back. Photograph courtesy of Kaz Thorpe.

By ROD PATTENDEN From the outside, the Uniting Church in Australia must look like a confusion! No bishops, no cathedrals, sometimes no agreements and an endless supply of committees, conversations and diverse opinions to pepper the journey. On 22 June this year the Uniting Church will have reached the ripe old age of 40 years. An amalgam of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches, it has been evolving since 1977, trying to work out how to be a church in Australia that is relevant to contemporary society. One of its features is that it is a conciliar church and that means lots of committees and discussions and a real commitment to listening to diverse points of view and allowing leadership to occur at local and regional levels, rather than from the top down. This means that the Uniting Church looks different depending on where you encounter it. In the Hunter region there is a strong sense of community engagement, working with needs in the local community as well as the larger issues of social justice. The person currently with a role closest to that of bishop is the Rev Stephen de Plater, Chairperson of the Hunter Presbytery. He fulfils this role while also ministering in the Raymond Terrace region. He says, “I enjoy the openness and commitment to diversity of the Uniting Church. I see it as an expression of the whole of the Gospel, which also includes the implications for our lives within society as we seek justice for all.”

Adamstown Uniting Church, where I work, would be one example of this diversity and listening to local context. Here there is a focus on arts, justice and community engagement and every week the church variously becomes a concert venue, gallery, studio space or children’s activity centre. Local performers use this as a venue to explore their talents and the church uses that connection to highlight issues of social concern. This has resulted in art exhibitions that have explored refugee concerns, justice in the Gaza strip for Palestinian populations as well as Aboriginal identity. A project being developed is an art exhibition exploring community responses to climate change that will fill the interior of the church as a total art environment. This emphasis on activities such as music and art interests people who want to know what it is to be human and to thrive in creative ways in their community. Nearby at Merewether Uniting Church, Rev Jennifer Burns is busy opening up the doors of this church to the wider community. Each Tuesday at 6pm the Merewether Community Kitchen is providing food to members of the community who are doing it tough. Each week at least 120 people gather. Some who are volunteers peel the potatoes and cook a great meal, while others come for the company and delicious menu! There are few distinctions around a table of food with plenty to share. During the day the All Sorts group meets, an opportunity for people who are challenged by mobility issues. Each Tuesday between

10am and 2pm there are social activities, entertainment, physical exercise, food and a monthly art group which is producing stunningly creative results! Jennifer says, “People should have the opportunity to be involved in all of life.” Her aim is to offer that opportunity at church services on Sunday as well as with food around a table mid-week. Ordaining women to the ministry is one of the distinctive features of the Uniting Church. In fact the first ordination of a woman in the Congregational Church occurred in Adelaide in 1928. Rev Jennifer, who has been at Merewether for four years, is one of a number of women in the region who lead local churches. She says of her role, “Women bring a certain gentleness and openness. My focus is on helping to build a more inclusive community, to break open narrow expectations based on gender or social role and to look for direction to come from outside the community that gathers on a Sunday.” Her energy and openness have certainly had an effect on the life of this church, making it a valued part of the wider community. One of the major public faces of the Uniting Church is the organisation known as UNITING, which brings together community programs in aged care, welfare, children’s services and justice advocacy. In the Hunter region a number of aged care facilities offer various levels of care to the elderly, as well as a number of pre-schools and long day care centres. UNITING is the largest welfare organisation of its kind in Australia

and local services are found in all states and territories. Being a ‘uniting’ church, there is also a strong interest in ecumenical relations and the Church will often work with other denominations on issues of common concern. In the Hunter there is a longstanding collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle on issues of social concern and justice. The Uniting Church is in an ongoing state of development, inspired by the traditions of the past while responding to the needs of today. To grasp this process of change there is a real search to understand the words of Jesus and the experience of the early church in a manner that helps us find where the Spirit might be working among us today. There is a strong reliance on the biblical tradition and preaching and study are highly valued. There is also a strong tradition of social concern that goes back to the role the church developed in local mining and rural communities and the beginnings of the union movement in the Hunter Valley. So from afar, the Uniting Church might look confusing due to its wide variety. For those involved, however, it is a place where change is embraced. For insiders, this brings a necessary grief as we see our traditions re-assessed, but it also brings a certain level of hope as everyone has access to creating the future. This would be a particular mark of our faith, that we see the future as resting with God. Rev Dr Rod Pattenden is minister of the Adamstown Uniting Church.

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Seasons of Mercy

Enjoy the joy of play By SUZANNE ROMANI

Was there a time recently when you stopped to watch a group of children at play, heard their laughter and shouts of sheer joy as they ran around a park or playground, then giggling, grouping in twos and threes, began to tell one another pretend stories, tales of grand adventures they’d imagined? Did you marvel at the ease of “suddenness” as one by one they’d stop, wander off, maybe flop on grass, stare at the sky then drift off into a world of their own, a world of complete stillness? This was childhood, a time without “shoulds” and “oughts”, a time of total unselfconsciousness, a time when we whooped and fooled around, unashamedly, doing that thing called “fun”, completely absorbed in the game of play. As you watched, did you envy their freedom and wish you could travel back in time to enjoy again the looseness, the inventiveness, the free expression of those early days? The good news is, you can! It’s all possible via the medium of InterPlay. And there is an active group in Newcastle! There have been two play sessions recently – each tailored to suit both newcomers and slightly seasoned players – gatherings designed to dip a sedate toe into the possibility of a couple of hours of wholesome guilt-free pleasure. The theme for the April play afternoon was “Saying Yes, Saying No”; necessary skills that can always do with a ‘makeover’ from time to time. With vocalist/teacher Trish Watts we learned that saying “no” opens up and widens 16

the spaces in our lives, enabling us to say “yes”.

to describe.

During the day-long gathering in May we explored the ‘deeper secrets’ of InterPlay along with Trish and artist/improviser/storyteller Rod Pattenden.

It could begin with a warm-up of gentle body movement, legs and arms, a shaking out of any leftover tensions, letting out loud sighs, walking slowly, increasing speed, slowing down, stopping, breaking into pairs with each taking turns with an “I could tell you about…” for thirty seconds, followed by a “This is what I noticed about…”. Then with another partner, a gentle “hand dance”, then perhaps joining with another pair, using our bodies to make shapes around one another within a background of soft slow music, ever taking advantage of “stillness”, staying in that body shape for a period, then moving at will into another shape.

I was blessed about ten years ago when a friend introduced me to InterPlay. It was an instant love at first laugh. And no, I don’t roll about on the floor nor chase other players around the room. Instead I listen to my arthritic knees and dodgy back and allow my body to guide me to do whatever suits on that particular day. I let the wisdom of stillness, of stopping and gazing into nothingness, direct me. I allow as many voices and stories that I choose to surface and even, as a well-known nonsinger, I have actually opened my mouth to sing, surprisingly and spontaneously. Intriguing as the simplicity and magic of InterPlay appeared at first glance, I’d always had a curious suspicion that there was more to it, that there could be greater depths to explore resting somewhere beneath that façade of fun. Last January I was ready to delve into the deeper mysteries, exploring the wisdom of Interplay during a three day ‘Untensive’ in Adelaide. With international leaders, Phil Porter and Agnotti Cowie, I learned the down-to-earth philosophy behind this form of “play”. It’s an integration of body, mind and spirit using voice, movement, story telling and stillness interwoven with the challenge of creativity. The group was large, around sixty men and women of all ages, including three from the Newcastle play-group. Many had travelled from other states to take advantage of this annual event. InterPlay is largely experiential, a little difficult

The theme for this year’s Summer Play was “Art and social change” and through play we explored facets of social justice and hopefully found creative ways to inspire “change in our day to day world, for the better”. I flew home with a suitcase jam-packed with highlights. One delight was being part of a group of five slowly moving to make shapes around Maggie, a woman with the face of an angel, who chose to care for her body by sitting in a cushioned chair throughout the Untensive. Fellow Newcastle play-mate, Hamish McKenzie, found his bliss in the freedom of walking at his own pace among a group of comparative strangers, stopping whenever he wanted, leaning on someone nearby, then walking on again, if and when he felt like it. However, I guess the most memorable for me was witnessing the potential for healing through the art of story-telling as experienced Adelaide InterPlayer Sappho, carrying a large and heavy

through play we explored facets of social justice and hopefully found creative ways to inspire “change in our day to day world, for the better”.

handbag cradling her tiny black Chihuahuacross, told us in words and action how ‘Tashi’ had arrived on her doorstep, limp, lifeless, unwanted, a victim of domestic violence. As we watched, Sappho, speaking quietly, walked slowly up and down, using her whole body to describe her every emotion in vivid detail. Some distance behind, a group of fifteen players, dressed in black, supported her by quietly humming and miming her every gesture. The simplicity, yet overwhelming power, of InterPlay continues to amaze. Often during the day, I slip into the now-learned ease of ‘BIBO’ (as in Breathing In – Breathing Out’) to clear my mind before moving toward the next task. Or sometimes I consider the possibility of using specific play structures as a means of tidying up lingering problems from the past. But usually on play afternoons, I choose to do nothing other than skim across the surface, enjoy the joy of play and leave feeling decades younger.



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CatholicCare’s serving the Muswellbrook community


CatholicCare Social Services HunterManning opened the doors of its new office in Muswellbrook on Monday 5 June. It is our intention to work in the local community with local community members to ensure we provide services that best meet the needs of the people in the Upper Hunter. As we consider our mission to build a stronger, fairer and kinder society that values children, young people and families, it is evident to us that one of the best ways we can do that for the Upper Hunter community is to provide programs and services that address vulnerabilities each of us faces in daily life. It is our hope that CatholicCare will be seen as a place that not only provides therapeutic interventions or delivers parenting courses or provides care and protection to children in out of home care. Ideally it also becomes a meeting place for like-minded people, be they mothers of toddlers who come together to support each other at a playgroup, men dealing with issues of job loss and uncertainty who need support from other men or young people struggling with identity and sense of self who just need a safe place to sit and have a confidential conversation. Becoming members of the Upper Hunter community brings with it a level of responsibility to ensure that we don’t impose ourselves on the community. Rather, we integrate into the

community over time in a considered and respectful manner. This means we need to ensure we connect with local people, communicate what we can offer, contribute positively and collaborate wherever possible. As part of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, we look forward to building strong links with the local parishes and local Catholic schools in the Upper Hunter to ensure children, young people and families are well supported. Likewise, it is our intention to develop relationships with other schools, community groups and government and non-government agencies and offer services that complement the social services already offered in the Upper Hunter. Our office is located at 2 Francis Street, Muswellbrook. We offer a range of services including counselling with registered psychologists, autism and cognitive assessments, parenting programs, foster care and disability programs as a registered NDIS provider. Welcome! Please come in and say hello, meet our team and help us understand the needs of the local community so we can tailor our services and programs to meet those needs. Gary Christensen is Acting Director, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Please visit


hey smile, they heal, they teach, they comfort. Around the globe Catholic religious sisters quietly perform their dedicated and heroic service without remuneration and barely even noticed by the wider world. But in order to assist others, they themselves also need to be helped, for although they minister to so many, they themselves still need their daily bread and a roof over their heads. Each year the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) supports over 9,000 religious sisters wherever the Church is poor or persecuted. It is vital that the indispensable work of religious sisters in Christ’s Holy Catholic Church continues. Religious sisters are the unsung heroines in the Church. ACN is proud to assist the inspirational work carried out by religious sisters in some of the poorest, most dangerous places in the world.

I/We enclose $................... to support the work of Religious Sisters for the poor and persecuted Church.

Mother Teresa, now St Teresa of Calcutta, was canonised on September 4th 2016. The rosary carries the following inscriptions on the reverse side of the crucifix and central medal: “A little pencil in the hand of God” and “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do”. The colours of the rosary beads represent the simple white sari worn by Mother Teresa and the blue, her devotion to the Virgin Mary.

A complimentary Mother Teresa rosary designed by the Vatican rosary makers and blessed by Pope Francis will be sent to all those who can assist with a donation of $20.00 or more to support this cause and tick the box in the coupon.


Help Religious Sisters - the unsung heroines in the Church!

Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Sr/Rev:............................................................................................. The Mother Teresa rosary will be sent out to all those who can assist this cause with a donation of $20.00 or more and tick this box *

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Telling the stories of sacred spaces As I walk through the grounds of the Convent of Mercy, Singleton, I am struck once again by the gracious and elegant lines of this very beautiful building. In the half light of evening we crunch our way across the gravel paths to the welcoming light of the front door. Tonight, with other interested members of the local community, I am here to attend the launch of a DVD, outlining the history of the Sisters of Mercy Convent as recounted by Sr Monica Sinclair rsm. This project came about as a result of a conversation between Sr Monica and Peter Dunn, the chair of the Sacred Spaces Singleton Advisory Committee. When asked by Peter what she considered important for the convent, Sr Monica replied that she wanted to ensure that its story not be lost. The convent has been a significant landmark in Singleton since its completion in 1909. Hence the DVD!


This remarkable story commenced in Dublin in 1831 with Catherine McAuley. Her strong sense of social justice and commitment to her faith called her to work amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged in her society and ultimately led her to found the Sisters of Mercy.

Whilst the first Sisters of Mercy had arrived in Australia in the mid 1840s, it was not until 1875 that the Sisters arrived in Singleton, brought out from Ennis, Ireland by Bishop Murray. The ten Sisters took up residence in the recently vacated presbytery, a small two-roomed octagonal building, which can still be seen in the convent grounds. The hardships these first Sisters would have endured can only be imagined, as they adjusted to a life far from home and all that was familiar. But as Sr Monica says, they brought with them the spirit of the Mercy Congregation, ‘a spirit of loving kindness to the poor and needy’. Since that day, the story of the Sisters has been inextricably linked to the story of the town. To listen to Sr Monica speak is to be put in touch with that passionate spirit which drove those young women of the 1870s to follow their faith to Singleton. In comparison with those early days, the Singleton Sisters of Mercy are few in numbers these days; the doors of the novitiate long since closed, the cloistered verandahs no longer home to the Sisters’ busy comings and goings and the magnificent chapel now mostly used for

classical concerts. However, could you ask for more lovely surrounds? Sr Monica speaks eloquently about the passion the remaining Sisters have for the town, the deep pride they feel in their history and what they have achieved since arriving 142 years ago. Most poignantly, she talks about what they are leaving as they bid ‘a gracious farewell’ and trusts that what has been done by all the Sisters over these many years may bear fruit. As I glance around the room at all those who were present, many, like me, educated in these buildings, I don’t doubt that this story of this “dedicated, intelligent and enterprising group of women whose influence spread well beyond their established roots” is far from over. To purchase the DVD for $10, E office@ or P 6572 2398.



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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE presents “DIOSOUNDS 2017” CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OFFICE presents “DIOSOUNDS 2017” Catholic Schools presents “DioSounds 2017” Civic Theatre Civic Theatre June 8th June Prices: Civic 8th Theatre | 8th June PricesPrices: MATINEE FORFOR SCHOOLS:10:30am Concession: MATINEE SCHOOLS:10:30am Concession: $20 Matinee for Schools: 10:30am Concession: $20 $20 EVENING PERFORMANCE: $35$35 EVENING PERFORMANCE: 6:30pm Adults: Evening Performance: 6:30pm 6:30pm Adults:Adults: $35


What’s so special about Special Religious Education? program authorised by their local church. By JOHN DONNELLY

The children file into the room under the guidance of their watchful teacher. They settle on the carpet and greet the visitor who stands before them. The class comprises some 20 Kinder and Year 1 students and they come together every week at this time. The visitor is a regular weekly guest who is becoming familiar to the group. On this Friday morning the guest is greeted politely by the class, much to the pleasure of the teacher. All eyes are on the guest who invites the group to play a game of statues. In silence and stillness, the children adopt the pose of someone playing tennis, someone vacuuming a floor and then someone waving happily. Each time the group strikes a pose, four little statues are selected and the rest of the children admire and applaud the creativity of their fellow artists. Next, children are asked to adopt the pose of someone praying. They do this without hesitation. This final pose becomes the focus of a discussion about how people pray. Some close their eyes or join their hands, some kneel and others bow down. The weekly visitor is a trained volunteer who has been presenting religious education lessons for ten years in government schools. Initially he was screened and selected by his church to present lessons to the children of that denomination attending the local government schools. He was surprised to learn that over 90 per cent of families at the school were happy for their children to receive lessons from the individual and

Findings of the independent review indicate that the majority of families consider it important to educate their children in their faith. 92 per cent of primary and 81 per cent of secondary schools surveyed ran SRE classes in 2015. (2015 Review of SRE and SEE in NSW Government schools, p 25) Buddhist, Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim families all exercise their right under the Education Act to have their children attend weekly lessons in Special Religious Education (SRE). Since 2010 those families who indicate ‘no religion’ have also been offered classes in Special Ethics Education (SEE). Values and ethics have long been the foundation of education in civilised society. Children are introduced to these in the home and schooled in them until the age of 18. NSW has had a proud tradition of values education embedded in every subject as well as in the principles, policies and procedures employed to manage, develop and foster the educational endeavour of every school.

education system reflects the broader societal attitudes of acceptance and harmony built on the principle of freedom for all. In the words of a recent Education Department media release, “The review acknowledges that the policy and legal framework supporting freedom of religion and conscience in NSW schools since 1848 is maintained.” This is special indeed. John Donnelly is the Director, Office of Life and Faith, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.



In this value-filled learning environment, religious education is delivered appropriately to those children whose families hold a particular worldview. This is the extent to which our multi-cultural, multi-faith pluralist society has advanced. Let Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics – in fact, all Christians − teach children each week who identify with these denominations alongside Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Muslims who educate their children in their faith tradition. This level of freedom is the envy of many countries and is an aspect of Australian life we would do well to preserve. The NSW


Severe food crisis in East Africa 23 million people are facing a food crisis that could be worse than the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s. Caritas is already on the ground providing food, water and medicine through local and church partnerships. But more is needed, urgently.

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What’s core Catholicism and what’s cultural Catholicism? today. I live and worship in a wonderfully multicultural community. I see people touching or kissing statues. I see them leave their shoes outside as they enter church or chapel. I see them prostrate themselves before the Lord and make significant gestures which are new to our experience of Church. I love it. I love the diversity, the richness, the freshness it brings to our community of faith.

By MICHAEL O’CONNOR Recently I gazed, with combined feelings of pity and annoyance, at a contemporary photo of a large group of priests. If it had been an historical photo my response would have been quite different. I would have felt a certain nostalgia and would have examined it closely for details of a bygone era. They wore lots of lace. Their chasubles were the knee-length, stiff board type I knew from the 1950s. And prominent (as their hands were joined in prayer position for this group photograph) were large embroidered maniples draped over their left arms. Now maniples were another Mass vestment I recalled from the 50s. They disappeared following the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965). Originally a handkerchief or sweatrag, they had somehow assumed a role as a sacred appendage, no longer with any practical application and no sacred role or significance. No surprise that maniples are no longer current. What, I wondered, makes some cling to vestiges of an anachronistic culture? By contrast, I have a delighted response to cultural practices I witness in my local church

Some of it rubs off on my practice. Some will remain other people’s expression of faith which I only observe and appreciate. What we have in common is unity in our Catholic faith. What distinguishes us is the multiplicity of expression shining out from our many cultures. The sadness I felt as I gazed at the priests of the St Pius X Society came from their culture chains. Their faith appears locked into a culture that many see as past, extinct and irrelevant. The basic faith they profess is none of these, of course. The Creed we share is none of these. Yet they seem unable to distinguish between Creed and bygone culture, between core Catholicism and a one-time geographically limited expression of Catholicism. This dominant culture was often imposed disrespectfully on diverse “inferior” civilisations – sometimes attempting to annihilate legitimate cultures and their compatible customs. What I am getting at is that core Catholicism and cultural Catholicism have to be carefully distinguished. There is an unchanging core, and there are variable optional extras. They should not be confused with each other. Catholicism can diminish and disappear from the lives of communities and individuals if there is

mere cultural adhesion to ways of expressing the faith rather than a genuine bonding with Jesus Christ, the core of our faith and religion. So, what is core, and what is cultural in Catholicism? As already stated and obvious, Jesus is core. All that we associate intimately and inextricably with Jesus is core. The whole Creed is core. The Mass and Sacraments are core. Scripture and the commandments to love God and one another are core. What is cultural? Maniples are definitely cultural! Particular ways in which the core is celebrated, venerated, expressed, are cultural. Head covering and styles of dress are cultural. Veneration of relics, statues, icons is cultural. Chaplets, favourite prayers and devotions are cultural. The value of all these is to be found in how closely they bring us to the core, how much they bring us to intimacy with Jesus. Whereas core Catholicism is all good, cultural Catholicism can be good, bad, or anything in between. While thoughts of core versus cultural were percolating in my head I read this pertinent quote from Francis Sullivan of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council which was set up to respond to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: “Our culture grew the abusers and our culture protected the abusers and our culture for so long denied the victims.” No, it wasn’t Jesus, our faith in him, or any aspect of our Creed, that did the growing, protecting and denying. It was bad culture. Sullivan is speaking, among other things, about

the culture of clericalism which many, including Pope Francis, have decried. Priesthood is core Catholicism. Clericalism is cultural, and an aspect of our culture to be eliminated. I give an example which illustrates the need for a clear and precise distinction to be made between core and culture in the area of clericalism. An African prelate told recently how he is spared the boarding formalities at his country’s airports when wearing clerical garb. He is asked for a blessing instead. We may be tempted to say “How nice” when we should be saying “Oh, no!” Clericalism, in this instance, could allow a suicide bomber on board. The Archbishop should insist that he, like everyone else, be subject to the procedures set in place for the common good of all. Pope Francis does not seek privilege. He even carries his own bag. Are we good at distinguishing between core and cultural Catholicism, I wonder? I have no doubts that such ability to distinguish is grace and gift from God, given to those who pray and seek. With such a gift we evaluate everything against the core which is Christ. We evaluate our secular cultural environment with its multiple expressions and diversity, and specifically we need to evaluate our many church cultural practices − especially those we most take for granted without appropriate questioning. A close relationship with Jesus will sharpen our focus on the heart of our Catholic faith. It will also put in perspective the cultural elements which can and do change in time and place, so that these cultural variations will do nothing but enrich and strengthen our unity with one another and the One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Frankly Spoken “How beautiful it is to think that Christianity is essentially this: It is not so much our search for God – a search that is, truthfully, somewhat shaky – but rather God’s search for us. Jesus has taken us, He has seized us, He has won us over and will not leave us anymore. Christianity is grace, it is a surprise, and it therefore presupposes a heart capable of wonder.

St Peter’s Square, 19 April 2017.


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Community Noticeboard Interfaith Forum The Ecumenical and Interfaith Council invites you to participate in a forum exploring Catholic Eastern and Western Rites on Wednesday 7 June, 6.30-8pm, at the Parish of the Protection of the Mother of God, 105 Gosford Road, Adamstown. Please register with Brooke Robinson, au or P 4979 1111. Seasons for Growth Companioning Training: Children & Young People’s training: Taree 25-26 July; Newcastle 8-9 November. Adults Training: Newcastle 14-15 June, 13-14 September. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/young people or adults. Please P Jenny 4947 1355 to find out more about becoming a Companion. Enrolments for training are completed at www. Exploring the Seasons of Grief small group program uses the metaphor of the changing seasons to gently support and encourage participants as they reflect on and explore their stories of change and loss. Through the discovery of ways to move forward in one’s grief journey, participants find that a door to hope and healing opens up for them. Cardiff 24 & 31 July, 7 & 14 August 9.30am-12pm. Please P Jenny 4979 1355 for enquiries or to register. For more information please visit Mercy Spirituality Centre Toronto 14 June Reflection day, Prayer: A bridge between longing and belonging, with reference to John O’Donohue’s “Eternal Echoes”. This half day of reflection will explore various images of this bridge and ways we learn to see with the eyes of the soul. 9.30am–1.00pm, $20, light lunch included. 20 June Seminar When Faith is Knocked Off Centre – disappointments, betrayals and recovery. Sue Collins will lead this seminar to explore the human reactions and pathways that can be used to return us to meaning. 7.00–9.00pm, $30. 7 & 8 July Helen Baguley rsm will lead reflections around Reconnecting with Celtic Spirituality. Exploring themes within the Celtic tradition – relationship with sacredness of Earth, with compassion and with the Light at the heart of all life. 9.30am – 4.00pm, $70. 20-27 July The Unfolding Story of Love – Entering the Mystery of the Universe Story with Br Tony Hempenstall; 6 day silent retreat, $600. For details, contact Mercy Spirituality Centre 26 Renwick St Toronto, P 4959 1025, E: mercytoronto@ Visit Diocesan Youth Camp Elim “Be Grow Show 2017” will be held Friday 16 June - Sunday 18 June at Camp Elim, Forster. This is an annual retreat for those aged 16 years+ organised by the Diocesan Council for Ministry with Young People. This year’s theme is Luke 1:49 ‘for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name’. Go to to register. P 4979 1111. Ecumenical Prayers in the Spirit of Taizé Sunday 18 June (13 August, 8 October) at Merewether Uniting Church, 178 Glebe Road,

Merewether. Commencing at 7pm for 45 minutes and characterised by the singing of simple harmonised tunes, often in various languages, interspersed with readings, prayers and a period of silence. Services are followed by supper. E minister.merewetheruca@gmail. com or P Rev Jennifer Burns 0411 133 679. Cathedral Lecture The Cathedral Lecture Series was launched in 2016. This year’s speaker will be Rev Dr James McEvoy, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. The lecture will take place at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West on Wednesday 21 June. Gather from 5.30pm, lecture at 6pm, followed by Q&A and light refreshments. Please rsvp via www. Builders or Gardeners? A day of reflection This event will be held on Saturday 15 July at St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar, 9.30am-3.30pm, under the auspices of the Council for Australian Catholic Women and the Catholic Women’s League in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Vivien Williams will be the presenter. $25 pp. Wear a touch of colour and bring a plant or flower! To learn more and to rsvp, P Patricia Banister 0409 300 192 or E pabanister7@ “Before We Say I Do” Marriage education is a vital, yet often overlooked, part of preparing for a life partnership. The marriage education courses offered by the diocese are run by CatholicCare, which offers a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples to assist them in preparing for, and maintaining, their commitment to one another. Couples who are marrying are advised to attend a course which falls around four months prior to the wedding. Book early as some courses are very popular. To learn more, please P Robyn, 4979 1370. “Before We Say I Do” is a group program held over two days or four evenings. Course 4/17 22 and 29 July at Newcastle Course 5/17 9 and 16 September at Singleton Course 6/17 4 and 11 November at Newcastle. Claiming the Dates 20th Annual Special Needs Mass The 20th Annual Special Needs Mass will be celebrated at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, cnr Kenrick and Farquhar Streets, Merewether, on Tuesday, 8 August at 7pm. The communities of St Joseph’s Primary, Merewether, and Holy Family Primary, Merewether Beach, together with the Federation of P & F Associations Special Needs Working Party, warmly welcome all to join principals, teachers, school staff, families and parishioners for this special celebration. St Columban’s Primary Centenary St Columban’s Primary School, Mayfield, (previously known as St Joseph’s and St Columbanus’) will be celebrating 100 years of quality education on 12 August at 11am in the school hall. Bishop Bill Wright will preside at Mass, the new centenary garden will be opened and everyone is invited to open classrooms. Byo picnic lunch will be enjoyed on the playground as well as organised old-fashioned games. You

BRAND NEW VILLAGE To arrange a viewing of Calvary Muswellbrook’s villas contact our Hunter ILU Coordinator P: 1800 222 000 W:

may donate a paver, with your name engraved, as a memory of your time at St Columban’s. Please contact the school to organise the paver purchase; P 4968 3315 or E San Clemente High School Centenary The school’s centenary committee presents the Black and White Gala Ball at Newcastle City Hall, Saturday 19 August from 6pm. Live entertainment, formal dress, canapés, champagne and three-course meal. $150 per person. As a remembrance of your time at San Clemente High School, engraved brick(s) can be purchased to remain on campus forever. E or P 4014 7300. Blessing of the Land This year’s event will be held on Sunday 27 August at Pokolbin Community Hall, 128 McDonald’s Road, Pokolbin from noon. To learn more, please P Chris 043 4332 217 or E All are welcome. Australian Catholic Youth Festival This event will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Sydney from 7-9 December 2017. Expressions of interest are now open for young people in year 9 (2017) to 25 years who would like to be a part of the MaitlandNewcastle contingent. Those over the age of 25 are encouraged to register as group leaders. Register your interest now at For more information, contact us at or Stories and Memories of St Mary’s Maitland To help us celebrate St Mary’s Maitland Sesquicentenary (150 years), we are calling on ex-students or ex-staff members to share with us a fond memory, funny story (that can be published!) or account of a significant event from their time here. We intend to make a collection of these, along with some photos from the event or the year or decade in which the story belongs. These will be then placed around the school and made available later in the year for those interested. We would like no more than an A4 page of text. Any photos would also be most welcome. However, we ask that only copies be sent. Contributions to the Memories of St Mary’s can be posted to Ms H Kearney, St Mary’s Campus, 16 Grant Street, Maitland 2320 or E Mums’ Cottage Invites grandparents to Grandparent and Toddler day, every Wednesday during school terms from 10amnoon at 29 St Helen’s Street, Holmesville. Enjoy some companionship with other grandparents while children play. Mums’ Cottage offers a range of services, programs, workshops and family events and would love to welcome you at any time. For more information, P Mums’ Cottage 4953 4105, E admin@mumscottage. or visit Youth Mass On the last Sunday of each month, the 5.30pm Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Macquarie St, Wallsend, has a youthful flavour. Everyone is welcome.

For your diary June  7 Interfaith Forum (see opposite)  11 Trinity Sunday  12 World Day Against Child Labour  14 Healthy Tuckshop Day

World Blood Donor Day

 18 Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ)  19 National Refugee Week begins  20 World Refugee Day  21 Cathedral Lecture (see opposite)  23 Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

United Nations International Widow’s Day

 25 Day of the Seafarer  26 Eid-al-Fitr: Muslim breaking of the fast  29 Sts Peter and Paul, apostles

July  4 International Day of Co-operatives  5 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday

NAIDOC Week begins.

For more events please visit and

Locals caring for locals Calvary Retirement Communities provides safe, secure and relaxed community living through residential aged care, respite services and retirement villages. We have care choices available in Belmont, Cessnock, Eleebana, Maitland, Sandgate, Singleton, Tanilba Bay, Taree, Waratah and a brand new facility in Muswellbrook. Calvary Muswellbrook Retirement Community offers 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas alongside a Residential Aged Care Facility. There are still villas available.

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

| C AT H O L I C D I O C E S E O F M A I T L A N D - N E W C A S T L E | W W W. M N N E W S . T O D AY / A U R O R A - M A G A Z I N E


Last Word

Aurora on tour A recent edition of Aurora was spotted in a Honiara market. Note the banana headdress to the right!

Soul food

We are made to taste the sacred. We have the capacity to embrace the sacred. We have the hunger to know and love the sacred and yet we are so often afraid to go there. - Kevin Bates sm



Our daily lives are filled with aspirations, disappointment, enjoyment, our children, our children’s children and any number of emotional variants affecting our state of mind. The one thing we don’t burden ourselves with is the inevitability of our life’s ending. Our tendency to avoid death as a subject of thought is driven by a morbid fear of our own mortality until, too late, it confronts us. But if we took a different approach and accepted that death is part of the cycle of life, would we be able to cope with it more easily? Rosalind Bradley’s latest offering is a compilation of inspiring verses, images and reflections intended to be used as a resource for anyone trying to make sense of life and death. The contributors, who are drawn from all walks of life, include palliative care workers, medical professionals, soldiers, musicians, teachers and many others. They share their thoughts, their feelings and some very personal stories about how their lives were shattered and then re-shaped when faced with a gradual dying or sudden death. These stories, anecdotes and musings all tell a different tale but the messages are the same − death can be de-mystified; it can be talked about;

it can teach us something about life; we don’t have to fear it. There is something spiritual about this book. It is enlightening and uplifting and should not simply be read and then left on the shelf. It is one that can be dipped into whenever some words of wisdom and comfort are required in a time of need. In the postscript there is a parable which shines a light on the shadowy character we call death and demonstrates that the more we talk about it, the less we will fear it. Rosalind Bradley has painstakingly assembled a definitive work debunking the myth surrounding the fear of death. She is to be congratulated on her achievement. Rosalind Bradley A Matter of Life and Death Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2016

Creamy chicken, leek and celery soup I made this soup last week and the feedback was overwhelming! We received many requests for the recipe, so here it is for you to make and enjoy at home.

BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - The Cathedral Café



f f 2 chicken Marylands

Place chicken pieces into a pot and cover with 1 litre of water. Add salt then simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool. Keep the chicken stock.

f f 50ml oil f f 50g butter f f 1 brown onion, finely sliced f f 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs f f 1 leek, cleaned and finely sliced f f 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced f f 6 celery stalks, strings removed and finely chopped f f 600ml thickened cream f f 2 potatoes, peeled and diced f f Salt and pepper


Heat a large pot over medium heat then add oil and butter. When butter has melted add onion, mixed herbs, leek and garlic and sweat down until softened (about 10 minutes). Stir in chopped celery and potatoes.

Chef Bart’s culinary gifts can be enjoyed at The Cathedral Café, 843 Hunter St Newcastle West, 10am–1.30pm, Monday to Friday. P 4961 0546.

Ser ves


At this stage you can blend the soup (after cooling slightly) for a smoother soup or leave as is if you prefer it chunky. Pick the meat off the chicken Marylands and chop, then stir into the soup. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of baby celery leaves for garnish.

Pour in approximately 800ml of the chicken stock and the cream and simmer for 25–30 minutes, until potato is cooked through. | C AT H O L I C D I O C E S E O F M A I T L A N D - N E W C A S T L E | W W W. M N N E W S . T O D AY / A U R O R A - M A G A Z I N E


15 Day Tour


Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 4 nights Saigon, 4 nights Hanoi, 4 nights Hoi An, 1 night Halong Bay with cruise.


20 Day Tour

Dep. 22 Aug & Nov 15

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi. 18 day coach & air tour of Vietnam. For this tour there is no extra charge for travellers requiring a single room.


16 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 18


18 Day Tour





Flying Singapore Airlines into Delhi & out of Bombay plus 3 flights within India. 16 day coach, plane & boat tour of India. 2 days Singapore.

24 Day Tour

Dep. Sep. 28

Flying Singapore Airlines into Hanoi & out of Siem Reap plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 19 day Vietnam tour “off the beaten track”. 4 day Cambodia tour with Angkor Wat.


Flying Cathay Pacific into Taipei. 8 day Taiwan tour including spectacular Taroko Gorge.

Dep. Sep 5

Flying China Eastern Airlines into Shanghai & out of Beijing, plus 3 flights within China. Includes 4 night first class Yangtze River cruise. Tipping included.


2 Week Tour

Dep. August 15

Flying Air China into Ulaanbatar plus 2 flights within Mongolia. 11 days Mongolia, 2 days Beijing.


3 Week Tour

Dep. Sep 6

Flying Qatar Airlines into Zagreb & out of Athens. 17 day tour of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia & Greece plus 2 nights Athens. Small group tour.


19 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 10

Flying Qantas & Finnair into Moscow & out of Helsinki. 12 day river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Stopovers in Helsinki & Hong Kong.


9 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 1


15 Day Tour

Dep. July 31


2 Week Tour

Dep. Aug 2

Flying Thai into Bangkok plus a flight within Thailand. 3 nights Bangkok, 2 nights Chiang Rai, 3 nights Chiang Mai, 3 nights Phuket. 3 nights coach tour from Bangkok to Golden Triangle.


18 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 10

34 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 1


23 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 28


Flying China Eastern into Dalian and out of Harbin. 11 day tour of N.E. China including 3 days in Harbin for their spectacular Ice Festival.


19 Day Tour

Dep. Oct 6


25 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 8

Flying Cathay Pacific into Vancouver. 12 day tour of western Canada & the Rockies. 8 day cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage. 3 days Hong Kong stopover.

EGYPT $5,655

20 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 2



Flying Qantas & American Airlines from Australia, 8 days in Mexico and the Yucatan. 8 days touring Cuba with five nights in Havana. Stopover in Dallas Texas on the way home. Tipping included.



12 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 6

Flying Cathay Pacific into London. 15 day first class tour of England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales. 2 nights Hong Kong.

Flying Air NZ into Christchurch & out of Auckland. 16 day coach tour of New Zealand, including 4 cruises and the Transalpine rail trip.


19 Day Tour

Flying Emirates into Cairo. 15 day Egypt tour including a 4 day cruise from Luxor to Aswan. 3 days Dubai including a tour to Abu Dhabi. 4-5 star luxury accommodation.

Flying Cathay Pacific into Rome & out of Madrid. 19 day tour of Italy, France, Spain. 2 days Hong Kong stopover.

16 Day Tour



Dep. Nov 21 & Feb 23






Dep. Nov 16

Flying Emirates return to Athens, 15 days touring Greece including a 4 day cruise to the Greek islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini, 3 day Dubai stopover with Abu Dhabi day tour. Tipping included.

Flying Cathay Pacific into London & out of Paris. 31 day tour of western & central Europe. 2 nights Hong Kong stopover.

Dep. Oct 8.

19 Day Tour

Flying Air China into Kathmandu. 5 day Tibet tour, 4 day Nepal tour, 4 day Chengdu (China) tour including the famous Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.


23 Day Tour




SOUTH AMERICA Flying Qantas & Latam into Santiago. A superb tour of South America by plane, coach & rail, visiting Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina.

Dep. Nov 6

Flying Qatar Airlines into Budapest & out of Amsterdam. 15 day deluxe river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on the luxurious Avalon Expression. Stopovers in Budapest & Doha.


15 Day Tour

2 Week Tour

Flying Thai into Rangoon plus 3 flights in Burma. 12 day Burma tour by coach, plane & boat. 2 nights Bangkok.

Flying Singapore Airlines into Colombo. 14 day coach & rail tour of this beautiful country. Tips included.



2 Week Tour

Dep. Jan 31

Flying Thai into Bangkok plus a flight within Thailand. 4 days Chiang Mai for their spectacular floral festival. 2 days River Kwai, 4 day coach tour of northern Thailand, 2 nights in beach resort on Gulf of Siam.


13 Day Tour

Dep. Oct 14

Flying China Eastern into Shanghai & out of Beijing, plus 2 flights within China. Visits, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian & the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Hangzhou & Suzhou. No single room supplement for solo travellers.


3 Week Tour

Dep. Nov 6 & Jan 28

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon & out of Hanoi. 19 day coach tour of Vietnam. Halong Bay cruise. Optional extension to Angkor Wat.


13 Day Tour

Dep. Nov 12

Flying Cathay Pacific into Tokyo & out of Osaka. 12 day tour of Japan during the spectacular autumn colourings period.

For more information or bookings contact:


Phone Toll Free 1800-810-809


The prices listed mainly include return air fares from Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane, airport taxes & fuel levies, good twin share accom., many meals, all transfers, tipping, Australian tour escort & local tour guides.

We try harder to find you the best travel deal

33 Smith Street Kempsey 2440 E-mail: Web site: | C AT H O L I C D I O C E S E O F M A I T L A N D - N E W C A S T L E | W W W. M N N E W S . T O D AY / A U R O R A - M A G A Z I N E


T! d! OU ease D l OL e Re S b 91- n to s e Soo ag St 10 e tag


Don’t you deserve the very best? Priced from $365k - $450k, join our growing community, already home to over 100 residents.

Our Location & Features

Our Stunning facilities

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

• Beautifully heated pool • Club house • Kitchen & Bar • BBQ Area • Caravan/ Boat storage area • Billiards room • Gym • 6 seater buggy for transport within the resort

• Hairdressing Salon • Visiting GP’s Room • Library Coming Soon Coming Soon • Bowling Green • Putting Green • Workshop • Cinema Room • Village Bus

Our Homes Our homes are spacious architecturally designed, single level, 2/3 bedroom freestanding villas and duplexes of brick and tile construction. There are 4 different floor plans to choose from with either double or single garages with remote control doors. Each home features modern decor, are very low maintenance, energy efficient and are fully landscaped and fenced.

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

Winter of the Hunter Aged Care & Disability Achievement Awards 2016

Retirement Village of the Year

14 Denton Park Drive (off New England Highway), Maitland NSW 2320 |