Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle October 2016 | No.162
What does the Church lose when it sacrifices science? Is anxiety the disease of the 21st century, and what can we do about it? â€œDo you love me the same as the other children in your family?â€?
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On the cover Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle October 2016 | No.162
Learn more about the 2016 Social Justice Statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops on page 5. Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Star Photography.
No airbrushing here!
What does the Church lose when it sacrifices science? Is anxiety the disease of the 21st century, and what can we do about it? “Do you love me the same as the other children in your family?”
Featured Is there a place at your table for the people of wisdom?
Minister learns much from his visit to St James’ Muswellbrook
“Do you love me the same as the other children?”
A temple of God, built of living stones, is dedicated
Mater Graduate Nurses gather for 70th reunion
The time of Cindy’s life
What is a Royal Commission?
What do we lose when we sacrifice science? 18 Mental Health Month: An opportunity to learn and grow
Stopping the Boats II: Threat to the Architecture of Protection
The impact of the diocese’s inter-generational World Youth Day pilgrimage continues to be felt. Following Joanne Isaac’s story in the September edition, Sr Marie Craddock rsj wrote, “The thought of Elizabeth’s infant leaping for joy when he heard Our Lady’s voice came to me when I was reading Joanne’s account. I felt a quickening of Gospel joy as I read, and thanked God for the gifts of perception and communication skills he has given Joanne. Her Pope Francis reminder to the pilgrims that there was no better way of renewing friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among themselves brought to mind the Leigh Hunt poem of primary school days, Abou Ben Adhem.” Reading the 2016 Social Justice Statement, A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society, I was reminded of an evocative piece by Judith Lynch in which she describes the subject of a painting she calls ‘Mrs Rembrandt’:
“Whoever painted this old lady did so with love and respect, no airbrushing here. She wore her age with dignity. Every miniscule wrinkle of her lived-in skin was a story without words, captured the way an artist paints the folds of a landscape. This elderly lady had come to terms with life’s regrets.” You can learn more about A Place at the Table on page 5.
awarded ‘Silver’ for Best Column, saying, “Aurora, with its huge circulation, reaches a regional non-church readership, so a bishop writing for this audience faces a huge task. Bishop Bill’s series speaks to current community concerns in a refreshingly un-churchy way, while not resiling from his Christian stance, especially when tackling difficult issues.”
It’s the time of year when not only spring, but press awards are in the air! I am pleased to report some success for our Aurora.
Aurora also received ‘Gold’ for Best Regional Publication. “Aurora cleverly incorporates the larger issues of life and Roman Catholic faith through a local diocesan eye.”
The Australasian Catholic Press Association ‘highly commended’ Best Ecumenical/Interfaith Story - “Two Storey Love” and Best Social Justice Coverage, “A refugee’s story – just being kept alive is not a life”. Congratulations to editorial team member Michael O’Connor and CatholicCare Refugee Service’s John Sandy. The Australasian Religious Press Association
Contact Aurora Aurora online
The Way We Were
Next deadline 7 October 2016
Two by Two
The Catholic Thing
Aurora enquiries should be addressed to The Editor Tracey Edstein E firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300 P 4979 1288 | F 4979 1119
Seasons of Mercy
Aurora is very much a team project so felicitations to all concerned!
TRACEY EDSTEIN – Editor
Good news! You can still catch up with Aurora online, via MNNews.today. mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
Fairfax Media Phone 4979 5259
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The Pursuit of Happiness Yes, I’m in pursuit of it. Happiness. I’m on the lookout for notable examples of the phenomenon, to see if I can make any sense of where it happens and where it doesn’t. I might record them in a book, too, as something to turn to on rough days, to lift the spirits a bit by the recollection of being caught up in the infectiousness of an unaffectedly happy person. Hey, it’s no sillier than collecting spoons or snow domes, is it? Little reminders.
pretty much the same things they always talk about, and then they went on their way, getting on with their lives. You can’t call that ‘unfriendly’, just sort of non-friendly. And, yes, the bloke in the servo may have had an eye on encouraging business by being friendly to a customer. He seemed genuinely happy and friendly to me, but perhaps he was trying hard to be. But doesn’t that merely raise the question, why aren’t church people trying?
This quest for samples of happiness arises from a recent Sunday morning experience. On my way home from somewhere I pulled into a petrol station to fill up and, having done that, went in to pay. No one else was there but the man behind the counter, but he fairly beamed at me; a great big welcoming smile and ‘Good morning, how ya goin?’’ or words to that effect. We probably rattled on for a few seconds about the beautiful sunny day or something, and then I was off. “Well, see ya then. Have a good day.” He was just a happy, friendly character. And I thought, “I’ve just come from Mass and morning tea with all those good Catholics, and yet this is the first really friendly greeting I’ve had today.”
Hugh Mackay’s book-before-last was about the pursuit of happiness or, as the title had it, The Good Life. I loved the first few chapters because he got stuck into all the illusions of the twenty-teens that I tend to pour scorn on myself: the attempt to be perfect parents, to have perfect kids, perfect homes, perfect teeth and God-knows-what. He goes through the illusions that the next big move, the next big purchase, the next self-improvement course, the next gym session perhaps, will bring everything just right and hunky-dory. Whatever we are looking for in life, to make ourselves happy, there’s a product just for that and, if there isn’t, the government should do something about it. It’s great fun to read. As I said at the time, not only could I have written a lot of this, I think I actually have written it.
Okay, I can see one of the things you may be thinking, and I’m happy to acknowledge that, yes, these days the bishop is sort of the complaints department of the church. But it wasn’t that. The people at the parish hadn’t been whinging, they just weren’t overly friendly. At morning tea they would have talked to the people they always talk to, probably about
The ultimate point of Mackay’s book, however, was that he had discovered, as a social researcher, that you don’t find happiness by seeking happiness. When it comes to satisfying our own wants and needs, we are insatiable. No product, no possession ever
delivers the happiness it promises, so we have to keep trying and trying, keep buying and buying. “Well d’uh,” you might say, “we all know that.” And indeed we do. Plato already knew it way back then. The philosophers have technical jargon for it: “Happiness cannot be sought thematically”, if I recall correctly. In other words, you don’t get to be happy by trying really hard to be happy. Being happy comes as a by-product of something else. And what is that ‘something’? Well, according to Mackay, it is simply being good. It is putting others before yourself, trying to be helpful, trying to do some good with your life, looking to make others happy, looking outward and not limiting your concern to what matters directly to you. There are other descriptors, but you get the picture. The Good Life is not what we imagine when we speak of ‘living the good life’, it is what comes from living a good life, being a good person. If I am not mistaken, and I don’t have the book before me today, Mackay actually quotes the Golden Rule and its many close variants across religions and cultures: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That, apparently, is the secret. Or, to put it another way, if a friendly service station guy can brighten up your day, couldn’t you try to do that for someone else?
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Is there a place at your table for the people of wisdom? on the Catholic community, politicians and young and old alike, to foster communities of mercy and love, where every person can take their rightful place at the table.”
By TRACEY EDSTEIN Among many others, one of Pope Francis’ gifts to the Church and the world is the example he embodies of the wisdom, faith, energy and vitality of the elderly. Pope Francis will turn 80 just before Christmas, and we don’t see any slowing down or stepping back from travel or daily engagement with God’s people. Not all septuagenarians, octogenarians or nonagenarians are fit and well, and not all have the consolation of family, neighbours and friends to sustain and engage with them. All, however, deserve to live with comfort, security and dignity, particularly in a nation like ours with so much to offer. It is particularly to those of us who are family, friends and neighbours of the women and men in their later years that the Australian Catholic Bishops 2016 Social Justice Statement, A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an Ageing Society, is directed. The statement was launched shortly before Social Justice Sunday, 25 September. One of the speakers at the launch event, Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC), John Ferguson, said, “In this Statement, the Catholic Bishops of Australia celebrate the value, the dignity and the significant contribution of older people to the life of the community. The Bishops highlight how the most vulnerable members of our community must be protected from the experience of poverty, isolation, abuse or any circumstance in which they are made to feel they are a burden to their family or society. The Statement calls
The Statement includes an introduction by Bishop of Parramatta and Chair of ACSJC, Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFMConv. He writes, “At this time in Australia, we face a threefold challenge: to work for an inclusive society that brings older people into the heart of the community; to ensure the dignity and care of people who are frail and most vulnerable to neglect or abuse; and to foster solidarity among all generations, recognising the special affinity that exists between young and old.”
Betty’s treasure is not what she does, nor what she produces, but who she is. “Some people tell me that they will never allow themselves to get to the stage Betty is now. ‘Just give me the end-it-all pill,’ one says, half joking….But the elderly expose the myth of total independence and narcissistic control. We live in an utterly inter-dependent world. It is not all about me.… “It takes humility not to be jealous and resentful of the young. It is humbling to allow myself to be cared for and to realise that sometimes in our helplessness, brokenness and passivity, we can give something deeper than we can with our strength and achievements.”
Betty’s treasure is not what she does, nor what she produces, but who she is.
Each of us is ageing, and each of us can think of the people in our lives who are aged. Speaking at the launch of the Statement, Sr Patty Fawkner sgs shared the story of her mother. “My mother, Betty, has had dementia for ten years and it gets inexorably worse. Betty doesn’t think about the future and she’s lost all memory of the past. She lives in the now … The heart of the present moment is where God is. God reveals Godself to Moses as I AM, not I will be, or I was, but the enigmatic I AM, the One who speaks a word of love to me in the here, in the now. “Betty wears no masks; plays no roles; has no duties. She is simply herself. I’m mindful of May Sarton’s poem: Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places. I have been dissolved and shaken, Worn other peoples’ faces.
A key concern of the Statement is to address the risk of reducing an individual’s contribution to society to his or her ‘net worth’. While calls for a longer working life persist, there are many who are unable to work beyond a certain age due to physical limitations or health issues. And people get tired! However, the Statement quotes the 2015 Intergenerational Report which “notes that people aged 65 and over are retiring and taking on other activities in their communities at exactly the time in their lives when public spending per person increases. The implication is that leaving the labour force reduces people’s contribution to the community and makes them an economic burden. This ignores the true value of older people’s contribution.” Pope Francis has written, “When money becomes the end and the motive of every activity and of every venture, then the utilitarian perspective and brute logic – which do not respect people – prevail, resulting in the widespread collapse of the values of solidarity and respect for the human being.” (Address
Where love is fostered Octogenarian Dawn Morgan (above) offers a glimpse into her world. I am 89. I’ve lived in my home at Waratah for 69 years, and my late husband and I raised our four daughters here. Now I have 17 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. I live for Church – and next to Church, it’s bingo! I’m at Corpus Christi Church for Mass every Sunday and I take Communion to a resident of Maroba. Once a week I teach scripture in a nearby school. I’m a Dominican Associate – the Sisters live just across the road – and for many years I was a ‘foster nan’ at the Stockton Centre. There, you give love but you get it back threefold. I do what I want to do and my bad knee does it too. It’s good to be alive and my hope is for what I’m already living – a happy and healthy life.
to participants in the World Congress of Accountants, 14 November 2014). A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an Ageing Society is an engaging blend of wisdom, practical suggestions and stories. It is irrelevant to no one! To read the Statement in full, please visit https://www.catholic.org.au/ Read Sr Patty Fawkner’s answer to the question, “What do the elderly of our world teach me for the journey of life?” at www.socialjustice. catholic.org.au
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Minister for Education learns much from his visit to St James’ Muswellbrook
By NIAMH MARZOL
St James’ Primary, Muswellbrook celebrated the fruits of our work with the State Action Plan (SAP) by sharing our fantastic results with NSW Minister for Education, The Hon Adrian Piccoli, at our school during a special ministerial visit last month. St James’ NAPLAN results for 2014 and 2015 showed tremendous growth and the school was recognised by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) for this growth in 2016. Over 70% of the student population gained results at or above expected growth. Given that St James’ has a transient teaching and student population, these results are
unusual. Mr Piccoli was very interested to find out what we are doing that defies the odds. It was our great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to the Minister and show him our results and the behind the scenes work that generally goes unnoticed. In particular, this includes the work of the Learning Support Team, the Leading Teacher and the classroom teachers in their collaboration and planning time. The minister drilled down into our practices and was genuinely interested to find out what we have changed to cause such sweeping improvements to our results. We were happy to have the Q&A. St James’ recently presented a workshop at the
Bishop Bill Wright invites all members of the Deaf community, their families and friends to the
DEAF PRIDE MASS with Auslan interpreters
Minis ter for Educ ation , Adria n Picco li, stud ents Meg Hayle n and Char lie Dani els and princ ipal, Niam h Marz ol.
Diocesan Teaching and Learning Conference and at the SAP showcase. The schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are doing wonderful work with their staff to change pedagogical practices to better serve the students in our classrooms. It was a privilege to have the Minister for Education recognise the tremendous work our teachers do to make learning our first priority at St James’ and to provide teaching and learning activities that support the needs of each student. Teachers, parents and students have high praise of the State Action Plan. Although we no longer qualify for the funding next year, due to our success, we will endeavour to continue
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the methodology to see further improvements in our learning outcomes. Students were recently asked what they love about St James’. Their replies included the following: strong education, good teachers, learning is fun, being challenged, teachers are good at explaining, teachers help one on one, teachers like to see students succeed, teachers have good teaching methods and teachers differentiate. Another comment that stood out was, “Parents get that we want a good career and want to do our best and they support us in that.” Niamh Marzol is principal of St James’ Primary School, Muswellbrook.
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“Do you love me the same as the other children in your family?” Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Star Photography.
earlier days I was involved in the Aunty/Uncle program and enjoyed the time spent with a young boy and girl. Also, as a teacher and a parent, I have always felt great empathy towards children who, through no fault of their own, just didn’t get a great start in life.
By FIONA MCCALDEN
It was a sunny autumn afternoon and my class of Year 2 students had just left for the day when I opened a newsletter in my emails. I was reading through it when an advertisement from CatholicCare, calling for foster carers, caught my eye. There was a phone number to call. I picked up the phone… It is now four years since we decided to become a foster family. Initially before we received children, I attended a series of training workshops followed by some intensive and thought-provoking interviews. My seven-year-old daughter was even included in this process. At the time I remember thinking, “Do I need to know all of this stuff? Is this really necessary?” I have since discovered I certainly did need it! People often ask me why I put our hands up to take in children we didn’t know. There are many reasons. Firstly, I remember watching my only child playing imaginatively with her toys on her own and wished she had a sibling to share her childhood with. In my
Since we received our first foster care placement, our whole family has welcomed and nurtured our ‘littlies’ into our lives. It is so rewarding to watch these children blossom and grow, develop new relationships and learn new things. When I speak to family members about it, they also feel it is a very positive experience. When the children are living with us, the ‘cousins’ always have a child on their knees or back, ‘Grandma’ is in great demand for homework and ‘Aunty’ is the one to cuddle. My partner and friends, as well as schools, preschools and CatholicCare staff, also play a significant and supportive role in the children’s lives. So far, we have been involved with four children. Our first, a bubbly eight-year-old girl, comes to us for respite care on odd weekends. She is super active, keeps the trampoline busy and there is never a dull moment when she is around. Our second, a feisty ten-year-old gorgeous girl, lived with us for nine months before moving overseas to live with her relatives. She was our first ‘full-time’ child and it was heartbreaking and very emotional when she left. My daughter and she had developed a strong sisterly bond and they missed each other a lot. However, we have been fortunate to still
maintain contact with her via the internet. When she is in Australia, we are able to spend weekends away with her. Her relatives support this continuing relationship and we really appreciate it.
They drew our attention to the beauty in everyday things like a pretty sunset or a colourful weed in the garden Recently we cared full-time for a fouryear-old girl and her six year-old-brother. They arrived in the middle of summer and quickly became pool babies. The four-yearold spent hours riding around the pool on my fourteen-year-old niece’s back as she gained confidence in the water. The children especially enjoyed playing outside making ‘potions’ with my dishwashing detergent and whatever they could find in the garden. One memorable moment with them was taking them down to Bunnings to buy a plastic bucket each. They were so excited about their handpicked 89c bucket and these kept them occupied for hours the next day. They drew our attention to the beauty in everyday things like a pretty sunset or a colourful
weed in the garden. They loved being read to and receiving butterfly kisses at night. Their needs were very high and quite challenging at times, but watching the change in them over the months was dramatic. They have since moved on to new carers but will continue to spend some weekends with us. Over the past four years, I have seen my daughter develop in her big sister role. Sharing your home, toys, parents and friends with other children is not always easy. As an adult, I took on this role as a foster mum. Thankfully she has also enjoyed the experience and I am very proud of her. At the moment we are having a break while we undergo home renovations. Shortly though we hope to have the opportunity to welcome some new children again. It always begins with a phone call and sometimes not a lot of notice. Then everyone flies into action, putting sheets on beds, gathering clothes and the excitement builds as we prepare to meet them. I will never forget Feisty Girl asking me one night with a very forlorn look on her face, “Do you love me the same as the other children in your family?” I was taken back for a moment before I was able to truthfully answer her. I explained to her that I love all the people in the family in a different way because each one is unique and special. I kissed her good night and told her there was absolutely no one in the world that I loved in the same way as her, and that she is ‘my family’ now. She grinned as I turned off the light…
A temple of God, built of living stones, is dedicated For many months St John’s Church at Maitland has been being restored and will soon serve as a place of worship again. Rev Andrew Doohan explains how the transition will be marked.
By REV ANDREW DOOHAN
At the end of the Chrism Mass each year in Holy Week, the Bishop solemnly consecrates the Holy Chrism – oil with a perfume added – to be used in the sacramental life of the Church of Maitland-Newcastle during the coming year. Most people will be familiar with the use of the Chrism during the celebration of baptism and confirmation. Many may be aware of its rarer use during the ordination of priests (their hands are anointed with Chrism) and bishops (their heads are anointed). Because of the rarity of the event, however, many, if not most, people may be unaware that the rarest liturgical use of the Chrism is to be found in the Order of the Dedication of a Church and an Altar, when these two
inanimate objects are also anointed with Chrism. This is the only time in the liturgical life of the Church that the object of anointing is not a human being. The significance of these liturgical anointings is not to be underestimated, for they are at the very heart of the solemn liturgical act that surrounds the dedication of a new (or substantially renovated) church building. Through the anointing with Chrism, “the altar becomes a symbol of Christ who, before all others, is and is called ‘The Anointed One’”, while “the anointing of the church signifies that it is given over entirely and perpetually to Christian worship” (ODCA, 16). In the celebration of the dedication of a
church and an altar, the Bishop stands before the as yet unused altar, and says, May the Lord by his power sanctify this altar and this house, which by our ministry we anoint, so that as visible signs they may express the mystery of Christ and the Church. (ODCA, 64) He then pours the Chrism on the centre and four corners of the altar and rubs the Chrism until it covers the entire top of the altar. At the same time, some of the concelebrating priests move through the church and anoint the walls in twelve places, the symbolism of which has clear scriptural overtones.
Through this liturgical action the altar and the church building become symbols of Christ and his Church. The building, newly dedicated and anointed, represents us, the People of God and the Body of Christ, gathered around the altar, which is Christ the Head. Gathered there we become a “holy people, made one by the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…the temple of God built of living stones, where the Father is worshipped in spirit and in truth” (ODCA, 1). Rev Andrew Doohan is Dean of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton. St John’s Chapel, Maitland, will be dedicated during Mass on Sunday, 6 November, at 2.00pm. All are welcome!
The Way We Were:
Having a (debutante) ball! By SUZANNE MARTIN For many decades St John’s Pro-Cathedral Parish, Maitland, held an annual Debutantes’ Ball at Maitland Town Hall, where the young ladies of the parish would be presented to the Bishop of Maitland. The photograph of the ball held on 10 May, 1974, shows the official party with Bishop John Toohey. It was Bishop Toohey’s last Maitland Catholic Ball as he died the following year. (l-r) Milton Morris MLA and his wife Colleen, parish priest Fr Lex Levey, matron of honour, Miss Suzanne Martin, Bishop John Toohey, Ball Committee President, Mrs Margaret Anlezark and her son Ian. How times – and hair styles – have changed!
Learning to pass on the skills of resilience 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 email@example.com or write to Aurora-CareTalk PO Box 756 Newcastle 2300.
I am interested in learning ways to teach my seven-year-old daughter some resilience skills. She seems to become emotionally overwhelmed every time she is presented with a challenging situation or when she ‘loses’ in a game with us at home or at school. Sometimes she gives up trying because her emotions take over. I really want to teach her that it is okay not to be the best at everything, and also not to give up on something just because it feels too hard. Where do I start? The ability to cope with life’s challenges depends on exactly what you are suggesting: resilience. Resilience skills allow us to cope with adversity. Each challenge is an opportunity for growth and change, and some people find embracing and overcoming challenges much easier than others do. Childhood provides many teaching opportunities for resilience, and fortunately, resilience skills can be learned. There was a time when parenting focused on letting our children ‘succeed’ and ‘win’ at everything. Although this may initially appear to be building a child’s self esteem, it can also have the opposite effect when a child is presented with a challenging situation. Also, ‘fake winning’ or ‘succeeding’ does not teach a child coping skills that are valuable throughout life. Here are some ideas to support your daughter’s resilience: ff Emotion Coaching. Negative and overwhelming emotions are fine but at the same time, some emotional reactions can be unhelpful, such as excessive crying, having a tantrum, self-blaming and
anger. When your daughter is becoming overwhelmed, teach her to name her emotion and provide empathy and understanding. For example, “I can see you are sad because you are finding it hard to finish the puzzle. What can we do about this?” By helping her to connect with her emotional experience, you are providing an opportunity for problem solving as well. Problem solving could be task-related or emotion-related: “Would you like some help with the puzzle?” or “What can you do to feel better? Would you like to go outside and jump on the trampoline?” Notice my choice of word ‘you’ rather than ‘I’. This is deliberate as this encourages your daughter to think for herself. Of course, you don’t have to do this every time, but consider this as another learning opportunity while still offering plenty of cuddles. By practising emotion coaching regularly, you are role modelling and at the same time, validating your daughter’s emotions, not dismissing them. Sometimes, parents may say “stop crying” or “it’s not that
bad, you’ll get over it”, but these types of statements are unhelpful as they reinforce the idea that emotions are bad, or that what they are feeling is not important. ff Help your daughter cope with her emotions. Some strategies may include distraction, relaxing activities such as colouring, taking a break from a difficult task and coming back to it later, encouraging her to ask for help if she is becoming upset, encouraging family time, playing with a pet, physical activity. ff Assess your own coping skills. Our children are constantly watching us and learning from us. What does your child see when you are faced with a challenge or a stressful situation? I can completely relate to this as I have heard my own daughter use my ‘voice’ when she is bossing her younger brother around! Be aware of yourself and use some of your challenges as learning experiences for your daughter. Talk to her about your feelings (age-appropriate of course) and let her know how you plan to solve your problem or cope with your emotion.
Two by Two
Signing in Together
By TRISH BOGAN
Anne Sheppard and Veronica McLoughlin did not meet until the beginning of this year, but they have quickly formed a close friendship, professionally and personally. Both grew up in loving family environments and followed the usual pattern: school, work, study, marriage and children. But what makes them different is that Anne is profoundly deaf. Anne was almost two when she contracted meningitis. Total deafness resulted. She is accepting of her life-changing circumstances, “That’s life, I’m not dead! The hearing was the only thing I lost; I could have been blind or disabled.” Through the wisdom of her parents she immediately began school at the former Rosary Convent School for Deaf Girls at Waratah. She later attended St Mary’s High School at Gateshead. “High school was challenging. It was very difficult as I received little support. My family were my biggest supporters, especially my mother.” Thank goodness times have changed for today’s deaf students! Now Anne’s main methods of communication are by lip reading and hand signing. Anne returned to her old school at Waratah after the birth of her son where she took him to playgroup. Most of the mothers had hearing impaired children; she was the only deaf mum with a hearing child. In 1993, when the school moved to a purpose-built new facility at Mayfield, Anne moved too. Now, over 17 years later, she works three days a week as a Teacher’s Aide, assisting the classroom teachers of the deaf children. Veronica attended secondary school at St Mary’s Dominican High School at Maitland. She gained a teaching degree, then added three master’s degrees, including one 10
in Special Education, along with raising four children. For 143 years St Dominic’s has been the centre for deaf and hard-of-hearing children but great changes are afoot! A few years ago the name was changed from St Dominic’s Centre for Hearing Impaired Children to St Dominic’s Centre and students with developmental delays and/or complex learning needs were welcomed. Veronica has nothing but praise for the way the staff at St Dominic’s work together towards a shared dream. “Anne has been an incredible support, a personal support to me but also a role model for the kids and for the staff,” she says. “Of
They share a passion; together they will make life happier for their students all people, Anne, with such a deep emotional investment in the culture of the deaf and hard of hearing community, had the right to resist these changes. Anne’s being so positive and supportive of the changes has set a tone in the place as she is so well respected within the community. “If something is happening that I don’t understand, I’ll go and speak to Anne, she is such a wise person. I seek Anne out for her advice and opinion, I really value it. Throughout the year Anne was teaching me
signing and I got to know her quite well; I feel that’s where I came to love her so much. We are continuing that again next term, I have missed it.” Anne is a little more hesitant about the looming changes. “At first I was a little scared and sad but now I think I’m looking forward to it. I like the change because I think it’s time.” Veronica says, “The best thing about having Anne here is as a role model. She’s pragmatic, sensible, down-to-earth and not only does her deafness not hold her back, it almost is the reason she has excelled so well. She’s very strong. The kids come in and see this amazing woman here who is married with a child and a job and incredible history. That’s what we love, the kids being exposed to that.” Anne says, “Some of the children say to me, ‘I can’t get married and have children ‘cause I’m deaf’ and I say why, look at me, I’m married and had a baby, you can get married and have babies.” Anne is an impressive example of their future. Anne chuckles about the old days, “We all had to use the old hearing aids, the little box with wires which connected to your ears; I’ve thrown mine away because it never helped. I had to go to school and wear it, but actually I didn’t hear a thing anyway. The teacher would do things like put paper over her mouth and I would have to know what they were saying. But then the other children would tell me what the teacher was saying and I would tell the teacher! But we were cheating.” Veronica interjects with her own comment, “You were so naughty!” The two women bounce off each other so easily, their
closeness is obvious. Anne’s role in the classroom has changed throughout the years. “Now they have Cochlear Implants, but they still need support.” Anne was fitted for an implant which never worked. She has some fears, “Wherever the deaf children go into this mainstream world we’re moving into I really hope they have lots of support, I worry about them out there on their own.” Anne would like to follow them and give the support they need. Veronica grimaces, “You’re not going anywhere; we need you here. “I would love a purpose-built centre that caters for a range of disabilities and offers a really good Catholic education − with Anne next to me.” Anne is a realist when it comes to the future. “I suppose my fear is not being able to communicate with the new students but I think working together is the way forward.” Ever the wit, Anne adds, “We’re playing it by ear.” Anne has been working with deaf children for over 27 years while Veronica has just begun. They share a passion; together they will make life happier for their students. With the dawn of 2017 bringing enormous transition and challenge, their respect and encouragement for each other, and deep friendship, will see them − and St Dominic’s Centre − succeed and flourish.
Mater Graduate Nurses gather for 70th reunion Much loved senior nurses Pat Tyler, Kath Gleeson, Coral Anderton, Claire Barclay and Jean Crichton.
By COLLEEN CANNY This year the Mater Graduate Nurses will come together for their 70th annual reunion on Sunday 13 November. It’s both surprising and gratifying to me that this event has continued for all these years. The first reunion in 1946 was arranged by Sr Mary Dominic rsm, a Charge Sister (now known as a NUM − Nursing Unit Manager). It was held in the nurses’ sitting room with 30 in attendance. A committee was formed from that gathering. Sr Pauline Matheson was elected the first Mater Graduate President and Sr Sheila Moylan was Secretary. Two of our much loved
nurses who attended that first Reunion, Sister Kath Gleeson and Sister Pat Tyler, still attend our gatherings.
annual charitable donation. A scholarship is awarded each year to a Mater Calvary nurse to support her studies.
Our reunions are always joyous occasions, commencing with Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral at 9.30am. Our graduates always sing the hymn “Mother of Mercy” at the conclusion of the liturgy, in recognition of the dedication given to us in our training by our Sisters of Mercy.
Each year we celebrate our jubilarians, nurses who graduated 50 years ago. Many nurses travel from overseas to be present.
The Mass ended, the graduates move to the Victor Peters Suite to continue the celebration over lunch. There is always plenty of laughter and chatter, ‘remember whens’ and photo updates. An important task is choosing recipients for our
This year we had the privilege of receiving an invitation from Calvary Mater Hospital for dinner. Seventy of our Graduate Nurses attended. It was held in what we knew as the convent with drinks served on the cloister. CEO Greg Flint welcomed the nurses, and spoke about the extensions planned for the coming years. Two of our graduates spoke about their training at the Mater − Jean Crichton, one of our early trainees, and Elizabeth Grist, a much later trainee.
The evening was highlighted with the presence of five senior nurses, all in their nineties. The graduates are blessed with a very strong connection with Calvary Mater which in turn acknowledges the foundation formed by the Mater Nurses. Sadly, our nurses are in some cases frail and unwell. We visit them regularly – it’s part of our Mater Spirit. We hope our reunion continues for many more years. If you know a Mater nurse who may not be aware of the event, please let her know as she would be very welcome! Colleen Canny is President of the Mater Graduate Nurses. She can be contacted via the editor.
Cindy’s had the time of her life By ELIZABETH SNEDDEN
Adorned in a white sequinned dress, lace shoes, flowers in her hair and a satin clutch to complete the look, Cindy Pritchard looked every bit the princess when she recently made her debut at the ‘Love Is in the Air’ Ball. The ball celebrates the lives and achievements of dancers with special needs. Hosted by the Waltz-sing Matildas, a dance group run by parents and carers for people with intellectual disabilities, the event was originally suggested by families who wouldn’t have the chance to see their children marry. To prepare for the special occasion, Cindy attended dance practice every Monday evening for eight weeks with some of her friends from CatholicCare’s
Disability Support Accommodation.
been looking forward to for some time.
Cindy has long loved dancing, and took great pride in attending the classes, particularly when given the opportunity to practise her curtsey!
I asked Cindy if she plans to continue dancing, to which she simply replied, ‘Yes.’ She said that it’s a great way to keep fit and is loads of fun.
Much to Cindy’s surprise, not only were her friends there to watch her make her debut, but two aunts flew from Queensland to take part in the festivities.
Cindy continued, “My favourite part of the night was when I got to dance the waltz with my partner, Cam.
When it came time to appear centre stage at Wests City, Cindy was abuzz with excitement, even if a little nervous. As she took her dance partner and long-time friend Cam’s hand for their first dance, Cindy’s face beamed with the most beautiful smile. Cindy had a wonderful time dancing with her friends, and her dress swung perfectly in time with the music. The official proceedings were followed by a two-course meal, which Cindy had
“I felt very beautiful in my dress and I loved having my hair and makeup done. The ball was so much fun.” The team at CatholicCare is very proud of Cindy for achieving her goal of taking part in dance classes and making her debut, something she has always wanted to do. We can’t wait to see what is next in store for our resident princess! Thank you to Kayla and Jake from Urban Empire Newcastle for completing Cindy’s princess look with their complimentary hair and makeup services.
Is anxiety the disease of the 21st century, and what can we do about it?
By STEVE ZOLEZZI
God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr It could well be that anxiety will be known as the disease of the 21st century; and talking to parents and teachers, it's easy to understand how someone might think anxiety worthy of the title. Many psychologists working with young people have noted a substantial increase in the number of people, young and old, reporting with symptoms of anxiety. Individuals with anxiety disorders tend to have their lives controlled and captured by avoidance, denial, ritual and self-medication. They tend to see the world as threatening and ‘fight or flight’ characterises their reaction to fearful situations in their environment.
For many people, anxiety comes from clinging to the illusion of control. People think that they can control what happens in their environment and with other people.
What also helps is looking at your belief system, which may be distorted. It is useful for people with anxiety to notice their belief systems and then challenge them. Tsilimparis asks his clients to pay close attention to whether they’re seeking perfection, control or approval during the day. The key is to be reflective, not reactive. Reactivity breeds anxiety. If an anxietyproducing thought pops up, you might say, “There I go again, I’m about to go into illusionof-control thinking, and I refuse to go there.” By testing your beliefs, you can develop “new eyes”. Here is an example. The thought, “I’m never going to be safe because terrorism is a real threat” might cause a surge in anxiety. No thought should go unchallenged. So a helpful way to challenge this thought is by saying to yourself, “I’m focusing on something that I have zero control over. This is the government’s job. So I’ll focus my energy and efforts on what I can control in my life, including my own job and being a good husband and father.”
There is hope in an anxious world if we control that which we can control and capture, as far as possible, only those things that give us vitality and joy.
In my work as a psychologist I have been intrigued by how easily we are captured by bad news and proceed to catastrophise about how things will get out of control. Every era has its ups and downs — war, natural disasters, economic trouble, social problems and crime. But what distinguishes today from any other era is our instant access to these devastating events. In looking at healthy responses to these external events, it may be useful to look at the research of two leading mental health experts who look at the two areas of control and capture with fresh eyes and present some strategies to overcome being captured and controlled by a world seemingly gone mad. Thanks to technological advances, people can “watch tragedy and disaster on [their] smart phone,” says John Tsilimparis, author
of the book Retraining Your Anxious Mind: A New Approach to the Art of Anxiety Management. I have distilled the essence of his approach to overcoming the control issue and will then tackle the issue of capture, so that we can obsess less and be liberated from the tyranny of not feeling in control of our lives.
What also drives anxiety is perfectionism and relying on others’ approval. Looking for outside validation inevitably leaves people walking on eggshells and panicked over whether they have said or done the right thing. First, it’s important to separate the things you can control from the things you can’t. In other words, the motto your parents probably taught you is all too true: the only thing you have control over is yourself. If you can focus on the stressors in your life that you can control, you’ll end up feeling better about everything else. It is easier to address the little things in our lives that we do have control over. The irony is that once you let go of wanting to control everything and focus on yourself, you gain control and your anxiety decreases.
There’s also nothing wrong with taking a break from the news, which Tsilimparis has suggested to some clients. Simply switch the channel or go TV-free for a few days. Take a quiet walk in natural surroundings. Anxiety can best be managed through investigating what keeps it in place and gives it a hold. It seems that at this point in time we are captured by our focus on anxiety. In his new book Capture: Unravelling the
Mystery of Mental Suffering (2016), David Kessler posits that the same neurological process that drives people to chain-smoke or over-eat is responsible for many mental illnesses like depression or eating disorders. Dr Kessler has termed this process ‘capture’. Capture is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brain is commandeered by forces outside our control. The theory of capture is composed of three basic elements: narrowing of attention, perceived lack of control and change in effect, or emotional state. When something commands our attention in a way that feels uncontrollable and in turn, influences our behaviour, we experience capture. As capture takes hold and narrows our attention, we may begin to feel as if our thoughts are beyond our control—a sensation that may induce fear or even panic. Alternatively, capture can allow for an experience of flow, the sense that all consciousness is channelled in a single direction in an uninterrupted manner for positive effect. We are all vulnerable to capture; we all need to find meaning in the random flux of stimuli that bombard us at every moment. Yet, for most of us, this susceptibility is offset by our ability to redirect the wanderings of our attention. There is hope in an anxious world if we control that which we can control and capture, as far as possible, only those things that give us vitality and joy. Steve Zolezzi is Co-ordinator, Student Wellbeing, Catholic Schools Office.
Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Star Photography. | 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
What is a Royal Commission? the future both to protect against the occurrence of child sexual abuse and to respond appropriately when any allegations and incidents of sexual abuse occur; and
By NICOLA ARVIDSON
ff A Royal Commission is an inquiry directed by the Queen into any matter which relates to the “peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth (of Australia) or any public purpose or any power of the Commonwealth”. The fact sheet produced by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse describes a Royal Commission more simply as “a special investigation into a matter of great importance”. How did the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse begin? On 11 January 2013, Quentin Bryce, who was then the Governor General of Australia, the Queen’s representative in Australia, appointed six Commissioners to inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse. The Chair of the Commission is the Honourable Justice Peter David McClellan AM. This commission became known as the “Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission”. Why did the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission begin? The document appointing the Commissioners is referred to as “Letters Patent”. The Letters Patent is a moving and powerful document that sets out the reasons for the inquiry. These reasons include:
Australia has obligations to protect children from sexual abuse and other forms of abuse, including measures for the prevention, identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of incidents of child abuse; All forms of child sexual abuse are a gross violation of a child’s right to this protection; It is important that best practice is identified so that it may be followed in
It is important that those sexually abused as a child in an Australian institution can share their experiences to assist them with healing and to inform the development of strategies that the inquiry will seek to identify.
should do to protect children against child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts in the future;
What powers does a Royal Commission have? A Royal Commission has broad ranging powers under the Royal Commission Act 1902 including:
To summon witnesses to give evidence under oath or affirmation;
To require the production of documents;
To take evidence from a person in another country where appropriate arrangements have been made between Australia and that other country; and
What governments and institutions should do to achieve best practice in encouraging the reporting of, and responding to, information and reports about allegations, incidents and risks of child sexual abuse; What should be done to eliminate or reduce current impediments to responding appropriately to child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts; and What institutions and governments should do to address, or alleviate the impact of, past and future child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts.
In particular, the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission must have regard to:
To apply for search warrants.
The experience of people directly or indirectly affected by child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts;
Does the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission have special powers?
The need to focus their inquiry and recommendations on systemic issues;
The Royal Commission Act 1902 was specifically amended in 2013 to give the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission the power to hold private sessions in addition to the usual powers of a Royal Commission. Only people authorised by the Commissioner holding the private session may be present during the private session. Private hearings are not open to the public or the media. Information about a person obtained at a private session may only be included in a report or recommendation of the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission if the information is de-identified.
The adequacy and appropriateness of responses by institutions to allegations, incidents and risks of child sexual abuse; and
Changes to laws, policies, practices and systems that have improved over time the ability of institutions and governments to better protect against and respond to child sexual abuse and associated matters in institutional contexts.
What does the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission investigate? The Letters Patent directs the Royal Commission to investigate:
What institutions and governments
What institutions is the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission investigating? The Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission investigates institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts. An institution is any public or private body, agency, association, club, institution, organisation or other entity or group of
entities of any kind. This includes children’s homes, religious organisations, missions and reserves, government agencies, schools, sports clubs, juvenile justice facilities and out of home care. Child sexual abuse happens in an institutional context if, for example, it happens on premises of an institution, where activities of an institution take place, or in connection with the activities of an institution. What happens when the Royal Commission discovers criminal activity? The Royal Commission is not a court of law and cannot make decisions about criminal matters. However, where a Royal Commission’s inquiry reveals information that relates to illegal activity, the Commission may report that information to the police, or other law enforcement and administration bodies such as the Attorney General and/or the Director of Public Prosecutions. When will the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission deliver its findings? After receiving submissions, the Commissioners consider all submissions and evidence. They then make findings and recommendations, which are published as case study reports. Case study reports are tabled in the Australian Parliament and published on the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission website. The Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission must submit a final report of the results of its enquiry and its recommendations to the Governor General by 15 December 2017. The recommendations will address how to improve laws, policies and practices in Australia to provide a safer future for children. Nicola Arvidson is a solicitor admitted to the practice of law in NSW. Zimmerman Services is the diocese’s specialist child protection service and anyone who is affected by historic child abuse or requires support can contact Zimmerman Services’ Healing and Support Team on (02) 4979 1390.
To learn more about Healing & Support Services please contact us at: 50 Crebert Street Mayfield NSW 2304 | PO Box 29 Carrington NSW 2294 P 02 4979 1390 F 02 4979 1151 E firstname.lastname@example.org
The Catholic Thing
The Trinity: do not pretend that you understand By JOSEPHINE ARMOUR OP
A first point to make in speaking about the Trinity is that, for Christians, God is One. Christianity is a monotheistic religion, where it is acknowledged that there is one God. God is the creator and sustainer of all that is and it is in God that we have life. God dwells intimately within the human heart but also is revealed to us in the wonder of the natural world. So we can say that God is both imminent but also transcendent. The God who speaks to us in the silence and stillness is the same God who is revealed in the majesty of the Himalayas or in the wonder of a newborn child. This is the same God who has been made known to us in the person of Jesus, born in a simple manger. God is. The Nicene Creed outlines a belief in the Trinitarian God, and importantly begins, “We believe in One God . . .” The doctrine of the Trinity is a particularly Christian way of speaking about God. Theologian Catherine LaCugna calls the doctrine of the Trinity an ‘icon’ which points to the mystery of God. It is not in itself the mystery of God. Reassuringly, God is not remote or distant, but in the person of Jesus we understand that God has come to live amongst us. Christians believe that through the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, God is truly with us. The person of Jesus was so utterly attuned to the will of God that others could not help but feel God’s presence. The sick were healed, the lame walked and many believed because of him. Even when he remained to talk in the temple as a boy, “all were amazed at his understanding.” (Luke 2:47) And furthermore, God continues to be present to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is explained in John’s Gospel. (John 14: 25-6) “I have said these things while I am still with you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” What we do know of God is what has been revealed to us in human history − and what has been revealed is that God is not an isolated or solitary God but rather a ‘communion of love’ 1 which is expressed in all creation. The Source of all life, revealed in Jesus who came to live amongst us and present now through the Spirit of God, is utterly united in a communion of love. This communion between the three persons of the Trinity entails a mutuality and equality amongst the three, but significantly overflows to include humanity and all of creation. God exists as three persons in mutual and loving relationship and is oriented, and radically related, to the whole of creation.
the very nature of the triune God is to impinge upon our lives This means that the very nature of the triune God is to impinge upon our lives. God can do nothing other than this, for by nature God is relational. Jesus’ birth on this earth was an entering into relationship with humankind in a particular way, showing us that God truly dwells in us and amongst us. Catherine LaCugna2 has argued that the life of God is not bound up in God alone but is essentially and fundamentally related to our lives and has great bearing on our relationships with one another. She says the doctrine of the Trinity is the affirmation of God’s intimate communion with us. God is truly a God for us.3
There is a story that St Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. Then he saw a boy in front of him who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made” said St. Augustine. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.” The story concludes by saying that the boy vanished because St Augustine had been talking to an angel. (Volume 5 The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine).
1 2 3 4 5
The symbol of the trinity describes one God as three unique persons mutually indwelling in one another. In this relationship, neither the uniqueness of the three persons nor their particularity diminishes the unity of God. In fact, quite conversely, the profound richness of the mystery of communion is revealed and enhanced by the uniqueness and diversity of the three persons. Within this community of love, within this One God, there is mutuality and equality and a deep respect for difference. Even as long ago as the eighth century, John Damascene used the term perichoresis to describe the relationship of the three persons of the Trinity 4. Perichoresis describes the quality of being in one another, inhering in one another, with no loss of distinctive identity. Like the whole of creation, each person is a part of the life of God, living in God and receiving the God who makes a home in us. Jesus has explained, “God lives in me and I in God”. (John 17: 21) Indeed is this not something which we can all claim? Is this not something that can be said of creation itself? God lives in the created world and the created world lives in God. If we appreciated this point more fully, perhaps we would care for our earth with the reverence it requires. And finally, the symbol of the Trinity can be seen as merely a model for describing the indescribable, the mystery of God. The wise Dominican, Meister Eckhart 5, wrote, “Now pay attention to this. God is nameless for no one can either speak of God or know God. . . You should not wish to understand anything about God, for God is beyond all understanding . . . do not pretend that you understand anything of the ineffable God.” Dr Josephine Armour OP is a Dominican Sister of the Holy Cross Congregation in Adelaide and the Deputy Principal of St Dominic’s Priory College, North Adelaide.
Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (Harper, San Francisco 1991) p243 Lacugna p243. The notion of God being essentially ‘for us’, is foundational to LaCugna’s work and expounded upon throughout her book aptly titled, God for Us. LaCugna, God For Us, 270 Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings.
Seasons of Mercy
What sweeter music can we bring? Choir of St Joseph's Campus, All Saints College, Lochinvar.
even more so when we are intimately involved with the production of music as well.
By CALLUM CLOSE For a thousand years, choirs have sung the praise of God − the vaulted walls of cathedrals and churches filled with echoing melodies older than the buildings themselves. The Delphic hymns of Ancient Greece date from 128 BCE, and are the earliest evidence of compositions for choirs − though perhaps, not for a choir we would immediately think of today. There is also ample evidence of singing and music in biblical times − there are examples of this scattered throughout the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The Psalms of David have the most musical references − the word ‘psalm’ itself comes from the Greek word meaning ‘to sing’ − and Jesus and the apostles sang a hymn at the Last Supper prior to Jesus’ arrest on the Mount of Olives. In our world today, it has been proven that music − listening to it or performing it − makes us feel good. There are various chemical reactions that occur when our brains are stimulated by music, and these occur
Today, choral music and choirs are lauded for their numerous health, social and community benefits. Research into these areas has grown exponentially over the last decade, and the effect of these benefits is now obvious to all those who work with choirs formed to support rehabilitation and wellbeing. A 2010 study by Victoria Health found that there were many important elements that came into play when participants sang in a choir − “to many respondents who commented on the importance of singing as being part of a collective experience, singing and music were not necessarily secondary to the social aspect, but a product of teamwork and people coming together to share their love of singing” (Gridley et al 2010, p 6). The rise of community choirs has come about to foster accessibility to education, and to facilitate the creation of social cohesion within communities. Deanna Yerichuk from the University of Toronto has argued, “…music and music education were framed as an important part of the cultural uplift of society and tied to political and economic improvement” (Lee, 2007, 94). As J Lawrence Erb argued back in 1926,
“it is the business of community music to afford to each individual the fullest opportunity to come into contact with this beneficent influence in the most effective way” (Yerichuk, 2014, p. 129). For those who sing in these ensembles, the social connectedness of building friendship, working as a team and achieving as a body can often take precedence to the actual act of singing. In an interview from 2014, English composer and conductor, John Rutter, said, “choral music is not one of life’s ‘frills’. It is something that goes to the very heart of our humanity; our sense of community; and our souls.” It is this ethos that is at the core of community choral music; music that is created and presented at a communal level for the good of those involved has countless benefits. Why do we sing? Why is singing so contagious? Why do we feel the need to join in? Why do we all express how much joy we get from it? And most importantly, why do we enjoy singing with other people so much? Is there a pivotal moment in your life when you can recall singing in a choir for the first time, and if you took a minute to think on this, would you be able to recall why you enjoyed it most?
John Rutter’s sentiment. I have experienced moments of joy and ecstasy – moments where the music moved in such a way, it was as if time had stood still. The sound of thirty voices singing in perfect harmony and in unity with each other is a spectacle to see, hear and be a part of, and it is moments like these when I am reminded how truly moving music is. The ability to sing and to express ourselves through music is an important human function. Whether it is singing in a community choir, a cathedral choir or a professional chorus, the message remains − few experiences can pierce one right to the soul and make one feel the things most difficult to express as can music. In the words of Plato, “it gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything”. Callum Close is a Newcastle-based organist, conductor and pianist. He studied at the University of Newcastle and is a keen chorister himself.
As a chorister myself, I can fully appreciate
Frankly Spoken Look, the last thing you need to do is say something! Begin to do, and he will see what you are doing and ask you about it; and when he asks you, then tell him. ‘To evangelize is to give this testimony: I live the way I do, because I believe in Jesus Christ; I awaken in you a curiosity, so you ask me, ‘But why are you doing these things?’ The answer: ‘Because I believe in Jesus Christ and preach Jesus Christ and not just with the Word – you must proclaim the Word – but with your life. Recalling World Youth Day in Krakow, when a boy asked him what he should say to a close friend who was an atheist.
Educating for big dreams and the power of possibility
Sophie Scanlon, Mo nica Scanlon, Suleim an, Gemma Sisia, Mark Scanlon. Suleim Enock, Gemma Sc an and Enock are anlon and graduates who are giving back to the by working in St Ju community de’s visitor centre for a year before go ing to university.
Recently Monica Scanlon travelled with her family to Africa and had the privilege of meeting Gemma Sisia, founder of The School of St Jude’s in Tanzania. Monica shares her encounter.
By MONICA SCANLON
Many of us dream of changing the lives of others for the better. Gemma Sisia is living this dream. The school she founded offers free, high quality education which she believes should be the right of all the world’s children. I have long been inspired by Gemma. Her life bears some parallels with mine. We both grew up in Catholic families, were educated at Catholic schools in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and have a tribe of brothers but no sisters. She is only a few years younger than I and my first child is named Gemma. Gemma Sisia’s story has fascinated me and I had a longing to meet her. After finishing her schooling at St Vincent’s, Potts Point, Gemma completed a university degree, then met a nun who invited her to work in a school in Uganda.This was the origin of the dream which she freely admits was naïve. Returning from Uganda, Gemma worked for three years in Australia, hearing many sarcastic comments about her goal. Over a milkshake, her friend Agnes Hanna told her to go for it, and gave her the first donation of $10. Gemma could give the money back or use it. With $10, no building experience beyond building a guinea pig cage in Year 9, no backing from an established organisation, she began raising funds. In time, with the support of friends, family and Rotary groups, the school was built. Gemma believes her desire to build a school had a lot to do with her parents.She was raised, with her seven brothers, on a sheep property west of Guyra. Her parents sacrificed everything to send their children to private schools. Gemma grew up in a conservative Catholic family. They prayed to St Anthony if they lost something and to St Christopher for safe travels. At 14, Gemma told her Grandma she thought saints were a lot of hot air. Grandma
said to pray to St Jude, the patron saint of hopeless cases! Gemma now says she has a “direct line to the man”. Gemma married Richard, a local Tanzanian she met on safari. In 1998 his father gifted Gemma land to build her school. She imagined it would be easy to find children to enrol if she gave them free education and she imagined every Australian would want to sponsor them. Initially she couldn’t find sponsors and had three students enrolled in 2002. She asked the leaders of the biggest churches − Muslim, Lutheran and Catholic – for assistance. The children they sent were related to the leaders rather than the poorest of the poor. Gemma needed to find kids who were poor and who had the desire for education and a willingness to work. The mission of the school − to fight poverty through education − evolved. Last year 7000 six and seven-yearolds applied for 67 positions at the school.
Most of the students doing community service work in government schools are teachers of Maths, Science, English or Business. Some are the only educated teacher of their subject in their schools. Having just completed their schooling at St Jude’s they are given a twoweek ‘crash course’ in teaching and then find themselves in front of a class of 70-80 students, with some teachers later becoming Heads of Departments. This community service has meant that more children are helped in a country that is doing it tough. Often the teachers at government schools lack passion, are unhappy and do not know how to help. Unlike St Jude’s where the students are fed, children in government schools often have no food at all. Many parents, living on less than US$2 per day, are unable to provide the essentials for their children and sometimes 90 students share a textbook!
The mission of the school − to fight poverty through education − evolved.
Gemma meets challenges daily. She makes sure her meetings always finish with a solution. Ten years ago the teachers were volunteers. Now the school employs Tanzanian staff as the goal is localisation. Maintaining the calibre of staff is always a challenge to ensure the students’ education is never compromised. With almost 1,800 students, St Jude’s is always looking at ways to use donations more efficiently. Graduates of St Jude’s can give back to the community for a year, in gratitude for their free education, before proceeding to university.
Through the work of St Jude’s the poverty cycle is being broken. When means-tested, 80% of the families of the graduates would now ‘fail’ the poverty test they passed to qualify for St Jude’s. This is because the pupils teach their parents and siblings English and help siblings with schoolwork. Englishspeaking Tanzanians have the potential to quadruple their income. The goal at the end of their schooling is for students to be independent, no longer financially dependent on the school. St Jude’s makes a visible difference to a huge number of students, their families and generations of Tanzanians to come. Student Gerald, 19, said, “Everyone loves Gemma.
She risked everything for our sakes for free quality education. I am so grateful because other students in Tanzania live in very poor environments and can’t afford to pay for school. Government schools are not so good and concentrate only on urban schools so in the village you will never get a good education. There are no desks, no books and teachers don’t like to go to villages. Good teachers go to private schools with better salaries and social services. In the villages you go miles to find water and there is one shop. I am so happy to be here as it has changed my life completely. I will help my family. My family were the happiest ever in the universe when I was chosen as a student at St Jude’s.” My family was warmly welcomed to St Jude’s. When there is a tourism downturn, St Jude’s suffers as staff have to be dismissed.Gemma lives with Richard and their four children in Tanzania. She encourages youth to “dream big” and believes in possibilities. My family’s visit to St Jude’s included a question and answer session with Gemma, attending art and music classes, participating in the weekly assembly, visiting a home, sharing lunch and play with the students and meeting volunteers, staff and other visitors. The spirt of the school is uplifting. We participated in an amazing safari organised through Safaris R Us which supports the school. Although Africa is ticked on my bucket list, I hope to return to St Jude’s one day. Please visit www.schoolofstjude.org. A copy of St Jude’s by Gemma Sisia (2007) is available to borrow at St Laurence Centre Library.
What do we lose when we sacrifice science? By BR GUY CONSOLMAGNO SJ
Modern science is the child of the scholastic tradition, nurtured in the Church’s medieval universities. The founders of modern science were almost all deeply religious, many of them priests or monks: the high Middle Ages featured Albert the Great, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Jean Buridan, Nicholas Oremse, Nicholas of Cusa. Copernicus was a cleric and friend of the Church, Kepler and Newton were devout Protestants. Even Galileo himself remained a faithful Catholic (his two daughters were nuns). He wrote excellent theology and would have been appalled at anyone who would use science as an argument for
The Director of the Vatican Observatory visited Australia recently and kindly wrote this contribution for Aurora. atheism. Even during the trials that Galileo endured, surely the nadir of Church-Science relations, the Church’s chief theologian, Robert Bellarmine, admitted that if science should ever demonstrate a behaviour (like the motion of the Earth) contrary to a simple reading of the Bible, “one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and say rather that we do not understand them, than that what is demonstrated is false.” A brief survey of our oldest scientific journals, like the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London or the Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Sciences of
Paris, shows that many of the authors of scientific works through the Enlightenment and into the 19th century were clergymen. Unlike most people of their era, they had the education, free time, and inclination to pursue a study of nature. Religion tells us who created the universe. Science merely tells us how it was created. That principle is so self-evident, and so rooted in Christian tradition, that you have to wonder: why does a small but passionate minority so defiantly attack science even in the face of the firestorm of opposition they’ve incurred from the intellectual elite? Certainly part of the problem is that they have a false picture of science, thinking that it consists merely of “facts” (to be memorised before the final exam) that claim to have been “proved” beyond question. Likewise, though, some scientists are equally ignorant of religion, thinking it consists of nothing but quotes from the Bible (to be memorized before the next Sunday school class) that can never admit to uncertainty. But faith is not inimical to doubt — if you didn’t have doubts, you wouldn’t need faith! And if science already had all the answers, there’d be no reason to keep doing more science. Much of this prejudice can be traced back to anti-Catholic popular writers of the 19th century who wanted to use the presumed certainties of science to mock a Church that they thought was wedded to a literal interpretation of scripture. But the more bitterly scientists argue against the fundamentalists, mocking their beliefs and insulting their intelligence, the more the fundamentalists are confirmed in seeing science as their enemy.
A deeper issue today is a cultural one. The trash that fills our theatres and TV screens, and the daily horrors in the news, seem to reflect an out-of-control culture that has lost touch with basic, commonly held ideas of morality. To many people, this looks like a direct outgrowth of the godless materialism found in the deterministic science that flowered in the 19th century.
Astronomy, with its clockwork planetary motions, was once the symbol of godless mechanistic science. That was a naive view of nature, of course, as modern physics has shown. If anything, physics now appears to be more akin to some sort of mysticism, at least in the popular imagination. But biology — trying to describe a far more complex system than any set of planetary orbits — so
far has had neither the degree of success that 19th century physics had in describing its phenomena, nor the humbling experience that 20th century physics had of reaching the limits of a purely mechanistic world-view. Precisely because it is still so incomplete, the study of life leaves itself open to the fallacy of the God of the Gaps. You might be tempted to believe in a God who supernaturally takes care of all the bits that biochemistry can’t explain (yet). Or you might hold a naive faith in deterministic physics, certain that it will always succeed in accounting perfectly for all the phenomena (eventually). A little more humility on the part of we scientists certainly couldn’t hurt. Can’t we learn from our past mistakes of arrogance? Biology needs the ethical foundation of religion if it is to avoid some future geneticengineering Chernobyl. And if history is any guide, the time will come (though we know neither the day nor the hour, nor who’ll get the Nobel Prize for it) when molecular biology will run up against the limits of its current mechanistic world-view. Yet it’s only by pushing biology further and further that we will eventually find those limits. Research into Evolution will ultimately teach us more about how God acts in this world. But the fundamentalists must also confront the unpleasant possibility that their passion to suppress science is based ultimately on a lack of faith. To quote St John Paul II, writing about evolution, “truth cannot contradict truth”. If you believe in the truth of God, you will not fear what science discovers — nor mistake today’s science as the last and final truth. As we have seen, science is the child of the Church. Like Abraham offering to sacrifice his son Isaac, fundamentalists are willing to sacrifice this child — along with their intellectual reputations, their children’s education, the fruits of science to come — on the altar of their “faith.” That desire to offer everything to God is admirable. But do they have the faith of Abraham to hear God’s reply? “Do not lay your hand upon the child.” Br Guy Consolmagno SJ is Director, Vatican Observatory. You may like to visit www.vaticanobservatory.va/content/ specolavaticana/en.html
Mental Health Month: An opportunity to learn and grow
By TANYA RUSSELL
October is Mental Health Month, a time when we are encouraged to acknowledge and talk about mental health. Good mental health can be defined in the following way: “Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” (World Health Organisation). Unfortunately, for many Australians, maintaining good mental health is difficult. According to beyondblue, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and in any given year, approximately 1 million Australian adults will have depression, and over 2 million will have anxiety. Even more sobering is the fact that, in Australia, around 2,500 people die by suicide each year. Sadly, the suicide rate has not declined over the years, despite ongoing community and individual efforts to support people with mental health issues. It makes you wonder, are we doing enough?
This is why it is so important for us, not only to keep having these conversations about mental health, but also, to take action and do whatever we can to support people struggling with poor mental health. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise mental health issues within ourselves and others, as the experience and symptoms may differ from person to person. And not everyone wants to talk about what feels like a lonely, private and often dark and debilitating condition. If you can relate to some of these symptoms (from beyondblue website) and the symptoms have persisted for a few weeks, please consider talking to someone:
sick and run-down
headaches and muscle pains
loss or change of appetite
lacking in confidence
significant weight loss or gain.
‘I’m a failure.’
‘It’s my fault.’
not going out anymore
‘Nothing good ever happens to me.’
not getting things done at work/school
withdrawing from close family and friends
‘Life’s not worth living.’
Talking to someone can be the first step towards improved wellbeing and there are other treatments available that do work. The Diocesan Social Justice Committee will be acknowledging Mental Health Day on Monday 10 October by hosting a mental health forum. The theme for this year is “Learn and Grow” and I am proud to be one of the presenters for this event. Please come along to the Broadmeadow Parish Hall and help us to continue to talk about this extremely important issue.
relying on alcohol and sedatives
‘People would be better off without me.’
not doing usual enjoyable activities
unable to concentrate
tired all the time
Make su you regis re te online by r 15 Octob er 2016!
Be a pilgrim
walking in the footsteps of Bishop James Murray
To find out more and register for the event, please contact Brooke Robinson, email@example.com or P 4979 1111.
Sat 29 October 2016
From Morpeth to St John’s Chapel, Maitland 8.00am: Registered Pilgrims will gather at Corcoran Parish Centre, George Street, Morpeth 3.45pm approx: Pilgrimage will conclude at St John the Baptist Cathedral, Church Street Maitland. f f f f
12.4km, medium difficulty FREE event Under 16s welcome with an accompanying adult All are welcome
For further information or to register contact Brooke Robinson on (02) 4979 1111 or visit mn.catholic.org.au/150yearspilgrimage | 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
Stopping the Boats Part II: A Threat to the Architecture of Protection
By OLIVER WHITE
The war in Syria continues with no end in sight. For six years, Syrians have lived under a black cloud of misery and death. The number of refugees produced by this conflict is staggering: over 4.8 million people have managed to escape the horror and violence of the civil war. These are the lucky ones, the refugees fortunate enough to cross international borders into neighbouring countries in search of safety and protection. The majority of these people now live in Syria’s four neighbouring countries: Turkey is host to nearly three million Syrians; one million are residing in Lebanon; a further 657,000 are exiled in Jordan and 250,000 are stranded in Iraq. A fraction of those displaced – just over 10 percent – has sought safety in Europe. Though none of these four countries of refuge is a signatory to the Refugee Convention, they have, for the most part, honoured its most fundamental principles. They have respected a person’s right to seek asylum by keeping their borders open. They have not penalised people for not having the correct documentation for legal entry into their countries. They have allowed access to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and other UN agencies, and they are co-operating in the provision of humanitarian support. Most importantly, they have upheld the international legal principle of non-refoulement (the right not to be returned to persecution). This is not to say that the countries of refuge neighbouring Syria have not experienced enormous political, social and economic problems as a result of the influx of such unprecedented numbers of refugees. Nevertheless, their refusal to shut their borders as the crisis unfolded provides a stark (and challenging) example of what the structure of protection for refugees should look like.
These key tenets of the global protection regime are often referred to as the ‘architecture of protection’. While far from perfect, this system was designed in the aftermath of the Second World War to provide a basic framework that would provide protection to people fleeing wars and persecution. For the framework to stand strong, each pillar must be upheld by all countries – regardless of whether they have signed the convention relating to the status of refugees. If one or more states decide to close their borders, or to return people to danger, the whole structure begins to crumble.
When studied with a broad lens, it becomes apparent that Australia’s narrow focus on its domestic political challenges is placing the entire global protection regime in jeopardy Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy has helped to undermine and destabilise this system of protection. The Australian Navy currently intercepts any boat containing people seeking asylum and prevents them from entering the country. People are denied access to a proper refugee status determination and are subjected to ‘enhanced screening’ or an attenuated assessment process. Without a proper assessment the government cannot genuinely determine whether it is safe to return asylum seekers to their country of origin and risks breaching the international principle of non-refoulement, the cornerstone of refugee protection. Australia’s ‘enhanced screening’ process brazenly flouts the convention: hundreds of Sri Lankan and Vietnamese asylum seekers have
been denied access to a fair and comprehensive hearing of their claims, and over a thousand have been forcibly returned to their countries of origin. Here, some have been arrested, detained, interrogated and tortured. Countries have a right to secure borders and to regulate movement across those borders. That right, however, cannot be allowed to render void the right of people to cross borders to seek asylum under the conventions of international law. Signatories to the convention – such as the Australian government – should not countenance a system in which people do not receive a fair and timely hearing of their asylum claims, nor should they repatriate people to countries where they may face persecution, harm and violations of their human rights. By stopping the boats, the Australian government is effectively cherry-picking whom they consider to be worthy of consideration as people seeking protection. Former Prime Minister John Howard was one of the first to articulate this policy when he infamously said “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.” The government has extended this line of reasoning by arguing that by stopping the boats Australia is able to offer more places to UN-recognised refugees waiting in camps. Yet in so doing the government has conflated resettlement with asylum. While the refugee convention obliges signatories to provide protection and rights to those who arrive in their territory or enter an area under their jurisdiction, it doesn’t stipulate that signatories must resettle refugees currently living in other countries. There is also a risk that Australia’s hostile policies will further weaken the international architecture of protection through contagion: countries observing Australia’s approach may decide to adopt similar policies of deterrence such as the closing of borders, refusal to conduct proper assessments of protection claims and the return of asylum seekers to their countries of origin.
When studied with a broad lens, it becomes apparent that Australia’s narrow focus on its domestic political challenges is placing the entire global protection regime in jeopardy. If Syria’s neighbours – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq – had adopted the policies of the Australian government, untold numbers of Syrians now living in relative safety would have died. Increasingly, Australians are questioning whether it is time to bring an end to offshore processing. It is essential during such a process of reflection that we do not accept boat turn-backs as an inevitable response to displacement in our region. When understood from a global perspective, it is clear that the policy of turning back boats fatally undermines the architecture of protection and the inalienable right of people to seek refuge from harm. Oliver White is Assistant Director, Jesuit Refugee Service. This is the second article in a five-part series exploring the impact of Australia’s ‘stop the boats’ policy. The following articles will examine the effectiveness of the global resettlement program as a solution for the worlds displaced; the ethics and morality of stopping the boats; and finally, what an effective regional plan for refugee protection would look like. Read Stopping the Boats Part I – Why stopping the boats does not solve the problem at http://mnnews. today/aurora-magazine/september2016/12675-why-stopping-the-boatsdoes-not-solve-the-problem/
Community Noticeboard Ecumenical prayer in the spirit of Taizé The next service will be held on 9 October at St Columban’s Catholic Church, Church Street, Mayfield, 7-8pm, followed by light supper, gold coin donation. P Anna & John Hill, 4967 2283. Mental Health Forum Themed, “Learn and Grow”, the Forum will be held on Monday 10 October 9.30am-12pm at the Broadmeadow Parish Hall, 137 Broadmeadow Road, Broadmeadow. The day is hosted by the Diocesan Social Justice Council to mark World Mental Health Day. The day will include a presentation by Tanya Russell, an art therapy session and entertainment by Under Construction Choir. Morning tea and light lunch provided at no cost. For catering please RSVP Brooke Robinson, P 4979 1111 or E firstname.lastname@example.org. org.au. See story page 19. St Brigid’s Markets, Branxton These monthly markets assist the parish and wider community at Branxton. Held every third Sunday, (next 16 October) the Old School Grounds, 9am-2pm, www.facebook.com/ stbrigidsmarket. Seven@Sacred Heart The next gathering will be on Wednesday 19 October at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 7pm. For enquiries, P Brooke, 4979 1111. All welcome! Resilience: A Springtime Dinner Join guest speaker Gail O’Brien at a dinner to mark the golden jubilee of St Therese’s Church, New Lambton, on Friday 21 October at St Therese’s Hall, Royal St, New Lambton, at 7pm. Cost $30 pp. For information and tickets, P Gail 0410 523 165 or Margaret 0409 966 109. Two Caminos – France and Spain Peter Kearney will present two audio-visual accounts of his pilgrimages on Saturday 22 October in the Toohey Room, Diocesan Offices, 841 Hunter Street Newcastle West.
1 Camino in France, 11am-12.30pm. A new presentation. Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean Piedde-Port. 2 Camino in Spain 2pm-3.30pm. St Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago. This presentation was previously shown in 2014.Photographs and music from a large screen television and live commentary by Peter. Q&A sessions. One session costs $10 at door. Limited seating, registration essential. E Peter: email@example.com Please specify ‘France’ or ‘Spain’ or ‘Both’ and number of seats needed.
70th Mater Graduate Nurses Reunion Mass at 9.30am on Sunday 13 November at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, followed by lunch in the Victor Peters Suite. P Colleen 0427 327 611 or Chris 4991 1879 for lunch bookings.
United Nations Day Commemoration Service The Commemoration and Flag Raising Service and Presentations will be held on Monday 24 October 9am-11.30am at the Cenotaph at Civic Park, Newcastle. Guest speaker is Dean of the Catholic Cathedral, Rev Andrew Doohan.
All courses are on Saturdays, 9.30am-4.30pm. Please P Robyn 4979 1370.
Deaf Pride Mass (with Auslan Interpreters) Bishop Bill Wright invites all members of the deaf community, their families and friends, to the St Dominic’s Centre Deaf Pride Mass on Saturday 29 October at 5.30pm at the Sacred Heart Cathedral 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. Harmony in October A concert featuring Waratah Male Voice Choir and Wollongong Lamplighters Male Choir will be held in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton, on Sunday 30 October at 1.30pm. Adults $20, concession $15, children $10. The Waratah Choir is celebrating 60 years of service to the community with a range of special concerts and regular visits to a wide range of aged care facilities. The Tallis Scholars Performance – Tallis: Spem in Alium The Tallis Scholars, considered to be amongst Britain’s finest cultural exports and leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music, will perform on Tuesday 1 November at 7.30pm at the City Hall as part of a national tour. They will be joined by singers from Echology. Bookings P 4929 1977.
For your diary October
Mass to Remember Deceased Nurses Sacred Heart Cathedral on Friday 25 November at noon, everyone welcome to attend.
5 World Teachers Day
Before We Say I Do Program Course 6: 5 and 12 November, Newcastle.
11 International Day of the Girl Child
Volunteering with Palms Australia Palms is seeking qualified and experienced Australians to assist in their various missionary and development activities. There are opportunities in a wide range of areas, from teaching 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. au or visit www.mumscottage.org.au. 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.
10 World Mental Health Day
12 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) 15 International Day of Rural Women 16 World Mission Sunday 16-21 Diocesan Clergy Retreat 17 International Day for Eradication of Poverty 22 Bishop Bill confers confirmation at Merriwa. 23 Bishop Bill confers confirmation at Denman. 26 Bishop Bill presides at Children’s Mission Mass at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Belmont. 29 Pilgrimage in the footsteps of Bishop James Murray from Morpeth to Maitland
November 1 All Saints Day
For more events please visit mn.catholic.org.au/calendar and mn.catholic.org.au/community.
Can you help make a difference in the Manning? When children or young people cannot live with their own parents or extended family, a safe place is required for them to stay. We are seeking foster carers in the Manning to help nurture these young people and empower them to reach their full potential. To find out more, register for our next Foster Care Information Night visit www.catholiccare.org.au or call 6539 5900 /CatholicCareHM @CatholicCareHM | 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
Aurora on tour Aurora absorbed the atmosphere of the ancient Roman Forum.
Soul food The green peace you see is the quiet of our souls, As we rest, no more burdened or pained of life. Be still as you remember us, Think only love, not fear or angst. It is the peace of deity we live And feel forevermore. At rest. – From a poem by Bronwyn Melville written after WYD pilgrims’ visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
By TRACEY EDSTEIN Firmly I believe and truly that all matriarchs ought to do what Valerie Murray has done in her engaging memoir, Flight from the Brothers Grimm. Haunted by her parents’ dementia, “this horrible Swiss-cheese brain thing”, she writes, “If I get it all down now, I’ll be able to read it later.” While her life as a septuagenarian is largely confined to the Murray country of Bunyah, between Forster and Gloucester, her story began in Hungary where life had a certain glamour and bright prospects. As for so many families, the War changed all that, and the Morelli family arrived, independently, in Melbourne in 1950. Stints in migrant camps at Bonegilla and Nelson Bay ensued and eventually a resourceful father established a family home in the Sydney suburb of Loftus. One skill that stood the young Valerie and her brother Steve in good stead was the ability to master English with relative ease. “Within a year of arriving in Australia, and even though we still didn’t pass the playground test, Steve and I regularly got 100% for English and Spelling at school.” Flight from the Brothers Grimm is at its best when the narrative rules. Valerie’s self-deprecating style is, ironically, quite Australian, and she is honest about not feeling ‘too cool for school’ for some time.
Her ability to enjoy her own company, fuelled by her parents’ leaving her and Steve to fend for themselves on occasion, is a real asset. Marrying the shy but highly intellectual Les Murray is a turning point but don’t think that Valerie disappeared into his shadow. She is very much her own person, although the glimpses of life with Les, whose star continued to rise, are illuminating. Her book is primarily a gift to her five children, and to theirs, but the unrelated reader is the richer for the insight it offers into the dislocation - to say the least - of the war in Europe on one family which is emblematic of so many. The engaging title is self-explanatory, and enhanced by Valerie’s sharing her memory of reading grim tales to Steve. “These stories pulled no punches; they were full of unembellished cruelty in their original, unexpurgated, pre-Disney form, and the hero or heroine didn’t necessarily come out on top, not before considerable suffering and loss, anyway.” Flight from the Brothers Grimm recounts suffering and loss, and satisfaction and joy, in equal measure. Now, matriarchs and patriarchs, have you told your story? Flight from the Brothers Grimm is available for $20 including postage. P (02) 6559 1550.
Thai beef wraps Away with the slow cooking of the cooler months and in with something fresh and tasty for spring!
Ingredients f f Handful of raw peanuts
f f 2 x 180g scotch fillet steaks
In a frypan on low heat, fry the peanuts for a few minutes on low.
f f 2 cups dry slaw
Cook steaks to your liking; rest then slice.
f f 1 large cucumber, sliced finely
In a bowl, mix dry slaw, cucumber, mint, coriander and lettuce.
f f Handful of mint, chopped f f Handful of coriander, chopped f f Iceberg lettuce, shredded f f 1 teaspoon brown sugar f f 1 lime f f 2 teaspoons fish sauce f f Fresh chilli, finely chopped (optional but recommended) f f 4 wraps.
In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, lime juice and fish sauce then stir through salad mix. I like to warm my wraps on a sandwich press or under the grill for approximately 20 seconds.
BARTHOLOMEW CONNORS Chef - Cathedral Cafe
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.
Place a handful of the salad mixture along the wrap followed by the sliced steak and a sprinkling of peanuts. Top with chopped chilli if using. Roll wraps tightly then toast or enjoy as they are.
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Our cover story for October introduces the 2016 Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement, A place at the table: Social justice i...