Aurora May 2016

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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle May 2016 | No.157



St Nic STORY Early E holas ducat ion welco pre-sc mes in Sing hoolers le Newc ton and astle

Announcing St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm Is it time for a difficult but necessary conversation?

Mothers personify beauty in the eyes of their children


Are you looking for care and education for your child? St Nicholas Early Education, Newcastle West is opening soon and has vacancies for 2 - 5 year olds. Enrol now, visit Or phone 4979 1110 for more information.

Employment opportunities also available. Visit to register your interest now.

First Word

On the cover The diocese is pleased to welcome St Nicholas Early Education. St Nicholas Singleton is now open and Newcastle West will open in the coming weeks. See story page 5. Photograph courtesy of Geraldine Williams.

Featured  Diocese welcomes St Nicholas Early Education


 Walking for Mercy


 Catholic schools: Vivid everyday


 Announcing St Bede’s Catholic College


 Come and spend time with us at Refugee Service


 Creator of model training centre recognised 12  Keeping the faith and healing those who hurt


 Rising from the ashes – life after death in Cambodia


 Is it time for a difficult but necessary conversation? 18  Enjoy a cuppa for a friend 19  English: Offering something more than Kardashian culture



The power of the Passion For some time now, I have believed that the word ‘passion’ is over-used and therefore devalued. Once, it was sufficient to like or appreciate, or even love, coffee or running or volunteer work; now people are ‘passionate about’ all these things. I like my coffee but truly… During Holy Week I read – on the advice of a dear friend – Fr Ron Rolheiser’s The Passion and the Cross. Rolheiser is an internationally syndicated columnist and speaker in the area of spirituality. He writes of the Passion of Jesus, as proclaimed on Good Friday, “Passion comes from the Latin passio meaning passiveness, non-activity, absorbing something more than actively doing anything. The ‘passion’ of Jesus refers to that time in his life where his meaning for us is not defined by what he was doing but rather by what was being done to him.” Rolheiser goes on to suggest that it is often in our passivity, born of necessity, that we have the most impact on

others. When an individual is no longer able to live independently, even though s/he may live for many years, s/he may well change the lives of others immeasurably, as Jesus did in his passion. I think of our former diocesan Chancellor, Sr Beverly Zimmerman rsj, who lived for many years with multiple sclerosis before dying in 2012. Rolheiser says, “… choosing not to die is not always the same thing as choosing to live”. In brief, one’s passion could be seen as the experience or the cause one is willing to give up one’s life for – certainly not coffee! You may wish to visit Paul Skippen of Toowoomba wrote of the April edition, “Congrats on another excellent edition − wonderful! It is so fresh, bright, engaging, full of good human interest stories. I hope you receive positive feedback.”

As the 150th year of the diocese’s story unfolds, and stories are shared, I remind you that Aurora welcomes your stories – and perhaps photographs – of ‘the way we were’ for publication during this year. In June/July there will be a pop-up museum capturing, for a limited time, the diocesan story. If you have items to contribute, and an accompanying story – the museum’s more about the people than the items – please P Michael Belcher, 4930 1458. Meanwhile, be merciful as God is merciful.

In this edition parish priest of Nelson Bay, Fr Kevin Corrigan, shares his plan for a long walk

 First Word


Contact Aurora Aurora online

 My Word


Next deadline 7 June 2016

 The Way We Were


 CareTalk


 One by One


 Family Matters


Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119

 Frankly Spoken



 The Catholic Thing


 Seasons of Mercy


 Community Noticeboard


 Last Word



in aid of Home for Children, Cambodia. For many years Kevin has supported this mission, practically and prayerfully. He will continue to do so and you may wish to support him.


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



Fairfax Media Phone 4979 5259

WHEN IT MATTERS It matters to me that your Motor Accident claim is settled fairly and quickly.


Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers can win you compensation and secure your future. When it matters, contact Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers.

4032 1700

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My Word

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? “I’ve been up to London to look at the Queen…” So the old nursery rhyme has it. Before you read this, on April 21 in fact, Queen Elizabeth will turn 90 in real life. The next day, business as usual, she will lunch in the palace with Barack Obama. Anyway, stumbling across a piece on the birthday celebrations has set me thinking about ‘The Queen and I’. I’ve always had a strong sense of connection with Elizabeth II, since I was born shortly after her accession and, as an infant, was in London for her coronation. Or at least I thought I was.

I’ve always had a strong sense of connection with Elizabeth II

My memory of the family story has been that, in keeping with my father’s knack for felicitous arrangements, we were travelling home from Washington, and in London, when someone held the tiny Bill up to watch Princess Elizabeth go by on her way to the Abbey. Probably some of you reading this have heard me tell the story, and certainly, without looking too closely at actual records, the general timing fits nicely. Unfortunately, it’s not true. Just this year I mentioned it to my sister, and she informs me, with all the authority of a girl who was 12 at the time, that we watched the coronation on TV in Washington. The special bit about me was that my godfather, being American and therefore romantic about royalty, insisted that I be woken up to watch the broadcast. I never ‘went up to London (as a baby) to look at the Queen’. Myth busted! Obviously I have rather embroidered my childhood memories of the story as I’ve recalled it, and retold it, over the years. This recent experience has me thinking about memory. As I get older, mine is getting worse. This, of course, is not unusual, but the process has some odd features. Names, for example, are the worst. Anyone who works with me can tell you how bad I am at

remembering names, even when I’m able to picture the person I’m trying to name. But the strange thing is, I’ve not really forgotten. Five minutes, or half a day, later, the right name will suddenly pop into my head, unbidden. It’s as if there’s an elderly filing clerk in there somewhere who can’t put his hand on the information as quickly as he used to, but he labours away in the background and sometime later throws the file down on my desk, long after the need for it has passed. And it’s worse when I’m tired. Of course, recalling things is a physical process in the brain, synapses firing and finding the right paths and so on, but we think of it as an electro-chemical process. It’s interesting that my brain ‘wants’ to rest when I’m tired, just like my body wants to stay in my chair. And there are other strange experiences. Just a few days ago a phone call from a friend woke me from an afternoon nap. I’d been having a curious dream, and I regaled her with an account of the odd things in it, which included some people neither of us would have seen for 30 or 40 years. That’s strange, but what is stranger is that I now have no memory of the dream. I’ve discarded it, as I normally discard dreams within seconds of waking. On the other hand, I was recently talking to someone about my little house in the mountains, and I was on the very point of remarking that I used to have another house at Mt Victoria when it came to me that the other place had only ever existed in dreams; many dreams, admittedly, and in considerable detail. I could show you exactly where in Mt Vic this place ‘is’, except that it isn’t there. Nonetheless, it was the setting for a long sequence of dreams, and I recently came close, as I said, to endowing it with reality. And again, Cardinal George

Pell popped up in a dream recently, perhaps understandably. I remember telling someone that, though I don’t remember the dream itself. I can only hope that, should I meet the Cardinal again, I don’t bemuse him with my recollections of some incident that he wasn’t really a party to. Life is strange, but memory is weird. Maybe I should re-read Augustine’s reflection on memory in his Confessions, which was a boring detour from the plot when I was younger. It might make more sense to me now. Anyway, back to the Queen. I regret not having had an infantile sight of her. She has, nonetheless, ‘been there’ all my life, and that seems somehow significant. The other ‘fixed points’ of childhood are virtually all gone – Menzies, Bradman, Gough, my own parents – but the Queen and Prince Philip go on. Besides the comfort of familiarity, however, there is also the feeling that Elizabeth II is a remarkable and rather admirable old lady. She has always ‘done her duty’, which means that she has both stood for old standards and values and been graciously willing to adapt herself to the vast changes of six decades and more. So I wish Her Majesty a very happy birthday. Perhaps over lunch President Obama could, as a fitting birthday gift, give her back the colonies, thereby sparing the rest of us the prospect of either Trump or Hillary. Pure fantasy, of course. Feel free to “tell ‘im [me] ‘e’s dreaming”.

Vivid learning

VIVID EVERYDAY Find your local Catholic school at


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Early Education

Diocese welcomes St Nicholas Early Education

Ke rri Ar m st ro ng ,

Fi on a W iss in k an d To ni W ar bu rto n.


Late last year the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle officially established St Nicholas Early Education – a new agency focused on providing quality care and education for children aged eight weeks to five years. The diocese is committed to supporting family life as the foundation of society and of the Church. One aspect of this is providing educationally sound and professionally staffed Early Education. We’re excited to see this come to life as we open both our Singleton and Newcastle West centres in 2016. So why St Nicholas? St Nicholas, traditionally the patron saint of children, delivers on our goal to facilitate each child’s optimal social, intellectual and physical development and education, in partnership with parents and educators. We recognise that a safe, secure and consistent environment supports trust and encourages the development of confidence, skills and friendship. We welcome one and all to our centre.

significance of the ‘here and now’, a sense of being for each child. We will offer an environment that acknowledges change within the early years, and which, in turn, allows children to become confident learners. We are committed to offering acceptance and support for children with additional needs and nourishing positive self-esteem in all children. At St Nicholas, we work together with families and the wider community to promote and encourage positive and respectful relationships. We believe that families play the most important part in the life of their child and a strong link between home and care fosters positive outcomes. Through daily communication and shared decision-making, we welcome families to assist us to provide the best outcomes for each child on his/ her learning journey.

We view children as capable, creative and confident learners

Staffed by a dedicated team of qualified early childhood professionals, St Nicholas complies with all national regulations and licensing requirements, and is Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate approved, allowing parents and carers to access government support. We are committed to the children we care for and aim to promote a positive, nurturing and trusting relationship, so they feel a sense of belonging at St Nicholas. We respect children’s unique learning styles and include their voices in our curriculum. We view children as capable, creative and confident learners and recognise the

We are also excited to enhance children’s learning at St Nicholas through the provision of both natural and man-made materials in safe, stimulating, inclusive and clean indoor and outdoor areas. Every St Nicholas Early Education site has been designed to promote environmentally friendly learning and play where children are taught the importance of sustainability through recycling and water conservation activities.

will soon be joined by a new St Nicholas

Working within the ethos of equality and encouraging inclusion of children from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, St Nicholas operates 51 weeks of the year, closing only between Christmas and New Year.

and benefit from specially designed

Our first location is St Nicholas Singleton which officially became part of the St Nicholas family in April this year. Led by Director, Fiona Wissink, St Nicholas Singleton cares for 80 children each day with a dedicated team of 26 staff. Singleton

forward to their next step in education.

location, with Newcastle West opening in coming weeks. Under leadership from Director Toni Warburton, Newcastle West is a totally refurbished 52-place Early Education Centre, ideally located close to the Newcastle CBD at 845 Hunter Street. With four playrooms tailored by age group, children will be placed in smaller groups programs for their stage of development. Pre-schoolers at St Nicholas Newcastle West will also benefit from a dedicated pre-school room and a school readiness program to develop skills to take them Interested in a place at St Nicholas Early Education? Register for the waiting list now at or P 4979 1110.

Our curriculum is based on the children’s interests and needs, and reflects the vision of the Early Years Framework and the National Quality Standard. We include children’s voices in our program and ensure daily reflection promotes continual self-evaluation. We provide a stimulating and challenging environment that encourages our children’s curiosity and creativity, building confidence along the way. Our curriculum is playbased in an enriched learning environment that includes both open-ended and group learning. We aim to link our wider community and our families to our program for optimal outcomes for each child.

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Walking for Mercy

A young woman arrives to drop off her 8-year-old daughter. The woman is obviously

Miyuki lamented that many other pregnant women feel forced into desperate decisions to resolve their crisis.

Back in Australia, I could think of no better patron for a walk than our own St Mary of the Cross MacKillop - a woman who reflected the mercy of Christ. So a Miyuki Jubilee Year of Mercy Walk was conceived.

On this day, however, there was a different outcome for Ong Srey. Other projects have been in place; ongoing programs in health, nutrition and hygiene and a recent project generating meaningful safe employment and stable income for 15 women. We resolve to develop a project to support poverty-stricken women throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatal care.

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To sponsor Fr Kevin, simply P Anne, 4979 1163 or Cath, 4979 1161, at the Catholic Development Fund. To read a longer version of this story, visit

Mother’s Day

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Speak to our Staff at our Adamstown location to learn more about how being involved in your own goodbye will benefit you and your family.

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a pilgrimage of prayer. Any assistance you are

Some of our local Catholic high schools have kindly agreed to sponsor the Walk. I am proud to share Miyuki’s story, because it is clear that faith is her ongoing inspiration. I invite the youth to identify with Miyuki’s work, to express solidarity in her mission work of serving and to help enhance the lives of God’s beloved poor.


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Last November I visited the poor Steung Meanchey district of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where Japanese missionary, Asano Miyuki, has helped establish projects which have greatly benefited residents. One is called Home for Children, a school for early primary age children. The classrooms are covered cement slabs in a rented field! About 80 children enjoy the free lessons and a nutritious lunch. The school, and also a crèche, enable parents to find work − often seeking saleable items at the city dump.

Our frequent conversations have considered how Miyuki’s program could companion local women through their pregnancies. With adequate available funds, many forms of assistance would be given. On at least five occasions, Ong Srey has been provided access to hospital care. Normally this would be impossible. Often an upfront fee of US$50 is required for basic hospital care. This is roughly equivalent to our paying $300 to visit a hospital casualty ward before treatment!


On 6 June, parish priest at Nelson Bay, Fr Kevin Corrigan, will commence a walk from St Mary MacKillop Chapel, North Sydney, to Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. Its aim is to provide financial and prayer support for a newly commencing project. Fr Kevin explains.

troubled. Miyuki speaks to her and she explains that she is married with two children. Her husband is unable to work due to a back injury. The woman is pregnant and feeling incapable of providing adequately for her family. Later, we visit Ong Srey and assure her that Miyuki will accompany her through her pregnancy, making sure she has access to medical care and necessary treatment. Further assistance will be provided at birth time, including post-natal support.




Catholic schools: Vivid Everyday Great schools create bright futures and for more than 180 years, the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has played an influential role in educating thousands of students in Catholic schools. This May, the Catholic Schools Office is, for the first time, embarking on a promotion to celebrate what our schools offer: Catholic schools are Vivid Everyday. Catholic schools form students and graduates as young men and women who are able to make an active, worthwhile contribution to the world in which they live. Catholic schools also offer a place where passionate teachers inspire confidence and facilitate academic excellence, where faith in God is lived in community, where partnerships with parents are nourished and where contemporary learning opens minds to a vivid future. The promotion is built around Catholic schools as being ‘Vivid Everyday’. ‘Vivid’ very much captures the nature of the schools as being authentic, bold and spirited, and yet every day dependable and consistent. Catholic schools are at once vibrant and dynamic, yet strong and grounded communities. Across the diocese, from Taree to Swansea, and Merriwa to Morisset, some 19,000 students attend 56 schools, comprising the system of Catholic schools. As part of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, we are also the fifth largest employer in the Hunter region. So, why now seek to highlight more visibly the work of Catholic schools, Kindergarten to Year 12, across the diocese? Because we’re proud of what Catholic schools offer their local communities.

We want to showcase what Catholic schools stand for and celebrate what we nurture and achieve in students; we want to have the thousands of families and staff currently within Catholic schools confirmed in their choice of schooling; we want to promote the qualities and values of Catholic education to families considering their choices in education and, more broadly, to highlight why a growing number of families is choosing a Catholic education for their children.

larger Catholic community and capture the essence of Catholic schools – ‘Vivid Everyday’.


Gerard Mowbray is Assistant Director, Catholic Schools Office. Please visit

We are very excited to share what Catholic schools stand for with the local community. The images and people you will meet as part of a wide regional campaign on TV, radio, billboards, buses and the internet, will highlight the varied aspects of Catholic schools. We aim to capture the relationships, the learning, the community, the excellence, the range of opportunities, the values, the pathways to the future, the faith life − all grounded in a close relationship with God. This is a very exciting time for Catholic schools as the system is also moving through a phase of significant development and expansion. Last year we announced that two new high schools would be built in Chisholm and Medowie (to open in 2018 and 2020 respectively) and the expansion of two other high schools would also take place from 2018 at St Joseph’s Lochinvar and St Mary’s Gateshead (from years 7-10, to 7-12). This campaign is just the start of our celebrating the very exciting and imminent ‘Vivid Future’ of Catholic education in the Hunter and Manning regions. From mid-May we invite you to meet just some of the faces of Catholic education in our region, which represent our

The Way We Were: After the ball was over... Reader Darrell Bailey reminisces. This now somewhat dim photograph appeared in The Newcastle Herald on 7 May, 1952, the day before the Annual YCWNCGM (Young Christian Workers-National Catholic Girls Movement) Debutantes Ball was held at the Newcastle City Hall. This story concerns one of the debutantes, Aileen McDonald, and a member of the Ball Committee, Darrell Bailey. At that time, these two had no idea of what the future would hold for them. At the final rehearsal before the ball, the ‘debs’ practised their presentation to the Bishop by the Matron of Honour.

The ‘stand-in’ for the Bishop was the committee member, and that is probably when their association really began! Yet five years elapsed before the ‘deb’ and the committeeman met at the Saturday night dance at Newcastle’s old Empire Palais in August, 1957. From this chance meeting, their courtship began. They married in mid-September, 1959 at the Holy Family Church, Merewether Beach, and in time, along came a son and two daughters. In due course the children left home to make their ways in the world.

Over the years, the Baileys experienced the usual highs and lows of any family, managing to cope with whatever came along. Then in December, 2001, the ‘deb’ – now an elderly woman, wife and mother – was diagnosed with dementia. In January, 2010, she suffered a massive loss of brain cells as the result of a stroke, and two months later, she entered St Joseph’s Home at Sandgate where she remained in palliative care until she died on 26 September, 2015.

yet the couple had reached the 56th anniversary of their marriage two weeks before. If you have a story to share of ‘the way we were’, please contact the editor.

At the time of death, the ‘deb’ had fallen short of her 81st birthday by three weeks,

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Announcing St Bede’s Catholic College! This week, Bishop Bill announced the name of our new secondary school to be built at Chisholm − St Bede’s Catholic College. The official turning of the sod on site this week marked this exciting development in our history. St Bede’s is planned to open in 2018 and building works will commence early in 2017.


St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm - Architecture and images by SHAC.

When a family names a newborn, much energy, deliberation and discussion are expended prior to making the final choice. Family history, contemporary culture, personal likes and dislikes and the meaning behind the name may all play a part. Sometimes consideration is given to how the child will ‘grow’ into the name. In a similar way, when a new school is named, careful consideration is given to how this name will befit the community and the purpose of the place. St Bede was chosen for our new secondary college after considerable consultation and discernment. Parishioners were given the opportunity to contribute as were some of the parents of students at St Aloysius, Chisholm and Our Lady of Lourdes, Tarro. A shortlist of preferred names was presented to Bishop Bill and St Bede emerged as the preferred choice. So, who was Bede and why would we choose to name a school after him? Well, he is considered the first and only Doctor of the Church in England and is regarded as a most learned scholar. He was born in the seventh century and educated in a Benedictine community. He became a deacon, then a priest, and lived in the North of England in Jarrow. Bede was a prolific writer, completing


over 60 books. His most famous work is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In addition, he wrote poetry, historical works and texts on theology, science, cosmology and music. Bede was considered a most apt choice for the name of a school where learning − and more particularly, learning characterised by the Catholic tradition, culture and spirit − is the reason for its existence. St Bede’s, like Bede himself, will be a college that inspires students to excel in their learning across all fields of endeavour, including the sciences and mathematics, but also in creative pursuits such as the arts and humanities. Bede will be the symbol and example for our students to follow, where hard work and persistence across a range of academic pursuits will be encouraged and nurtured. We hope students at St Bede’s will aspire to be learners who are selfdirected, interested in learning for its own sake and as interested in science and astronomy as they are in literature, music and poetry. Equally importantly, Bede was known to be a man of gentleness and moderation. These qualities provide a wonderful basis on which to build the character of a new school community.

Now more than ever, we need to instil in young people a sense of gentleness of spirit and heart, for themselves and also for others. St Bede’s will be a vibrant community school where a real sense of belonging and spirit is fostered. The vision for St Bede’s is a school where commitment to social justice and community outreach is apparent in word and action. St Bede’s will encourage collaborative, team-based learning within a contemporary learning environment. Students will be encouraged to make links with their learning, locally and globally, and to develop partnerships with community members. The school will boast a beautiful, flexible design aesthetic, where learning spaces can be adapted and changed to meet the challenges of the day. We want St Bede’s students to be passionate and committed to their learning. Not only is St Bede a most appropriate choice for a place of learning, it also represents an opportunity to embrace and remember the original permanent church in Morpeth, St Bede’s. This church was built in 1870. Archbishop Bede Polding visited the Diocese of Maitland in the 1840s and perhaps, was the inspiration for the naming of this church.

Bishop Bill is delighted with the choice of St Bede as a name for our new secondary school. “Bede is a wonderful choice as both a name and an inspiration for our new college at Chisholm,” said Bishop Bill. “St Bede’s story is one of faithfulness, academic endeavour and gentleness of heart. Students will have much to gain from aspiring to the qualities St Bede modelled.” As the community of Chisholm grows, alongside it and in harmony with it, St Bede’s too will grow and flourish. St Bede’s Catholic College will be situated next to St Aloysius Catholic Primary School which opened in 2015. St Aloysius already has an enrolment of more than 200 students, and is expected to grow into a three-stream primary school. Interest in St Bede’s Catholic College is already strong. The school will eventually cater for approximately 1,100 students and will have state of the art buildings, facilities and recreation areas. Craig Wattam is Assistant Director, Catholic Schools Office. Initial expressions of interest for enrolment in 2018 can be made by contacting Ms Anne Atkins, P 4979 1331.

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Strategies to manage ADHD Q

By TANYA RUSSELL Registered Psychologist

CatholicCare's Counselling Team Leader, registered psychologist Tanya Russell, will address 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.


My eight-year-old son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and has been prescribed medication to help manage the condition. Although we are relieved that the medication has created a calmer home, I don’t want to rely on medication. Can you recommend any strategies to help us manage the ups and downs that come with ADHD? As the parent, you are the expert in your son’s behaviours – positive and negative. This is the starting point for thinking about strategies to move forward. Not only is it important to find ways to reduce or manage the difficult behaviours, it is also important to acknowledge your son’s positive behaviours. Some of the key things to keep in mind when supporting any child with ADHD are: • Have patience: we know that a child with ADHD can be up to two years behind his or her peers’ maturity level so try not to set expectations that are unrealistic for your son and your family. Also, consider your own self-care as a parent of a child with additional needs and take some regular time out for yourself. Remember that the healthier and calmer you are, the more focused and present you can be as a parent. • Despite the difficult behaviours you may have to deal with, remember to continue to create a positive relationship with your son. Find ways to connect with your son by creating special times. • Establish clear routines and rules in your home and be clear about expected behaviours outside your home. Plan ahead

so you are ready to face public meltdowns or mischief.

deal with it effectively right now, due to your own feelings.

• Be consistent in rewards and consequences. Verbal praise is a powerful positive reinforcer of ‘good’ behaviour as are reward charts, stickers, hugs and other small tokens of appreciation. Make a big deal when you ‘catch’ your son doing something positive but also be prepared to implement consequences when your son is behaving in a non-tolerable way. Most young children take some time to learn about consequences but this is much more challenging for a child with ADHD. Being consistent will continue to be a teaching tool, in combination with rewards of course.

If you feel you need to act on the behaviour, you could try:

When deciding which strategy works best for each situation, break down the situation by figuring out why the behaviour is happening and then label the behaviour for your son. Tell him what you are observing. Then you need to ask yourself: do I let this go or do I act on this behaviour? Reasons to ‘let it go’ may include: the behaviour is only a minor issue and the problem should resolve itself; the behaviour is not ‘good’ but is not targeted this week (eg on the reward chart), or you feel you cannot

• Ignoring the behaviour completely (this works better for lower level behaviours such as attention-seeking) • Apply a consequence for the behaviour such as, “If you fight over the toy, we put it away until tomorrow” or “If you spill something, you will need to clean it up”. • Using a token reward at times when you see the positive behaviour return or rewarding other positive behaviours not related to the problem behaviour • Using a calming strategy such as deep breathing, ‘shaking it off’, jumping up and down on the spot or even a quiet activity like colouring • Time out if all else fails. There are many resources available on the internet. I encourage you to read as much as possible about ADHD and through trial and error, you will find the strategies that work best for you and your family.

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One by One

The making of mothers: call the midwife! By JOSEPHINE STANWELL

Not only Mother’s Day, but the International Day of Midwives, are celebrated in May. Local midwife and more, Josephine Stanwell, shares her story. Josephine with her grand-daughters, Miranda Stanwell, Audrey Hanlon and Penelope Stanwell.

At the start of every year, when I was a student at San Clemente High School, Mayfield, in the late 1960s and early 70s, we were asked to fill in a form about ourselves and our families. One of the questions asked what we enjoyed doing and what we would like to do when we grew up. Each year my reply changed slightly but it was always about wanting to help others and being a mother. When I finished senior high school I received a scholarship to attend the University of Newcastle for four years to become an English/French teacher. Even though nursing was my preferred choice, I found the opportunity to become a teacher was also appealing and so I followed the education path. 1977 was a big year – I married in February, received my Bachelor of Arts degree in April, completed a Diploma of Education and gave birth to our first daughter just before Christmas. My husband then took up his first teaching position in Tooleybuc, NSW. We moved to the country and I began a career as a mother. I also began doing some casual teaching, mostly in primary schools, and for several years I enjoyed teaching piano at both St Paul’s Primary School, Rutherford, and St Joseph’s High School, Lochinvar. In 2001 I was invited to attend the birth of 10

my first grandchild, Priya, who is only 11 months younger than her Uncle Ben. That experience helped to strengthen my longheld wish to become a midwife. I loved the way the midwives stayed calm and reassuring; offering advice and support while maintaining the dignity of the women in their care. So, 27 years after I began my first degree and ten children later, I decided it was time to start a new career. With encouragement from my daughter, Lucy, who was already a nurse, and a tour of the University of Newcastle on an Open Day, I applied for and gained a position in the new Bachelor of Midwifery degree course.

are still working there now. Having had ten children proved to be beneficial in many unexpected ways. Computer skills were suddenly vital if I were to complete assignments, as were learning to reference and submitting said assignments. With most of the children having already completed degrees or in the process of studying, I had built-in experts who were both endlessly patient with finding lost documents and great sources of encouragement when it all seemed too hard. The children at home also learned to cook and became more organised and independent as I was called away to one of ‘my women’ who was about to give birth at any time of the day or night. In some ways the Bachelor of Midwifery degree belongs to all of the family because I certainly would not have been able to achieve it without the children’s help.

He inherited from his mother, and has in turn passed on to Catherine, a pragmatic approach to any challenge...

After three years full-time study (which also included many hours of clinical work at the hospital and following 30 women throughout their pregnancies, births and the postnatal period) I became a Registered Midwife on Christmas Eve in 2013. I was fortunate to receive a permanent part-time position at Maitland Hospital twelve months later. This was like home away from home for me, as my three youngest children were born there and several of the staff who took care of me then

For me, the role of a midwife is to be ‘with women’ and is concerned with the making of mothers. While most people think midwives just ‘deliver babies’, there is much more

involved, both before and after the day of birth. My work encompasses the care of women and their babies from the beginning of their pregnancy until six weeks after birth, and sometimes longer. At Maitland Hospital midwives rotate through Antenatal, Birthing and Postnatal wards as well as the Special Care Nursery. I love talking and being with women. Offering education about their upcoming birth and supporting and assisting women with breastfeeding and postnatal care is both a privilege and a rewarding career. Living close to where I work means that I often bump into women I have looked after and they always delight in showing off their babies and telling me how they are getting along. I can also relate to many issues a pregnant woman or new mother faces since I have experienced a number of them during my own pregnancies, childbirth and newborn years. Furthermore, I realise and appreciate how blessed I am to have ten healthy, intelligent and beautiful children. Most of my own babies have now grown up and have children of their own. With the grandchildren count currently numbering eleven, it feels like there has always been a baby or toddler in the house – and that is just the way I like it!

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Spend time with us at Refugee Service

lunches have become a ritual at the converted presbytery where these ladies (and some male volunteers) assist refugees by empowering them to enjoy happy and productive lives in our community. As I listened, I realised that their experiences in volunteering are ones of hope.


I recently lunched with a group of ladies I had never met, yet it was like breaking bread with long lost friends. They are warm-hearted, passionate, open-minded and driven. I asked many questions, perhaps too many; nevertheless, with each response they grew in enthusiasm and conviction. They are passionate about what they are doing − and helping others has helped them too. The lunch was an informal affair at Wilson Street, Mayfield West, the home of CatholicCare Refugee Service. It is a place of welcome and support for refugees and their families − and curious visitors like me are welcome too. The women are a volunteer army, from various walks of life, who all became close friends through the service. Shared

Each volunteer brings his or her unique talents − organisational skills, sewing, teaching English or accompanying refugees to appointments such as accommodation inspections and swimming lessons. Small tasks make a big difference in the lives of refugees finding their way in a foreign country. During our conversation it became apparent that it’s not just about what the volunteers are doing for the refugees, but what assisting the refugees has done for them. They shared their joy in making new friends with the refugees and fellow volunteers. They smile as they tell me what it has meant to them, to be the friendly face these people desperately need after years of hardship. It was also clear that they are incredibly passionate about assisting the refugees, many of whom were once professionals in their homeland, to unlock their full potential. I learned that despite a strong work ethic, ‘red tape’ and the language

rnagh rsj Sr Kathleen Me graph ra Richardson, , Mayfield. Photo Brookes, Barba ce n rvi ee Se Eil ee rs fug tee Re Volun are licC tho Ca t tchella and Maureen Mi ne Isaac. courtesy of Joan

barrier prevent many from contributing to the Australian workforce. Some 25 volunteers and three staff work to respond to the 250+ enquiries CatholicCare Refugee Services receives each month. No request for help by refugees, or offer of assistance by a volunteer, would ever be turned down.

know that by helping the refugees to learn new skills, and collaborating with other service providers on their behalf, we are providing hope. I feel very privileged to undertake such important work and to be supported by a group of talented, kind-hearted and driven volunteers,” Ms Kelland said.

National Volunteer Week is held 9-15 May. This is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. It’s also a timely reminder of how I might be able to contribute to my local community.

“The work our volunteers do is amazing. They’re helping to rebuild lives and activate change for refugee families who are so desperate to start anew,” said Co-ordinator of Refugee Services, Tania Kelland.

I will leave you with the words of the volunteers: “Come and spend some time with us at Refugee Service. We can use everyone’s talents; even talents you don’t know you have! What the refugees have been through is often unimaginable but in just a few hours a week, or a month, you can make a huge difference.”

“Our aim is to be a centre of welcome, hospitality, friendship, fun, healing and communication. It is incredibly rewarding to

To learn more, please P Tania Kelland, 4979 1352 or E

May May itinerary itinerary



Welcoming all to come in and have a chat. Welcoming all to come in and have a chat. 0448 292 523 0448 292 523 @mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday

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Creator of model training centre recognised

By TRACEY EDSTEIN Englishman Clifford Beazley AM, went away to sea at the age of 17, joining the merchant navy and making his way through the ranks, eventually becoming captain. The young seafaring Cliff could not have imagined being awarded an AM by His Excellency General, The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of NSW, in recognition of establishing a unique ship handling training centre.

the government to scrap Australian shipping which is expensive to run, and use foreign shipping…very few Australian captains now come here for training.” Most of Cliff’s working life has been spent in Australia, firstly in Sydney, and moving to Newcastle in 1973. For 27 years he was a Newcastle Harbour pilot, and his son, Andrew, followed him.

Cliff visited Australia as a young man and met Cath Buggy. They corresponded for some years and eventually married in England. As he recalls, “British shipping was in massive decline in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and virtually disappeared in the 1980s, in the same way as Australian shipping has disappeared in this decade.

Approaching 60, an age when many seek a slower pace, Cliff and his family conceived an entirely new venture, and it’s this that was recognised by his Australia Day honour. With Cath’s support, Cliff spent several years establishing Port Ash, ‘Ash’ representing Australian Ship Handling. He says, “At least starting at that age, you have some idea what you’re doing.”

“Bit by bit, shippers have prevailed upon

While electronic simulators are used to good


Captain Cliff Beazley AM with one of the Port Ash fleet ships.

effect in pilot training, Cliff explains, “The need for models came in my last ten years as senior pilot in Newcastle as the new pilots didn’t have the experience because of the shrinking of the Australian merchant fleet and the greying of the workforce. Simulators were starting to blossom, but there are things you can’t teach on a simulator – it has no depth of field for example.

the merchant and Royal Australian navies

“My hobby of making model ships overlapped with my profession, and led to Port Ash.” There are only five such centres in the world.

computers dawned in the 1980s,” said Cliff.

Port Ash is essentially a small harbour hosting six ships, eight scale replicas of tugs, two large barges and a destroyer under construction. The 2.5 hectare manmade lake, constructed at 25:1 scale, has deep and shallow areas. Trainee pilots from

he and Cath are members of St Brigid’s

come for five days, alternating ‘on water’ experience with the classroom. While it all looks like great fun, it’s serious business – but far safer than the ‘real thing’! “In hindsight, Port Ash has recreated the well-tried but expensive training ships that were hastily thrown away when the age of Now in his 70s, Cliff is still working hard but his commitment and passion are obvious. He enjoys living in Port Stephens and Parish community. They’re the only people I know who can look forward to sailing a destroyer in their own backyard!

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Family Matters


Beauty personified in the eyes of their children My friend’s mother died late last year and at her funeral, her two sons and one of her grandchildren delivered a wonderful eulogy. The stories they told reflected the depth of their love for a very special lady, but there was one moment that touched me deeply. Her son was recalling a memory of her from almost 60 years before, when he was only a young child. As he described his mum’s dark hair and the way she walked into the room, his voice caught and he had to stop, such was the power of that memory and his love for her. On the way home I couldn’t stop thinking about my friend’s brother as a young boy, looking at his mother and being literally bowled over by her beauty. I have a fouryear-old son who looks at me like that right now, so this powerful moment gave me a true insight into the way our children see us, both as young children and adults. The appreciation of a mother’s beauty never leaves her children, so why do we struggle as mums to acknowledge that beauty ourselves? I’m not talking about the external aesthetic, but the beauty we generate from our hearts. A young child doesn’t care about physical shape, perfect makeup, designer clothes or grey hair. Young children live in the moment and are not bothered with society’s expectations and notions of ‘beauty’. To them, their mother is simply beauty personified. So how can we tap in to our children’s perception of us as mums? We can start by

acknowledging our true beauty. Our beauty is in our body, as we grow and birth our children, withstanding and defying all the odds, embracing the pain and the miracle. It is in our stretch marks and our dilapidated pelvic floors. Our beauty is in our resilience as we lose sleep and time and our senses. It is in the unrelenting monotony of the day to day. Our beauty is in our hands, arms and backs as we bathe, dress, hold, carry and caress. It is in the fact that we are still up when everyone else is asleep. Our beauty is in our strength when our children are in pain, when we do whatever we can to help them. It is the willingness to transfer their pain onto ourselves so that their load is lighter. Our beauty is in our ears as we listen and really hear our children, so that they know they are special and loved beyond measure. It is in the way we know what they are truly saying, the reading between the lines. Our beauty is in our persistence when we never give up despite the slammed doors, screaming, bad decisions and lack of gratitude. It is in the faith we have in their goodness. Our beauty is in our voices as we whisper words of love, teach and tell our own stories. It is in the way we use our tongue to speak the truth. Our beauty is in our ability to be the proverbial punching bag for everyone’s emotions, good and bad. It is in the way we absorb the blows and respond. And our beauty is in the keeping track, the meetings, notes, emails, organising, driving, budgets and research. It’s in the showing up,

the gut instinct and our unending capacity to forgive. But most of all, our beauty is in our hearts, where the desire and will and energy to love in a way that is almost impossible to comprehend, is born and nourished. Our beauty transforms and empowers. And while there may not be much beauty in the moments we aren’t at our best, there is great beauty in the way we move on and try again.

motherhood anthem! Vance Joy sings, You’re the fire and the flood And I’ll always feel you in my blood Everything is fine When your head’s resting next to mine Next to mine You’re the fire and the flood.

Mothers spend so much time questioning what we’re not getting right, we forget to acknowledge the things we’re doing well. We are so caught up in the busyness of each day that we are in constant danger of missing all those ‘beauty’ moments. Being mindful is the key to unlocking the transformative effect of recognising our own beauty. As Piero Ferrucci puts it in What We May Be, when we “fully appreciate beauty we become more than we were…we effortlessly build a stronghold against the negative pressures that life inevitably brings”.

My three kids and I often sing along loudly

My youngest loves to sing and dance in the car, although he does not like to perform. If you try to watch him, he stops. It is exquisitely hard to resist turning in your seat or adjusting the mirror to revel in his joy of the song. But because I love to hear his little voice singing words he may not yet understand, I try to make do with my peripheral vision. His latest favourite tune, after a long period of only wanting to hear “Look Down” from Les Miserables, is the Vance Joy song, “Fire and the Flood”. Although this song is about a romantic relationship it has become, for me, a

which comforts, purifies and strengthens all

to this song and when we do I definitely feel that connection between us, the beauty both in myself as a mother and in my children as well. Mothers are there through the inevitable fires and floods of their children’s lives, and as children we do feel fine if our mother’s head rests next to ours, no matter our age. Mothers are beautiful. As Louisa May Alcott put it in her novel, Jo’s Boys, “Dan clung to her in speechless gratitude, feeling the blessedness of mother love – that divine gift who seek it.” Let’s acknowledge the gift we are to our family, and take the time to affirm others in their role as mum. Let’s try to see and appreciate those ‘beauty’ moments each day. Happy Mother’s Day!




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Keeping the faith and healing those who hurt


Recently I remarked on the “extra special care” we need to show for each other as we react to the landscape of sexual abuse that has been heightened since the commencement of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (RC). Aurora has invited me to consider how this might be done, attitudinally and practically. Finding answers is much tougher than acknowledging a need! All of us, but particularly those in Church communities, so close to the intensity of clerical abuse and individual and public pain, are reeling. Initially, it seemed impossible to believe − now it seems impossible to know what to do. We are trying to understand how and why the litany of abuse occurred; how to prevent such abuses recurring; how to help heal victims and each other. People are responding in denial and disbelief; feeling immobilised; challenging the reality; feeling violated by the Church in which our feet were planted; running away from the shame; retreating to secularism; dismissing the issue as an historical event; defending our Church and reminding others that most sexual abuse occurs in families; rejecting faith, or rejecting the clerical side of our Church. Perhaps we adopt various responses at various times and with various friends, family or work colleagues? ‘How to respond’, individually and collectively, has occupied my mind since well before the advent of the RC. Having worked with victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse for 40 years, I have been privileged to share insights into the horrors of their pain. I have also been privy to the failure of people to understand the gravity of the violation in

clerical or familial sexual abuse and its lifelong impact. Above all, the men and women who are the survivors of abuse are the ones who need “extra special care”. This is not just the domain of therapists and counsellors. If we are to truly live our shared common humanity – all of us people of God – we must be able to accept suffering, the human frailty that accompanies it, and the need to counter the diminishment of our fellow travellers. Included in that frailty is our own. It is tough to engage with the pain of others and to acknowledge our own complicity in causing pain. If we are to be deeply human, we need to address our own attitudes to vulnerability and frailty. As the RC has already demonstrated, we are all of us complicit in some way in the failure to protect children. The safety and protection of children, and of all who are vulnerable, are the responsibility of each of us. Catholic Social Teaching requires no less. It is also important to acknowledge that so many are suffering. Most will suffer differently and less profoundly than the direct victims but their suffering can be palpable. Families suffer the shared pain and sometimes guilt by inaction or apparent complicity, and may hurt for generations. Similarly, innocent members of our Church congregations, many elderly, suffer the stain of their association with members of their congregations with whom they have dedicated their lives. We are blessed with thousands of priests who live dedicated lives of faith and who now grapple with the sense of contagion, disbelief and confusion. There are many, many thousands of men and women who work for various Catholic ministries. Here we have people

of deep faith, many faiths and no faith, all inspired by the Gospel and the call to service. How do they make sense of abuse that may have occurred in their communities? In our Church communities we often sit in silence as we wonder what this all means to us, our children and friends who listen and who walk with their feet, and their souls, away from our Church. Implicit in these ideas is an inner space of acceptance that will promise to bring some peace and healing, and a healthier future. Acceptance of what? That such terrible evil and harm has occurred; that people who have suffered must be believed and respected; that good people can do terrible things; that to hurt a child is to change a life forever; that we all share a frail human condition. Above all is the need to accept that our Church too is frail. When asked why he had remained a committed Catholic despite his negative experiences, the great author, Morris West, said something like, “because the Church is a divinely human institution”. Perceptively, in his memoirs he also said, “Institutional power distances men and women from their own humanity.” Let us all be alert to the seductiveness of institutional power as we “take extra special care”. Along with the capacity for evil is the capacity for good – and this is so evident in those of faith who continue their journeys of hope and mutual caring despite the evidence of evil that threatens to annihilate belief and goodness. We will all experience degrees of pain as we confront evil and human failure in the history of our community and our Church. And as we face our doubts and our pain, we can still hold on to the teachings of Jesus,

walk in humility with him and engage with his suffering in the garden. In the story of Jesus’ temptations, God reveals in his son Jesus the joy of his love and also the vulnerability of his human frailty. What does this mean in practical terms? Embrace survivors and those in pain. Don’t hide from them. Talk about your own distress. Listen to the distress of others and particularly those who cannot believe or who feel abandoned by their Church. Share prayers of forgiveness, talk with each other, perhaps form or join a group and acknowledge the frailty that surrounds us all. Above all, we might keep in mind what Jesus said, “By this shall all know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.” It’s his special message that underpins our “extra special care”. Member of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Professor Maria Harries AM, is Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in Social Work and Social Policy in the School of Population Health at The University of Western Australia. She is Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia. Her career has been dedicated to assisting children and families, particularly in relation to mental health and trauma associated with experiences of abuse and violence.

Frankly Spoken

Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centred individualism… It is they who testify to the beauty of life. Certainly, a society without mothers would be dehumanised, for mothers are always, even in the worst of times, witnesses to tenderness, dedication and moral strength. Amoris Laetitia n174


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The Catholic Thing

What are we doing on earth for Christ’s sake? By RICHARD LEONARD SJ

The most eloquent argument in support of belief is not what we say, but what we do. Jesuit Richard Leonard introduces his latest book, “What are we doing on earth for Christ’s sake?” Flying is both a joy and a risk for a priest. I have been blessed − or cursed − to fly often. Generally I enjoy it, but I choose to fly under the radar (pardon the pun). I rarely wear clerical dress on a plane, mainly because clerical collars are uncomfortable. Secondly, these days, it repels as many as it attracts. Nonetheless, even when travelling in mufti, and before my earphones are firmly inserted, a chatty traveller sometimes asks, “What do you do?” St Ignatius Loyola was very keen on the art of the spiritual conversation, and so am I, but not in the sky. Ignatius knew nothing about 17 hours in economy! However, one of my most memorable plane conversations led to this book. I was flying from New York City to Los Angeles. As I settled into row 44, the very friendly young man next to me asked me what I did. I told him. He said he had been a Catholic. I noted his emphasis on the past tense, but said nothing. He wasn’t sure about anything to do with faith and spirituality. I told him I was a Jesuit, which led him to tell me he had recently read two books by a Jesuit priest; Where the Hell is God? and Why Bother Praying? “Do you know them?” he asked. “Yes, I know them very well – I wrote them.” He would not believe me until I showed him my card. Thomas and I had a long and engaging conversation about the issues the books had raised, for him and for me. And though we were as discreet as we could be, some of our fellow passengers must have longed for an emergency landing because of the advanced theology seminar happening at the back of the plane. Tom, 30, was an Ivy League graduate. He was also a serious

humanitarian, working for Habitat for Humanity during summer holidays. His wrestling with belief, theology, prayer and the problem of evil arose from personal experiences. He told me that as much as he found my earlier books accessible and helpful, they did not address a fundamental issue for him and most of his friends − the why of belief. “We just get worn down by the growing chorus of people who say ‘religion is all nuts and you can be a good person and make a difference in the world and not believe anything more than that’…. and the Catholic Church has made it very easy to leave in recent years….I guess what I am struggling with is what are we actually doing on earth for Christ’s sake?” As soon as Tom said, “for Christ’s sake” he apologised, fearing he had offended me. Not at all. Everything that every baptised person does is meant to be “for Christ’s sake”. I left that plane knowing I had a new book to write and a title already! What are we doing on earth for Christ’s sake? offers gentle and respectful answers to the questions posed by secular culture, and especially by our detractors, whose voices are louder than ever. I want to answer some of the major concerns of some of our young people about faith, religion and the Church. I offer some hopeful ways forward in sobering times. The first third of the book looks at the belief and unbelief debate: • common ground between believers and non-believers, most of whom want the same things − kindness, truthfulness, care for the earth, justice, peace and love; • dialogue with atheists can challenge us to greater clarity in our thinking, demanding rationality, seeking the case for religious groups influencing social policy and law, and asking whether we practise what we preach. • In our pluralistic democracies Christianity should not only defend religious freedom but the freedom not to believe. Atheists and agnostics have a right to disagree with everything we hold to be true, but our conversations should be marked by dignity and respect. • Christians are not all the same. Most of the world’s Christians do not, for example, accept the Bible literally. • Not all atheists are the same. Nick Spencer in Atheists: the Origin of the Species, argues

we should talk of “atheisms rather than atheism”. We should know where our critics are coming from. Atheists may not like it but religion’s back. • We have to choose between religion and science. Science asks how we came to be here. Faith asks why we are here. Science looks at the mechanics. Faith addresses meaning. • Within the arguments from science for belief in God, I explore balance, detail, complexity and synchronicity. As Eric Metaxas says, “…the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all ‘just happened’ defies common sense”. • While we have become used to being told we believe in ‘imaginary friends’, religious experience indicates that there are different ways for human beings to know things. Matters spiritual and religious are akin to love, forgiveness, beauty and conscience. • Believers are not exactly alone. Though appeals to numbers can be a fallacy, of the 7.02 billion people in the world, 31.6% are Christian, 23% Muslim, 15% Hindu, 7% Buddhist Sikh and 18% comprise all other religions, including our Jewish friends. On the world stage, the non-religious and atheist constitute 5.4% of the population. This last group is quickly growing, but the vast majority of the world’s people has some religious belief. • When many unbelievers reject God, it is sometimes because of the image of God they hear of and see in action. That God can be worth rejecting. As Martin Borg says in The God We Never Knew, “Tell me your image of God and I will tell you your theology.” The book’s second section is the fruit of a ‘Q&A’ with 30 young adults about their questions about religion, God, Church and belief. I was especially interested in those who had walked away from any belief in God or religion and the questions that saw them depart. So many were easily collated or refined into one question or a few themes. 1. Isn’t religion the cause of most wars? 2. Even if Christianity no longer has armies, what about Islam? Doesn’t the Qur’an insist on violent aggression? 3. How can anyone believe in God or

organised religion when the clergy has sexually abused children, and then Church leaders covered it up? 4. The Bible: how can anyone base their beliefs on a book filled with such contradictions, incorrect science and timebound customs? 5. Is there any evidence that Jesus actually lived, and, even if he did, isn’t his story just a religious version of the Superman story? 6. How could a good and loving God want Jesus to suffer and die? 7. Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, Christians believe eternal life is opened to humanity. But how can anyone believe in a God who can also damn people? 8. Given that Jesus was a simple man who advocated for the poor, isn’t the Church’s wealth and power a major stumbling block? 9. If Christians don’t have the morality-market cornered, then why follow any religion’s moral code? Why not just have your own? 10. I resent Christians imposing their values on me and our country’s laws. If Christians have to believe in their fairytales, can they just do so privately? 11. The worst aspect of religion is its moralising. How can such outdated thinking offer anything to modern society? My brief answers take seriously the dialogue each of these should invite. I hope this book will become a resource for those who want to respond to our critics, an invitation for greater conversation and an arguing partner for those who disagree with everything upon which Christians stand. Finally, the book argues that the most eloquent argument in support of belief is not what we say, but what we do. Christian people I know have taught me that Christianity is not about pursuing happiness, but about being the most faithful, hopeful and loving person I can be. It never comes down to what we say, but to who we are and what we do. Rev Dr Richard Leonard sj is an Australian Jesuit. What are we doing on earth for Christ’s sake? is available from www. Aurora has a copy to give away. Send an envelope with your name and postal address to the editor before 7 May.

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Seasons of Mercy

The artists get there first By PETER MUDGE

The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

I want to explore what art can teach us about mercy. I will focus here on Martin Hudácek’s sculpture, “Memorial for unborn children” and my own painting, “Jesus cures the woman with the flow of cash”. The Child Who Was Never Born/Memorial for Unborn Children (2010) As an art student, Slovakian Martin Hudácek created a sculpture to draw attention to the devastation abortion can bring to a woman, and to the fact that through the love and mercy of God, reconciliation and healing are possible.

It also involves the dimension of judgement whereby the judge or superior releases the wrongdoer from punishment and thus exercises mercy – as well as some awareness that God is the primary locus of mercy. As Harak states, “… even without specific reference to their sin, God must have mercy toward creatures so…they can continue to live in God’s presence. In short, ‘What God has created, God’s mercy sustains’”.5 In terms of Hudácek’s sculpture, it could be said that the woman kneels in judgement but is released by the mercy of God, personified by the child’s gesture of forgiveness fused with blessing.

Read the abovementioned passage from Mark, look at the painting, focus on mercy, and come up with your own interpretations. I sometimes ask people to propose speech bubbles for Jesus, the woman, the card, the table, the mountain. What is Jesus saying with respect to mercy? How does the woman respond – what type of cure is she requesting? This painting, like the previous sculpture, returns

Finally, as Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has observed, “Justice and mercy either go hand in hand, each preparing the steps of the other, or they both limp along, groping in the fog.”8 Without the lens of art, as one important tool revealing the depths of mercy, we too might limp and grope through the fog, instead of walking upright by the light of a merciful God. Dr Peter Mudge is Senior Lecturer in Religious Education and Spirituality at The Broken Bay Institute, Pennant Hills and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science, The University of Newcastle. He teaches religious education, theory and practice, and spirituality – traditions, practices and values. He has written an online course on the study of religious traditions to assist teachers more on li ad of HSC Studies of Religion. He practises art in his home studio. Read a longer version e w s.t o of this article online. ne

Jesus cures the woman with the flow of cash (Peter Mudge, 2005) The second painting is held by the Episcopal parish of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often used as an exemplar in sermons.

Adopting the techniques of Vermeer, Caravaggio and others, the painting captures the ‘action’ at a critical time. Is the woman handing over the credit card to Jesus or is she thinking better of her decision and ‘withdrawing’ it? The gold on the left of the card seems to indicate she is relinquishing one of her prized possessions, and its links to consumerism and possessiveness. Jesus gestures with compassion and mercy. The woman touches a small table, a detail from Andrei Rublev’s “Trinity” (1411 or 1425-27) which acts as a threshold. The table is marked by five red wounds referring to the passion of Christ (also shared by the woman?). A dark shadow on the woman’s veil looks like a hand.

Freud has famously noted, “The artists get there first”7 – they ‘see’ reality most truly before others do. The associations between art and mercy discussed in terms of these works would appear to support Freud.


The sculpture (used with permission²) shows a woman in great sorrow grieving her abortion. The second figure in the work is the aborted child, a young girl, who comes to the mother to offer forgiveness. The work does not adopt a moral position concerning abortion – it simply endeavours to show the viewer the aftermath of the event, the responses of mother and potential child, and the mercy shown by God through the child. Remnants of red in both figures perhaps demonstrate the suffering associated with such

In addition, this work reflects the complex and multifaceted nature of mercy. In the eyes of G Simon Harak, mercy is a constellation of attitudes and practices ranging from contrition and forgiveness to reconciliation. However, mercy differs in one important respect from forgiveness in that it is always a one-way communication from One to another.

us to one of the fundamental meanings of mercy – and one linked to our own ethical behaviour as well as the attributes of the God of Mercy. Mercy at its most basic level refers to that mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries. It looks for the very best a person can be and treats him or her better than they would otherwise be treated. Mercy is tempered by justice and forgives all. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity, compassion, justice and clemency. 6


You might opt for a perennial favourite – Picasso’s “Weeping woman”; Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son”; Goya’s “The Third of May 1808”; Van Gogh’s “Self-portrait with bandaged ear”; Sieger Köder’s “Home – the invitation poster” or even William Etty’s “Mercy interceding for the Vanquished”. (See endnotes¹).

Hudácek has noted that the sculpture also, “expresses hope which is given to believers by the One who died on the cross for us, and showed how much He cares about all of us.”³ In like manner, Pope Francis has called the Church to be an “oasis of mercy” in a wounded and violent world. He prefers to understand ‘mercy’ as ‘mercy-ing’, an ongoing and active outreach to others.4 This too, I believe, is what this sculpture is attempting to communicate.

The painting uses some background images and colours derived from the design of icons such as the mountain behind the figure of Christ. The Christ figure is taken from a Duccio (di Buoninsegna) painting, “The calling of the apostles Peter and Andrew” (c.1308-1311). The image of the woman on the left has been extracted from Jan Vermeer’s “Woman holding a balance” (Woman weighing gold) (c. 1664). She also references another biblical woman with a flow of blood, a pagan and outsider, afterwards cured by Jesus (Mark 5:25-34). Jesus is gesturing towards the woman who holds a credit card, stained with blood as is her inner tunic.


If I were to ask you to associate a work of art with the theme of ‘mercy’, which one would you nominate?

a traumatic event and possibly link the narrative with the passion of Christ.


These words suggest that true mercy flows and is given freely. It is characterised by gentleness and availability. Contemplating art is one way of observing mercy and being receptive to the quality of mercy in one’s own life and community.

1 Websites on which you can view some of these images, all retrieved on 7/03/16: Picasso’s “The weeping woman”, ; Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son”, of_the_Prodigal_Son_(Rembrandt) ; Goya’s “The Third of May 1808”, ; Van Gogh’s “Self-portrait with bandaged ear”, https://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-portrait_with_bandaged_ear_(1889,_Courtauld_Institute).jpg ; Sieger Köder, “Jubilee of mercy – roller banner”, at; and William Etty, “Mercy interceding for the Vanquished”, ; 2 The image reproduced here is discussed at the site, April 2, 2012. It can be located at The home page of the artist is at html 3 See previous note. 4 For both quotes and ideas refer to Andreas Batlogg & Daniel Izuzquiza. (2015). “A merciful Church for a wounded world”. Thinking Faith. 4 December 2015, p. 1. 5 G. Simon Harak. (2007). Mercy. In Orlando O. Espín & James B. Nickoloff (eds.). An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, pp. 856-857. 6 Based on the King James Version Dictionary definition of ‘mercy’. Retrieved on 21/3/16 from 7 Quoted in Steven Garber. (2010). Visions of vocation: Common grace for the common good. New York: InterVarsity Press; p. 69. Originally cited by Sigmund Freud. 8 Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. (2009). “Justice and Mercy”. L’Osservatore Romano. 14 January 2009, p. 13.


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Rising from the ashes – life after death in Cambodia By MARK TOOHEY

(D ioc es e of Ch urch , Ta om ay er, St Ma ry’s pr at rs ne hio Pa ris Ba tta mb an g).

Cambodia is a country which has suffered much. The Catholic Church in Cambodia is working with the predominantly Buddhist population to rebuild from the ashes something new, vibrant and beautiful. Catholics comprise part of the five per cent who are Christians. Another five per cent is Muslim while the majority is Theravada Buddhist. Cambodia was utterly devastated under the dictator Pol Pot who, in 1975-1979, attempted to establish an agrarian communist utopia with the Khmer Rouge. The regime killed over two million of its own people and displaced countless more to refugee camps. The Church, and anything associated with the West, were early and easy targets. The 19th century French Gothic revival Cathedral in Phnom Penh and all but four rural churches were destroyed. Many baptised and

Diocesan Director for Catholic Mission, Mark Toohey, visited Cambodia recently. Mark witnessed projects which will soon be the focus of Catholic Mission’s fundraising across Australian parishes. Catholic Mission has supported the Church for over 175 years and operates in 160 countries. Here is Mark’s account of his visit.

clergy were killed, starved or forced to leave the country. Cambodia remains one of the world’s most diadvantaged countries. Over 80 per cent of the population lives in rural areas growing rice or working for poor wages in factories owned by multinational companies. Forty-four per cent is aged under 14 years. Critical issues include low literacy, high unemployment, preventable diseases, landmines and grinding poverty. Concerns about climate change arise as the country experiences its fourth year of drought. ‘Mega-dams’ which Laos and China threaten to build further up the Mekong River would have disastrous effects. Many small communities of Catholics cautiously emerged in the years following the genocide. They

were often centred on one or two lay leaders who had maintained their faith and inspired others through prayer and service to their mostly Buddhist neighbours. There is a few indigenous clergy, and a multicultural band of missionary priests and religious who must learn Khmer before working in parishes and Catholic schools. They work to support projects engaging the whole community. A steady flow of people is attracted to Catholicism. Generally they must be over 18 and have completed three years of instruction before they are received into the Church. Many striking examples of Khmer culture are being incorporated into church life, architecture and liturgy through distinctive song, dance, art and prayer.

This is not simply giving the liturgy a Cambodian guise, but something deeper: the people’s way of experiencing God. What is emerging is not French colonialist Catholicism but a distinctively indigenous Church, arising from the grassroots and often lay-led. The priority is to restore life after the war in Cambodia, becoming witnesses of God’s love, mercy and compassion, a priority stronger than any force of hatred or death, ideology or partisan religion. The annual Catholic Mission Church Appeal will occur in each Catholic parish one weekend through May-August. To support the appeal or learn more, P Mark, 0408 020 511 or visit www.catholicmission.


GIVE US A SIGN runs through the month of May and gives all churches, schools and individuals the chance to stand together to call for peace. To find out more visit

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Is it time for a difficult but necessary conversation?

The risen Christ, Sacred Heart Columbarium.

Dust you are and to dust you shall return. Genesis (3:19) “Do you want to be buried or cremated?” is not usually a question you ask around the dinner table, and for many years, cremation wasn’t even an option available to Catholics. However, since Pope Paul VI lifted the ban in 1963, cremation has become an increasingly popular option among Catholics. Such a decision requires an important conversation, or conversations, and although some may find this topic uncomfortable, it could be seen as a kindness to pass on final wishes to loved ones − so the dinner table may not be a bad place to initiate these conversations. Following the example of Christ’s burial, the early Christian church rejected the practice of cremation, believing that the body was to remain intact for resurrection. This practice continued in Christian-ruled countries for over 1500 years. During that time, cremation was strongly opposed by Christians, as early pagan cremations were seen as a denial of Christ’s resurrection. In 789, to ensure the dead were buried, Charles the Great, King of the Franks, went so far as to create a law punishing the act of cremation by death. In 1870, following the creation of the first modern cremation chamber in Italy, the popularity of cremation began to rise. In 1886, the Catholic Church officially banned cremations. Since 1963, the Vatican has permitted cremation, but only if that choice is not a reflection of doubt or disbelief of Catholic teachings surrounding death, resurrection and eternal life. The Church also gives specific instruction surrounding the treatment of the remains of one who has died. As a 18

dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, a person’s remains must be treated with respect, placed in a worthy container and then buried or placed in a columbarium. The practice of scattering remains or keeping remains at home is not consistent with the Church’s belief that the body must always be treated with respect.

respect for the body of the deceased which was once the dwelling place of God. Like all burial places, columbaria remind us to pray for the dead and help us to keep in mind our belief in the resurrection. They become sacred places where people pause to reflect, to remember, to pray and to be renewed in hope.”

says Sugarloaf Parish Secretary, Mel

These new rules, along with the rising costs of traditional burial services and diminishing burial grounds, have in turn led to an increase in cremations and the erection of columbaria across the Diocese of MaitlandNewcastle. A columbarium generally consists of an arrangement of niches in a mausoleum or a wall, into which an urn or other worthy vessel containing remains is placed as an enduring memorial to a loved one. The openings are covered with an inscribed plaque that acts as a memorial for the deceased and an attractive, practical alternative to burial in a cemetery.

Many churches now have a columbarium within their grounds. The latest columbarium is the newly-developed Sacred Heart Columbarium, in the grounds of the cathedral, which opened in November 2015. The dominant sculptural image of the risen Christ captures the foundational belief of Christianity.

the Manning Region, the statistics on burial

“From what I have observed, one of the biggest benefits of choosing a niche in a columbarium is the creation of an intimate connection between the living and the dead,” says the Dean of the Cathedral, Father Andrew Doohan.

have only known of one cremation, so the

“The building of columbaria on church grounds has put cremation in front of people’s faces,” says Diocesan Co-ordinator of Liturgy and Adult Faith Formation, Sr Louise Gannon rsj, who is currently exploring the Order of Christian Funerals through Stepping Stones, a diocesan formation program for parishioners who assist families in preparing Catholic funerals.

“I often see people wander through the columbarium after Mass and visit their families,” says Andrew.

ensure remains are respected,” says Andrew

“The choice of burial or cremation is a personal one, but I have definitely seen how cremation can help the grieving process and allow it to unfold at a more natural pace.

same whether your body is buried or you

“In my experience, parishioners across the diocese seem to be very open to cremation and having their ashes in a columbarium,” says Louise. “Visiting the remains of a loved one in a columbarium at the parish church can be easier for people and they can be sure that it will be well maintained. This care of the columbarium is an extension of the Church’s

“As there is a gap in time (usually a couple of weeks), between cremation and interment (the placing of the urn into the niche), this time can help people to deal with their grief.”

McNamara. “Having our own columbarium at Holy Cross Church, Glendale, also has a lot to do with their decision, as people like the idea of being ‘buried’ on church grounds,” says Mel. In Krambach, two hours north of Glendale in versus cremation are slightly different. “St Bernadette’s Catholic Church Krambach does not have a columbarium; however, Krambach Cemetery has one,” says honorary secretary of Krambach Parish, Helen Legg. “In the 28 years I have lived in Krambach, I percentage is very low in this particular part of the Manning Valley,” says Helen. “No matter what you choose [cremation or burial], the most important thing is to Doohan. “The final words of committal are largely the are cremated so at the end of the day, the choice is yours,” says Andrew. Perhaps the season of Easter is the perfect time to reflect on these important decisions, in the light of the resurrection of Christ and the promise of everlasting life?

Cremation is a popular option in Newcastle’s Sugarloaf Parish.

To contact your local Catholic parish

“We estimate two-thirds of our parishioners tend to be cremated and believe the ones who are buried are the older ones who wish to be buried with their deceased partners,”

regarding these issues, please visit priests/parishes. See also www. change-loss-grief.

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Enjoy a cuppa for a friend Had life’s pathway been slightly more circuitous and led a teenage girl into matrimony with her favourite matinee idol of the time, then today, she might be known as Mrs Ada Gable or perhaps, Mrs Ada Bogart. As it turned out, Ada at age 21 met and married Max, the love of her life, and she became Mrs Ada Staader. Not an unmemorable name you would have to agree. Till Max’s recent passing, the couple enjoyed a happy marriage, celebrating their Diamond Jubilee. Ada has been an active participant in the life of the Parish of Wallsend-Shortland for over 26 years. Some might remember her in her workingworld role as manager of the Student Union canteen at Newcastle University, employment that stretched over a quarter of a century. She has immersed herself annually in a fundraising effort on behalf of the Cancer Foundation since 1999. All these facts are pertinent in that they are pointers to her essential nature.

Ada Staader whipping up a batch of something delicious!

In 1999 Ada’s brother, Leonard Masters, was diagnosed with cancer and given a very limited time to live. He suffered much during the final twelve months of his life. Only a matter of days following his passing, someone (Ada does


not remember who) phoned her to enquire whether she might be willing to involve herself in fundraising to assist cancer sufferers. Ada unhesitatingly said, “Yes!” thus initiating her association with “Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea”, a decision which she describes as, “... the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!” Ada’s home is thrown open for the cause, her kitchen becoming the hub for sometimes frenzied preparation of scones and other delicacies (4 am starts are her ‘norm’ at this time). Her legendary organising and cooking efforts have, in the years since, led to the raising of a sum well in excess of $44,000. While that effort is mightily impressive and testifies to persistent zeal, it is Ada’s generosity of nature which many people find even more remarkable.

the question was redundant: Ada is a ‘people-

In her fundraising efforts (she also supports Daffodil Day and has, in the past, worked for VOCAL) Ada’s family, daughters Kathy, Anne and Linda and, of her six grandchildren, Jessica and Elise in particular, have given their unflagging support. Ada is also quick to pay credit to the help given her by many friends. I ask Ada what her philosophy in life might be and receive only a stare in reply. The answer is as obvious as

The Biggest Morning Tea will be held on

person’; she is a family person; she likes people; she enjoys helping others. Any regrets? None... ... she misses Max very much. I’m tempted to believe that Ada and many of her octogenarian generation who lived through the tough times of the Great Depression and World War II must have learned that while there were relatively few material comforts during those lean years, it was human concern and care for one another that fired spirits and were the cornerstone upon which happy, fulfilled lives were built. It’s as simple as pouring a great, big, steaming cuppa for a friend. Thursday 26 May. Please visit




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English: Offering something more than Kardashian culture





Paris Slade, Fletcher Harris and Kitana Tulaitu, immersed in the English curriculum at St Mary’s, Maitland. Photograph courtesy of Deborah Sivyer.

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In New South Wales, English is still the only compulsory subject in the HSC. Why has it this status? What do students actually study, and perhaps more importantly, learn? Teacher Jane Mack responds. I have been teaching English since Jane Austen was a debutante. There certainly have been many changes to the HSC syllabus, and more to come as the new National Curriculum is rolled out. Currently, students in NSW can choose one of four English courses to study: Advanced, Standard, ESL (English as a Second Language) or English Studies. Passionate and talented students can elect to do an Extension course as well. The courses have a similar structure, but are tailored to the needs and interests of different students. For instance, the English Studies Course has a more practical bent, does not have an external exam, and is designed for those not wanting to go on to university. Each of the courses reflects the need to communicate effectively and think critically in our fast-changing world. Senior English has never been just about learning a set of facts, which is perhaps why many students are challenged and even frightened by it. In Mathematics, 2 + 2 is always 4. But in English, 2 + 2 might well be an allusion to Noah’s Ark. I know some students must think it is a secret world of simile and metaphor that has little relevance to their world. But students are taught to think beyond the literal and to appreciate that writers, poets and film-makers tell stories and create images that challenge our perceptions and responses to life and help us make sense of our world. Offering something more than Kardashian culture is extremely important in a Catholic school, and the English syllabus can play an important 20

role in equipping school leavers spiritually, morally, intellectually and socially. Let’s take the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, compulsory study for students who choose the Advanced course. Whilst some would dismiss him as a fuddy-duddy, older than the Ark itself, his take on life offers some very useful advice. In his final play The Tempest, which I try to sell as “Elizabethan Celebrity Survivor”, Shakespeare’s main character, Prospero, is given a life lesson in what is really of value. He discovers it’s not retribution and an eye for an eye, but forgiveness, understanding and compassion. And if you take the Standard Course, you might well study the poetry of Wilfred Owen, a journalist at ground zero in the World War I trenches, observing and then describing the horrors and personal costs of war so that students have some emotional and intellectual understanding of the sacrifices men made for their country. There are plenty of works by Australian authors too: Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Marele Day, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Anna Funder, Tim Winton, Tara June Winch, Michael Gow, Judith Wright and many more. In prose, poetry and drama, students are learning different perspectives on the land they live in, its history and modern culture. There are contemporary speeches for study in both the Advanced and Standard Courses. There’s the Redfern Address by former Prime Minister Paul Keating and Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address. There’s a Boyer Lecture by Australian author Geraldine Brooks, and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel lecture. Students

look at the context of these speeches and the backgrounds of the speakers. They analyse the language used to persuade or inform a specific audience about an issue. Not only do students emerge with a large injection of general knowledge, they learn about the power of words to move people. I like to think that one of those students might be inspired to change the world…or at least become a spin doctor for Woolworths when their salads have salmonella. If Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish director, can make the claim that film “goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls”, then that’s enough of a reason to have it as staple fare in HSC English. In the ESL course, for instance, the iconic (“it’s the vibe”) The Castle is on the menu, as is the television series Go Back to Where You Came From. These texts explore and explain Australian cultural attitudes to students who may come from a migrant or refugee background. Also served up is a 1926 German silent film Metropolis from which Advanced students learn about power and exploitation. Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation shows Extension students how misinterpreting cultural cues can be devastating. Standard students can examine the role chance plays in life in the German thriller Run Lola Run. Of course this is just a taste. And having said very little about English Studies, the course you take when you’re not wanting an ATAR, film is a good place to start. With a unit of work entitled, “In the marketplace – English and the world of business”, James Dearden’s film,

Rogue Trader or Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness are fitting choices. Websites also feature in this course, for example, www., and tv/gruentransfer. Students hone their essay writing skills throughout both years 11 and 12, but there are other sorts of assessments: interviews, oral presentations, web page designs, for example. This, and the scope of texts, means that there’s something for everyone and importantly, students are challenged by texts they otherwise might not encounter. Whilst Isaac Newton might have great pull in Science, we have Australian poet Douglas Stewart to capture the power of nature: “And still in a whirring hush of wings the bent old tea-tree showers/Storm upon storm of snow-white moths from the midst of its cloud of flowers.” And if Douglas Stewart’s not entirely your bag, you might be able to reference the 1970 song lyrics of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: We are stardust, we are golden, We are billion year old carbon. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden. One of the most rewarding comments I had last year from an HSC student was that he had learned more in English than in any other subject. I like to think that’s the reason why English is the only compulsory subject in the HSC. Jane Mack is a teacher at St Mary’s Campus, All Saints College, Maitland – and a film aficionado, pop culture guru, world traveller and cutting edge commentator!

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Community Noticeboard Seminar: Does God sneak into your dreams? Part 2: Tuesday 10 May 7-9pm at Mercy Spirituality Centre, 26 Renwick Street, Toronto, presented by Sue Collins. An engaging and interactive evening encouraging us to stop and listen to the guidance we can discover. Cost $30. P 4959 1025 or E

Annual Ecumenical Service of Worship The Tri-Diocesan Covenant will be renewed on Wednesday 25 May at 7.45pm at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Waitara. The Service will be jointly led by Bishops Peter Comensoli, Greg Thompson and Bill Wright. All are welcome.

Parent Program: Supporting your child following separation and divorce. This program offers parents the opportunity to explore ideas and strategies that might assist in supporting their child/ren through changes in the family. Mums’ Cottage (Holmesville): 12/26 May, 12.30-2.30pm. To register P 4979 1355. Chapeljazz Morpeth Chapel Jazz is a joint venture of the three churches of Morpeth. It will take place from Friday 13 May-Sunday 15 May at various Morpeth venues. To see full program visit P 4933 3312 or E Meditating with Children If you work with children or would like to meditate with your own children or grandchildren, this may interest you. Saturday 14 May 9.30am-noon at the Chapel of Newcastle Parish Centre, 23 Farquhar St, The Junction (enter via laneway). Morning tea provided. Cost $5, to rsvp, E annecuskelly@hotmail. com or P 0407 436 808. The Francis Effect II You are invited to a colloquium on Laudato Si’ on Saturday 14 May, 9.30am-4.30pm at St James’ Primary School, Vista Pde, Kotara South. Keynote speaker is Fr Denis Edwards. Cost is $20 which includes your copy of Francis Effect II and light lunch. To register, contact Diocesan Director Catholic Mission, P 4979 1141 or E mark.toohey@

Course 4 23 and 30 July, Newcastle (Toohey Room, Diocesan Offices, Newcastle West) Course 6 5 and 12 November, Newcastle All courses are on Saturdays, 9.30am-4.30pm. Please P Robyn 4979 1370.

Fr Rob Galea in Concert Fr Rob is a singer-songwriter who works with young people. He will be visiting Taree Parish on 2, 3 and 4 June and will perform at the Manning Entertainment Centre on 3 June at 8pm. Everyone is invited! Tickets $5 students/$15 adults. P Parish Office 6552 1084 or E TWEC Annual Dinner The annual dinner of the Tenison Woods Education Centre will be held on Friday 17 June, Therry Centre, East Maitland. The guest speaker will be former Governor of NSW, Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO. Cost $60 p/p, direct deposit Greater BS, BSB 637000, a/c 716489760, TWEC Events. P 4930 9601. Seminar: Trauma and the Separated Spirit We know that trauma can result in short or longterm physical, mental and emotional impact. We can treat the physical person, but what can we do to reach the broken place and sit beside it faithfully until it can believe again? Mercy Spirituality Centre 26 Renwick Street Toronto, Tuesday 21 June 7pm– 9pm. $30. Presenter, Sue Collins, bookings required P 4959 1025 E

Before We Say I Do Program Course 3 14 and 21 May, Singleton

Course 5 10 and 17 September, Newcastle

Face of the Catholic Church Regional Gathering encompassing the parishes of Forster-Tuncurry, Gloucester, Krambach, Taree, Wingham & Myall Coast. The Diocesan Pastoral Council invites all to a gathering on Saturday 28 May from 8.30/9am - 2pm at Holy Name Parish Hall, 33 Lake Street, Forster. This is an opportunity for conversations and information-sharing. Please bring lunch to share. P Alyson Segrott 4979 1117.

Women of Mercy Who are the modern and post-modern Women of Mercy? Explore what mercy is through the lives of some remarkable women who have had a significant impact on our world. 23 June 9.30am-1pm (light lunch included) $20 Facilitator: Val O’Hara rsm Mercy Spirituality Centre 26 Renwick Street Toronto. Bookings required, P 4959 1025 E

Weekend Retreat: The Freeing of God and the Freeing of Us This retreat led by Patrick Oliver will help to remind us that the Gospel speaks to the heart of being human and its aim is to help those present to discover their own life held within the sacred story. Friday evening 1 July – Sunday afternoon 3 July. Residential $250 Non-residential $150. Mercy Spirituality Centre 26 Renwick Street Toronto. For details/bookings P 4959 1025 E Diocese partners with Maitland Regional Museum Maitland Regional Museum will hold an exhibition in St John’s Hall in Cathedral Street, Maitland in June/ July to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first resident Bishop, James Murray. The exhibition will highlight the stories of people, families, groups and institutions within the church. If you have an item of memorabilia, could Maitland Regional Museum borrow it for display? The item can be collected, secured, insured and acknowledged as your contribution (loan). Please P Michael Belcher, 4930 1458, to see if your item may be suitable and/ or to discuss the exhibition. Aurora is also inviting you to contribute a story about your school or parish life for “The Way We Were”; P Tracey Edstein, 4979 1288 or E Seasons for Growth Companioning Training Children & Young People’s training Taree 26-27 July & Newcastle 16-17 November. Adult training Newcastle: 17-18 August. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/young people or adults. P Jenny/Benita 4947 1355 to find out more about becoming a Companion. Enrolments for training are completed at Attention all Pilgrims! As part of the diocese’s 150 year celebrations, there will be a guided pilgrimage in the footsteps of Bishop James Murray who arrived in Maitland in 1866. The pilgrimage will occur on Saturday 29 October, 8am-3pm, over 12.4 kms for average ability walkers. The route will begin at Morpeth, head to St Joseph’s East Maitland and end triumphantly at St John’s Chapel. Pilgrim registration required for safely and hospitality; there is no charge. Watch this space!

For your diary  4 Bishop Bill opens and blesses St Nicholas Early Education Centre, Singleton  8 Feast of the Ascension Bishop Bill confers confirmation at Rutherford. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity commences.  11 Bishop Bill presides at confirmation and first holy communion at Booragul and Boolaroo.  15 Pentecost Sunday Bishop Bill confers confirmation at East Maitland. Bishop Bill dedicates new Church of St Francis Xavier, Belmont, 11.30am.  17-18 Bishop Bill confers confirmation at Sacred Heart Cathedral.  20-22 Bishop Bill’s pastoral visitation to Sugarloaf Parish.  22 Trinity Sunday  23-24/26 Bishop Bill presides at confirmation and first holy communion at Blackbutt North.  25 Bishop Bill participates in Tri-Covenant Service of Worship at Waitara, all welcome. Bishop Bill confers confirmation at Forster Tuncurry.  28 Bishop Bill presides at confirmation and first holy communion at Branxton.  29 Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) June  3-5 Bishop Bill’s pastoral visitation, confirmation and first holy communion at Raymond Terrace.  4 Ordination to Priesthood of Camillus Nwahia at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

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Natural fertility

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Aurora rejoiced amid the cherry blossoms in Nagoya, Japan.

Soul food To search for yourself a while, then, with a gesture, Step across your heart


If you have ever tried to learn a second language you will understand difficulties in translation. The literal translation of “get your skates on” or une jolie laide does not convey the meaning or instinctive understanding of the native speaker. Even more difficult is one word with many different connotations, depending on circumstances, context, relationship, subject and even tone.

particularly in her treatment of the ‘Good Samaritan’. The ecological aspects of mercy, which the title promises, are linked to Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, and are a plea for humanity to have mercy in dealings with Earth, with “other than human” and with the cosmos.

It is this problem which The Blessing of Mercy tackles. Essentially, it is about translating very particular words − Hebrew words in the First Testament and Greek words in the Christian scriptures − which we translate as ‘mercy’. Only a handful of words, but multiple meanings from each language, attempt to convey the mercy of God and its embodiment in Jesus. It seems fitting that the author is herself a Sister of Mercy and a biblical scholar who has spent many decades studying mercy in the bible.

This is not a book to read straight through, but one to use as a handbook for an individual or small group to discover mercy in the bible. Because of its strict translation/ example approach, avoiding controversial theology or ecclesiology, it could be used profitably by ecumenical, interfaith and secular groups. It includes exercises and suggestions and many references to biblical passages.

Many familiar stories and parables are used to tease out the different nuances and types of mercy, from Moses in the bulrushes to the Good Samaritan. What makes this book so relevant to today’s issues is the introduction of Earth and what the author calls the “other than human” to the instances of mercy,

And set off inland… Les Murray, Another Continent

Lawson points out that mercy is not mere emotion; it always leads to action. Ultimately, mercy is about seeking and establishing right relationships: with God, with each other, with “other than human” and with the cosmos.

Here are 86 pages that could occupy an individual or group for the duration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and beyond. The Blessing of Mercy: Bible perspectives and ecological challenges by Veronica M Lawson rsm. Morning Star Publishing, Melbourne, 2015, is available at the Resource Centre, 137 Broadmeadow Rd, Broadmeadow, P 4902 9100.

Curry-filled Mushroom Cups Ingredients


 Oil for frying

Heat oil in a large heavy frying pan or pot then add the onion with the garlic and caraway seeds. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.

 1 large brown onion, finely sliced  3 cloves garlic, chopped  1 teaspoon caraway seeds  6 large field mushrooms  1 large carrot, grated  1/2 small butternut pumpkin (3 cups grated)  1/2 zucchini, grated  1/2 red capsicum finely diced  2 tablespoons curry powder  1 tablespoon cumin  1 cup frozen peas  2 tablespoons chopped mint  Salt and pepper  2 eggs

Remove the stalks carefully from the mushrooms and chop the stalks finely. Add stalks to the pan with the grated carrot, pumpkin, zucchini and capsicum. Cook for a further 15 minutes.

Place in 170°C oven for 18–20 minutes.

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. Make

Serve with a light salad, date and tamarind chutney and minted yoghurt.

Season and add the mint. Allow mixture to cool.

 100 g flour  500 g breadcrumbs

Mix the eggs and milk together to make

22 2

Shallow-fry the mushrooms in a non-stick pan in oil and butter.


Stir in the curry powder, cumin and frozen peas. Cook for another 15 minutes or until moisture has evaporated.

Spoon mixture into the mushroom cavities and flatten down. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.

 1/2 cup milk

an egg wash. Dip each mushroom into the flour, then the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs.

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