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Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle December 2016 | No.164




rn o b s i y a “Tod viour, our sa the Christ Lord.”


15 Day Tour

POLAND WITH BUDAPEST STOPOVER. Dep. Mar 8 & May 10. $5,975

18 Day Tour


Dep. Apr 27. $3,655

15 Day Tour

Dep. Sep 5

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi plus Flying Qatar airways into Warsaw & out of Budapest Flying China Eastern Airlines into Shanghai & out of Beijing, plus a flight Warsaw to Budapest. 11 day Poland plus 3 flights within China. Includes 4 night first class 2 flights within Vietnam. 4 nights Saigon, 4 nights Hanoi, 4 tour, 3 days Budapest including Danube cruise, Yangtze River cruise. Tipping included. nights Hoi An, 1 night Halong Bay with cruise. 2 day Doha, Qatar stopover.





18 Day Tour

Dep. May 24

Flying Air Canada into Anchorage. 13 day Alaska tour $4,675 19 Day Tour Dep. Mar 13 visiting Anchorage, Valdez, Tok, Whitehorse, Skagway, Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi. 18 Dawson City, Fairbanks & Denali National Park. 3 days day coach & air tour of Vietnam. For this tour there is no Flying Singapore Airlines into Chiang Mai & out of Phnom Victoria, Canada with the spectacular Butchart Gardens. Penh plus 2 flights within S.E. Asia. 4 day tour of Golden Tipping included. extra charge for travellers requiring a single room. Triangle, 7 day coach & boat tour of Laos including 2 THAILAND AT LEISURE VIETNAM OVERLAND days cruising the Mekong River, 5 day Cambodia tour $2,490 2 Week Tour Dep. Mar 30 $3,815 3 Week Tour Dep. Jan 26 including Angkor Wat. 2 night Singapore stopover. Tips Flying Thai into Bangkok. 5 days Bangkok, 5 days ocean Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon and out of Hanoi. included. front beach resort at Cha’Am, 2 days River Kwai, 1 day BALTICS, RUSSIA & SCANDINAVIA Rose Garden Resort. Visit to Bangkok International Motor 20 day tour of Vietnam by coach. $5,995 3 Week Tour Dep. May 17 Show for those interested.


20 Day Tour


Flying Thai into Copenhagen & out of Stockholm. 17 day

3 Week Tour


Dep. Apr 6 tour of Denmark, east Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, $9,395

25 Day Tour

Dep. Aug 17

Dep. Jan 29 ACROSS AMERICA Flying Latam Airlines into Santiago plus 4 flights within $6,995 28 Day Tour

Dep. May 9

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon & out of Hanoi. Estonia, Russia, Finland & Sweden. 2 days Bangkok Flying Qantas into Darwin & out of Perth. 25 day overland stopover. Tipping included. Plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 20 day tour of Vietnam tour of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Good accommodation. including 2 days cruising Halong Bay & 2 days touring SOUTH AMERICA & ANTARCTICA


spectacular Sapa.


31 Day Tour

South America. 22 day Holland America cruise in a Flying Qantas into New York & out of Los Angeles. 24 day $4,475 16 Day Tour Dep. Aug 30 seaview cabin including the Antarctica Peninsular & the tour across U.S.A.. 2 days Anaheim. Tips included. Flying Singapore Airlines into Colombo. 14 day coach & Falkland Islands. 8 days touring Santiago, Buenos Aires, ITALY, FRANCE & SPAIN rail tour of this beautiful country. Tips included. Rio & Iguazu Falls. $5,995 23 Day Tour Dep. Sep 7



25 Day Tour

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

SOUTH AFRICA Flying Cathay Pacific into Vancouver. 12 day tour of 19 Day Tour Dep. Aug 7 western Canada & the Rockies. 8 day cruise of Alaska’s Flying Thai into Bangkok plus a flight within Thailand. $7,625 4 days in Chiang Mai for their spectacular floral festival. 9 Flying Qantas into Johannesburg plus 3 flights within Inside Passage. 3 days Hong Kong. Africa. Game viewing in 4 game reserves. 2 week tour from days around Thailand tour. Tipping included. BALKANS & THE DALMATIAN COAST Johannesburg to Cape Town. 3 days Victoria Falls. Tips VIETNAM HIGHLIGHTS included. $7,195 3 Week Tour Dep. May 10 $3,275

2 Week Tour

Dep. Feb 1


11 Day Tour

Dep. Jan 16

Flying Singapore Airlines into Saigon & out of Hanoi plus MONGOLIA of Athens. 19 day tour of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, 2 flights within Vietnam. Optional extension to Angkor Wat. $5,395 2 Week Tour Dep. Aug 15 Serbia, Macedonia & Greece. Small group tour. VIETNAM & CAMBODIA Flying Air China into Ulaanbaatar plus 2 flights within Flying award-winning Qatar Airlines into Zagreb & out


17 Day Tour


Mongolia. 11 days Mongolia. 2 days Beijing. Tipping included.

24 Day Tour

Dep. Mar 30 RUSSIAN WATERWAYS Flying into Hanoi & out of Siem Reap with Singapore $6,095 19 Day Tour Dep. July 15

Dep. Sep 10

Airlines plus 2 flights within Vietnam. 18 day Vietnam tour Flying Singapore Airlines into Munich and out of Zurich, including many hill-tribe areas & a cruise on Halong Bay. Flying Qantas & Finnair into Moscow and out of Helsinki. 13 days in Europe including the Swiss Alps, Lake Como 4 day Cambodia tour including Angkor Wat. 1 day A 12 day river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Singapore. Stopovers in Helsinki & Hong Kong. and more, 2 day Singapore stopover.


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

First Word

On the cover Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle December 2016 | No.164

Amelia Jane Connors of St Nicholas Early Education Centre, Newcastle West, is anticipating Christmas with joy! Photograph courtesy of Katherine Muscat.


CHRIST born “Today isiour, our sav the Christ Lord.”

Featured  Celebrating 150 years of service, worship and mission


 Forging a peaceful future


 Their love grows


 New family-focused project for CatholicCare


 So long, farewell and thank you, Ray Collins!


 Have you heard about the Aussie camino? 17  Do you see what I see?


 IDPwD: Achieving goals for the future we want


 Who is my neighbour?


Expect the unexpected I want to begin the last editorial for 2016 with reference to the book review of Flight. Geraldine Williams writes, “Armin Greder’s shadowy illustrations and the evocative story draw parallels with the Holy Family fleeing Bethlehem, escaping certain death for newly born Jesus.” Flight may appear on your Christmas list, or under your tree! I have purchased a copy and sent it to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull so he can read it to his grandchildren at Christmas. Hope springs eternal. You may consider an Aurora subscription for someone who would appreciate a gift that keeps on giving! See details on this page. CS Lewis wrote, “We read to know we are not alone”, and Aurora is certainly one way of engaging not only with the Catholic Church in the region but with the encouraging stories of many individuals in our community. Anne Millard suggests a series of (perhaps

Regulars  First Word


 My Word


Contact Aurora

 The Catholic Thing


Next deadline 7 January 2017

 CareTalk


Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E aurora@mn.catholic.org.au PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119

 Two by Two


 Family Matters


 Seasons of Mercy


 The Way We Were


 Frankly Spoken


 Community Noticeboard


 Last Word


unexpected) films that provide worthwhile fare when the pace mercifully slackens at this time of year. In similar vein, please visit mnnews.today to read John Murray’s seasonal review of an underappreciated film, The Secret of Roan Inish. The winner of a copy of Hugh Mackay’s Beyond Belief is Judy Everitt of Merewether. 2016 has been an eventful year for the diocese. The Year of Mercy has been celebrated; 150 years of service, worship and mission have been highlighted in myriad ways; developments in school and early education and social services continue apace. I believe that the Royal Commission hearings in Newcastle were a welcome necessity and the only way forward.

is often a sense that they are all the same, unlike when we were children.” I knew what Michael meant – and yet, the good news of Christmas is always the same: “Today is born our saviour, Christ the Lord.” There is something in me that is strongly wedded to routine-which- becomesritual, to “this is what we do at Christmas”. I hope that you find something special this Christmas – and perhaps, for some, to find something special will be unexpected. The story of the nativity is many things, but it is certainly a story of the unexpected coming to pass.

Last Advent a friend wrote to me saying, “It’s not long to go before Christmas. I hope that you find something special or perhaps unexpected this Christmas. When you get to our age, there

Subscribe editor@mn.catholic.org.au


Aurora online Good news! You can still catch up with Aurora online, via MNNews.today. mnnews.today/aurora-magazine



Advertising Fairfax Media Phone 4979 5259 Aurora appears in The Newcastle Herald, The Maitland Mercury, The Singleton Argus, The Manning River Times and The Scone Advocate on the first Wednesday of the month and in The Muswellbrook Chronicle on the following Thursday. The magazine can also be read at mnnews.today.


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My Word

For young and old As I look back over the year now ending and reflect on what has been good, encouraging and enlivening, I notice that the best things have mostly been to do with our young people. Yes, I took pleasure in the restoration and dedication of St John’s in Maitland at the conclusion of our sesquicentenary of the real establishment of the diocese. And I was delighted to be able to bless and open a new church at Belmont, to announce new schools and to see us kick off St Nicholas Early Education Centres and new affordable housing. The Year of Mercy was a blessing, as was the ministry of Fr Richard, our Missionary of Mercy, around the diocese. But many of the best bits were to do with the growth in faith and service of our young folks. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was away for two days with those who have been chosen as student leaders in our Year 12 schools next year. I don’t know that I can really convey what was so refreshing about this group. We put it to them rather strongly that being recognised as leaders is a sort of calling, and that it’s not just about a job in their school but rather about how they as a group are leaders of their diocese in their generation. The thing is, they picked up that language and those ideas, perhaps more than any previous group. Their response to the idea that they had a God-given mission to use their gifts was such that Fr Brian and I felt unusually able to venture into risky waters, recalling what often used to


happen with school leaders. Of the twenty young men from Sydney who started in the seminary with me, I ventured, three had been school captains and one the president of a national student movement. From my school class, five of us went to seminaries or novitiates, all former school prefects. Brian had similar stories. This notion, that once you start accepting calls to lead in your community you may find yourself seeing life as a response to such calls, didn’t seem to frighten this group too much. From a generation that is supposedly all about ‘What I want’, I found this deeply encouraging.

stood, seeing his room, his hermitage.

The other youth highlights I recall were the trip with some eighty of our young people to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Adelaide about this time last year and, of course, with the seventy who did the pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow back in August. For our Australian kids, of course, a lot of the impact of these events comes from suddenly finding themselves in the midst of thousands or, at WYD, millions, of young people who believe and pray and worship and seriously try to live good Christian lives. It’s not what they’re used to in their generation here. But there is also what I call ‘the shock of the old’. At the ACYF that may just have been experiencing quiet Eucharistic adoration or benediction or the rosary prayed intensely, a sense of a Catholic inheritance they’ve never really known about. But in Italy or Poland, it’s the fact of standing where Francis of Assisi

you’re the young church today.’ And it is

It’s being beside the pool where Ambrose baptised Augustine. Suddenly these great Christians become real, their lives of faith take on new colour, and our world of shopping malls and Microsoft begins to look pretty banal. It’s a moving thing to see our young people realise that a life of faith is not just ‘going to church’, it’s a life of faith. And the thing is, they’re young enough to get it. Another thing we put to the young leaders a few weeks ago was the ACYF mantra: ‘You’re not the church of tomorrow; invigorating, as I’ve been trying to say, when you find yourself in the midst of that young church. They want to do better than we have done, and so they should. But they do still need something of ‘the shock of the old’. At the very least, they need to be astonished at what Jesus actually said and did, and to know something of what he and the Spirit have inspired men and women to do with their lives down the ages. Then they see how they have a place in that story, how they are called to write their chapter. Lord knows, they’ve got all the gifts and the generosity of spirit. I’ve seen it.

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Celebrating 150 years of service, worship and mission

In this Year of Mercy we have commemorated the 150 years since the arrival of the first resident bishop of Maitland, James Murray, who claimed St John the Baptist Church as his cathedral in 1866. We have celebrated a story of service, worship and mission and we continue to journey in faith, hope and love. The following verse of “Take Heart, God is Among Us”, penned by Basil Morrow especially for this occasion, says: To commemorate a century and a half of living faith, every person’s treasured story is acclaimed. Whether city, town or village in our broad community, every member of the body makes it whole. The 150 Year Celebration Working Party has tried to capture this 150 year story in a number of ways throughout the year. You may have noticed the snippets in Aurora – “The Way We Were” − or you may have visited the Pop-Up Museum in Maitland, which captured the social history of the Catholic people in the times in which they lived. Certainly the digitisation of the Newcastle and Maitland Catholic Sentinel, which recorded the news of the Diocese of Maitland from 1931 to 1968, was a milestone for the 150th year. Anyone is now able to access these pages on Trove. As well, personal stories from grandparents, great-grandparents or older parishioners about ‘the way we were’ have been

shared with children in our Catholic schools.

been his mantra.

Gathering with the religious congregations who have served in our diocese was a wonderful celebration, recalling the generous response of so many men and women to God’s call to leave their homeland and travel to Australia to minister in rural communities, mostly in education, healthcare and pastoral care. Many dedicated their lives to serving the needy and giving them hope. Such was their commitment that many followed in their footsteps over those 150 years.

The World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Poland enabled pilgrims to experience and connect to the wider story of our church, once again invoking the beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful”, that has prevailed during the year. Young and old travelled to many sacred places, taking time to reflect on what being a Christian calls us to while journeying in the footsteps of the saints.

The Murray Pilgrimage Walk from Morpeth, where Bishop James Murray landed, to Cathedral Street, West Maitland, the site of St John’s, was a great day of honouring the stories of our forebears. Certainly the early settlers had a strong connection with their faith and the priests who served them travelled great distances to meet their spiritual needs. The resilience of those who came for a better life for themselves and their families is to be applauded. In this year we have also recognised that we are not proud of some of our past history. People have been hurt and harmed and in this Year of Mercy, Fr Richard Shortall sj, our Missionary of Mercy, has travelled the length and breadth of the diocese to offer a listening ear to anyone who came. Many shared their stories of deep pain from past experiences and sought healing and forgiveness. “Be merciful like the Father” has

Dedicating our own shrine of St John the Baptist at Maitland was the highlight for the year of celebrations. For 170 years, there have been many Masses and family rituals in this church building on the banks of the Hunter River for 170 years. The renewed stonework glowing in the light of the sun serves to remind us of our call to be living stones. It is we who are God’s building, whose foundation is Jesus Christ. We are God’s temple and the Spirit of God is living among us. It is we who are sacred and who are called to keep on renewing the church through service, worship and mission. Teresa Brierley is Vice Chancellor, Pastoral Ministries, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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Forging a peaceful future By PAUL MAGUIRE

Its cobblestone central square was, in September, the site of a global blacksmithing event to make a unique peace monument marking the 100th anniversary of World War l. Hunter Valley blacksmith, Will Maguire, has just returned from participating in this huge collaborative effort. The 30-year-old, from Elderslie near Branxton, was the only Australian among 13 invited international masters to design metal fence panels, then to instruct teams of at least six smiths to build them during the

In all, 25 interpretative panels were made as 12 other masters were selected after an international competition. A seven-metre high, 12-tonne metal slab of weathering steel, featuring a negative and positive image of a single Flanders poppy, forms the memorial’s cenotaph. Its base comprises a field of 2016 steel poppies, hand-crafted throughout the world and including 90 made by Hunter residents at Will’s workshop earlier this year. The panels have been installed around the poppies in a zig-zag pattern reflecting the



olic Mission h t

layout of trenches. Will’s panel is based on World War l caltrops, primitive fourpointed devices similar to catheads, which were used to lame horses and puncture vehicle tyres. He developed his design to a point where a tangled web of human forms emerged, pulling, pushing, dancing and struggling with themselves.

In November the memorial was installed in its permanent location adjacent to the German World War l cemetery at LangemarkPoelkapelle, 10 kilometres from Ypres.

The peace monument provides an evocative focus with its cenotaph poppy depicting, on one hand, the lost souls of those who died in conflict or were damaged by war and, on the

How then did a young Aussie bloke become involved in such a project at a European site that commands reverence similar to that given Hiroshima, the Japanese city destroyed

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Among the 2016 earth brown poppies is a solitary white one acknowledging people tragically shell-shocked during the war, labelled cowards and shunned.

The Ypres event took more than seven years to organise and culminated in some 300 global blacksmiths taking part.



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week-long festival.

Ypres is a small, ancient township on the western fringe of Belgium.

News by the first atomic bombing in World War ll? “Fairly simply, really,” said Will in his matterof-fact tone. “When I finished my apprenticeship as a 20-year-old I became a blacksmith journeyman in England for a couple of years and worked and lived for several months with Terry Clark, the blacksmith who designed the monument after a request from the Belgium Guild of Blacksmiths. “Terry and I kept in touch, he knew my work, and so he asked me to be part of it.” Ypres held a strategic position during World War l, standing in the path of Germany’s sweep into France. Britain guaranteed Belgium neutrality, so Germany’s invasion drew British, French and allied forces (including Australian) into the fray. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost around Ypres, it was one of the first places where chemical warfare was used and the town itself was all but obliterated by artillery fire. It’s the site where the iconic flower of remembrance, the Flanders poppy, blooms, and after being rebuilt, Ypres has become “a city of peace” along with Hiroshima. Residents of both places have decried cities as war targets and called for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

At Ypres’ old entrance the Menin Gate memorial stands with the imprinted names of more than 54,000 United Kingdom and Commonwealth military personnel who died for the area’s freedom and have no known graves. As an enduring mark of thanks, every single evening since 1928, with the exception of four years of German occupation in World War ll, stillness has descended on the Menin Gate so that volunteer buglers can sound The Last Post.

Among the 2016 earth brown poppies is a solitary white one acknowledging people tragically shell-shocked during the war, labelled cowards and shunned.

“War holds a lot of meaning for many people, I respect that, but being involved in this memorial for me was about everyone working together, celebrating our differences,” said Will. “It was about ordinary men and women moving forward in friendship, those from Belgium, Russia, Britain, Germany, Japan, too many places to name, from everywhere, co-operating and seeing things from another’s perspective. “It was awe inspiring, humbling in a way to be a small part of it, but it wasn’t like going to Hollywood where people swoon around celebrities; in the end everyone was just a blacksmith, we’re all equal. “Hopefully,” he said, “we’ve forged more than another metal structure, hopefully people from all the world’s diverse cultures can see the broader meaning in something like this.”

Will and his tea m cele bra ting the com plet ion of the ir pan el in fron t of the cen ota ph: Gee rt from Bel gium , Gab riel from the USA , Reb ecc a from Eng land , Will from Aus tral ia, Bor is from Fra nce , Dan from the USA and Rod from Wa les.

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The Catholic Thing

An Advent reflection: Mercy and the womb By CAROLE WARK

Member of the Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat, Carole Wark, shares some Advent thoughts.

This year I was asked to share my reflections on the connection between Mercy and the womb as part of a wider Marist reflection for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I’m not a gynaecologist, a Biblical scholar or a theologian, but I am a mother, and a grandmother, so I’ve had some experience with wombs and mercy. Like many of us, I’m trying to make sense of how God works in and through me. In the Hebrew scriptures the word mercy is the translation for three different Hebrew words, which together give us a multi-dimensional understanding of God’s mercy. One of these three is the plural of ‘womb’. Julia Upton rsm 1 tells us that this translation suggests that God’s mercy is a nurturing womb, demonstrating that mercy is felt at one’s centre. ‘Womb’ and ‘mercy’? Do people even use these words anymore? Isn’t ‘revenge’ more easily recognised than ‘mercy’ these days? And isn’t the ‘womb’ the ‘uterus’? Richard Rohr refers to Pope Francis as the ‘master of the symbol’2. By choosing a text from the Book of Exodus for his first catechesis of the Jubilee Year3, the Pope has invited us to look at these ancient words afresh. A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Exodus 34:6 The Hebrew word used for ‘mercy’ here is the one for ‘womb’, evoking the very physical and tender love of a mother for her child. Pope Francis suggests that, like a mother, the God of Mercy is always gracious, ever ready to understand and forgive. In our culture, the word ‘womb’, like ‘mercy’ in the Hebrew scriptures, is multi-dimensional. When women reflect on the word ‘womb’ there is much more to consider than the warm and fuzzy feelings of nurturing which surround motherhood. Recently a Gen Y friend challenged my ideas with her view that the womb was a symbol of women’s oppression rather than a symbol for a merciful God. It is certainly more than that warm, dark, mysterious place where the conception and the growth of a child take place in secret and a mother gently loves the child into life (Ps 139). It is for many women the symbol for the reality of their adult lives, a time when they must take responsibility for decisions about their bodies and its availability for life as a woman rather than a child. For some women it is a continuation of an imposed silence as they see that decisionmaking shift from a parent to a husband, not to them. The monthly cycle is a strong and constant reminder of the potential for life and for death. Desire, longing, anticipation, disappointment, joy and fear are intrinsically linked in that ‘secret place’ (Ps 139). I sometimes think of Mary hearing the angel say, “Do not be afraid.” Was Mary thinking, ‘Really? Afraid? You mean of losing the child or dying myself during childbirth, that is if I happen to survive the shame of telling Joseph and my parents or the public stoning that might follow???’ So much reverence and courage in such a young woman to say yes to that, to embark on such a journey confident of playing her part in fulfilling the promises of her merciful God! And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Luke 1:50 As a retiree, I have the opportunity to interact with many different 1 3

people in my little village. How often have I observed women stopping to speak to other women who are very pregnant? And not only speak, but touch. It is as if the swelling of the womb is an invitation to reach out to the little stranger within, through the body of the mother, offering a kind of blessing. It really crosses the boundaries of social sensibility, and is something that only women could get away with. When I was pregnant other women would do that to me, and if I place my hands on my body like I used to at my most pregnant, I can still feel the echo of my children growing there, as if my encounter of the mystery of God in the new life remains as a physical memory. It is extraordinary to think that when we, as women, touch another’s baby bump, the mystery is alive in us again. I suppose this is why we seek out opportunities to stir the memory. No wonder the meeting between Elizabeth and Mary was such a powerful one. What an intimate and holy embrace between those women and their little ones! We cannot speak of the symbolism of the womb without recognising God’s gift of the physical and sacramental intimacy between a loving husband and wife, child and mother, father and family. These relationships are not the only means by which we form families, but they do confirm our need for interdependence, for an abiding commitment to the most vulnerable, for a steadfast love that mirrors the covenant relationship of which Mary sings in her Magnificat. Currently we still need a mother’s womb to gestate a child. Technology is taking us in directions where perhaps that won’t be so in the future. What symbols will we use then to speak of the compassionate mercy of a loving God? Pope Francis tells us that ‘the Lord wants us to belong to a Church that knows how to open her arms and welcome everyone, that is not a house for the few, but a house for everyone, where all can be renewed, transformed, sanctified by his love – the strongest and the weakest, sinners, the indifferent, those who feel discouraged or lost.’ 4 Hopefully it will be our Church that we can use as our symbol in the future! Mary’s experience of human mercy is wrapped up in another’s power and her circumstances remain a serious question of injustice. What’s changed? Women in the world today are still seeking medical assistance on a donkey, in every culture in the world they are still struggling to feed and educate their kids, still living in fear of violence, still holding their dead loved ones to their wombs. The ‘master of the symbol’ opened the Holy Doors at St Peter’s Basilica to open the Jubilee Year of Mercy and invited the bishops to do the same in their dioceses. But he went further by addressing us: “Open the doors not just of your cathedral but of the church that is your body, your soul; open your hearts to God’s mercy, humbly seeking and receiving forgiveness and healing.” The seasons of Advent and Christmas are ideal times to accept this invitation.

Women in the world today are still seeking medical assistance on a donkey, in every culture in the world they are still struggling to feed and educate their kids, still living in fear of violence, still holding their dead loved ones to their wombs. HAVE



Julia Upton rsm 2 July 2003 “Cutting to the Core Meaning of Mercy” 2 Richard Rohr, Mercy podcast Text from the Pope’s catechesis 13 Jan 2016. 4 Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy


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For this busy mum, ‘something’s gotta give’ 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 aurora@mn.catholic.org.au or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.


As a parent of three children I feel I have lost who I am. I have put so much effort into what I perceived as being a great parent. I have always put my kids first and now they rule our house. I have done this out of love but now feel stuck and don’t know how to change this. My relationship with my husband is strained because I have given everything, including all my time and attention, to my children, believing I had to do this to meet their needs. But I have done this at the expense of my relationship and now have nothing left in my tank to give him. How do I reclaim ‘me’? I feel like I am just ‘surviving’ − trying to cope as a mother of three, work and run a household. I am in a rut and don’t know how to get out. First of all, what you are describing is very normal. It is so easy to get lost in parenthood and once the kids are older, we look back and wonder where the time has gone. Perhaps another way to look at your situation is this: you haven’t lost ‘you’, you just evolved and adapted to the challenges you felt needed your attention at the time. Now you are ready to move forward and adapt to new challenges. You clearly recognise something has to change – this means you already know who you don’t want to be. Now ask yourself, who do you want to be instead? What would you be doing differently if you felt more like the “me” you want to be? Get a piece of paper, buy a notebook or use a computer to put your thoughts down in writing. In order to come up with an action plan, first write down headings of the different life areas you want to work on – including parenting, as you have indicated that you might consider doing things differently. Other headings might include:

f f My marriage/relationship with my husband

describe how you want to be. My suggestion

ff Leisure time

is that you start with a category that is all

ff My physical and mental health ff Work

about you and only you because if you start feeling better about yourself, it will be much easier to give more thought and energy in

ff Friendships.

the relationship areas.

Under each heading, write down just a few words that describe how you would like to be. For example, under “My physical and mental health” you could write words like: “make more time for me”, “start exercising”, “improve my mood and how I cope with stress”. Make sure the words are meaningful to you. Once you have listed a few words in each category, pick just one category that you can start working on. For that particular category, write down 3 “actions”, (even if they are small) that you can do to get you moving in the right direction; these are actions that would indicate you are starting to live by the values you have identified in each category – those meaningful words that

You absolutely have to make time for yourself – you cannot afford not to do this. This is also a good time to redefine happiness and success in life. And make sure you include a little ‘healthy selfishness’ in your thinking somewhere. To get some more ideas about happiness, download the Happiness Action Pack from www.actionforhappiness.org. If you feel you need extra support in getting your mood back on track, or you and your husband would like to learn more strategies for a healthy relationship, counselling support is available for this. Contact us anytime on 02 4979 1172 for further information.

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Two by Two

Les and Valerie Murray: “Growing each other up” her autobiography, Flight from the Brothers Grimm, is a distillation of anecdotes, research, reflection and accumulated wisdom. On her father Gino’s choice to migrate to Australia from Europe in 1950, she writes, “Australia offered a kind climate, beautiful beaches, and even a chance to go skiing in winter.” By TRACEY EDSTEIN

Perhaps the fictional Eliza Doolittle best sums up the household of Les and Valerie Murray at Bunyah, a rural hamlet off the road north to the Manning region. “Words, words, words!” Eliza sang to Henry Higgins, with barely concealed frustration. However, the frustration is missing in the Murrays’ case, unless it’s the understandable frustration of declining mobility as the years roll by. Married for some 54 years and having raised five children, internationally revered poet Les Murray and autobiographer Valerie (née Morelli) could be said to be living the dream − a cottage in Murray country with so many stories striding the land, an outlook over a large dam replete with waterlilies and a relationship that is clearly companionable and intellectually matched − and with so many poems, stories and ideas waiting in the wings. Asked from where the poems emerge, Les says it can be “a word, an image, a thought...and some poems demand to be written”. He writes most of the time, in longhand, and can’t imagine not writing. Valerie types the finished work but she’s no mere secretary – there’s plenty of dialogue arising from the task. Valerie has come later to published writing, and 10

Valerie and Les Murray could be said to have little in common − she the daughter of a Swiss mother and a Hungarian father (with an Italian name!) and he the only child of dairy farmers whose stories are inextricably tied to Murray country. However, words unite them − they engage in wonderful conversations that range across language, literature, indigenous tales, family lore, eternity, the meanings of names (Valerie shares her disdain for the contemporary names some children are plagued with), history − and road building. Indeed their first meeting was courtesy of the German department at the University of Sydney. Valerie has a facility for languages and the young Les wanted to know more German than Achtung! While their home is contained and they acknowledge that they “don’t get around so much anymore”, their world is vast. As we chat, Marco Polo, Australian poets Judith Wright and Ken Slessor, the conductor Thomas Beecham, Kublai Khan and Cardinal Pell all rate a mention! Classical music plays in the background and its appreciation was something that united Valerie and Les’ father, Cecil. The couple has travelled widely and there is a sense that these rich experiences are being mined continually, enhancing life in ‘Bunyah country’. While home is important, Les acknowledges that extended family life has

not always been harmonious. He cites one cousin who was determined to leave and work for someone who wasn’t family. He became a sharefarmer. This is not Les’ way. “In your own family, you know the swear words. In someone else’s, you have to learn theirs.” Asked whose poetry he enjoys, Les says that as literary editor of Quadrant, he is reading new poetry constantly. He looks for that which is distinctive − and in terms of the canon, highlights two Australian women − Judith Wright (whom he knew) and the little-known Lesbia Harford. In the way of rural communities, most of the Bunyah neighbours are known, to varying extents, to Valerie and Les. Ironically, Valerie remembers that when she came to Bunyah from Sydney, she met a far wider variety of women than she had in the city. “In Sydney, most of the women were teachers.” And the dam, which I naively imagined to have been natural, was ‘commissioned’ by Les. However, after it caved in at regular intervals, and the dam-builder had to be called back, it was the poet who devised the ingenious use of a wedge of builder’s plastic filled with clay to sustain it. Les is happy to point out a flower he planted as a cutting taken from his grandmother’s garden. “I realised if I walked two miles to her farm, I would have a plant that was 100 years old.” The Murrays built a cottage for Cecil on their block and eventually one for themselves. Cecil has passed away and now only their son Alex (and Boris the cat) remain with Valerie and Les. As a longtime widower, Cecil’s life had been relatively quiet, living in the shadow of his wife’s early death, and once Valerie asked if he had ever regretted their large and at times rambunctious family

Les and Vale rie Mu rray at hom e.

almost on his doorstep. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” he said unhesitatingly. It occurs to me that Valerie and Les may well say the same about their adventurous, peripatetic and word-filled life together. Valerie captures it beautifully in her book. “I have had the good fortune to spend most of my life with one of the best masters of words anywhere....We married too young to have anything except each other. We grew each other up, as much as we were able to.” On the big question of what to anticipate after this existence, Les is phlegmatic − he imagines a reunion with his parents (his mother died when he was 12) − but is content to “wait and see”. “We are on certain post-mortem promises after all.” On his headstone, he would like “Les Murray - poet” and maybe, “mate of Tom Soper”, the late local gravedigger whose faith he greatly admired. And Valerie’s chosen epitaph? “It’s all good, no worries.” There’s no need to wait for eternity, it’s all good now, with so many words waiting to be spoken, shared and written by these loving and lovely people. Les Murray AO has published many poetry anthologies and received numerous awards. His latest collection is On Bunyah (2015) and the next will be an expanded edition of On Bunyah to come out in March 2017. To obtain a copy of Valerie’s autobiography, please contact the editor.



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Their Love Grows: teacher’s run leaves footprints for his students


When teacher Michael Eccleston set out in June for his #3weeks2days Refugee Awareness Run, his aim was to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and contribute to funds for the CatholicCare Refugee Centre in Mayfield. However, to one St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, student and her friends, it was the beginning of a creative journey motivated by lessons from a very influential teacher. #3weeks2days Refugee Awareness Run was inspired by the story of a Sierra Leone refugee and CatholicCare Refugee Service (CCRS) Project Officer, John Sandy, and his journey of 3 weeks and 2 days to make a phone call to his wife. Having heard John speak many times, Samantha says she is “passionate about refugees getting what they deserve, to feel safe and have a good life”. On the last day of the #3weeks2days Refugee

Awareness Run, Samantha’s father, Kyle, drove Sam and her friends nearly two hours to the Refugee Centre to see Mr Eccleston cross the finish line, an event which Samantha describes as a really moving time for her. “The refugees I saw are so grateful for the smallest things, like a ball they were given after the run…they were just so grateful for this really small gift. I found it super touching and it made me feel really lucky,” said Samantha.

When asked the origin of her passion for equality, Samantha replied, “Mr Eccleston is amazing, there are not enough words to describe him, every day he is inspiring, and before him I had only a slim understanding of refugees and their status in the Australian community.”

It was the theme of John’s story, “no one chooses to be a refugee”, that really hit home for the musician and inspired her and her friends to spend a singer/songwriter weekend workshop collating their piece.

Samantha tells me she wants to be a music teacher and explains that she is auditioning for ASPIRE and whilst she will hopefully be on exchange in New Zealand next year, she is auditioning so that they remember her. Having spent the last hour with this impressive Year 9 student, I can’t imagine ‘Samantha Bell’ is a name that will be forgotten.

Her former teacher Mr Eccleston has awakened an awareness in this student that is shaping her opinions and music. Sam is very articulate about her passion for refugees and the justice of equality for their living conditions in Australia.

“Their Love Grows” officially premiered on 11 November as part of the Arts Upper Hunter ‘Thank You Soiree’. Samantha performed with her co-writers, former students Eadie and Macey Limon, who were students of Mr Eccleston at St Joseph’s.

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New family-focused project for CatholicCare


Stacey Northam has been working in the CatholicCare Brighter Futures program – a targeted early intervention program − as a Domestic Violence Case Manager for the past two years. Soon she will move from that role to set up the new Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Strategy (IFDVS) project, taking her passion and her commitment to social justice with her.

Domestic Violence Strategy. CatholicCare has been granted funding to employ a designated case manager in Taree to work across the Manning, Great Lakes and Gloucester region to co-ordinate a response to this issue. Stacey Northam has been professionally and personally involved in addressing the issue of

The rates of reported domestic and family violence have risen over the past decade and this seems to have coincided with... education campaigns that have fostered an increased community awareness The NSW Government is committed to addressing domestic and family violence as stipulated in its 2014 reforms titled “It Stops Here”. These reforms are intended to bring about a co-ordinated, consistent approach to identification and assessment of, and response to, this distressing issue. One of the reforms is the Integrated Family and


domestic violence in her community in Taree for five years. Stacey is a member of Taree Domestic Violence Monitoring Committee and has assisted in co-ordinating many White Ribbon events. Earlier this year, the committee organised a successful event using early intervention and prevention strategies. Local football players (including

the juniors) were invited to take a public pledge against violence towards women. This really highlighted the issue with the event being captured in the local newspaper. Stacey has also co-authored and copresented a strengths-based, client-centred model for domestic and family violence early intervention at the Australian Childhood Foundations International Trauma Conference earlier this year. For many years now the issue of domestic and family violence has been escalating. The impact of domestic violence on women and children has been well documented and publicised. On average one woman loses her life every week at the hands of a partner or family member. Children are also losing their lives and suffering from abuse and trauma as a result of living with violence. Statistics indicate that domestic and family violence is still much more likely to be perpetrated by a male (73.3%). Domestic and family violence perpetrated by females is less common but remains a serious problem. Over the past decade resources have been empowering women to recognise the signs of domestic and family violence with support services being established to enable women and children to access safe havens and to leave violent situations. The rates

of reported domestic and family violence have risen over the past decade and this seems to have coincided with education campaigns that have fostered an increased community awareness, and intolerance, of the issue. People are now more likely to report domestic and family violence, which is encouraging, but clearly there is much more work to be done to keep women and children safe. CatholicCare is committed to working closely with other services to ensure that women and children are receiving appropriate and specific support to mitigate safety concerns. CatholicCare staff are working alongside individuals and communities who have not been treated in a fair or kind manner, who have not experienced the advantages many of us have, and who are, understandably, vulnerable, often very fearful and confused. If you have concerns regarding domestic violence please P CatholicCare Social Services (02) 6539 5900




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Family Matters


Married…with ritual In November my husband and I ‘celebrated’ our 19th year of marriage. Our anniversary happened to fall on a Tuesday night and our three kids were, of course, in the house. We managed a drink and a brief conversation alone by the pool before we were swallowed whole by the normal everyday demands of family life. We didn’t actively make time to really celebrate our partnership, our love story. It was simply another night on autopilot, trying to do the best we could to get through everything that needed to happen. I’m sure most people can relate – most of us are time-poor, tired and overworked. But we should have made a fuss of our anniversary. It could easily be a ritual in our home to celebrate this important day (no matter which day of the week it lands on). We spend years at school and in tertiary education so that we are qualified for our jobs, but most of us commit no time at all to educating ourselves about how to be intentional about the most important thing in our lives - our relationships. This is where CatholicCare Social Services’ Marriage and Relationship Educator Robyn Donnelly can help! “When we are falling in love we create rituals. We only see the good in each other. But most people, over time, become complacent and stop the rituals, never fully understanding their importance. I was no different. When I started working in relationship education I was in the worst stage of my own marriage. But as I learnt the evidence-based research from people like John and Julie Gottman and William Doherty I became more conscious of creating specific rituals within my own home. I found that the more rituals and intentionality I had, the more

5 daily questions for making my relationship a priority 1. What choices am I making today to move me closer to my partner?

I wanted to be with my husband,” said Robyn.

naturally makes us less critical,” said Robyn.

2. How have I set aside time for myself and my partner, so they know they are a priority in my life?

Clearly Robyn’s life and relationships have blossomed as a result of her job and she couldn’t be happier.

Of course, the research not only benefits partners, but is also easily applied to parent and child relationships.

3. What can I do today to make my partner feel appreciated, valued or special?

“I feel really privileged to work in relationship education and it’s given so much to me personally. I’ve stayed married, ‘in like’ and in love, because you cannot present this research and not walk the walk. It keeps you honest,” said Robyn.

“We started age-appropriate rituals with our kids early on. We always had dinner together and each of us would say the best thing and worst thing about our day and then share with each other how we helped someone. We still do this and our sons are now 21 and 16. In fact, at Christmas all thirty-five people who share our table know that they will have to share the best and worst thing about the year, as well as a way they have made a difference!

4. How did I turn towards my partner’s bid for attention?

So what does the research show and what will you learn by attending relationship education? You will learn how to do small things, often. You will learn about emotional bank accounts and how to keep them well-padded so the challenges, when they come, are easier to cope with. You will learn how to look for the good in your partner instead of scanning for the negative (something that we do, sometimes unintentionally). You will learn about rituals and how to make them a regular and planned part of your day, week, month and year and how they can help you create shared meaning in your relationship. “The Gottman research tells us to share our fondness and admiration and turn towards each other. I was in a taxi with my husband recently and he was really engaging the Afghan driver in conversation and listening to his story. I felt a lot of admiration for him and later made a point to tell him. This is just a simple example of how you can put the research into practice. “The more we appreciate and admire our partner intentionally, the more appreciated they will feel. They won’t be able to help but admire you in return. Working on nurturing our friendship and being more empathetic

“We also use conversation cards to kick-start some wonderful conversations. You can use these in the car or at the table,” said Robyn. Investing time in your own relationship also has positive flow-on effects for your kids. “Gottman says that the greatest gift you can give your kids is a strong relationship between their parents. Over the years we have always put time and effort into our relationship, be it a dinner out or a weekend away, so that we can reconnect and build shared meaning for the future when our kids leave home. By doing this we have intentionally said to our kids that it is important for a married couple who are in love to spend time together on their own,” said Robyn. So why are people sometimes reticent about investing in their relationship via education courses? “I attend bridal fairs to promote our ‘Before We Say I Do’ program and couples often say ‘oh we don’t need that, we’ve been together for years’, but I encourage them to attend

5. What questions have I recently asked my partner which helped me know or understand him/her better?

because surely people want to feel as loved and valued in twenty-five years time as they do when they’re getting married. We can give them the tools to make this a reality. “I think people think it will be about what they are doing wrong, but relationship education is not about being perfect; it’s about learning from each other. I present the research and we help couples understand the practical ways they can establish good patterns or strengthen their relationship,” said Robyn. After spending an hour with Robyn I’m convinced and will be making time for some relationship education in the near future. After all, it’s our 20th anniversary next year and we should celebrate it with intentionality. To learn more about CatholicCare’s relationship education P Robyn Donnelly, 4979 1370. Courses available include pre-marriage programs ‘Before We Say I Do’ and ‘FOCCUS’, ‘Bringing Baby Home’ for couples expecting a baby or with young children at home and ‘Enhance’ for couples wanting to strengthen their partnership.

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So long, farewell and thank you, Ray Collins! After his nine years as the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Director of Schools, it’s time to bid farewell to Ray Collins. As Ray begins his journey into retirement, we reflect on his illustrious career and the significant contribution he has made to our diocese.

Bishop Bill Wright I was very fortunate that when I arrived, as the new Bishop, Ray was firmly in place as Director of Schools. Not only were things running smoothly under a leader of great capacity and experience, but Ray was also a real man of the church with a true sense of his vocation as a Catholic educator. He quickly established a harmonious working relationship with the ‘new man’ and patiently initiated me into the finer details of our school system. He was justifiably proud of his people and his schools. He has been delighted by the new Vision Statement for our schools – “At the heart of everything is always Jesus Christ” – and that goes a long way towards explaining his life and sense of calling as teacher and leader in the Church. Vale, Ray − and thanks.

Gerard Mowbray, Assistant Director Secondary School Projects The period of Ray Collins' directorship will be remembered as one of the most stable yet fertile eras in the history of Catholic education in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Ray ensured schools had optimal conditions in order to flourish and always focused on their identity as Catholic schools and places of learning and growth for all children. Key themes of Ray's leadership have included his unswerving support for staff and students; commitment to learners with special needs; development of the schools’ physical facilities; attention to the future of Catholic schooling and ensuring students have sporting pathways and a platform for the growth of the creative and performing arts. Ray will be remembered as a warm, big-hearted man, passionately committed to the welfare of his staff and so often present in our schools. Ray demonstrates what great leaders do, not only by developing great direction and culture but by fostering a climate in which others may contribute productively to Catholic education. The system is all the richer for Ray's leadership and his legacy will be the ongoing health and growth of Catholic schooling in our diocese.


Kathryn Fox, Head of Teaching and Learning Services In Catholic education, as is the case with all institutions and organisations, there is a constant need to give fresh articulation to its vision and mission. Under Ray’s leadership over the last nine years, the diocesan system of schools has grown and flourished. In 2016, Ray leaves the diocese in very good shape: a robust system of schools; a steady increase in student enrolments; financial stability; new schools built and others expanded; cultural initiatives and academic achievements realised; a forward-looking model of planning and development; a ‘vivid’ new brand of diocesan schools; positive relationships with parents, parishes and the wider community, and social justice commitments reaffirmed. On the eve of Ray’s retirement, and in reflecting on the legacy he leaves, I acknowledge that I have been fortunate to work with good people in Catholic education, but in Ray, I have experienced someone who is truly authentic, as person, teacher and leader. Thank you, Ray.

John Tobin, Principal, St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen Over nine years ago, Ray commenced his journey, probably not appreciating what a significant impact he would eventually have on this diocese and on the lives of staff and students of each school. Ray has eloquently articulated a transparent vision of high standards, accomplished an exemplary list of achievements and successes and displayed an extraordinary commitment to every aspect of the role. However, I wish to focus on the qualities of the man, rather than outline his achievements. I also know that he would be embarrassed by the tributes and he would say, “I am simply a member of a great team who contributed to the projects.” The leaders of other dioceses will remember Ray for his energy and conviction, as a strong advocate for MaitlandNewcastle. With passion and the wisdom of experience, coupled with “fire in the belly,” Ray would plead the case, pursue the funding or express on our behalf what was best for the students of our diocese. Most importantly, it is for his love of children and his concern for their welfare that I will fondly remember Ray Collins. He has a commitment to supporting student leadership and achievement, reflecting an expectation that students of this diocese ought to be different; that they should “step up” and be involved in their Church, school and the community. He expected them to make a difference, and he displayed a real interest in their lives. In the years ahead, know that you made a difference; that you are much loved and that we all appreciate the tireless efforts you have made on our behalf. Congratulations, Ray. Thank you for being you.

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Education Sister Marie Hughes rsj, former Senior Education Officer, CSO

Paul Murray, Head of Finance, CSO

Ray, congratulations on your retirement. May it be a time of many blessings for you, Annette and your family. I hope you have your bucket list ready! Thank you for your leadership in our Catholic education system during a time of challenging yet exciting change in all aspects of education. Your steady guidance throughout your time at the CSO is to be commended and your commitment to fostering Catholic identity is a special legacy to the diocese, as is your frequent acknowledgement of the role religious congregations have played in establishing the Catholic schools of today. I would also like to congratulate you on your commitment to the creative arts. It is wonderful to see our students excelling at ASPIRE each year. I have appreciated and valued your friendship and support over many years.

Ray is authentic; I have observed Ray’s behaviour in many and varied situations, and he is always positive and warm to everyone. People feel comfortable with, and trust, Ray.

We have been very lucky to have Ray as Director of Schools.

Ray has a genuine commitment to justice and equity. He has always championed needs-based distribution of funding and resources to schools. Ray is remembered at state level for his pronouncement, “Children in Bourke should have the same resources and opportunities as those in Bondi.” Ray’s honesty has informed the current integrity and strength of management and financial controls across the school system. I have observed over a long period Ray’s generosity with his own time and money. Ray’s time as director has been a significant period of strong growth and development in schools across many dimensions. He will be missed.

Father Bob Searle, MacKillop Parish

John Leao, St Peter’s Campus, All Saints College, Maitland student

Ray has been an outstanding Director of Schools, a man of deep faith who has shown tremendous qualities of outreach, inclusiveness and pastoral charity in his dealings with school staff, as well as his gentle understanding of our pupils and their parents. I also know him as a parishioner, involved in our parish ministries, a person who sees giftedness in others, affirms and encourages it for the building up of our parish faith community. Our parish wishes him every happiness in his retirement.

Mr Ray Collins is a great man, a wonderful intellect and a great soul of matchless courage. Mr Collins epitomises what I want to become when I am older and he is a mentor for me and every other student in the diocese. During our World Youth Day pilgrimage, Ray showed us who he really was – caring, loving, generous, warm and devoted. His counsel goes above and beyond what anyone would expect and you will never speak to Ray without his telling you a story. I'm extremely confident that Mr Collins and I will always share a great relationship for many years to come. I wish him and his family well into the future.

Sidonie Coffey, Principal, Holy Family Primary School, Merewether Beach What do I admire about Ray Collins? How long is a piece of string?

Adjunct Professor Anne Benjamin, Chair, Catholic Schools Council Amongst many facets of Ray’s leadership of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, I would like to comment on Ray’s strong sense of social justice and his commitment to making Catholic schooling available to those who have less. I have seen this exemplified in a number of ways, such as his approach to financial policies that demonstrates church-in-action. Another example of this is the warm and generous hospitality that Ray recently offered to the visiting Director of Catholic Schools from the Diocese of Tonga. Ray consistently demonstrates this sense of shared mission with others, especially those whose needs are greater. On behalf of all members of the Catholic Schools Council, I thank Ray for his leadership of Catholic schools and wish him well for the future.

I came back into the Catholic education system after 19 years in the DET system. Ray welcomed me back and it felt like ‘coming home’. I really enjoyed teaching in DET schools, but because of the size of the system and the number of personnel involved, I felt very much a small cog in a large wheel. Ray, however, changed all that and made me feel welcome from the start. He supported my transition, making me feel valued in every aspect of my work. Ray has that innate ability to make every principal, regardless of the size and rank of the school, feel like his/her contribution is highly valued. He has shown visionary leadership that has embraced the electrifying pace of change in contemporary education. Ray has an invitational manner that creates a climate of trust and mutual respect. I know he has many demands on his time, but he’s never too busy to return a call or give wise counsel. He makes the well-being of students, staff and parents his top priority. Ray will leave a huge legacy to those who follow. He is a remarkable bloke whose moral compass, strong faith, integrity and compassion have endeared him to us all. I will miss him immensely!

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Seasons of Mercy Emmanuel Garibay, Tahanan (Home), 2005, oil on canvas, 91.5 x 147 cms, courtesy of the artist.

The sacred ordinary By ROD PATTENDEN

Christmas has been totally wrapped up. Whatever the gift might be, the packaging, marketing and promise of endless products shape our anticipations and our desires. Who will save us from all this wanting for more? Will we ever find deep satisfaction when there’s always a better product or experience to unsettle our desire? All this shopping for happiness and fulfillment leaves us restless and dissatisfied. And yet once again here we are, caught up in the excess of promises that will not be realised. There’s simply too much stuff, too much to do and no time to think about what we really want. This is why I find this painting by Filipino artist Emmanuel Garibay so shocking. I know from the first look at this work that it is meant to depict the holy family – a symbol of our life together and God’s welcome. But this family ought surely to be clothed in the best garments. I am used to seeing the rich brocades and hand-sewn fabrics of medieval Europe, or the rich colouration of the Renaissance, or occasionally the smart and sensible clothing of contemporary life. But the stark simplicity of this barely clothed but clearly dignified family provides a striking contrast to all my expectations. I want to rush them down to Vinnies for a fresh fitout with change left over for some great Newcastle fish and chips! This is a startling image, even in the Philippines where the artist lives and works. It is a strongly Catholic country with a complex history of 400 years of colonial rule by Spain. What is most shocking in this image for its Filipino audience is that the holy family does not look very Spanish. This family does not look like those families 16

who still maintain the balance of power in the politics of the country. These figures look like ordinary people; they are locals, the kind who huddle against those regular typhoons under cardboard walls that have been scavenged around the industrial areas of Manila. They live in the remnant packaging

This is the good news − God inhabits the vulnerable and complex conditions of own lives just as they are. that helps transport the consumer products and clothing that we buy at Christmas. This family is the family of the ghetto, with little over their heads, little to wear and little to eat on their Christmas table. Their barely clothed appearance should be an offence to us, not just on the basis of our Aussie values, but because it is a sign of injustice and inequality. What is most startling about this family is the dignity and respect with which they engage our eyes, even seeming to reach out and bless us. This delicate, vulnerable child turns to notice and to bless us. The vulnerability found in this work is deeply unsettling. How can such a family maintain its dignity and self-care in the midst of hardship and scarcity? What does that have to do with me? What does the Christ child see as he addresses us with his gaze? Simplicity might just be the thing. This

image carries no other signs of sacred presence like gold and wealth, except for the simple dignity of their humanity. To simplify things, to live with less, to focus on what really matters might be a clue as to how to celebrate Christmas. In our very ordinariness we may discover what is most sacred, most sustaining and nourishing in our lives. One of the bestselling books last year was an unlikely volume written by the members of a US family who, for a year, bought no new goods, but simply made do with what they had. The craving for simplicity, for a healthy move away from endless consumption, is something that is being newly considered. There is now a huge number of books on de-cluttering your life, so many in fact that you would need a new bookcase to house them − but then who has time to read them? Could our most longed-for hopes and dreams be found in the simple things of our human lives? Could life be experienced in ways that are less complex and stressful so we can enjoy what we have, rather than long for more? The vulnerability of this Sacred Family alerts us to where we might find God in this season. God is the one who resides with us: Emmanuel. This is the good news − God inhabits the vulnerable and complex conditions of own lives just as they are. This holy family is at home with the simple things of life, with no need for the latest gadgets and consumer products. What a relief! This reminds me of what is most important about my life and where I might find the sacred alive in my everyday experience. I don’t need to try harder and do better, but simply to choose the things that matter most. In my affections and efforts to love, God is present. When I am vulnerable and not in control, God is present. When I open myself to the hospitality of strangers, God is present.

By now you will have had a good look at this image. You will have noticed that Mary and Joseph have no mouths through which to speak, they are powerless. They represent all those whose lives and destinies are determined by others, the poor, the displaced, and the refugee. They are seated in what seems to be a jeepney, one of the small open buses that move the 20 million people who live and work in Metro Manila to work each day. This is a family in transit. They are travelling by night, with no possessions, like a refugee family escaping persecution and violence. They have left behind everything that gives them security and simply carry their faith and their dignity in who they are. The Christ child holds a jar, the sort of thing that young children use to catch insects or collect precious objects. It is a container for wonder. But the lid has been lifted and if you look carefully you will see the shape of a heart rising up over the head of the Christ child and settling between the faces of Mary and Joseph. In the midst of stark poverty, Christ lets loose the richness of wonder. The child invites us to welcome the stranger, the sojourner, those dislocated due to war and terrorism into our hearts. If this artwork opens our eyes to see wider and in turn to welcome the stranger into our Christmas celebrations, then perhaps this may be its most shocking dimension? May Christ let loose wonder in your overcrowded life! Rev Dr Rod Pattenden is the minister at Adamstown Uniting Church and has written widely about contemporary art and spirituality.




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/mnnewstoday @mnnewstoday


Have you heard about the Aussie camino? By LUKE MILLS

Luke Mills spent seven days walking 217 km from Portland to Penola in April 2013.

The “Aussie Camino”, invoking the life of Mary MacKillop, was a chance for me to reflect on my life, which changed dramatically in 2008 when my wife of 15 years died of cancer. Since that first walk, I’ve been overwhelmed by the interest shown by people from around Australia, and I’m leading the tenth group in December. Over 200 people have now walked the Aussie Camino. Eight years ago, my 42 year-old wife, Gay, was diagnosed with leukaemia and died after an eight-month battle. Gay and I were parents to Philippa, 21, Charlotte, 20 and Christopher, 18. For the next four years I was in a wilderness, struggling to maintain my family and my teaching. By the fourth year I

was slowly putting my life back together. This walk came about when I was starting to feel I had the energy to take on something.

outback could resonate with all Australians. I believe that in being a pilgrim, one declares one is open to connecting to others.

In 2013, with my friend and colleague, Steve Murphy, I watched the film The Way − and the seeds of the Aussie Camino were sown. We had some really good discussions about the Camino in Spain, but for various reasons that kind of trip was a few years away for us. Then I began talking to a couple who had walked the Camino de Santiago, and the Aussie Camino idea really developed.

With colleague Michael Dillon, we chose a route that Mary MacKillop almost certainly didn't travel. However, at some stage Mary would have passed through the towns we visit: Portland, Nelson, Port MacDonnell, Mt Gambier, Kalangadoo and Penola.

Mary MacKillop and the land where she spent her early years seemed an ideal starting point. Penola was the birthplace of the Sisters of St Joseph. Connecting to the

The first pilgrims walked some 30km each day, beginning with a reading or reflection about Mary MacKillop and a hearty buen camino in the main street of each town! At night we stayed in pubs and enjoyed the hospitality of the locals.

My journey is ongoing but the pilgrimage gave me a focus and a sense of excitement that has been fostered by continual support and interest from other pilgrims. I look forward to its being taken over by pilgrims who make it their own. I believe many are interested in the Aussie Camino because it is a good news story, when the Church has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In Australia, in our rush to be a secular society, a lot has been lost and this is a way of reclaiming the good. Please visit www.aussiecamino.org/ wordpress/ to learn more. A group of teachers from diocesan schools will walk the Aussie camino in 2017.

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IDPwD: Achieving goals for the future we want

As a local services provider, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning (CatholicCare) prides itself on working in and around our community. Accordingly, on this International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), CatholicCare was proud to take part in celebrations organised by Lake Macquarie City Council, The City of Newcastle and Disability Network Hunter to commemorate this special day. Our staff and the people we support were excited to attend planned festivities at Speers Point Park, where there were information stalls, displays, activities, entertainment and a barbecue lunch. IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day, held annually on 3 December, to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability. This year, the theme for IDPwD was Achieving

the provision of a range of disability services,

CatholicCare provides a range of disability programs designed to ensure that children, young people and adults with disabilities have access to services that help create a more inclusive and equitable world for them. For us, success is building capacity and delivering on empowerment opportunities for the people we support. Their goal is our focus. We provide tailored support with a strong focus on helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible in the community. Attending events such as IDPwD celebrations at Speers Point Park, providing guidance on how to use public transport or facilitating involvement in sporting activities and employment are just some of the ways we achieve this.

awareness of health, well-being and education

CatholicCare focuses on a number of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly good health and well-being and assisting people with disabilities achieve quality education outcomes. We seek actively to assist children, young people and adults with disabilities to achieve these goals through

Warrumbungle Region

including Disability Supported Accommodation. In 2015 we expanded our services to include autism and cognitive assessments, thereby increasing community access to and options available to people with disability. The addition of this service has been fundamental to ‘opening doors’ for the people we support, exposing them to services that can enhance their ability to interact socially and improve understanding and functioning in all settings − personal relationships, school and work.

We provide tailored support with a strong focus on helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible in the community.


Coonabarabran - Coolah - Dunedoo - Mendooran Baradine - Binnaway

from caves to cafes, nature to Neptune, parks to pottery … the only thing missing is YOU!

Prescription Building



David Kirkland

• Bathroom modification design and construction • Access modification design and construction – ramps and rails • Project management • Occupational Therapy services • General home maintenance • Lawn mowing For more information please contact us on (02) 4950 4275 or visit our website www.homemodificationservice.org

Phone 1800 242 881 for a free information pack www.warrumbungleregion.com.au 18

Download a free QR/scan code reader to receive our website information

Referrals also accepted through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

CatholicCare’s progressive approach is clientcentred. Our services, including our disability services, are accessible to those in need regardless of religion, age, gender, physical and intellectual capacity or ethnicity. As a continuous improvement organisation we use current, evidence-based practices to inform our program delivery models and seek new and innovative ways to benefit the community we serve. I’d encourage anyone interested in learning more about our range of services to make contact with our friendly team by contacting our office or introducing yourself to us at one of the many community events in which we participate. Gary Christensen is General Operations Manager, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning.

Commemorating 1000 years of Christianity


By SUZANNE MARTIN This invitation was published in the August 1966 Maitland Diocese’s Catholic Sentinel to commemorate 1000 years of Christianity in Poland.

is a nonprofit organisation supporting the community, specialising in:

Warrumbungle Region has it all …

CatholicCare’s team of registered psychologists and mental health workers provides progressive psycho-social support and where appropriate, works with the individual to develop community programs that promote access to the education, health and well-being services chosen by the client with a disability. Importantly, we work from a ‘strengths-based’ approach and provide ongoing support to achieve optimal outcomes.

The Way We Were:

The accompanying article states that in 966 Mieszko I, the Polish ruler, was baptised a Christian. Three stained glass windows were installed in what was formerly the Baptistry of the Sacred Heart Church, Hamilton, and a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa was also placed in the ‘chapel’. Many Polish people had come to Newcastle and the Hunter Valley after World War ll and in 1966 Poland was a Communist country.



17 Goals for the Future We Want, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

Today, just over 50 years after this event, Poland is free, and on the right side of the entrance doors to Sacred Heart Cathedral (as it is now) this room remains − with its stained glass windows, Our Lady of Czestochowa and other devotional items − a place of quiet prayer and contemplation. There is a Polish Mass in the Cathedral every Sunday. To learn more visit Maitland Diocese Catholic Sentinel, 1 August, 1966, “Sacred Polonaise Millennium” on Trove, http://trove. nla.gov.au/.

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Do you see what I see? “Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see what I see?” A star, a journey, a baby, forgiveness, and sacrifice. By ANNE MILLARD

I offer five interesting and unusual films for the Christmas season. I hope this collection provides an opportunity for enjoyment and reflection.

A star, a star, dancing in the night… The gorgeous 2007 film, Stardust, based on the book by Neil Gaiman, is an adult fairytale. I find Gaiman’s writing a little beyond me − his target market is more likely the fan of graphic novels. But the creativity and originality of this film grab, and hold, my attention. In a nutshell, the story concerns a young man named Tristan (played by largely unknown Charlie Cook) who sees a falling star and vows to capture it to woo the girl of his dreams. In following that star, young Tristen embarks on a terrific adventure that employs reality, fantasy, magic and a fine romance. It’s quite the journey for Tristan and it’s equally fine for the audience. The star-studded cast includes Claire Danes, Peter O’Toole, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ricky Gervais. The result is light-hearted, delightfully quirky and highly entertaining. The opening voice-over asks, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Perhaps this movie is effective because we all dream and wonder what might be in the stars for us.

He will bring us goodness and light

Pray for peace, people everywhere!

The Chinese film, Hero, released in 2002, almost conforms to the traditional Chinese genre, wuxia or ‘martial hero’. The wuxia films adhere to a code where protagonists right wrongs and fight for justice.

2016 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of my favourites, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This teen classic is set during Ferris Bueller’s last weeks of high school when he decides to take the day off to have some fun. He drags his best friend, Cameron, along for the ride. Thirty years ago, I loved Ferris Bueller. Like many of my peers I still quote the movie and sometimes use Ferris to justify a day off myself! For me, now, however, the movie’s all about Cameron. While Ferris wanders through a life where all the lights are green, Cameron slogs along in his wake, taking the heat for the chaos his friend creates. Ferris gives Cameron no choice but to face his fears, to own his life. Ferris’ actions are mostly unforgiveable. He uses people. He takes his parents for fools and outsmarts his school administrators.

Coupled with adherence to this code, writer-director, Zhang Yimou, employs a particular style and use of colour. Each segment of Hero is drenched in one colour. The palace is all blacks and greys; the first version of the story is all in red. A second version of the story is completely blue, while a backstory is told entirely in green. Yet another story is told all in white. I’m sure there’s much to be written on the meaning of each colour and its use; suffice to say it’s visually stunning − like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s almost as if every shot could be frozen and captured as its own work of art. There’s a lot of swordplay in the film, coupled with the characters’ ability to fly, skip across water and cover huge distances in a single stride. I don’t particularly grasp the significance of how or why gravity does not affect the characters, but I certainly appreciate the artistry. With all this visual artistry, you can expect the story is also somewhat stylised. The plot moves slowly and deliberately. Each story is told carefully and purposefully. At the end, we come to understand anew the word ‘hero’. Tan Dun’s musical score is a masterpiece, punctuated with violin solos by Itzhak Perlman. But the amazing sound effects are also part of the musical soundscape. Hero is tremendous. So, what do I see? What do I hear? Gorgeous cinematography and beautiful soundtracks. More than that, I perceive these films as great holiday fodder. Most are cheery (we save the ones where someone dies at the end for another season). Most make me happy.

Perhaps we might consider Cameron as the face of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In a homily on 23 September, 2015, Pope Francis said, “Go out, and embrace life as it is and not as you think it should be.” The book of Leviticus describes the jubilee year as a time when God restores all creation to right relationship with one another...a time when debts were cancelled, possessions returned to their rightful owners and workers and crops rested. Cameron shows us the power of gratuitous mercy. After all, if we deserved forgiveness for our actions, it wouldn’t be mercy.

Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy… The Secret Life of Walter Mitty began life as a short story by James Thurber, written in 1939 and published in The New Yorker. Danny Kaye starred in the 1947 production of the film, and Ben Stiller has both directed and starred in a new version of the exploits of Walter Mitty. In this under-appreciated film, Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life Magazine. He lives most of his life dreaming of what might be. And who hasn’t imagined a scenario where one’s adversary gets his comeuppance, or a chance to utter a perfectly brilliant retort at the time of a perceived sting, rather than days later in one’s mind? When Walter’s job is on the line as the iconic magazine becomes an online publication, he decides to take action. All those dreams he’s harboured for years become reality as he takes to the skies − to Greenland, Iceland and the mountain ranges of the Himalayas. The scenery is stunning, the music is splendid, and the story manages to hold together − mostly. I’m a Ben Stiller fan and the film is very much his, although Kristen Wiig is tremendous as the object of Walter’s affection. Ultimately the cinematography tops them both.

A child, a child shivers in the cold… The little-known 2007 film, Martian Child, concerns a recently widowed science-fiction writer and his foster child who claims to be from Mars. The film slipped under the radar when first released, probably due to its lack of computer-generated images, violence, a car chase, sex − and it’s not part of a trilogy. Martian Child is a heart-warming tale of a foster father and his relationship with his child. While there’s a certain predictability − John Cusack as David, the father, doesn’t stray much from his usual style − the story is charming and the feel-good message works for me. At Christmas, after all, we appreciate the arrival of an out-of-this-world child!

So, what do you see? What do you hear? Anne Millard is Director of Music at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

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Who is my neighbour? my neighbour?”

By ALOYSIOUS MOWE sj “We decide who is coming here.” Malcolm Turnbull must have been hoping to gain both the conservative chops and the electoral success of former Prime Minister John Howard when he uttered these words in defence of his plans to ban asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia on boats from ever entering Australia. It was Howard, of course, who perfected the art of dog-whistle politics when he said in 2001, “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.” Clearly those who try to come by boat are the ones Australians have decided will not be coming here. Whom then should we choose? The government’s oft-repeated mantra is that Australia has one of the most generous resettlement programs in the world, and that this is how we will assist the world’s refugees. The reality of that “generosity” is that in 2015, for example, Australia recognised or resettled 11,776 refugees: that was just 0.48 per cent of the global total. Whom should we choose to live with us in Australia? Which refugee deserves our help? These questions have been asked in another way, in the gospel of Luke: “Who is my neighbour?” The question results in Jesus telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. The context of the question however is crucial: the scribe who asks Jesus the question has first asked him, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The scribe is struggling with an ethical question: how should I act if I am to be part of God’s kingdom? Prompted by Jesus, he brings together two commands in the law: love God and love your neighbour. It is then that he poses the question, “Who is

Jesus turns the question on its head, and by the end of the parable the question has essentially become, “How are you a neighbour to the one in need?” Who is a neighbour? “The one who showed him mercy.” When Turnbull, Howard, and those who defend the bipartisan consensus in Australia about stopping the boats say that we decide who comes here, they engage in a kind of paring down to the barest ethical minimum. The argument is that our resources are limited, our social cohesion fragile, our security threatened, our borders porous. We manage these risks by limiting our generosity and by displaying our capacity for force and brutality. The Samaritan, however, shows mercy and compassion precisely because he gives not from his superfluity, or from a position of strength and security. The parable tells us that the Samaritan not only pays the innkeeper for the man’s immediate care; he tells him to spend whatever is needed and he will return to make good the outstanding sum. That care and generosity is open-ended − and potentially financially ruinous. In his 2013 homily when he celebrated Mass on Lampedusa for the refugees who had drowned off that island, Pope Francis spoke of how the world “has forgotten the experience of weeping, of ‘suffering with’.” The Samaritan is held up by Jesus as a model for how to be a neighbour, how to act in accordance with the ethics of God’s kingdom, because he shows compassion, ie he suffers with the man on the road. He puts himself at risk, and he does this in a way that is unstinting and open-ended. In that same homily Pope Francis reminded us that there are “two questions that God puts at the beginning of the story of humanity, and that he also addresses to the men and women of our time: ‘Adam, where are you?’ ‘Cain, where is your brother?’

The biblical witness is not about humanity questioning God, but God questioning us. Former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had this to say in a sermon on Christmas Day in 2011: “Very near the heart of Christian faith and practice is this encounter with God's questions, 'Who are you, where are you?' Are you on the side of the life that lives in Jesus, the life of grace and truth, of unstinting generosity and unsparing honesty, the only life that gives life to others? Or are you on your own side, on the side of disconnection, rivalry, the hoarding of gifts, the obsession with control?”

though strangers, seek out those who need life and love; to be signs of a radical connectedness with one another; to be risktaking makers of solidarity? Aloysious Mowe sj is Director, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia. To read earlier articles in this series, please visit http://mnnews.today.

The ethics of the kingdom call us into a radical solidarity with one another, where walls are not raised but torn down; where boats are not turned away but welcomed; where suffering with others is not to be avoided but embraced. We can approve of policies that turn away boats, that are driven by avoiding the costs and risks to us, and that give us a sense of control. We can say that these policies are politically expedient and that they are supported by a majority of the electorate. What we cannot do is say that these policies are Christian. The parable of the Good Samaritan ultimately reveals that the neighbour is the other, the stranger, or the despised person, who brings you life when you are close to death. Is that neighbour not Jesus himself, the rejected one who is in the end revealed as Lord and God? Geoffrey Hill, in his poem “Lachrimae Amantis”, says to Jesus: What is there in my heart that you should sue so fiercely for its love? What kind of care brings you as though a stranger to my door through the long night and in the icy dew seeking the heart that will not harbour you, that keeps itself religiously secure? Is that not the Christian calling, to let the Son of God be revealed in us when we,

Frankly Speaking Pope Francis has proposed six new beatitudes for the modern era: ff “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart; ff “Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised, and show them their closeness;

ff “Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him; ff “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home; ff “Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others; ff “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”

The Pope was speaking at a Mass for All Saints in Malmo, Sweden.


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Community Noticeboard Multicultural Christmas Choral Concert On Sunday 11 December the Newcastle and Hunter Multicultural Choral Society presents the 39th Annual Christmas concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 7pm to 9.45pm, including community singing. A collection plate will cover costs of the evening. P Joop de Wit 4954 5227 or E multiculturalchoralsociety@gmail.com. Carols in the Cloister This annual event will be held at St Joseph’s Convent, New England Hwy, Lochinvar on Sunday, 11 December at 6.30pm. All are welcome! Ecumenical Prayer Service in the Spirit of Taizé This will be held on 11 December at St Columban’s Catholic Church, Church Street, Mayfield 7pm-8pm, followed by light supper, gold coin donation. P Anna and John Hill 4967 2283. Holy Trinity Parish Carols by Candlelight This will be held on Friday 16 December at 7pm at Corpus Christi Church, Waratah. This is a celebration in Word and Song to begin the ‘Novendiales’ in preparation for Christmas. St Brigid’s Markets, Branxton These monthly markets assist the parish and wider community at Branxton. Held every third Sunday, (next 18 December) the Old School Grounds, 9am-2pm, www.facebook.com/stbrigidsmarket. 2017 Dates for Group program “Before We Say I Do” Course 1/17 4 & 11 February at Newcastle Course 2/17 25 March & 1 April at Morpeth Course 3/17 20 & 27 May at Newcastle

Course 4/17 22 & 29 July at Newcastle Course 5/17 9 & 16 September at Singleton Course 6/17 4 & 11 November at Newcastle To learn more, please P Robyn, 4979 1370 and see story, page 13.

in Timor Leste (pre-school, primary and secondary) to assisting with the development of a brass band in Kiribati; from plumbing/building in Papua New Guinea to English/Science teaching/ mentoring in Samoa. Whatever your skills and experience, there is a place for you! To learn more P 9560 5333 or E palms@ palms.org.au.

Seasons for Growth Companioning Training Children and Young People’s training: Newcastle 15-16 March, 8-9 November Taree 25-26 July.

Mums’ Cottage Invites grandparents to Grandparent and Toddler day, every Wednesday during school terms from 10am-noon at 29 St Helen’s Street, Holmesville. Enjoy some companionship with other grandparents while children play. Mums’ Cottage offers a range of services, programs, workshops and family events and would love to welcome you at any time. For more information, P Mums’ Cottage 4953 4105, E admin@mumscottage.org.au or visit www.mumscottage.org.au.

Adults Training: Newcastle 17-18 May, 13-14 September. This training is essential for those wishing to facilitate the Seasons for Growth program with children/young people or adults. Please P Jenny or Benita 4947 1355 to learn more. Enrolments for training are completed at www.goodgrief.org.au Mercy Spirituality Centre Toronto – 2017 Program To receive this in booklet format, P 4959 1025, E mercytoronto@mercy.org.au or visit the webpage http://institute.mercy. org.au/toronto. Charismatic Retreat – Living in the Fullness of the Holy Spirit Held from Friday 27 January to Sunday 29 January 2017 at St Joseph’s Spirituality Centre, 64 MacKillop Drive, Baulkham Hills. Noted presenters are Ulf Ekman and Fr Hugh Thomas. Further information at E email@ccrnsw.org.au or visit www.ccrnsw.org.au. Volunteering with Palms Australia Palms is seeking qualified and experienced Australians to assist in various missionary and development activities. There are opportunities in a wide range of areas, from teaching


Youth Mass On the last Sunday of each month, the 5.30pm Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Macquarie St, Wallsend, has a youthful flavour. Everyone is welcome. 2017 Columban Art Calendar After almost 95 years the Columban Calendar still supports the activities of Columbans working to bring the Good News to poor communities and to make our local Church more missionary. The 2017 Calendar will be available at your local church, or can be purchased for $11 including GST and postage. P (03) 9375 9475 or E calendar@columban.org.au. Newcastle City Choir This choir needs an accompanist to begin in 2017. An honorarium is paid. Rehearsal is Wednesday evenings and there is a performing schedule. Enquiries to Callum Close, Musical Director, newcastlecitychoir@gmail.com.

For your diary December  8 Immaculate Conception of Mary  10 Ordination of James Odoh at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Human Rights Day  11 Third Sunday of Advent  12 Sisters of Mercy founded by Catherine McAuley, 1831.  18 Fourth Sunday of Advent Bishop Bill’s gospel reflection Rhema 99.7 FM International Migrants Day  24 Christmas Eve  25 Christmas Day Bishop Bill’s gospel reflection Rhema 99.7 FM January International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development  1 World Day of Prayer for Peace  7 Aurora deadline (February edition)  12 Australia Day  12 International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. February  5 Aurora is available (see page 3)

For more events please visit mn.catholic.org.au/calendar and mn.catholic.org.au/community.

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle invites you to the

Ordination to the Priesthood of James Odoh by The Most Rev William Wright, Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle

Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 10.00am Sacred Heart Cathedral, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West

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Last Word

Aurora on tour Aurora has been spotted at the Great Wall of China!

Review By GERALDINE WILLIAMS The author of Flight, Nadia Wheatley, well known for her classic Australian children’s book, My Place, has created another beautifully illustrated book that takes the reader on a journey across desert sands with a refugee family of three in the Middle East. The story is simple, powerful and more relevant than ever, showing the effect war has on a family displaced by conflict.

Soul food You are given into my hands… To blown straw was given All the fullness of Heaven. The tiny, not the immense, Will teach our groping eyes… – Francis Webb “Five Days Old”

Armin Greder’s shadowy illustrations and the evocative story draw parallels with the Holy Family fleeing Bethlehem, escaping certain death for newly born Jesus. The images are dark throughout with the characters often being dwarfed by the enormity of their physical and emotional surrounds. This is so for all but the final page, which reveals the identity of the refugees, surrounded by light, representing hope and signifying a liberating shift from fear and despair. Flight, while brief, captures a husband

who cares deeply for his family and places his faith in God when challenged by a dwindling water supply and an exhausting journey across the desert with his wife and young child. During the journey, the child feels no fear as he is safe, warm and fed, sheltering in the protection of his mother’s arms; as God tells us, “Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.” (Isaiah 41:10). Although the book has been created with children in mind, an older audience would appreciate its simple, powerful message of faith and trust, the reminder of the hardships faced by refugees and the consolation that we are all human, all equal, all children of God. Flight is published by Windy Hollow Books, 2016.

White and Dark Chocolate Truffles These Christmas treats are delectable and would make excellent gifts. Allegedly, they will last in the fridge for two weeks. BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - Cathedral Cafe

Method Place 200g chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir gently until combined.

Dark Chocolate Truffle Ingredients f f 200g + 100g excellent quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa) f f 120ml single cream f f 1.5 teaspoons Grand Marnier liqueur f f 60g cocoa powder for rolling

Remove bowl from heat, add liqueur and stir well. Leave to cool at room temperature until firm then cover with cling film and place into fridge to set. With a teaspoon scrape a small amount of

White Chocolate Truffle Ingredients


ff 250g + 200g best quality white chocolate f f 1/8 cup butter f f 1/4 cup light single cream f f 1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier liqueur

Place cream and butter into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Pour cream and butter mixture over the chocolate slowly and consistently


Chop chocolate and place in large bowl.

mixture, quickly roll into a 2.5cm ball with your hands and place onto a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Repeat with remaining mixture and return to the fridge for at least an hour. Melt the remaining 100g chocolate the same way and very quickly roll a truffle into the melted chocolate in your hands and place onto a clean tray. Repeat this process. Once chocolate has almost set, dust and roll in cocoa powder. Allow to set completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 30 truffles.

until a smooth mixture is obtained. Follow the same instructions as for the dark chocolate; however, leave in the fridge to set for several hours , and once balls are rolled, place into the freezer for an hour before rolling in melted white chocolate. Use 2 or 3 coats of white chocolate. Makes about 30 truffles.

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.

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






The Bishop’s Award seeks to recognise publicly the efforts of students and young people within our diocese who have contributed to the community through their parish, church group or church agency. This may include involvement in groups or agencies such as Caritas, Youth Ministries, St Vincent de Paul Society, Mini Vinnies or similar church groups. This also includes contributions made within parishes eg liturgy and youth ministries. This award will acknowledge and encourage the continued efforts of these and other young people. Students currently enrolled in Catholic secondary schools within our diocese in Years 7-11, students in Years 7-11 and belonging to a parish within the diocese, and young Catholics from Year 12 up to age 25 belonging to a parish within the diocese are invited to collect a Bishop’s Award Information and Application pack from their school’s administration office, parish office or download the form online at www.catholic.org.au/bishopsaward and

discuss their application with their priest, deacon, minister, church leader as well as their school principal (where applicable). The Bishop’s Award comprises three categories: •

Catholic School Students Bishop’s Award

Catholic Students Bishop’s Award

Catholic Young People Bishop’s Award

In each category there will be an award of $1000 which may contribute towards the student’s or young person’s education or faith formation eg World Youth Day, diocesan youth retreat, music ministry. Each young person will also receive a Certificate of Recognition. Applications close 22 December 2016.

For further information or to request an application form, please contact your parish office, Catholic secondary school (where applicable) or visit www.catholic.org.au/bishopsaward


Profile for Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Aurora December 2016  

The 2016 Christmas edition of Aurora magazine.

Aurora December 2016  

The 2016 Christmas edition of Aurora magazine.

Profile for diomn

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