Catholic Outlook Magazine Autumn 2021

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M A G A Z I N E<br />

Creating a calm & close family I What’s on for Holy Week I Introducing faith to young children<br />

LENT AND EASTER I AUTUMN <strong>2021</strong>

Acknowledgement of Country<br />

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands in<br />

which our Diocese sits, the land of the Darug and Gundungurra people.<br />

We would like to pay our respects to the Aboriginal Elders past, present and future for they<br />

hold the traditions, memories of Mother Earth on which we place our feet upon today.<br />

Cross by Vicky Clarke at the 2020 Diaconate Formation Weekend. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

The offi cial publication of the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Imprimatur and Publisher:<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Bishop of Parramatta<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

PO Box 3066,<br />

North Parramatta, NSW, 1750<br />

bishop@parracatholic.org<br />

www.catholicoutlook.org<br />

Printing:<br />

IVE Group Australia Pty Ltd,<br />

Silverwater<br />

Editor & Vicar for<br />

Communications:<br />

Br Mark O’Connor FMS<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

PO Box 3066,<br />

North Parramatta, NSW, 1750<br />

comms@parracatholic.org<br />

Communications Manager:<br />

Christina Gretton<br />

Communications Officer:<br />

Mary Brazell<br />

Designer:<br />

Stephen Poleweski<br />

Nihil Obstat:<br />

Fr Wim Hoekstra<br />

Accounts:<br />

Alfi e Ramirez<br />

(02) 8838 3437<br />

alfi e.ramirez@parracatholic.org<br />

All material in this publication is copyright and may<br />

not be reproduced without permission of the<br />

publisher. 44,750 copies are printed and distributed<br />

to 47 parishes and more than 80 schools, after<br />

school care centres and early learning centres in<br />

Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> is a member of the Australasian<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Press Association.<br />

© Diocese of Parramatta <strong>2021</strong><br />

Cover Image: The Aguiliera family - Kirrily (left) and Oscar<br />

(right) with their children Ben (top left), Tom (top right),<br />

Zach (bottom left) and Zoe (bottom right).<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta reaffi rms the wise axiom attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, freedom; in all things, charity.”<br />

In this spirit, <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> publishes a variety of <strong>Catholic</strong> viewpoints. They are not necessarily the offi cial views of the Diocese of Parramatta.

From Bishop Vincent<br />

Dear Sisters and Brothers,<br />

As <strong>Catholic</strong>s, we confess our sinfulness and frailty, at every<br />

Eucharist.<br />

Each of us, indeed, needs to turn to the Lord and beg him<br />

to mercifully heal us.<br />

We all need to honestly name our own personal and<br />

community faults and wounds as we journey to the God of<br />

life, love and wholeness.<br />

But the Good News is that God gives us the grace to<br />

transform our lives and our world. Disruption can be a<br />

catalyst for positive change and brokenness can be a venue<br />

of new possibility.<br />

In this perspective, the pandemic that has caused much<br />

uncertainty, pain and suffering can be an opportunity for<br />

profound transformation. We are challenged to reshape<br />

our lives, communities and world in such a way that brings<br />

greater justice, harmony and sustainability to all.<br />

It is not only possible; it is the most exciting challenge of<br />

our times.<br />

Lent <strong>2021</strong> is a good time to reflect on this challenge.<br />

I know only too well how I, like so many of us, can find<br />

it difficult to really stop, be ‘still’ and enter into this inner<br />

journey of conversion of heart.<br />

Strangely, something in each of us persists in the continual<br />

search for a ‘perfect’ friend, partner, church, priest, parish<br />

or family or maybe even bishop!<br />

It is so very hard to accept God’s love deep down. For<br />

the disease of ‘perfectionism’ eats away at us all in our<br />

excessively individualistic and competitive society.<br />

vulnerability. It has revealed the fallacy of individualism<br />

as the organising principle of our Western society. It has<br />

given the lie to a “myth of self-sufficiency” that sanctions<br />

rampant inequalities and frays the ties that bind societies<br />

together. The virus has instead demonstrated our mutual<br />

dependency, interconnectedness as well as common<br />

vulnerability.<br />

Christian discipleship demands that we acknowledge<br />

our woundedness and the need to unlearn many of our<br />

habitual tendencies. It is a paradoxical call, at once very<br />

simple, yet very demanding. Its territory is tolerating<br />

messiness and imperfection.<br />

For it involves having learnt the ‘hard’ truth of what my<br />

fellow Franciscan Richard Rohr OFM often points out about<br />

the spiritual journey: “You can’t come to God by doing it<br />

right – you come to God by doing it wrong, otherwise, you<br />

don’t fall in love with God, you fall in love with yourself.”<br />

Sooner or later - we must all come to the realisation that<br />

only God can save us from our sins, our fears and our<br />

addictions.<br />

Many of us need to ‘hit a wall’ in order to have a chance of<br />

‘waking up’ to the reality that we are living insane lives as<br />

long as we believe that we can ‘control’ things on our own.<br />

When we ‘wake up’ to the real world, we find God patiently<br />

waiting for us, ready to help, ready to save us and make us<br />

whole.<br />

That is the change of heart Jesus calls us to each Lenten<br />

season in our lives – too often ‘frozen’ or ‘dead’ to selfhatred<br />

and sin.<br />

May this Lent <strong>2021</strong> challenge me and all of us, to ‘fall in<br />

love’ with our God who loves us just as we are.<br />

Our culture too often tragically celebrates ‘success’ as if it<br />

is the ultimate goal of life.<br />

Pope Francis has offered his critique of our culture<br />

in his new book Let Us Dream: the Path to a Better<br />

Future. The COVID crisis, he contends, has exposed our<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Bishop of Parramatta<br />


Advertorial<br />

ACU welcomes the first students at its new<br />

campus in the heart of Western Sydney<br />

ACU Law graduate Michael Benson.<br />

Image: ACU.<br />

It is fitting that in the 200th year<br />

of <strong>Catholic</strong> education in Australia,<br />

Australian <strong>Catholic</strong> University’s<br />

(ACU’s) new venture, The Saint<br />

Josephine Bakhita Campus, opens<br />

this month in Blacktown.<br />

In bringing a <strong>Catholic</strong> university home<br />

to Western Sydney, ACU is looking<br />

back to the first <strong>Catholic</strong> school 200<br />

years ago and looks forward to new<br />

links with the vast family of nations<br />

represented in Western Sydney, those<br />

whose backgrounds are from <strong>Catholic</strong>,<br />

other churches, and other faiths.<br />

ACU’s founding institutions have<br />

shaped education across generations.<br />

The new campus stands at the<br />

cultural and geographical heart<br />

of the local community and will<br />

become integral to Blacktown City’s<br />

transformation agenda by providing<br />

access to additional opportunities for<br />

the diverse local community in higher<br />

education.<br />

More than 54,000 higher education<br />

students live within 30 minutes<br />

of Blacktown. Young residents of<br />

Western Sydney no longer have to<br />

travel vast distances to study. Close<br />

ties with partners in the area mean<br />

students can learn, seek placements<br />

and find employment close to home.<br />

As a law student who crossed Sydney<br />

to get to classes, Michael Benson<br />

once would have welcomed the<br />

chance to study a bit closer to home.<br />

Not only did Michael manage to juggle<br />

classes and pro-bono work but he was<br />

also actively engaged in all aspects of<br />

university life, from joining clubs and<br />

societies to becoming the university’s<br />

Student Senator. During his tenure,<br />

ACU took the bold decision to open<br />

the new Blacktown Campus.<br />

For Michael, it was obvious that ACU<br />

was a perfect match for Blacktown.<br />

“It is a university that brings with it<br />

diversity, inclusivity, innovation and<br />

awareness for social justice. ACU will<br />

continue to be my first choice as a<br />

tertiary education provider,” he said.<br />

Students can study around 30<br />

courses in the faculties of Education<br />

and Arts, Health Sciences, Law<br />

and Business, and Theology and<br />

Philosophy for undergraduate,<br />

postgraduate and pathways.<br />

ACU is making the transition to<br />

university easier through a range of<br />

scholarships based on both merit<br />

and equity. For those not ready to<br />

go straight from school to university,<br />

there is the new Foundations studies<br />

pathways program.<br />

Part of our strength has always been<br />

the deep and close relationships<br />

we have with the dioceses and<br />

Archdioceses in which we exist. We<br />

are part of their community and they<br />

ours.<br />

Find out more at acu.edu.au/<br />

blacktown or 1300 275 228.<br />

CRICOS registered provider: 00004G<br />

4<br />

Arrive hopeful,<br />

leave hope-filled.<br />

ACU celebrates 200 years of<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> education in Australia<br />


Inside<br />

Diocesan & Parish Life<br />

3 From Bishop Vincent<br />

6 <strong>Outlook</strong> Looks<br />

10 Short + Sweet<br />

12 Close and calm in a family<br />

of six: how it’s done<br />

16 Seminarians serving up a storm<br />

18 Family mealtimes count<br />

20 Easter Traditions<br />

22 New school completes<br />

Marsden Park Community<br />

24 Learning from students<br />

with disability<br />

25 The <strong>Catholic</strong> ‘village’ for<br />

school children<br />

26 Starting a child’s faith journey<br />

Looking Deeper<br />

32 The ‘Jonah Syndrome’<br />

34 A cuppa with the priest:<br />

Fr Oliver Aro MSP<br />

36 Parish profile:<br />

Mary Immaculate Parish,<br />

Quakers Hill-Schofields<br />

38 Your plenary responses:<br />

Who is listening?<br />

40 A spirituality of parenting<br />

43 Grace is the presence of<br />

God in our lives<br />

44 The hour of the domestic<br />

church is now<br />

Agency News<br />

48 The power of purpose<br />

50 Like the Good Samaritan,<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains are<br />

beacons of comfort, love<br />

and hope<br />

52 ‘Be more’ through<br />

Project Compassion<br />

53 Faith for children in public<br />

schools during Year of<br />

the Family<br />

54 Listen, Watch, Read, Think!<br />

56 Search for Easter words<br />

57 Kids’ Corner<br />

58 Directory of services<br />

59 Latest Appointments<br />

28 New Iris app helps women<br />

assess relationships<br />

30 New World Youth Day<br />

date connects to ‘supercharged’<br />

youth<br />

Get instant updates on <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> stories and<br />

news from our Diocese - follow the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Facebook page facebook.com/parracatholic.<br />

Subscribe to <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> online at catholicoutlook.org to get<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> news, opinions and worship resources delivered straight to<br />

your inbox totally free of charge every week.<br />

If you would like to help translate or read articles aloud for those with accessibility issues,<br />

or to request a Word version of any of these articles for language or Braille translators<br />

please contact Christina Gretton at the Diocese of Parramatta on comms@parracatholic.org.<br />


Looks<br />

The Pope’s tips for peaceful families<br />

The <strong>Catholic</strong> Church is celebrating the Year of the<br />

Family from 19 March <strong>2021</strong> through to 26 June 2022.<br />

In announcing the year, Pope Francis recognised the<br />

important role of families and offered some suggestions<br />

for family life.<br />

“When an argument starts at home, instead of trying to<br />

win it, let’s try to diffuse it,” he said. He gently reminds us<br />

of three powerful phrases to use within a family: “Pardon<br />

me”, “Thank you” and “Sorry”.<br />

Tip: Never end the day without making peace<br />

with those you have quarrelled with.<br />

Our Traditions this season<br />

This season is our Church’s most holy time<br />

of year. On page 20 you’ll find an outline<br />

what happens in the Church during Holy<br />

Week – Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday -<br />

which fall from 28 March to 4 April this year.<br />

Going to Reconciliation before Holy Week<br />

helps us reflect spiritually on what is in our hearts. You may feel it helps you<br />

mentally and spiritually cleanse and ‘start anew’ before we celebrate Easter.<br />

People are praying more<br />

If you’ve found yourself praying or<br />

thinking of God more frequently, you’re<br />

not alone. One in three Aussie workers<br />

is praying more and having spiritual<br />

conversations. Researcher Dr Lindsay<br />

McMillan from Mainstreet Insights also<br />

found two in five people are thinking<br />

about God more, and one in four is<br />

reading the Bible more. “Most workers<br />

are spending more time thinking<br />

about purpose and meaning, ‘God<br />

conversations’ are up, as is prayer,”<br />

he says.<br />

Source: © McCrindle Research Pty Ltd.<br />

Did you know?<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>s in Australia should receive Holy Communion at least once a year between<br />

Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday. This year Ash Wednesday fell on 17 February<br />

and Trinity Sunday falls on 30 May (Ordo <strong>2021</strong>).<br />

Talk grace with your kids<br />

Grace isn’t just saying a prayer before meals. Of all times<br />

of year, Easter is an important season to understand what<br />

‘God’s grace’ actually means. Check out our insights<br />

on grace on page 43 and compare your understanding<br />

with your children’s. It’s part of their RE lessons taught at<br />

school so they might know more than you!<br />


Looks<br />

Family Easter game<br />

Easter camping or holidaying is a time<br />

to see things differently. Here’s a family<br />

activity that shows your children God can<br />

be everywhere.<br />

Find an object in nature and think how<br />

it represents God. It could be a heartshaped<br />

leaf representing God’s love; the<br />

campfire as the flame of the Holy Spirit; or<br />

water from the ocean as Jesus the Living<br />

Water. Get as creative as you like and note<br />

your tally at the end of the holiday.<br />

St Joseph - a parent keeping the family ticking over<br />

The <strong>Catholic</strong> Church celebrates the Year of St Joseph from December<br />

2020 to December <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Why? St Joseph was an inspirational father – tender and loving, obedient,<br />

accepting, creatively courageous and yet a father in the shadow.<br />

Declaring the special year, Pope Francis points out how the COVID-19<br />

pandemic has helped us see how important ‘ordinary’ people are. They<br />

“go unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence” (Patris corde).<br />

Next time you are wondering about your place in the scheme of things,<br />

it may be helpful to remember St Joseph and the essential ‘behind the<br />

scenes’ role he played in ‘keeping things together’ for the Holy Family.<br />

Be Inspired<br />

Behind the Irish fun of St Patrick’s Day, the story of St Patrick is worth thinking about. At<br />

age 16 he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. He escaped Ireland, but<br />

had the courage to go back, taking Christianity to the country despite his fears. His story<br />

teaches us lessons in forgiveness, perseverance, trust, and faith in what God asks us to do.<br />

The Feast of St Patrick is on 17 March.<br />

St Bernadette is remembered for her quiet faith and conviction, which eventuated in the<br />

establishment of the Sanctuary at Lourdes, France, and its reputation for healing the sick.<br />

She herself died in severe pain, much loved, and accepting her suffering willingly. She is<br />

the patron saint for illness, the poor and those ridiculed for their piety.<br />

The Feast of St Bernadette is on 16 April.<br />

Mum Shirl although not canonised, is sometimes referred to as the ‘Saint of Redfern’.<br />

A committed <strong>Catholic</strong> and Wiradjuri woman, she made significant contributions to<br />

justice and welfare for Aboriginal people. Her story shows how one person can make a<br />

difference.<br />

Mum Shirl died on 28 April 1998. National Reconciliation Week begins on 26 May.<br />

St Madeleine Sophie Barat is recognised for her work establishing schools, especially for poor children. Her attitude of<br />

kindness, acceptance, and role modelling to children resonate today. “We don’t live with angels; we have to put up with<br />

human nature and forgive it,” was her wise advice.<br />

The Feast of St Madeleine Sophie Barat is on 25 May.<br />


Looks<br />

Nurture your green heart<br />

You may have heard of Laudato Si’, the letter Pope Francis wrote about the<br />

need for us to protect our planet and each other. 24 May marks six years<br />

since its launch.<br />

Here’s a reflection from the Jesuits to help nurture your ‘green heart’. You’ll<br />

find it at ecologicalexamen.org.<br />

Gratitude: I give thanks to God and for being wonderfully made.<br />

Awareness: I ask for the grace to see creation as God does in all its<br />

splendour and suffering.<br />

Understanding: I ask for the grace to see how my life choices impact<br />

creation and the poor and vulnerable.<br />

Conversion: I ask for the grace of conversion towards ecological justice<br />

and reconciliation (I pray for help with amending my ways).<br />

Plan for National<br />

Reconciliation Week<br />

Consider the role you play in<br />

the Reconciliation journey for all<br />

Australians. National Reconciliation<br />

Week starts with National Sorry<br />

Day on May 26. The National<br />

Reconciliation website has lots<br />

of information on how you can<br />

plan for the day, like hosting a<br />

screening from the Reconciliation<br />

Film Club on SBS. Find the links at<br />

reconciliation.org.au.<br />

Reconciliation: I ask for the grace to reconcile my relationship with God,<br />

creation, and humanity, and to stand in solidarity through my actions (I pray<br />

about actions I can take).<br />

Use prayer for change<br />

Each month, Pope Francis asks us to pray together on certain topics. It’s<br />

one way we can unite and be part of building a more humane and caring<br />

world. See the Pope’s Prayer intentions at popesprayer.va or watch them on<br />

thepopevideo.org.<br />

March: Let us pray that we may experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation<br />

with renewed depth, to taste the infinite mercy of God.<br />

April: We pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights<br />

under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis.<br />

May: Let us pray that those in charge of finance will work with governments<br />

to regulate financial markets and protect citizens from its dangers.<br />


Looks<br />

What’s on<br />

in the Diocese<br />

7 to 13 March<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Schools Week<br />

Check with your local <strong>Catholic</strong> school<br />

regarding open days.<br />

Every Saturday at 9.15am<br />

Join the Zoom discussion on faith<br />

topics at Saturday Sessions.<br />

Lenten sharing<br />

This Lenten season Bishop Vincent asks us to donate<br />

to the chaplaincy program run by <strong>Catholic</strong>Care Western<br />

Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Your gift can help our<br />

chaplains visit, listen, and connect with those who might<br />

otherwise feel abandoned in hospitals and prisons. Donate<br />

at yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appealcatholiccare.<br />

Project Compassion takes place each Lent and raises<br />

funds to support the work of Caritas Australia, the<br />

international aid and development organisation of the<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Church in Australia. Donate at lent.caritas.org.au.<br />

2 April<br />

Walk the Good Friday Night Walk pilgrimage with young<br />

people of the Diocese from Blacktown to Parramatta.<br />

8 April<br />

35th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

20 April<br />

Zoom into the online Oceania Webinar Parishes and<br />

Schools – One Community in Christ.<br />

Join a free program to deepen your faith by the Institute for<br />

Mission. Programs start regularly throughout <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Take a course to become a reader, altar server or take<br />

communion to the sick. Courses held throughout <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Find details of above events at parracatholic.org/events.<br />


Short + Sweet<br />

10<br />

“Educating people to care begins in<br />

the family.”<br />

– Pope Francis during his World Day of Peace<br />

message on 1 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

“I would like to encourage every one<br />

of you to meet someone new from a<br />

different background and see what<br />

doors open to you. You will possibly<br />

be helping that person to experience<br />

a new homeland in a new way and to<br />

feel they belong”<br />

– <strong>2021</strong> Australian Local Hero of the Year Rosemary<br />

Kariuku, a multicultural community liaison officer<br />

for the NSW Police force in Parramatta, 25 January<br />

<strong>2021</strong>.<br />

“When women are able to share<br />

their gifts, the world finds itself more<br />

united and more peaceful. Therefore,<br />

an achievement for women is an<br />

achievement for all of humanity.”<br />

– Pope Francis on the Solemnity of Mary on<br />

1 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

“We must not look the other way.”<br />

– Pope Francis condemning violence against women<br />

and asking society to protect them in his Prayer<br />

Intention for February <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

“We chose to turn our tragedy into a<br />

greater goodness. We chose to carry<br />

our cross with dignity. We chose<br />

forgiveness and love over hatred.<br />

Forgiveness is the greatest gift you<br />

can give yourself and to others.”<br />

– Mother Leila Abdallah on 31 January <strong>2021</strong>, the<br />

first anniversary of the deaths of her children<br />

Antony, Angelina and Sienna and niece Veronique<br />

Sakr in a car crash in Oatlands.<br />

Pope Francis Image: Shutterstock.<br />

Rosemary Kariuku Image: Salty Dingo.<br />

Leila Abdallah Image: Giovanni Portelli/The <strong>Catholic</strong> Weekly.<br />

Bishop Vincent Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Kane Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

“A change in government policy<br />

towards refugees in this country, and<br />

towards asylum seekers, will come<br />

from us and so by building a coalition<br />

of concerned citizens in showing<br />

respect, kindness, hospitality,<br />

solidarity to asylum seekers and<br />

refugees we will ultimately change<br />

the attitude of Australians.”<br />

– Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv in his address<br />

on the <strong>Catholic</strong>s for Refugees website<br />

catholicsforrefugees.org.au<br />

“I believe that as educators, we<br />

have the opportunity to form a new<br />

generation that values the common<br />

good more than individual success.<br />

We also need an education that<br />

forms young people into men and<br />

women of deep empathy, solidarity<br />

and communion as opposed to<br />

individualism and self-interest.”<br />

– Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Address at the<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of Parramatta System<br />

Leadership Day, 22 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

“Home is not where you were born,<br />

home is where all your attempts to<br />

escape cease. When you finally feel<br />

you don’t need to escape or run<br />

away.”<br />

– Kane, refugee featured in the video My Journey:<br />

Our Journey on The Well.<br />

“We must be prepared to better<br />

ourselves in how we live, rather than<br />

simply wait for better times.”<br />

– Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv in his homily<br />

on 6 December 2020.

Not all of us can do<br />

great things,<br />

but we can do small things<br />

with love<br />

- St Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains<br />

remind us of this quote in their Strategic Plan 2020-2023<br />


Close and calm in a family<br />

of six: how it’s done<br />

By Christina Gretton<br />

The Aguiliera family in their home in Parramatta. From left: Tom, Zach, Oscar, Kirrily, Zoe, Ben.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

The Aguiliera family of<br />

St Patrick’s Cathedral<br />

parish lent themselves<br />

to <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> for a<br />

day to discuss how they<br />

stay a close, calm and<br />

spiritual family.<br />

I arrive at the home of Kirrily and<br />

Oscar Aguiliera on the same day their<br />

youngest child Zoe starts school.<br />

I remember being teary at both my<br />

children’s first days of school, but<br />

Kirrily and Oscar are smiling and<br />

welcoming as I step into their light,<br />

spacious house. There is a sense of<br />

calm in the room as we delve into<br />

what makes this family tick.<br />

Before we met, I didn’t know much<br />

more besides they have four children<br />

aged 13 to 5 years old, Kirrily is a<br />

part-time family educator at a <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

primary school and Oscar works in IT.<br />

We soon start talking about how<br />

they develop faith in their family, how<br />

their children’s schooling fits into this<br />

picture and how they are involved in<br />

their parish.<br />

The school dropoff starts the day. “Be<br />

good, be God’s, be safe, be saints,”<br />

Oscar tells the children Ben (aged 13),<br />

Tom (aged 11), Zach (aged 9) and Zoe<br />

(aged 5) as they pile out of the car.<br />

He explains what the saying means.<br />

“I want them to understand they have<br />

been created by God for all of eternity<br />

and each of them has a purpose and<br />

meaning,” he says. “It’s important<br />

to know that so they can love and<br />

appreciate themselves. We also want<br />

them to see that everyone is your<br />

brother or sister, and we are all on a<br />

common path.”<br />


Praying as a family<br />

As we discuss the time they set aside<br />

to pray as a family, it’s apparent how<br />

this brings the family closer. It’s also<br />

demonstrating to the children they can<br />

speak up and are valued.<br />

Each evening, Kirrily and Oscar create<br />

a quiet space where the whole family<br />

talks about their day. They then pray<br />

together.<br />

Kirrily tells me, “Our nightly prayer is a<br />

review of our day. It’s important to us.”<br />

Oscar recalls that this is what he did<br />

as a child growing up in Mexico, “It<br />

was almost too successful, we’d talk<br />

together for hours,” he says smiling.<br />

They have prayed before meals<br />

since the children were very young.<br />

“It reminds us to be grateful for the<br />

blessings we have received and the<br />

food we enjoy,” says Kirrily.<br />

The family adjusts prayers around the<br />

seasons of the church. “It gives a nice<br />

rhythm to life,” she says.<br />

Parish life<br />

Kirrily became an altar server at<br />

St Patrick’s Cathedral as soon<br />

as she could as a child and met<br />

Oscar through a parish event. They<br />

continued their parish involvement<br />

with the whole family. “We’re making<br />

memories as a family of things like<br />

participating in the Good Friday Walk,<br />

helping out with children’s liturgy and<br />

bringing biscuits to the homeless,”<br />

she says. The boys are also starting<br />

training to become altar servers and<br />

attend the Parish Youth Group - Junior<br />

Credo - opening them up to a new set<br />

of friends.<br />

Choosing Schools<br />

With the mention of Fr Chris, we turn<br />

to the topic of schools. Zoe, Zach<br />

and Tom attend St Patrick’s Primary<br />

School in Parramatta. Kirrily went to<br />

school there and found other parents<br />

she had also gone to school with.<br />

“At St Patrick’s Primary, there is<br />

clearly much value placed in being<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> by the other families. The<br />

way the school operates follows this<br />

ethos too with a fantastic connection<br />

to our local parish,” says Kirrily.<br />

“We are surrounded by other families<br />

who want the same for their children.<br />

It really seems that we are partnering<br />

with the school in raising our children<br />

in the faith.”<br />

When her eldest, Ben, went to<br />

Parramatta Marist last year, they<br />

immediately saw what a good choice<br />

they had made.<br />

“Ben comes home talking about<br />

the Marist values” says Oscar. “He<br />

is aiming to become a ‘fine man of<br />

Marist’.”<br />

While COVID was at its height, they<br />

would decide ‘where in the world’ they<br />

would go to Mass, sometimes watching<br />

Masses streamed from the US, Ireland<br />

and Canada. “We also tuned into<br />

St Patrick’s Cathedral Masses,” the<br />

couple says. “The kids loved seeing Fr<br />

Chris del Rosario (assistant priest at St<br />

Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta) saying<br />

the Mass on the screen. It was like he<br />

was a TV star!”<br />

The Easter cross the family made in 2020.<br />

Image: Supplied.<br />

Because they couldn’t go to Mass<br />

last Easter, the family put a cross with<br />

prayers and lights on their front lawn.<br />

The idea caught on around Parramatta<br />

and, by the end of Easter, crosses could<br />

be seen on lawns throughout the parish.<br />

The Aguiliera children play at their home in Parramatta.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


BELONG...<br />

to one of 80 outstanding <strong>Catholic</strong> schools across<br />

Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.<br />


Visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au today to find your local <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

school and join one of our caring, faith-filled communities.<br />

Growing together in faith and learning

Kirrily and Oscar’s tips for creating<br />

closeness and simplicity in family life<br />

Devices<br />

No devices besides a PC for homework and family-friendly video games like<br />

Minecraft played on weekends and only once on school nights.<br />

Phone for high schoolers only with locks on it after 8.30pm.<br />

Backyard play, games like Mexican Train, Uno and reading fill spare time.<br />

Chores<br />

Everyone has an area they need to keep clean.<br />

Saturday morning everyone pitches in for a big clean up.<br />

Hobbies<br />

Choose those that are fun, fit into the family schedule and provide balance to<br />

their lives by teaching concepts such as perseverance or community service.<br />

At the Aguiliera’s, it’s currently Scouts, guitar, drama, parish youth group and<br />

swimming lessons.<br />

Disagreements<br />

Put emphasis on finding the truth rather than coming at it “my way or the<br />

highway”.<br />

Be open to more research if you can’t agree.<br />

Lent<br />

Lent is a good time to set the family a challenge.<br />

Get everyone’s input but make it realistic. It should be a genuine sacrifice for<br />

everyone.<br />

When Lent is over, celebrate what you’ve achieved as a family!<br />

Taking time out<br />

With four children and parents who need care, when it comes to time out,<br />

Oscar and Kirrily make it simple. They happily sit on their back patio with a<br />

coffee and watch their children play. It’s their ‘downtime’ when they can talk<br />

to each other. “We look for little pockets of time to take a deep breath and be<br />

grateful,” says Kirrily.<br />

“I love how they teach the students to love<br />

and respect work,” adds Kirrily. “Ben is<br />

growing a sense of Mission – he’s learning<br />

the idea of dedicating himself to something<br />

greater.”<br />

Oscar is thrilled at the like-minded<br />

friendship group Ben has made. “His<br />

friends build each other up. They<br />

encourage each other to be a better<br />

person,” he says.<br />

Kirrily tells me, “When you choose a school<br />

you choose a community.” They are aware<br />

of how important this becomes in the teen<br />

years when the young people your children<br />

become friends with, have so much<br />

influence on them.<br />

After school, we hold a photo shoot. I’m<br />

watching Zoe in amazement as she keeps<br />

up with her big brothers playing ball and<br />

smiling for the camera until she trips up.<br />

Her exhaustion after her first day of school<br />

takes over. Time for me to go.<br />

In the car on the way home, I think about<br />

the uncertainty of parenting and remember<br />

what Kirrily told me earlier that day.<br />

“Whatever stage your child is at, ‘pray, pray,<br />

pray’ for them.<br />

“We can do all sorts of things for them, but<br />

at the end of the day anything can happen.<br />

“We need to rely on God’s grace and pray.<br />

“When things get hard, continue to pray.”<br />

The Aguiliera children in prayer at their home in<br />

Parramatta. Quiet time for family reflection and<br />

prayer is an important part of the family routine.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


Seminarians serving up a storm<br />

By Mary Brazell<br />

Parishioners often cook for their priest, but thanks to a new initiative, our upcoming<br />

young priests will be able to return the favour.<br />

Meal prep is an important part of the seminarians’ cooking<br />

lessons. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

The seminarians and Marie Buhagiar (2nd from left) in her<br />

kitchen where the lessons took place.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Seminarians Adam Carlow, Marie, Andrew Rooney and Matt<br />

Dimian are instructed under the tutelage of ‘master chef’ Marie<br />

Buhagiar. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Deacon Andrew Rooney carries meals during their ‘final test’,<br />

preparing a feast for the Buhagiar family and his brother<br />

seminarians. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Studying in the seminary prepares a young man’s mind and<br />

spirit for their vocational life, but everyone has to eat.<br />

As they approach the end of their formal studies, final year<br />

seminarians at Holy Spirit Seminary in Harris Park also learn<br />

to plan, shop and cook for themselves. The program is based<br />

on teaching healthy relationships around food. It’s taught<br />

in the home of Head of Clergy Health and Wellbeing in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta, Mark Buhagiar and his wife Marie.<br />

“We want seminarians to realise that cooking doesn’t<br />

have to be difficult, and that it is quick and easy to cook<br />

a healthy meal amongst all of their parish commitments,”<br />

says Mark. “It’s important that the young men are taught in<br />

the home environment, because it gives them an insight as<br />

to what life is like to those they will minister to.”<br />

So what did Deacon Andrew Rooney from St John XXIII<br />

Parish, Glenwood-Stanhope Gardens, Adam Carlow from St<br />

Paul the Apostle Parish, Winston Hills, and Matthew Dimian<br />

from Sacred Heart Parish, Luddenham-Warragamba learn<br />

in the 2020 course?<br />

Matthew found it is possible to easily make impressive<br />

meals – and that garlic is an unsung hero. The parish priest<br />

at his current placement shows his appreciation for parish<br />

staff and volunteers by hosting them and cooking for them.<br />

It has shown Matthew the impact a home-cooked meal can<br />

make.<br />

Deacon Andrew also sees more than the nutritional element<br />

of sharing a meal, reporting: “Meals are a central point for<br />

socialising, deepening bonds and communal activity.”<br />

The seminarians’ final test before being sent into the<br />

culinary world was to prepare a four-course meal for their<br />

brother seminarians and the Buhagiars.<br />

Deacon Andrew joked, “Everyone left with their stomachs<br />

intact.”<br />

But, in all seriousness, he emphasised, the sharing of food<br />

brought everyone together.<br />


Seminarian Specialty<br />

Marie’s roasted tomato, pinenut and baby spinach salad<br />

with optional asparagus, prosciutto and parmesan<br />

Prep Time<br />

10 Minutes<br />

Cook Time<br />

30 Minutes<br />

Serving<br />

1-5<br />

Ingredients<br />

Olive oil<br />

Roma tomatoes (~1.5 per person),<br />

cut in half lengthways<br />

Baby spinach (handful or two),<br />

washed<br />

Pine nuts<br />

Salt and pepper, to taste<br />

Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive<br />

oil, roughly equal<br />

Optional<br />

Asparagus (~2 per person),<br />

with ends snapped off<br />

Prosciutto, thinly sliced, to taste<br />

Parmesan, shaved, to taste<br />

Directions<br />

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC<br />

2. Place tomatoes on baking paper on a tray, drizzle<br />

with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to<br />

taste, then put into oven for approximately<br />

30 minutes, or until soft and starting to colour<br />

3. If including prosciutto: put on baking tray in single<br />

layers and bake for a few minutes until crisp<br />

4. Meanwhile, lightly toast pine nuts over medium<br />

heat in a frypan until lightly browned. Don’t leave<br />

pine nuts to cool in the pan, as they will burn<br />

5. If including asparagus: Boil the kettle, pour water<br />

into a saucepan, add a generous pinch of salt and<br />

bring to a rapid boil. Add asparagus and boil for<br />

1-2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water (to<br />

stop cooking process)<br />

6. Spread baby spinach on base of shallow bowl,<br />

then nestle roasted tomatoes amongst the baby<br />

spinach and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the top<br />

7. Drizzle with dressing. If included, top with<br />

asparagus and sprinkle with shaved parmesan<br />

and shards of prosciutto<br />

8. Serve immediately<br />


Family mealtimes count<br />

By Lisa Bright<br />

As the Holy Spirit seminarians found, cooking and sharing a meal delivers more than physical nourishment.<br />

The Family Dinner Project is an initiative of Harvard University. Their website, thefamilydinnerproject.org,<br />

reports:<br />

“Research has shown what parents have known for a long time: sharing a fun family meal is good for the<br />

spirit, brain and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of<br />

behaviours that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience, and self-esteem.”<br />

You might find getting the conversation moving from the day-to-day needs some inspiration. Here’s some<br />

family dinner conversation starters with a faith-based flavour.<br />

Cut them out and see how they work for you.<br />

Lisa Bright is the Project Officer in the Pastoral Planning Office in the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Have you ever been trusted<br />

with anything special?<br />

How did you handle that?<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

Name one of the best books<br />

you have ever read. Why did<br />

you enjoy it so much?<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

“‘The man who can be trusted in little things can be<br />

trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little<br />

things will be dishonest in great.’”<br />

– Luke 16:10<br />

“There were many other things that Jesus did; if<br />

all were written down, the world itself, I suppose,<br />

would not hold all the books that would have to be<br />

written.”<br />

– John 21:25<br />

If you had a free day and<br />

could spend it doing<br />

anything you wanted, what<br />

would your day look like?<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

“This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice<br />

and be glad in it.”<br />

– Psalm 118:24<br />

What is your favourite<br />

season of the year? What<br />

do you enjoy about it?<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

“‘but even then he did not leave you without<br />

evidence of himself in the good things he does for<br />

you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your<br />

crops grow when they should, he gives you food<br />

and makes you happy.’”<br />

– Acts 14:17<br />

Share the memories of<br />

everyone at the table when<br />

they were aged 8 (or younger)<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

Describe the most amazing<br />

party you can imagine!<br />

Conversation<br />

Starter<br />

“For they will scarcely brood over the days of their<br />

lives, because God keeps them occupied with the<br />

joy of their hearts.”<br />

– Ecclesiastes 5:20<br />

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing<br />

praises to my God all my life long.”<br />

– Psalm 146:2

Your parish is doing<br />

amazing things!<br />

Let’s share your Good News!<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta is offering communities the chance to share their story<br />

in a new series from The Well, entitled Being Community.<br />

It is the opportunity to promote, celebrate and discover the good works and needs<br />

of many communities and recognise the rich diversity in our Diocese. Communities<br />

will be supported in creating film content for Being Community which will be<br />

packaged and placed on The Well with an audience of thousands!<br />

To find out how to take part, contact Lisa Bright on<br />

lisa.bright@parracatholic.org or 0448 652 720.<br />

Don’t forget to check out our extensive collection of<br />

resources, music reflections and more to use in small<br />

groups within your communities and for personal<br />

prayer at The Well at thewell.org.au.<br />

A resource created by<br />

thewell.org.au<br />

Help bring comfort,<br />

faith and hope to the<br />

sick and isolated<br />

Your Faith | Your Foundation<br />

Meet the<br />

new College<br />

Principal<br />


Sunday, 7 March <strong>2021</strong><br />

Year 7, 2023 Enrolment Applications<br />

open Tuesday 23 March<br />

www.olmc.nsw.edu.au<br />

“Your compassionate gifts and prayers will<br />

help <strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains provide spiritual,<br />

sacramental and emotional support in the<br />

footsteps of the Good Samaritan.”<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Please give generously to the<br />

Bishop’s Good Samaritan Appeal<br />

yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appealchaplains<br />


Easter Traditions<br />

Holy Week – 28 March to 4 April <strong>2021</strong><br />

By Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM<br />

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week <strong>2021</strong>. While you may regularly attend some<br />

of the liturgies, <strong>2021</strong> could be the year you attend one you haven’t been to before. Here’s a<br />

list of the liturgical events across the week. Check with your local parish for times and<br />

any requirements they may have due to their COVID Safety Plans.<br />

Palm Sunday – 28 March <strong>2021</strong><br />

On Palm Sunday, palms are blessed and our churches<br />

are often decorated with palms. This commemorates the<br />

entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem when palms were laid<br />

down by the people as He entered the town, before His<br />

arrest on Holy Thursday.<br />

Look out for:<br />

Your parish may<br />

have a procession<br />

after the blessing<br />

of palms. You may<br />

also be able to take<br />

home a small palm.<br />

Tenebrae<br />

Tenebrae will be<br />

celebrated at St Patrick’s<br />

Cathedral on 29 March.<br />

This is a reflection liturgy<br />

with scripture, Psalm<br />

chanting and motets. It<br />

will also be livestreamed<br />

from St Patrick’s<br />

Cathedral this year.<br />

Look out for:<br />

During the liturgy, you will notice the<br />

progressive extinguishing of candles and<br />

darkening of the Cathedral. For a brief<br />

time towards the end of the service, we<br />

remain in darkness, only to be startled by<br />

a loud noise symbolising the earthquake<br />

at the death of Jesus. The single candle<br />

representing Christ is returned into the<br />

Cathedral and restored to its place.<br />

Holy Thursday – 1 April <strong>2021</strong><br />

The three days before Easter are<br />

known as the Paschal or Easter<br />

Triduum.<br />

The Holy Thursday Mass<br />

which we also refer to as<br />

Mass of the Lord’s Supper,<br />

focuses on the institution of<br />

the Eucharist.<br />

Look out for:<br />

Readings and prayers help<br />

us reflect on the Last Supper.<br />

Following the homily, the priest<br />

may wash the feet of twelve<br />

people to symbolise how Christ<br />

led through service. Following<br />

Mass, the Blessed Sacrament<br />

will usually be taken from the<br />

tabernacle to another place for<br />

adoration and then reservation.<br />

Chrism Mass<br />

On 31 March <strong>2021</strong>, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv,<br />

Bishop of Parramatta, and the priests of the Diocese<br />

of Parramatta will gather at St Patrick’s Cathedral,<br />

Parramatta to celebrate the Chrism Mass, expressing<br />

the unity of the priests, where they also renew their<br />

priestly promises. During the Chrism Mass, the oils<br />

used for sacramental rituals throughout the Diocese<br />

are blessed and consecrated.<br />

Look out for:<br />

You’ll see your parish<br />

receive their oils which<br />

are individually presented<br />

at the end of the Mass to<br />

parish representatives.<br />


Good Friday – 2 April <strong>2021</strong><br />

On the morning of Good Friday, we pray the 14 Stations of the<br />

Cross, spiritually accompanying Jesus on his journey to Golgotha.<br />

At 3pm on Good Friday, the Celebration of the Passion of Christ<br />

takes place.<br />

Good Friday Night Walk:<br />

You are invited to the Annual<br />

Good Friday Night Walk, a<br />

pilgrimage from Blacktown to<br />

Parramatta with young people of<br />

the Diocese during the evening.<br />

You need to register in advance<br />

at catholicyouthparramatta.org.<br />

Look out for:<br />

During the Stations of the Cross<br />

we typically move from station to<br />

station highlighting the journey.<br />

Following the 3pm Liturgy, the<br />

crosses around the church<br />

that were covered, are now<br />

uncovered.<br />

Holy Saturday – 3 April <strong>2021</strong><br />

On Holy Saturday we await at the Lord’s tomb in prayer,<br />

reflecting on his death and awaiting his resurrection.<br />

Easter Vigil<br />

The Easter Vigil takes place after sunset on Holy<br />

Saturday, and usually begins outside the church<br />

around a small fire. Here the Paschal candle is<br />

lit and everyone processes following the candle<br />

into the dark church. Baptismal candles for the<br />

next 12 months are lit from the flame of the<br />

Paschal candle.<br />

Look out for:<br />

What happens during the lighting of the Paschal candle,<br />

the darkened church at the beginning of the service and<br />

any baptisms that may occur. The Paschal candle will<br />

remain in the Sanctuary until Pentecost.<br />

Easter Sunday – 4 April <strong>2021</strong><br />

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate Christ’s resurrection<br />

from the dead and the new life He gives us.<br />

The next 50 days through to Pentecost<br />

Sunday are celebrated in joy as ‘one great<br />

Sunday’ and are known as Easter Time or<br />

Easter Tide.<br />

Sr Mary Louise Walsh ISSM is the<br />

Liturgy Educator in the Office for<br />

Worship in the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Images: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Look out for:<br />

Easter is a time of<br />

joyous celebration –<br />

there may be additional<br />

decorations or flowers<br />

in the church.<br />


New school completes<br />

Marsden Park Community<br />

By <strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of Parramatta<br />


“This completes us,” Principal Greg Miller reflected<br />

as the community of St Luke’s <strong>Catholic</strong> College<br />

celebrated the opening of Arrunga, an on-site high<br />

support learning setting welcoming students with<br />

a diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability as a<br />

primary disability and low adaptive functioning.<br />

To begin with, Arrunga will serve a small number of<br />

students from Kindergarten to Year 6. This important<br />

service will grow over time to meet the needs of<br />

secondary students also. Founded in 2017, St Luke’s<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> College serves the growing community of<br />

Marsden Park in Sydney’s thriving North-West growth<br />

area.<br />

“It’s really hard to find a school like this, especially<br />

in this area, or even outside the area,” says Angela<br />

Vrbesic, mother of Arrunga student Luka.<br />

For the Vrbesic family, the opportunity for Luka to be<br />

part of the same learning community as his brother,<br />

who is already a student at St Luke’s, means a lot.<br />

“He likes to copy his brother and that’s a big part<br />

of how he learns so it’s so nice having them here<br />

together,” Angela said.<br />

Angela also loves the focus on developing life skills,<br />

and supporting students to maximise their potential.<br />

...we’re all different, we’re<br />

all diverse. Whether it be<br />

education differences,<br />

learning differences, cultural<br />

or language differences, it’s<br />

up to all of us to learn from<br />

each other. It’s not always a<br />

learning experience simply<br />

for the students at Arrunga,<br />

it’s the community that is<br />

learning really good skills:<br />

to be more accepting, to<br />

be more patient - it’s a<br />

changing world we live in.<br />

- Catherine Goodwill,<br />

Leading Teacher,<br />

St Luke’s Arrunga School<br />

“I know he’s going to be looked after and cared for and<br />

that he’ll get everything he needs here at Arrunga.”<br />

Andrew and Christina Cha were so proud to see their<br />

son Rohan prepare for his first day at Arrunga.<br />

“The fact that he put on his uniform and got his school<br />

bag ready this morning was a really big moment for us,<br />

we can see that he’s ready. It’s such a great start,” they<br />

said.<br />

“He was a bit nervous. It was maybe a little bit<br />

daunting but seeing so many teachers there to<br />

welcome him just made him feel really good.”<br />

Leading Teacher Catherine Goodwill was really excited<br />

to welcome students to Arrunga for the first time.<br />

“This morning there were a lot of happy faces. It’s<br />

going to take a little time for the children to get into<br />

a routine, to meet and get to know new friends,”<br />

Catherine acknowledged.<br />

“These are beautiful children and it’s our job to<br />

make sure they’re looked after, that they’re catered<br />

for and that they’re learning and provided with a<br />

good education. Their safety and their happiness<br />

is paramount. The parents have been absolutely<br />

amazing.”<br />

Images: Elisa Pettenon/CEDP.<br />


Arrunga is a Darug word meaning ‘in harmony’. A<br />

purpose-built learning environment which promotes a<br />

personalised approach to the needs and adjustments<br />

required by students, it will be completed later in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

To begin with, several modular classrooms provide<br />

outstanding temporary facilities for the first Arrunga<br />

students.<br />

Similar <strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of Parramatta<br />

settings, Wiyanga, located at St Patrick’s Marist<br />

College, Dundas and Kirinari at Xavier <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

College, Llandilo, enrol students from Years 7 to 12. If<br />

you would like to learn more about <strong>Catholic</strong> Education<br />

Diocese of Parramatta high support learning settings,<br />

please visit https://www.parra.catholic.edu.au/Our-<br />

Schools/High-Support-Learning-Centres.<br />

Image: Elisa Pettenon/CEDP.<br />

If you or someone you know is interested in<br />

learning more about enrolment at St Luke’s Arrunga<br />

School, Kirinari or Wiyanga, please contact Mrs<br />

Alma George by phone on 0407 233 622 or email<br />

studentservicesadmin@parra.catholic.edu.au.<br />

Image: Elisa Pettenon/CEDP.<br />

Learning from students with disability<br />

In my early days as a teacher,<br />

students with a disability were (at<br />

best) sidelined and at worst, ignored.<br />

They were hidden from view, and so<br />

were their needs, especially when it<br />

came to learning. I’m thankful those<br />

days are over but Australian families<br />

are telling us loud and clear that we<br />

need to do more.<br />

Schools that meet the needs of<br />

all students tend to have great<br />

partnerships with parents. I have<br />

such respect and admiration for<br />

the parents and carers of children<br />

and young people with a disability.<br />

They’re incredible advocates, not just<br />

for the needs of their own kids but<br />

for others too!<br />

We also need a great team backing<br />

students at a school level. This<br />

means classroom teachers are<br />

supported in their work by other<br />

staff, often including teacher’s aides,<br />

school counsellors and relevant allied<br />

health professionals. Making sure<br />

that all schools have the resources<br />

to set up their students for success<br />

is not negotiable and neither is<br />

appropriate government funding.<br />

There’s a lot to learn from listening<br />

to students, especially those who<br />

are heard less often, and most when<br />

what we hear is tough news. If some<br />

students aren’t supported to join in<br />

at school, what is that teaching all<br />

students about community?<br />

All schools should take pride in<br />

understanding and accepting the<br />

needs of every student. This means<br />

asking schools to think again and<br />

think more about how we support<br />

kids with disability in their learning<br />

and wellbeing. When any student<br />

misses out, our schools and<br />

community miss out.<br />

Gregory B Whitby AM KSG<br />

Executive Director<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Education<br />

Diocese of Parramatta<br />


The <strong>Catholic</strong> ‘village’ for school children<br />

By Christina Gretton<br />

What happens when ‘the village’ we need to raise children isn’t there? When<br />

parents need to work, have other caring commitments or just need a hand with<br />

childcare, <strong>Catholic</strong> Out of School Hours Care (COSHC) is there to walk by their side.<br />

and interact with each other,” she says.<br />

“We also give them the opportunity<br />

to ‘give back’ by taking part in<br />

fundraising initiatives.”<br />

At The Good Shepherd COSHC there<br />

is a ‘Gospels values corner’. The<br />

children write notes about themes<br />

such as charity, hope and love which<br />

are placed in pockets in the corner.<br />

When they need quiet time, they can<br />

go to the corner, read the notes and<br />

calm down. Prayers are said in the<br />

morning and afternoon.<br />

What about the school holidays?<br />

“We are very aware that this is the<br />

time that other children would spend<br />

doing fun things with their parents,”<br />

says Rebecca. “We want to make<br />

sure the children at vacation care<br />

are having fun, and not feel they are<br />

missing out.<br />

Prayer resources are available for children at <strong>Catholic</strong> Out of School Hours Care.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Service Coordinator Rebecca Brown<br />

from the Good Shepherd COSHC<br />

at Plumpton feels like an extended<br />

member of some families who use the<br />

centre before and after school, and<br />

during the school holidays.<br />

“We care for some children 11 hours<br />

a day, five days a week during the<br />

holidays. During the term some<br />

children come to us at 7am and are<br />

collected at 6pm after school,” she<br />

says.<br />

“Families really open up to me. I’ve<br />

been invited to funerals and other<br />

family events because of the bonds<br />

we’ve formed. Often there is no<br />

extended family in Sydney. Families<br />

have to rely on us instead.”<br />

At the 32 COSHC centres in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta, children are<br />

not just supervised. The staff at the<br />

centre continue their faith education in<br />

a gentle way that is closer to lessons<br />

taught at home.<br />

“We’re a classroom for life skills,” says<br />

Rebecca. “At the end of a long day at<br />

school, children are tired and need to<br />

learn to self-regulate their emotions.<br />

“Our staff are all trained in <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

values and we encourage the children<br />

to show these values when they play<br />

“We ask them during the term what<br />

they’d like to do for vacation care, and<br />

we plan the program around that.<br />

“In previous years we’ve done Kung<br />

fu lessons, pizza making, bikes and<br />

scooters, African drumming and<br />

Oztag.”<br />

Tip:<br />

When asked how parents can<br />

encourage their school-age<br />

children’s faith, Rebecca says<br />

“Simply talk about it. Talk about<br />

what ‘Our Father’ means for<br />

example. Talk about what it’s like<br />

when someone isn’t being nice and<br />

how we can forgive that person.”<br />

For details on COSHC and<br />

vacation care go to<br />

parracatholic.org/childcare.<br />


Starting a child’s faith journey<br />

By Christina Gretton<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv visits the <strong>Catholic</strong> Early Learning Centre at Blacktown South. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

At five early learning<br />

centres in our Diocese,<br />

children aged three to<br />

five start their learning<br />

journey in a <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

environment. For many<br />

children, it is the start of<br />

their faith journey as well.<br />

Donna Harding, Director of the<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Early Learning Centre<br />

(CELC) at Mary, Queen of the<br />

Family, Blacktown, saw how her<br />

preschoolers flourished during the<br />

restrictions around COVID. “Parents<br />

couldn’t come in, so the children had<br />

to come in and unpack their bags<br />

themselves,” she says. “They loved<br />

the independence.”<br />

The CELCs foster this sense of<br />

independence and exploration. The<br />

centres prepare the children for the<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> school environment, and the<br />

early learning educators are working<br />

with <strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of<br />

Parramatta to extend the Religious<br />

Education Curriculum to the preschool<br />

level. The preschoolers also<br />

visit the primary school around special<br />

events such as Ash Wednesday and<br />

Harmony Day to join in the activities.<br />

“This gives continuity to the children’s<br />

faith and values development,” says<br />

Donna. It also becomes apparent in<br />

how kindly and caringly the children<br />

interact with each other. She gives<br />

an example of a child who was very<br />

shy and had some developmental<br />

challenges. He had been to five<br />

centres previously, but the other<br />

children had avoided interacting with<br />

him. He was upset and lonely and his<br />

mother was very worried he would<br />

never find friends. “I didn’t know if<br />

making friends was even close to<br />


Easter Holiday<br />

Vacation Care<br />

Bookings<br />

Open Now<br />

Vacation care is available at 15 COSHC centres during the<br />

Easter school holidays. We run a fun, varied program of<br />

activities each day.<br />

Open to all primary-aged school children regardless of<br />

school or location.<br />

Our programs qualify for the approved Childcare<br />

Subsidy Rebate. You may be eligible<br />

to receive up to 85% rebate.<br />

Find the closest vacation<br />

care centre to you at<br />

parracatholic.org/childcare.<br />

possible for him,” she told Donna.<br />

At Mary, Queen of the Family CELC,<br />

another young boy sat down and<br />

played ‘beading’ with her son. Being<br />

accepted like this had a profound<br />

impact.<br />

“Who would have known he would<br />

become the boy that says ‘hello’ and<br />

‘goodbye’ to every single child, let<br />

alone having children actually do it<br />

back!” his mother said gratefully. “I<br />

just want to acknowledge you have all<br />

had a part in developing his beautiful<br />

little soul, always making him feel<br />

safe and loved, and being one of his<br />

biggest encouragers, his rock and<br />

support.”<br />

Tips:<br />

Donna gives her tips for teaching young children about faith:<br />

1. Talk to your children about the <strong>Catholic</strong> traditions of love, kindness<br />

to others and sharing.<br />

2. Young children love learning and singing about what they see in<br />

nature. Sing songs such as I Wish I Were a Butterfly with your<br />

children and talk about its meaning with your children.<br />

3. Scripture stories like Noah’s Ark can be simplified to be age<br />

appropriate. See what your children’s interests are and find stories<br />

from the Bible they can relate to.<br />

4. Encourage children to talk to God, such as saying thank you for<br />

good things.<br />

For information on the <strong>Catholic</strong> Early Learning Centres in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta, go to parracatholic.org/childcare.<br />

27<br />


New Iris app helps women<br />

assess relationships<br />

By Tracy McLeod Howe<br />

Pope Francis has made two things clear about family life – family is the<br />

foundation for our society and should be promoted and supported. At the<br />

same time, family life must be safe for everyone.<br />

A screen shot from the Iris app.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Two days after Christmas 2020, Pope<br />

Francis held up the Holy Family as<br />

the ‘model family’ as a source of<br />

inspiration for families around the<br />

world.<br />

On 1 January this year, he<br />

emphasised that families need to be<br />

places of safety, condemning any<br />

type of violence against women. Then<br />

in February, through his worldwide<br />

prayer intention, he asked us not to<br />

look away from victims of violence<br />

against women, telling us we cannot<br />

ignore the cries of women who dare<br />

speak out.<br />

In an Australian first, the Diocese<br />

of Parramatta has launched a new<br />

app to help <strong>Catholic</strong> women record<br />

and journal what is going on in their<br />

relationships.<br />

Called ‘Iris’, the app is helpful for<br />

working out how a relationship is<br />

progressing and how a woman feels.<br />

Sometimes simple misunderstandings<br />

can be identified through tracking<br />

what’s going on. In these cases, often<br />

clear communication will help resolve<br />

the matter.<br />

Sometimes the issue is more serious<br />

and falls into the category of abuse<br />

involving physical or sexual violence,<br />

emotional or psychological abuse<br />

or coercive control. Abuse can also<br />

come in the form of spiritual abuse<br />

when faith is used to hurt, scare or<br />

control a woman, including preventing<br />

her from practising her faith. Pope<br />

Francis has said violence against<br />

women cannot be treated as normal,<br />

and that it is “morally necessary” to<br />

leave a relationship when a spouse<br />

and their children are experiencing<br />

domestic violence.<br />

Journaling has long been recognised<br />

as helpful for people with relationship<br />

difficulties of any type – whether or<br />

not they involve abuse.<br />

Rosie Batty, the 2015 Australian<br />

of the Year and domestic violence<br />

campaigner, supports the Iris app<br />

in a video message recorded for its<br />

launch.<br />

“Journaling is a useful tool for getting<br />

the facts about your relationship,”<br />

says Rosie.<br />

“Sometimes your partner may not<br />

be aware of how you are feeling, and<br />

you need to have a frank discussion.<br />

Sometimes you need to take your<br />

journal to a professional to get<br />

specialist help.<br />

“Maybe you feel controlled, and<br />

sometimes you may have been hurt,”<br />

she continues. “You can record this<br />

on the Iris app. It stays on your phone<br />

and no one else can see it.”<br />

The app contains affirming words from<br />

the Bible and other resources that<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> women may find helpful.<br />

Tanya, a parishioner in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta, left her relationship after<br />

many years of physical and emotional<br />

abuse from her husband. “My<br />

family were shocked when I left the<br />

relationship,” says Tanya. “My family’s<br />


Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention<br />

February <strong>2021</strong><br />

Today, there continue to be women who<br />

suffer violence. Psychological violence, verbal<br />

violence, physical violence, sexual violence.<br />

It’s shocking how many women are beaten,<br />

insulted, and raped.<br />

The various forms of ill-treatment that many women suffer are acts<br />

of cowardice and a degradation of all humanity. Of men and of all<br />

humanity.<br />

The testimonies of the victims who dare to break their silence are a<br />

cry for help that we cannot ignore.<br />

We must not look the other way.<br />

Let us pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may<br />

be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and<br />

heeded by all.<br />

Pope Francis Image: Shutterstock.<br />

culture was that it was not the ‘done<br />

thing’ to leave your husband.”<br />

Feeling alone, she sought the help of<br />

her parish priest. “I had to keep my<br />

faith strong,” she says.<br />

After living through such a difficult<br />

time, Tanya shares her story in the<br />

hope it will help others.<br />

“It is important for me to tell my<br />

story so others can know that no<br />

one should be hurt, bullied, made to<br />

feel anxious or ashamed,” she says.<br />

“I didn’t deserve to be punched,<br />

pushed, kicked or violently yelled at.<br />

No one does.”<br />

The Iris app can be downloaded for<br />

free on the App Store or Google Play.<br />

You can read more about it and how<br />

to seek help at safeguarding.org.au.<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta also has<br />

plans to develop a similar app for<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> men in the future.<br />

Tracy McLeod Howe is the Head<br />

of Safeguarding in the Office of<br />

Safeguarding in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta. If you have any concerns<br />

regarding safeguarding in the Diocese<br />

go to safeguarding.org.au.<br />

Maybe you feel<br />

controlled, and<br />

sometimes you<br />

may have been<br />

hurt, you can<br />

record this on<br />

the Iris app.<br />


New World Youth Day date<br />

connects to ‘super-charged’ youth<br />

By Staff Writer<br />

After decades of being held on Palm<br />

Sunday, Pope Francis has moved the<br />

local celebration of World Youth Day<br />

to The Solemnity of Christ the King,<br />

this year held on 21 November <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Director of <strong>Catholic</strong> Youth Parramatta,<br />

James Camden, considers this a great<br />

move for our local Church. “A move<br />

away from Palm Sunday gives youth<br />

ministers and teachers a chance<br />

to celebrate and highlight young<br />

people’s contribution to the life of the<br />

Church without needing to balance<br />

it precariously alongside our spiritual<br />

preparation for Holy Week,” he said.<br />

“This is Pope Francis, reminding the<br />

Church that young people deserve a<br />

renewed focus.<br />

“This new date, later in the year,<br />

connects with local periods of<br />

transition for young people, which can<br />

be remarkably powerful for supercharging<br />

a positive change in their<br />

spiritual lives. November is when<br />

student leaders are typically being<br />

commissioned, Year 12s are finishing<br />

exams and youth are preparing for<br />

Advent, not to mention discerning<br />

their plans for the following year.”<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv,<br />

Bishop of Parramatta, and <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Youth Parramatta will invite school<br />

leaders, youth and young adults to a<br />

special event this World Youth Day, on<br />

the new date, later this year.<br />

“We’ll celebrate young people’s<br />

significant contribution to the life of<br />

the Church, but also challenge parish<br />

and school communities to consider<br />

further ways in which young people<br />

can take up leadership more broadly,”<br />

said James.<br />

For information on the local<br />

celebration of World Youth Day in<br />

the Diocese of Parramatta, go to<br />

catholicyouthparramatta.org.<br />

The next international World Youth<br />

Day pilgrimage will be held in Lisbon,<br />

Portugal, in 2023.<br />

We’ll celebrate<br />

young people’s<br />

significant<br />

contribution to<br />

the life of the<br />

Church.<br />

Youth from the Diocese of Parramatta at World<br />

Youth Day 2019 in Panama City, Panama.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


The following articles encourage<br />

deeper reflection, prayer and<br />

personal learning.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


The ‘Jonah Syndrome’<br />

By Br Mark O’Connor FMS<br />

Like Jonah, let’s pray to become people of compassion and mercy this Lent.<br />

Lent is a time for conversion and a<br />

change of heart.<br />

Perhaps this Lent, we should follow<br />

Pope Francis’ often repeated advice<br />

that we <strong>Catholic</strong>s should rid ourselves<br />

of all traces of the disease of<br />

‘fundamentalism’.<br />

Yes, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will<br />

remove from our souls this virus of<br />

intolerance.<br />

What havoc and disaster this disease<br />

of fundamentalism, of all hues, is<br />

causing!<br />

The USA is now practically torn<br />

apart because of intolerance, crank<br />

paranoid conspiracy theories and<br />

partisan division.<br />

And even within our own Church,<br />

we have far too many otherwise<br />

good people, who are determined to<br />

criticise, gossip and think the worst<br />

of their own <strong>Catholic</strong> sisters and<br />

brothers, even their own bishops.<br />

These ‘culture warriors’ are full of an<br />

arrogant ‘certainty’ that they alone are<br />

God’s ‘faithful’.<br />

Strange as it may first seem to some,<br />

such ‘certainty’ is a dangerous thing<br />

in a <strong>Catholic</strong> who wants to remain a<br />

follower of Jesus of Nazareth.<br />

Of course, there is truth: Christians are<br />

not relativists, but neither are they<br />

religious dogmatists or bigots who<br />

constantly denounce or worse, bore<br />

others with their ‘certainty’ in social<br />

media rage campaigns.<br />

Such ‘heresy hunting’ behaviour in<br />

a Christian is often a sign of deep<br />

immaturity. Nothing is more off-putting<br />

to credible Gospel witness than the selfrighteousness<br />

of those who believe that<br />

they alone possess the ‘truth’.<br />

Such people sadly confuse their own<br />

views with God’s! They may even have<br />

the ‘right’ words or formulations but<br />

that means nothing unless they also<br />

have the ‘music’ of God’s gracious<br />

spirit. As British-French writer Hilaire<br />

Belloc famously observed: “The grace<br />

of God is in courtesy.”<br />

The ‘music’ of our faith is that it is<br />

primarily a relationship with a very<br />

mysterious God, revealed in Jesus,<br />

the Way, the Truth and the Life.<br />

Faith, then, is necessarily an<br />

adventure, a risk and always a ‘livedin-practice’.<br />

It is a pilgrimage of the<br />

heart into the depths of the Gracious<br />

Mystery of our God, who is love.<br />

To help us avoid the major pitfall<br />

of religious intolerance in Christian<br />

life, there is no better guide than the<br />

poet, priest and spiritual theologian<br />

Paul Murray OP.<br />

I especially love his beautiful<br />

reflection, A Journey with Jonah: The<br />

Spirituality of Bewilderment. In it, Fr<br />

Murray focuses on the problem of<br />

the religious bigot or ‘know-it-all’,<br />

exemplified in the comic/tragic figure<br />

of the prophet Jonah. One might<br />

even call it a study of the ‘Jonah<br />

syndrome’.<br />

Fr Murray sees Jonah as a man of<br />

strong will but narrow intelligence,<br />

a staunchly ‘religious’ person, who<br />

simply could not bear that Yahweh<br />

might want to extend his kindness to<br />

people who were not members of his<br />

own religion – especially if they were<br />

living in great sin, like the people of<br />

Nineveh.<br />

God has a big task! He has to<br />

change the heart of this reluctant<br />

‘evangeliser’. Trapped in the belly<br />

of the big fish, surrounded by its<br />

bones and flesh, enveloped in inky<br />

blackness, Jonah is forced to come to<br />

terms with his circumstances, his life,<br />

and his God.<br />

Although thankful that he has not<br />

drowned, his situation is still critical. In<br />

the darkness of the fish’s belly, Jonah<br />

is transformed. He can now see God<br />

at work in his life in new and peculiar<br />

ways.<br />

He can give thanks, even in the<br />

impossible situation in which he finds<br />

himself. He has come through the<br />

darkness and is now ready to re-enter<br />

life.<br />

With this change in Jonah, another<br />

change happens. The fish, which had<br />

been keeping him imprisoned, now<br />

vomits him up onto dry land. It is a<br />

new birth for Jonah, as inelegant as<br />

births are. His life ends when he is<br />

thrown overboard but, through the<br />

love and grace of God, he is given<br />

new life.<br />

That new life is now one of boundless<br />

compassion and tender mercy. For<br />

such compassion and mercy are<br />

‘infallible’ signs of the fruits of the<br />

Spirit, which are beautiful to see in<br />

others and even better to practise.<br />

Sean Caulfield tells us in his wonderful<br />

classic The Experience of Praying that<br />

in Luke’s Gospel (1:78), ‘tender mercy’<br />

in Greek is diasplagkhna elous, which<br />

literally means through the ‘bowels<br />

of his compassion’; splagkhna are<br />

intestines and the compassion Jesus<br />

shows is intestinal; it is felt.<br />


When Jesus revealed the innermost depths of the Father,<br />

his inner mystery became an intestinal love - a love felt in<br />

the pit of the stomach, a lump in the throat, tears in his<br />

eyes and not simply a cool detached act of ‘charity’.<br />

Jonah, like many ‘religious’ zealots, first resisted such<br />

divine compassion and tried to replace it with ‘certainty’.<br />

Jonah was deeply reluctant to believe that God loves<br />

everyone and has no favourites!<br />

In this season of Lent, let’s allow Dominican Paul Murray to<br />

guide us. For when our hearts are moved to compassion,<br />

we too can experience the same salvation as Jonah – the<br />

prototype of all reluctant ‘half-converted’ believers who<br />

need to be set free from their own ‘certainty’!<br />

Br Mark O’Connor FMS is the Vicar of Communications in<br />

the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

God has a big task!<br />

He has to change the<br />

heart of this reluctant<br />

‘evangeliser’.<br />

Image: Jonah and the Whale - Painting<br />

© <strong>2021</strong> John August Swanson |. Eyekons.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


A cuppa<br />

with the priest:<br />

Fr Oliver Aro MSP<br />

Mary Immaculate Parish,<br />

Quakers Hill-Schofields.<br />

By Christina Gretton<br />

Fr Oliver Aro MSP, Parish Priest of Mary<br />

Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Fr Oliver Aro has had a remarkable<br />

journey to Mary Immaculate Parish.<br />

He tells us the highlights of his life in<br />

ministry across the Pacific.<br />

Fr Oliver Aro speaks gently during our interview, but once<br />

he starts talking, you also see a quiet courage and lots of<br />

life experience. Apart from ministry, he’s been a marine<br />

engineer, studied psychology and even been a crocodile<br />

hunter. Over a cup of tea, we discuss his life in parishes<br />

throughout the Pacific and his arrival in Sydney as Parish<br />

Priest of Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields,<br />

in 2019. Fr Oliver believes it was obedience to God through<br />

the wisdom of the Saviour that led him here.<br />

The mention of crocodiles reminds him of his favourite<br />

experience, the first Mass he said as a missionary priest to<br />

a village in a remote part of Papua New Guinea (PNG).<br />

It was his favourite Mass, not necessarily because of its<br />

association with crocodiles, but what it signified.<br />

“When I went to the remote community for the first time,<br />

they had heard of missionaries in other places. Some<br />

worshipped the spirit of trees or storms,” he says. He had<br />

arrived by a motored canoe, but the petrol tank was stolen<br />

soon after he landed at the village. “That night, I slept in the<br />

open canoe amongst the mosquitoes,” he says. “I woke<br />

up to the villagers catching a crocodile just near me. They<br />

chopped it up and shared the meat with me.”<br />

That interaction was the beginning of a relationship which<br />

led to Fr Oliver saying the first Mass for the community<br />

six months later. At first, the villagers wanted him to leave,<br />

with only the children curious to know more about him. He<br />

returned, gently participating in village life and prayed.<br />

“As I prayed, the children copied me,” he said. “I explained<br />

I was praying to God. Their mothers had been watching<br />

and asked if I could teach them to pray as well.” Over the<br />

following months he taught the community about God.<br />

Finally, the villagers were ready to be baptised in Christ<br />

and attend their first Mass. “It was the most tremendous<br />

experience for God to use me in this way,” says Fr Oliver.<br />

After a stint in New Zealand, Fr Oliver served as Superior<br />

in the <strong>Catholic</strong> Mission of Tokelau. Unable to speak the<br />

language at first, he picked it up slowly – enough to<br />

minister to the people “but that was tough,” he recalls.<br />

Fr Oliver’s order is the Mission Society of the Philippines<br />

(MSP). As a missionary, he has ministered in PNG, Tokelau<br />

and, for several years, in New Zealand.<br />

Now he is in Quakers Hill, getting to know a new group of<br />

parishioners. “When I enter a new community, I’m there to<br />

live the life of Christ, because Christ was there before me,”<br />

he says. “Any values they see in me are Christ’s values.”<br />

Fr Oliver continues to connect through the children of the<br />

parish. He welcomes the many questions they have. He<br />

answers a lot of questions about what it is like being a<br />

priest. “Who knows, maybe my words will plant a seed for<br />

a future priest,” he laughs.<br />

He was also delighted to be part of the parish when<br />

it celebrated its centenary last year and tells me how<br />

he seems to follow the parishes reaching significant<br />

milestones.<br />

“When I was in Thames in New Zealand it celebrated 100<br />

years, the Tokelau Mission celebrated 150 years when I was<br />


Fr Oliver continues to connect through<br />

the children of the parish. He welcomes<br />

the many questions they have.<br />

Superior there, now Mary Immaculate<br />

has just marked 100 years!”<br />

Fr Oliver is a renowned gardener. It<br />

is his way of coping at those times<br />

when loneliness hits. He is open about<br />

this, as loneliness is a standard part<br />

of a missionary priest’s life. In PNG,<br />

he cared for lots of animals. Now he<br />

cares for plants. “When I am among<br />

plants, I don’t feel lonely,” he says.<br />

“They are living creatures, and when<br />

I’m with them, I feel I’m in communion<br />

with God.”<br />

His parishioners report that he’s<br />

very interactive and approachable.<br />

“He’s won over a lot of parishioners<br />

because of how approachable he is,”<br />

says Vice-President of the Pastoral<br />

Council, Beverley Rutledge.<br />

When asked about the role parents<br />

can play in bringing faith to their<br />

children, Fr Oliver is very clear about<br />

the first thing they should do.<br />

“When parents want to instill values in<br />

their own children, they must be fully<br />

committed to those values, whatever<br />

they are,” he says.<br />

“As a priest, I recommend to<br />

parents they must deepen their own<br />

understanding of faith, so they don’t<br />

lose direction. Children will do as their<br />

parents do; they are their children’s<br />

first teachers.”<br />

Fr Oliver exposes the<br />

Blessed Sacrament during<br />

Adoration at a <strong>Catholic</strong> Youth<br />

Parramatta LIFTED event<br />

at Mary Immaculate Parish,<br />

Quakers Hill-Schofields,<br />

in August 2019. Image:<br />

Mary Brazell/Diocese of<br />

Parramatta.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


Parish profile:<br />

Mary Immaculate Parish,<br />

Quakers Hill-Schofields<br />

By Mary Brazell<br />

The parishioners of Mary<br />

Immaculate Parish,<br />

Quakers Hill-Schofields,<br />

celebrated 100 years in<br />

2020. Post pandemic,<br />

they are looking forward<br />

to rebuilding their parish<br />

community.<br />

My vision for the<br />

parish is that<br />

parishioners are<br />

involved in the<br />

process of decisionmaking,<br />

and that<br />

they take ownership<br />

of the church<br />

When Mercee Malig migrated to<br />

Australia in 1988, one of her first<br />

priorities was to find a <strong>Catholic</strong> church.<br />

She was looking for familiar,<br />

welcoming, warm faces for herself<br />

and her children.<br />

She was able to find that amongst<br />

the community of Mary Immaculate<br />

Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields, a<br />

parish of people from at least 19<br />

nationalities. She’s now secretary of<br />

the parish finance committee.<br />

“Each nationality is welcomed to<br />

celebrate their national days, like<br />

the Feast of Our Lady of Lanka in<br />

February,” Mercee explains.<br />

Parish secretary Aylyn Yu adds, “The<br />

people as a community are warm and<br />

welcoming. You feel it every time you<br />

walk in to the church, people always<br />

greet you and ask how you are.<br />

There’s a strong relationship amongst<br />

the community.”<br />

Parish Priest Fr Oliver Aro MSP, who<br />

arrived in 2019, wants to make sure<br />

parishioners feel the parish belongs<br />

to them.<br />

“My vision for the parish is that<br />

parishioners are involved in the process<br />

of decision-making, and that they take<br />

ownership of the church,” he says.<br />

“Priests come and go, but the people<br />

have the experience of belonging to<br />

parish, and it is them working with<br />

their priest to prepare for the future. I<br />

want them to know their opinions will<br />

be respected and acknowledged.”<br />

Parish administration assistant<br />

Marthese Sultana explains, “Fr Oliver<br />

visits as many people as he possibly<br />

can, and he is always there for us.”<br />

More renovations are expected in the<br />

parish but were put on hold due to<br />

the pandemic. They will be revisited<br />

once people are back and more<br />

fully connected to the parish. At the<br />

same time, Aylyn sees the level of<br />

volunteering as heart-warming.<br />

“You are inspired that some people<br />

have very little, but give wholly of<br />

themselves, which inspires you to do<br />

more as well,” she says.<br />

Like many parishes, Mary Immaculate<br />

dealt with the ever-changing<br />

restrictions surrounding the pandemic,<br />

with livestreamed Masses and<br />

outdoor celebrations. With Easter<br />

approaching, they hope people will<br />

come back.<br />

“Easter is a significant moment for<br />

people to experience the joy of the<br />

presence of God. There is always<br />

beauty in the Easter celebration,” Fr<br />

Oliver says.<br />

Ryan Hutton, president of the pastoral<br />

council says, “Coming out of COVID,<br />

we need to re-engage and reevangelise<br />

people. We need to reach<br />

out to those people in the community<br />

and bring them back.<br />

“The church shouldn’t just be a place<br />

of worship; it should be a genuine<br />

community.”<br />


Members of the Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers<br />

Hill-Schofields parish team (L-R) Parish Pastoral<br />

Council President Ryan Hutton, Sacramental<br />

Coordinator Sr Valerie Powidzki, Parish Pastoral<br />

Council Vice President Bronwyn Rutledge, Parish<br />

Secretary Aylyn Yu, Parish Priest Fr Oliver Aro MSP,<br />

Parish Finance Committee Secretary Maree Malig<br />

and Parish Secretary/Bookkeeper Anthony Saliba.<br />

Missing is Parish Administration Assistant Marthese<br />

Sultana. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

100 Years of Parish Life<br />

An external view of the church at Mary Immaculate<br />

Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

In 2020, Mary Immaculate Parish celebrated 100 years since the area’s first Mass in 1920.<br />

In those days, a group of <strong>Catholic</strong> families gathered for “the meeting on the log”, on a block of land<br />

they went on to purchase to build a hall that could be used as a church.<br />

The building stood as the parish centre for Quakers Hill for decades. In 1973, Schofields separated<br />

from Riverstone and combined with Quakers Hill.<br />

The current “church on the hill,” described as a “castle” by the young primary school students, was<br />

built alongside the primary school and was blessed in December 1993. The only problem was it had<br />

no pews. Recently, the request went out and 90 families applied to donate a pew.<br />

The new pews and the overflow rooms were filled (within COVID-Safe guidelines) as Bishop Vincent<br />

Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, celebrated the Centenary Mass in December 2020.<br />

“This church is built on a hill and is an oasis of hope and solidarity,” he reflected.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


Your plenary responses:<br />

Who is listening?<br />

By Christina Gretton<br />

(L-R) Leonard Blahut and Carol Teodori-Blahut and Wendy and Anthony Goonan.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

As we go to print, the<br />

working document of<br />

the Plenary Council is<br />

due to be released.<br />

In the meantime, our<br />

delegates have been<br />

preparing for the event<br />

– including reading your<br />

submissions.<br />

Who IS listening to the voices of our<br />

parishioners? Wendy Goonan and<br />

Carol Teodori-Blahut are for a start.<br />

Wendy and Carol are the two lay<br />

delegates from the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta, representing all <strong>Catholic</strong>s<br />

at the Plenary Council meetings. They<br />

are part of a delegation of nine, with<br />

the other members being clergy from<br />

the Diocese.<br />

“We’ve committed to do our best<br />

to communicate the thoughts and<br />

feelings of the people of the Diocese<br />

to the Plenary Council,” says Wendy.<br />

“Our Church and faith mean different<br />

things to different people, so this isn’t<br />

as easy as it looks. However, I have<br />

noticed some trends.”<br />

Wendy and Carol have read the<br />

responses that the parishioners of our<br />

Diocese submitted in 2018 and 2019<br />

when they were asked by the Plenary<br />

Council facilitation team what they<br />

thought God was asking of us at this<br />

time.<br />

“It is clear there is a desire to reduce<br />

the number of people leaving the<br />

Church, especially young people,”<br />

says Wendy. “Across the Diocese,<br />

people asked how we can reach out<br />

to those not in the pews, both in<br />

evangelisation and in simple charity<br />

and welcome. People want to see<br />

lay people, especially women, play<br />

a bigger role in management and<br />

decision-making. Including different<br />

cultures in parish activities, and<br />


healing for victims of clergy abuse are important,<br />

as is a more compassionate approach to people<br />

who are divorced and remarried.<br />

“People are very interested in parish and school<br />

relationships and how we teach faith to children.<br />

There is also a clear desire for adult faith<br />

formation,” she concludes.<br />

These issues appear to be common across<br />

other Dioceses, observes Wendy. In the Diocese<br />

of Parramatta, the feedback informed the<br />

Diocesan Forum in 2019. Wendy has also heard<br />

some of our parishes are already putting their<br />

parishioners’ submission ideas into practice.<br />

Both Wendy and Carol are looking forward to<br />

meeting and collaborating with other delegates,<br />

including the clergy delegates from the Diocese.<br />

After all, the Plenary is about the people of our<br />

Church.<br />

Carol tells us, “My hope for the Plenary is that<br />

whenever or however we meet, we make real<br />

human contact; that we see each other as<br />

brothers and sisters on a pilgrimage.” She sees<br />

the Australian Church is learning more about<br />

discernment (reflecting and listening to the Holy<br />

Spirit) through this process. “I hope we grow<br />

more and more into a discerning community,”<br />

she says.<br />

“That is my biggest hope.”<br />

Wendy feels the process of looking at other<br />

people’s views has helped her reflect more on her<br />

own faith. She asks for the rest of us to support<br />

the delegates through prayer “for all delegates<br />

and the success of the Plenary Council, so we<br />

become the Church that Christ calls us to be.”<br />

Wendy Goonan is from the Parish of Baulkham<br />

Hills and Carol Teodori-Blahut belongs to<br />

Our Lady of the Nativity Parish, Lawson. The<br />

Instrumentum Laboris, the Council’s Working<br />

Document, had not been released at the time<br />

of going to press, but was expected to be<br />

released in February <strong>2021</strong>. The First Assembly<br />

of the Plenary Council is scheduled to meet in<br />

October <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

My hope for the Plenary<br />

is that whenever or<br />

however we meet,<br />

we make real human<br />

contact; that we see<br />

each other as brothers<br />

and sisters on a<br />

pilgrimage.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


A spirituality of parenting<br />

By Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI<br />

Fr Ron suggests that to be a parent is like going to the ‘school of love’. There’s<br />

nothing like being a parent to stretch your heart and find yourself in a ‘monastery’<br />

learning some of the qualities of God - whether you like it or not!<br />

Christian theology has generally<br />

been weak in its treatise on marriage.<br />

Somehow the earthiness of the<br />

incarnation, so evident elsewhere, has<br />

been slow to spill over into our thinking<br />

about marriage, sex, and family.<br />

There are reasons for this of course,<br />

among them the fact that often those<br />

writing the books on marriage are<br />

themselves not married, but celibate<br />

monks and nuns. There are other<br />

issues as well. In the early Church,<br />

the influence of manichaeism made<br />

the Church somewhat reticent to<br />

genuinely celebrate the goodness<br />

of sex and marriage and, later on,<br />

the monastic ideal (of celibate life<br />

outside of marriage) came to be so<br />

identified with holiness that marriage,<br />

sex, and parenting were not seen as<br />

having within them the same inherent,<br />

privileged path to sanctity as celibacy<br />

and the monastic life. Monastic life<br />

was seen as a “higher state,” an<br />

elite path to holiness not available to<br />

anyone married. Granted, there was<br />

always a theology that taught that<br />

one’s duties of state, such as the<br />

demands inherent in parenting, were a<br />

certain conscriptive path to holiness,<br />

but, in the end, this didn’t add up to a<br />

full, wholesome theology of marriage,<br />

sex, and parenting.<br />

Recently at a conference in<br />

Collegeville, I heard a talk given<br />

by Dr Wendy Wright, a mother and<br />

theologian. She spoke wonderfully of<br />

a spirituality of parenting. In essence,<br />

she suggested that raising children,<br />

being a mum or a dad, is a privileged<br />

means to holiness and [my addition]<br />

a more natural path to maturity than<br />

is monasticism. Simply put, very few<br />

other experiences, perhaps none,<br />

are as naturally geared to break the<br />

casings of our inherent selfishness<br />

as is the experience of child-raising.<br />

To see your own child is to feel what<br />

God must feel when God looks at<br />

us. Parenting, in the end, is the most<br />

natural path to holiness and maturity,<br />

the conscriptive martyr’s belt around<br />

us that takes us where we would<br />

rather not go. Becoming a parent,<br />

submits Dr Wright, reshapes the heart<br />

in a unique way, moulding it more and<br />

more to be compassionate as God is<br />

compassionate.<br />

Here are some of her thoughts: Being<br />

a mother or a father stretches the<br />

heart, just as the womb is stretched<br />

in pregnancy. This is because, among<br />

all loves, parental love is perhaps the<br />

one that most pulls your heart out of<br />

its self-love. Parenting reshapes the<br />

core of your being to help you to love<br />

more like God loves. Seeing your own<br />

child’s fragility and morality, works to<br />

create in you feelings of inexpressible<br />

tenderness that help you feel what<br />

God must feel when God looks at us.<br />

To be a parent is to be formed in a<br />

school of love.<br />

Very few other<br />

experiences, perhaps<br />

none, are as naturally<br />

geared to break<br />

the casings of our<br />

inherent selfishness<br />

as is the experience<br />

of child-raising.<br />

One of the first lessons this school<br />

teaches you is welcome: To be a<br />

parent is to have to permanently<br />

open your heart, life, and plans so<br />

as to create a unique space in them<br />

for someone else, your child. To be a<br />

mother or a father is to let your dreams<br />

and agenda be forever altered.<br />

The next lesson this school of love<br />

teaches is flexibility: To be a parent is<br />

to nurture a child as he or she passes<br />

through very different stages of<br />

growth (infancy, toddler, kindergarten,<br />

elementary school, a teen with raging<br />

hormones and a raging attitude,<br />

a young adult, an adult with his or<br />

her own responsibilities and unique<br />

sorrows). Moreover, if you have more<br />

than one child, each has a very unique<br />

personality that you must adapt your<br />


Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


RE ED<br />

love towards. All of this demands that<br />

you constantly grow, re-adjust, adapt,<br />

let go, learn to love in a new way.<br />

A flexible heart is a discerning heart, it<br />

picks up each moment and discerns<br />

the true and the false voices within it.<br />

It asks, in each moment, “Where does<br />

love lie for my child in all this?” This<br />

is a demanding task for a parent, one<br />

within which (as Wright so well puts it)<br />

“looking good is not the point!”<br />

Finally, being a parent should<br />

naturally lead you to shape your<br />

heart for reconciliation. Love is all<br />

about forgiving, again and again and<br />

again. Families survive only if this is<br />

happening. A parent is meant to be<br />

the compassion of God, the father<br />

and mother of the prodigal son and<br />

bitter brother who embraces the child<br />

not because the child is worthy, but in<br />

spite of all unworthiness. A parent<br />

must ever say in word and attitude:<br />

“Return as far as you can, and I will<br />

come the rest of the way.”<br />

All of these things can, of course, be<br />

done by anyone, not just biological<br />

parents. However, for a mum or a dad,<br />

there is a certain naturalness in it, a<br />

conscriptive rhythm written by nature<br />

itself. To be a parent is to find oneself<br />

enrolled in an elite school of love, a<br />

true monastery that is every bit as<br />

ascetical and grace-producing as any<br />

monastery ever praised by the great<br />

spiritual writers.<br />

Used with permission of the author,<br />

Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser.<br />

Currently, Father Rolheiser is serving<br />

as President of the Oblate School<br />

of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.<br />

He can be contacted through his<br />

website, www.ronrolheiser.com. Now<br />

on Facebook www.facebook.com/<br />

ronrolheiser.<br />

To be a parent is<br />

to be formed in a<br />

school of love.<br />

Have you been considering broadening your faith understanding?<br />

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your faith understanding?<br />

Wondering where to go next in your pastoral<br />

activities? What paths study may lead to?

Grace is the<br />

presence of<br />

God in our lives<br />

By Anthony Maher<br />

The curriculum we use to<br />

educate our children about their<br />

faith in our schools is built around<br />

‘pillars’ of our <strong>Catholic</strong> Tradition.<br />

Grace is one such pillar which is<br />

particularly apparent during Lent<br />

and Easter. Here’s how we can<br />

think about grace at this time.<br />

Kirrily Aguiliera embraces her daughter Zoe.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

During Lent and Easter as Christians we are<br />

particularly mindful of the liberation granted to us<br />

by Christ’s death and resurrection. We can also<br />

call this liberation by another name – grace.<br />

Easter is the ‘moment’ of grace in the life of the<br />

Church. As we read in the Bible, “This is the day<br />

that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad”<br />

(Psalm 118:24).<br />

It is not easy to understand grace, perhaps we<br />

don’t even try. Most people might consider grace<br />

to be a short prayer said before meals, but there is<br />

more to grace than meets the eye. Indeed, grace<br />

is most usually described as a mystery.<br />

In the New Testament, grace is understood as the<br />

goodwill of God, a beatitude or blessedness that<br />

produces the virtues of faith, hope and love. St<br />

Paul taught that grace is “God’s love poured into<br />

our hearts” (Romans 5:5).<br />

The great prayer of the Church, the Magnificat, tells<br />

of God’s love for all of his people. And the ancient<br />

song in Luke (1:46-55), tells of the greeting of Mary<br />

by the Angel Gabriel. “Hail (Mary) full of Grace! The<br />

Lord is with thee and blessed art thou amongst<br />

women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”<br />

“Hail” literally means, “rejoice” or be “glad,” for<br />

you are blessed with God’s grace.<br />

Perhaps the most important thing to understand<br />

about grace is that it doesn’t have to be earned.<br />

Grace is a free gift from God to all of humanity –<br />

because we are all loved by God. Pope Francis<br />

teaches: “We need to acknowledge jubilantly that<br />

our life is essentially a gift, and recognise that our<br />

freedom is a grace. This is not easy today, in a<br />

world that thinks it can keep everything for itself”<br />

(Gaudete et Exsultate, 5).<br />

Grace bestows the light of God onto a given<br />

person or situation; one can speak of being<br />

moved by God’s grace. Perhaps the opposite of<br />

grace might be understood as dis-grace?<br />

Grace is discovered in ordinary life, in prayer,<br />

especially when we discern the voice of<br />

God. Grace is uncovered in the gentleness of<br />

accepting God’s will.<br />

This Easter time, as a community of faith, we draw<br />

deeply upon God’s grace – the grace that is Easter.<br />

God’s gift of grace can be found in ordinary life –<br />

like a crowded kitchen table at Easter with family<br />

and friends.<br />

May you all have a holy, happy and blessed Easter.<br />

Professor Anthony Maher is Consultant<br />

Theologian to <strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of<br />

Parramatta.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


The hour of the<br />

domestic Church<br />

IS NOW<br />

By Teresa Pirola<br />

With the coronavirus shutdown of public Masses and church<br />

gatherings, a deeper appreciation of the domestic church<br />

is emerging. Teresa Pirola wrote about this at the height<br />

of the pandemic in 2020. Her reflections have continuing<br />

implications for the local church in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Image: Unsplash.<br />


In response to<br />

the alienating<br />

effects of ‘social<br />

distancing’,<br />

more than ever<br />

we need to find<br />

appropriate ways<br />

to embrace the<br />

Gospel.<br />

Image: Shutterstock.com.<br />

Like family Zoom gatherings, there is something<br />

to be said for parishioners coming together online<br />

as Mass is celebrated. Many attest to finding<br />

solace and meaning in ‘virtual’ Mass attendance.<br />

There have also been thoughtful reflections on<br />

the meaning of ‘presence’, and technology’s<br />

capacity to aid Eucharistic communion in a time of<br />

‘absence’.<br />

These perspectives have something important to<br />

say and deserve serious consideration, in view of<br />

the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the<br />

Christian life” (Catechism of the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church,<br />

1324).<br />

That said, my own Eucharistic instincts seek a<br />

different ecclesial response to the COVID-19 crisis.<br />

Whatever the merits of live-streaming Mass as a<br />

means of spiritual support, one would hope that it<br />

does not become the dominant pastoral response<br />

to this crisis. A congregation-less Mass viewed<br />

remotely by a lay ‘audience’ seems contrary to the<br />

very participatory nature of the liturgy with its deep<br />

incarnational instincts.<br />

Rather, in response to the alienating effects of<br />

‘social distancing’, more than ever we need to<br />

find appropriate ways to embrace the Gospel as<br />

intimate, ‘enfleshed’ presence, proclaiming “what<br />

we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes,<br />

what we have looked at and touched with our<br />

hands, concerning the word of life” (1 Jn 1:1).<br />

And where better to concentrate this focus than on<br />

the sacramental life of the domestic Church and its<br />

home-based spirituality?<br />

A summons to the communion of ‘breaking bread’<br />

at the family meal table (including all its moments<br />

of spilt milk, toddler tantrums, and sibling<br />

arguments) is more urgent, more direct, more<br />

incarnational, and ultimately more sacramentally<br />

fruitful, than drawing families to an inaccessible<br />

altar viewed on a TV or computer screen.<br />

Think about it: we are living through a moment in<br />

history when, in every parish and diocese around<br />

the world, the domestic space is the only place<br />

where most <strong>Catholic</strong>s can be fully present to one<br />

another in celebrating their <strong>Catholic</strong> traditions.<br />

In fact, the terrible necessity of enforced home<br />

isolation has opened up an extraordinary<br />

opportunity: to call the faithful—family units of<br />

every kind and configuration—to rediscover their<br />

power to ‘be’ Church, each within their unique<br />

domestic context.<br />

The resounding message from our ecclesial<br />

leadership, surely, has to be:<br />

Our public worship places are closed, but now<br />

is the time for our lay faithful to step up. Your<br />

home is a holy place; you are ‘priest’ in your own<br />

home; your meal table is your ‘altar’; your family<br />

is the Church in miniature, the ‘domestic Church’,<br />

which, like the universal Church, has all the marks<br />

of a priestly, prophetic calling to embody the reign<br />

of God.<br />

Put simply, by St John Paul II: “Family, become<br />

what you are!”<br />

The idea of family as the ‘domestic Church’ is<br />

part of our biblical and patristic heritage and<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


Image: Shutterstock.com.<br />

With the onset<br />

of the pandemic,<br />

we have seen a<br />

wonderful explosion<br />

of home-based<br />

spirituality resources<br />

from pastoral and<br />

education agencies.<br />

was reaffirmed at Vatican II (Lumen<br />

Gentium, 11; cf. Acts 2:46, Rom 16:5,<br />

and the writings of John Chrysostom).<br />

Today, in the time of coronavirus, we<br />

have an unprecedented opportunity<br />

to ‘grow’ the Church in its most basic<br />

ecclesial experience: marital intimacy,<br />

parental love, family relationships and<br />

the domestic space—the primary<br />

place where we practise what it<br />

means to love, serve, forgive and pray.<br />

Compared to the virtual experience<br />

of ‘watching’ Mass on a screen,<br />

the relational exchanges within the<br />

home are a more direct ecclesial<br />

participation and a tangible, embodied<br />

presence—all woven into the fabric of<br />

our sacramental life as <strong>Catholic</strong>s.<br />

With the onset of the pandemic, we<br />

have seen a wonderful explosion of<br />

home-based spirituality resources<br />

from pastoral and education agencies.<br />

Now is the time for the ecclesial<br />

leadership to name and capitalise<br />

upon this phenomenon:<br />

This is the hour of the domestic<br />

Church! Families, lay faithful, lead<br />

the way! Show us how to do this.<br />

Leave your mark on our parishes and<br />

dioceses. Shift our ground to a more<br />

familial base; free us from clinging to<br />

the clericalist ways of the past.<br />

To borrow a line from Pope Francis,<br />

‘So what are we waiting for?’<br />

(Evangelii Gaudium, 120).<br />

It is time to move beyond the<br />

initial crisis management period<br />

(with its focus on the provision of<br />

online Masses), to intentional lay<br />

empowerment. Our conversations can<br />

be less about the pros and cons of<br />

‘virtual’ Mass attendance and ‘private<br />

Mass’, and more filled with talk of<br />

‘home-based spirituality’ and topics<br />

such as: meal table rituals, everyday<br />

holiness, simplified lifestyle, family<br />

prayer and home-based festivities,<br />

couple/parent leadership, ways to talk<br />

with our teenagers about faith, finding<br />

God in a messy house, stories from<br />

the saints at home, loving your spouse<br />

under lockdown pressures, Gospel<br />

dating tips during coronavirus, praying<br />

your way through another day of<br />

home-based schooling, and so on.<br />

In other words, this pandemic is a<br />


significant moment to rediscover the<br />

Church’s familial heart. (This familial<br />

heart includes, of course, family<br />

members who are singles, celibates,<br />

and one-person households!)<br />

It is 56 years since Vatican II called<br />

forth the mission of the ‘domestic<br />

Church’ (LG, 11); it is 39 years since<br />

Pope John Paul II summoned families<br />

to their ‘original’, ‘irreplaceable’,<br />

and ‘formidable’ role in transforming<br />

society (Familiaris consortio, 43); and<br />

five years since Pope Francis’ shared<br />

the fruits of a double-synodal pastoral<br />

focus on the family (Amoris Laetitia).<br />

Further, it is nearly two millennia since<br />

the Jewish people rose from the ashes<br />

of their destroyed Temple (70 CE),<br />

with the strategic integration of homebased<br />

religious practice, including<br />

the Passover seder and the weekly<br />

Sabbath meal.<br />

There is no questioning the centrality<br />

of Sunday Eucharist in our <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

tradition; but when Mass dominates<br />

to the point of relegating the<br />

sacramentality of family life to a<br />

secondary focus or attempting to<br />

transfer worship practices that belong<br />

in the parish Church to the family living<br />

room, then we have lost something<br />

both precious and essential to our very<br />

understanding of what it means to be<br />

an Eucharistic people.<br />

As they say, ‘Never waste a crisis’.<br />

Coronavirus will have a grip for some<br />

time. Just as our nation requires a<br />

long-term economic strategy, our<br />

Church requires a long-term spiritual<br />

strategy. What kind of faith community<br />

do we want at the end of all this, and<br />

how will we get there?<br />

Within the crisis lies an opportunity: to<br />

name, affirm and unleash the hidden<br />

ecclesial energies of our families and<br />

domestic dwellings. If we do, we will<br />

emerge as a Church strengthened at<br />

its very roots.<br />

Clergy-centred strategies such as<br />

online Masses have their place as<br />

stop-gap measures, but that is all they<br />

can be. They may see us through a<br />

crisis, but inevitably they will lead us<br />

back to ‘business as usual’. Has there<br />

ever been a better time to make the<br />

homes of the Christian faithful a major<br />

ecclesial priority?<br />

Teresa Pirola is a Sydneybased<br />

Freelance Faith Educator,<br />

contactable at teresapirola.<br />

com. This article was originally<br />

published in Marriage Resource<br />

Centre E-Journal, 30 April 2020 -<br />

marriageresourcecentre.org.<br />

Image: Unsplash.<br />

Looking Deeper____________________________<br />


The power of purpose<br />

By <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> Staff<br />

Bishop Vincent Long<br />

OFM Conv, Bishop of<br />

Parramatta, asks us<br />

to live more fully, more<br />

creatively and more at<br />

the periphery. By this,<br />

he means reaching out<br />

to those on the margins<br />

such as asylum seekers,<br />

the homeless, Indigenous<br />

people, LGBTQI people<br />

or victims of injustice.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care Western Sydney and the<br />

Blue Mountains (WSBM) has taken<br />

up Bishop Vincent’s challenge. They<br />

have launched a new plan for looking<br />

at how, over the next three years, they<br />

can take the organisation beyond its<br />

comfort zone, take some risks and<br />

venture into the deep to care and walk<br />

beside those people who need help on<br />

life’s journey.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care aims to connect people<br />

and families with their communities<br />

in Western Sydney and the Blue<br />

Mountains, so they can live with joy<br />

and purpose.<br />

“Purpose gives us hope, reason and<br />

drives our desire for wellbeing,” says<br />

Peter Loughnane, Executive Director<br />

of <strong>Catholic</strong>Care WSBM.<br />

“Many of our clients come to us with<br />

nowhere to sleep at night and no<br />

means of putting food on the table,”<br />

he says. Once those needs have<br />

been dealt with, he says, the aim is<br />

to put the words of Pope Francis into<br />

practice. Pope Francis, says Peter,<br />

“sees the world as a field hospital, a<br />

place that heals their wounds first, and<br />

then accompanies them on a journey<br />

towards a dignified life.”<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care WSBM plans to integrate<br />

into the community so people in need<br />

know about their services. The agency<br />

then aims to become a partner with<br />

the client, and journey beside them as<br />

they decide on their goals and work<br />

towards achieving them.<br />

“Purpose and joy put people on the<br />


path to helping themselves,” says Peter. “We’ll fill the gaps in<br />

the current mix of community services and walk beside people<br />

to achieve their goals.”<br />

Services operate across the whole of the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta.<br />

“We plan to work with other services, engage with communities<br />

including parishes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander<br />

communities and refugee communities. In particular, we will<br />

increase our services in the area of aged care and disability<br />

services,” says Peter.<br />

How will the agency know they have succeeded?<br />

“For every goal we have set, we have also planned how we will<br />

measure it,” says Peter. “We’ve got many objectives such as<br />

helping more marginalised and diverse people and increasing<br />

the number of community-led projects we initiate.”<br />

Peter also emphasises not just what they will do, but how they<br />

will do it.<br />

“We embrace every journey with gratitude and love.<br />

Image: Unsplash.<br />

“This value is fundamental to our work and the way we<br />

work together: with an open mind and heart; with integrity<br />

and respect; with patience and passion and with resilience<br />

and belief.”<br />

Carer’s help transform mum’s life<br />

Domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, mental trauma,<br />

homelessness, stealing to support a habit, police, court<br />

appearances … Katie’s* life had spiralled way out of control.<br />

Somehow, she found the strength to reach out for help, and<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care’s Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong> Services in Western Sydney,<br />

she says, has been there for her every day since.<br />

“I had to change my life around,” she said. “I feel so comfortable<br />

speaking with the counsellor. She gave me amazing words, and<br />

reminded me of the values of my grandparents, of what I want in<br />

my life and how I can raise my kids. I might have a good cry, and<br />

she is always there to sit and listen.<br />

“Without that support, and knowing my needs, I probably would<br />

have tripped along the way to where I am now.”<br />

Katie is now studying at TAFE and says she’s “getting back to<br />

being a mum, a normal mum.”<br />

“They have never left me,” she said of <strong>Catholic</strong>Care. “They have<br />

stuck through it all with me. They have done an amazing job.”<br />

*Not her real name.<br />

Model used. Image: Shutterstock.<br />


Like the Good Samaritan, <strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains<br />

are beacons of comfort, love and hope<br />

By Parramatta <strong>Catholic</strong> Foundation<br />

Fr Marcelo - <strong>Catholic</strong>Care Chaplain and priest ordained in the Camillian Order.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains work in hospitals and prisons<br />

throughout Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. They<br />

accompany and minister to people facing serious or lifethreatening<br />

health conditions. They are there for everyone<br />

in need of prayer, companionship and a listening ear,<br />

regardless of whether they belong to a particular faith.<br />

Our <strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains journey deep into our<br />

community, ensuring that spiritual, emotional and<br />

sacramental support is available for all who find<br />

themselves in vulnerable situations.<br />

Father Marcelo is a chaplain at Westmead Hospital and<br />

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.<br />

“As chaplains, we help, heal and alleviate distress in<br />

people’s time of need,” Fr Marcelo explains. “It’s uplifting<br />

for them to have support, whether it’s emotional, spiritual,<br />

or connecting them with others.<br />

“For those who are isolated and without family or friends<br />

around, we provide companionship, ease loneliness and<br />

bring joy and purpose in life.<br />

“One time, at the hospital, I was called to intensive care<br />

because a baby was dying,” he remembers.<br />

“I prayed over the fragile newborn while doctors frantically<br />

tried to resuscitate her. With God’s grace, she recovered.<br />

Her Mum, lapsed in faith, was so touched and grateful, she<br />

wanted to open herself up to return to God’s love and have<br />

her baby baptised.”<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care Chaplaincy is a service of the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta.<br />

Please give a gift today to support our <strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains<br />

answer their calling to be beacons of love and hope, and to help<br />

the sick and isolated. To donate, please call 02 8838 3482 or<br />

visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appealcatholiccare.<br />


For I was sick, and you<br />

took care of me…<br />

Just as the Good Samaritan came to the aid of the man left<br />

half-dead by the side of the road and gave him comfort and a<br />

place to recover, <strong>Catholic</strong>Care chaplains help people in their<br />

time of need.<br />

Father Domingo is a chaplain at Westmead Hospital.<br />

“Every individual we visit has different needs, depending on<br />

their situation. Some want to pray, nurture their faith, and<br />

receive the sacraments,” he says.<br />

“Others need a listening ear, someone to talk to about their<br />

worries, what they consider important, and their relationship<br />

with God, their families and others.<br />

“And it’s not just patients and their families who we minister to.<br />

“We also provide spiritual and emotional support for the<br />

doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, as they themselves care for<br />

their patients during illness, uncertainty and even death.<br />

“We will always be there to provide a link to God’s presence for<br />

anyone in hospital.”<br />

During this COVID pandemic, chaplains are often the only<br />

visitors allowed into hospitals.<br />

As our community and the needs of the vulnerable, ill and<br />

isolated grows, it is vital that we ensure there are enough<br />

chaplains to serve and give spiritual, sacramental and<br />

emotional support.<br />

Fr Domingo provides comfort and care to the sick.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

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‘Be more’ through Project Compassion<br />

By Patrice Moriarty<br />

We can support<br />

Jamila and our<br />

brothers and sisters<br />

around the world by<br />

praying, advocating,<br />

and sharing<br />

our resources<br />

with Project<br />

Compassion.<br />

Jamila, a single Rohingya mother from<br />

Myanmar, with her young daughter, in the<br />

Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh.<br />

Image: Inmanuel Chayan Biswas/Caritas<br />

Bangladesh/Caritas Australia.<br />

Project Compassion focuses our attention on helping vulnerable communities<br />

around the globe. Here’s how you can find out about the communities <strong>Catholic</strong>s<br />

help each year.<br />

Project Compassion is a chance –<br />

every year – for <strong>Catholic</strong>s across<br />

Australia to come together in solidarity<br />

with our brothers and sisters across<br />

the world living in the situation of<br />

poverty. Together, we assisted over<br />

three million people in 2020 and<br />

helped many vulnerable communities<br />

respond to, and restrict, COVID-19.<br />

This year our theme is “Be More,”<br />

taken from St Oscar Romero’s famous<br />

quote “Aspire not to have more, but to<br />

be more.” This is a perfect reflection<br />

to carry with us throughout Lent. In<br />

what ways are we striving to be the<br />

person God calls us to be, and what<br />

are the things in our life pulling us<br />

away from that call?<br />

Jamila, Project Compassion’s feature<br />

person for this year, lives in Cox’s<br />

Bazar, a refugee camp in Bangladesh<br />

which holds 1.3 million people. After<br />

fleeing from Myanmar, she received<br />

emergency access to food and<br />

counselling through Caritas. She’s<br />

also participated in health, hygiene<br />

and parenting sessions and now<br />

earns an income with her own sewing<br />

business.<br />

We can support Jamila and our brothers<br />

and sisters around the world by<br />

praying, advocating, and sharing our<br />

resources with Project Compassion.<br />

Perhaps we can raise money for Project<br />

Compassion, just like Sacred Heart<br />

Parish, Blackheath did last year with a<br />

pancake stall after Mass.<br />

Alternatively, you can play the weekly<br />

videos of stories like Jamila’s before<br />

or after Mass, just like Our Lady,<br />

Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes.<br />

Each and every person can participate<br />

in Project Compassion and be part<br />

of our global movement of love and<br />

compassion for all.<br />

Caritas Australia have videos,<br />

reflections, slideshows and even<br />

virtual immersions where you can<br />

interact with our international and<br />

national staff on their website. The<br />

resources are suitable for families,<br />

schools or parishes to during Lent.<br />

Find them at lent.caritas.org.au or call<br />

the Diocese on (02) 8838 3400.<br />

Patrice Moriarty is the Social Justice<br />

Coordinator in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta.<br />


Faith for children in public<br />

schools during Year of the Family<br />

By Cecilia Zammit<br />

Happy New Year to all<br />

our catechists, we hope<br />

you enjoyed Christmas<br />

and New Year. We<br />

are looking forward to<br />

another year of working<br />

with you all as we<br />

continue to share our<br />

faith and the Gospel with<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> children in our<br />

state schools.<br />

In this Year of the Family we are proud<br />

of the role that our catechists play in<br />

taking the faith to <strong>Catholic</strong> families<br />

in the local public schools. As our<br />

catechists are being welcomed back<br />

into public schools, we will follow the<br />

same COVID-safe protocols as in 2020.<br />

Parents are their child’s first<br />

teachers<br />

Parents and carers are the first<br />

teachers of the faith to their children<br />

and catechists see their role as<br />

partners in bringing hope and purpose<br />

to young lives.<br />

Parents, every Mass you take your<br />

child to, every prayer you say at home<br />

together and every discussion you<br />

have with them about what they learn<br />

in Religious Education classes will<br />

progress them in their faith journey.<br />

We encourage you to seek out the<br />

family videos, FaithFlix that can be<br />

found on The Well (thewell.org.au) and<br />

watch them with your children.<br />

Welcome to new Catechists<br />

The short video on The Well called<br />

The Joy of being a Catechist is an<br />

impressive resource being used by<br />

parishes to promote this important<br />

ministry. We welcome the new<br />

parishioners that have come forward<br />

to volunteer. Find the video on<br />

thewell.org.au.<br />

Training<br />

Training is important for every<br />

catechist. This year Confraternity of<br />

Christian Doctrine will be offering a<br />

combination of face-to-face training<br />

opportunities as well as training via<br />

Zoom throughout March, April and<br />

May.<br />

Level 1 Training<br />

Fridays March and April<br />

9.30am to 2.30pm via Zoom.<br />

The second course begins 3 May.<br />

Level 2 Training<br />

March 7pm to 9pm via Zoom.<br />

Level 3 Training<br />

April and May 10am to 2pm at<br />

IFM Blacktown.<br />

Contact Maree on (02) 8838 3486 or<br />

email maree.collis@parracatholic.org<br />

for enquiries and bookings.<br />

Cecilia Zammit is the Director of<br />

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine<br />

in the Diocese of Parramatta. To<br />

find out more about becoming a<br />

catechist in <strong>2021</strong>, contact Cecilia at<br />

Cecilia.zammit@parracatholic.org or<br />

(02) 8838 3486.<br />

The Joy of Being a Catechist.<br />

Image: CEDP.<br />


Listen, Watch,<br />

Read, Think !<br />


<br />

A long Easter road trip gives plenty of time for podcasts.<br />

There’s an abundance of topics to explore. Here’s some to try:<br />

/ On Being by Krista Tippett (soundcloud.com)<br />

Former American President Barack Obama awarded<br />

Krista Tippett the National Humanities Medal for<br />

“thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human<br />

existence.” Her podcast, On Being, features people of<br />

all backgrounds as she delves into what it means to<br />

be human and how we want to live. It has been named<br />

best podcast by The New York Times, The Wall Street<br />

Journal and The Guardian.<br />

/ Short and Curly (ABC Listen App)<br />

This family podcast examines ethical questions<br />

confronting children like “Is it fair when a whole class<br />

is punished when one person did the wrong thing?” A<br />

great one to generate family discussion on what’s right<br />

and wrong.<br />

/ Journey <strong>Catholic</strong> Radio (soundcloud.com<br />

Apple podcasts and on Pulse 94.1FM Wollongong)<br />

A weekly show developed by the <strong>Catholic</strong> Diocese<br />

of Wollongong containing Gospel readings and<br />

discussions about faith, hope, love, and life.<br />

/ Figuring Out Families – Majellan Media (Apple/<br />

Spotify/Google and more)<br />

Majellan Media have provided advice for families<br />

for over 70 years through their publications. In<br />

this podcast they speak to family and relationship<br />

specialists on topics such as “Win Win Parenting”;<br />

“Dealing with difficult family members”; “Faith and<br />

spirituality in families’; and “Problems and relationship<br />

repair”.<br />

/ The Bible in a Year (with Fr Mike Schmitz) -<br />

Ascension <strong>Catholic</strong> Faith Formation (Apple/Spotify)<br />

Fr Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in<br />

365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection and<br />

prayer along the way.<br />

TUNE IT<br />

Music can remind us of what Easter is about. Here’s some<br />

songs to look up on YouTube or your music streaming<br />

service for your own Easter reflection.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Holy is the Lamb by Australian duo Gus & Iggy<br />

At the Foot of the Cross by Australian-based Maltese<br />

priest Fr Rob Galea<br />

Death Was Arrested by American band North Point<br />

InsideOut featuring Seth Condrey<br />

Beautiful Is Your Love by American <strong>Catholic</strong> musician<br />

Josh Blakesley<br />

I Have Seen the Lord by The Vigil Project, a <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

non-profit ministry and musician collective<br />

Reckless Love by Corey Asbury<br />


READ IT <br />

“Read something worthwhile” has made it to many new year’s<br />

resolution lists. If it’s on yours, take a look at Pope Francis’<br />

new book Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future.<br />

Here’s what you’ll find:<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

DZ<br />

At 160 pages and with a down-to-earth tone, it’s an easy<br />

read for busy people. Alternatively, it’s on Audible, so you<br />

can listen on the go.<br />

You’ll probably view the world a lot more hopefully after<br />

you finish. Pope Francis genuinely cares about people,<br />

the world and our children’s future.<br />

He draws on the wisdom of modern thinkers such<br />

as forward-thinking economists and aligns them with<br />

teachings of the Church.<br />

Women will be particularly encouraged by his recognition<br />

of their management talents.<br />

He explains how we can open up to the good things<br />

around us.<br />

It’s clear we really do rely on each other when the going<br />

gets tough.<br />

The book awakens us to the need to ‘dream big’, and<br />

how times like right now are a chance to change things<br />

for the better.<br />

After a compelling case for change, Pope Francis<br />

helpfully suggests the first step we can take as an<br />

individual – contact a service you think might need your<br />

help and say to them that you would like to be part of a<br />

different world, and “this might be a good place to start”.<br />

Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future<br />

By Pope Francis and Austen Ivereigh<br />

ISBN13 9781398502208<br />

Published by Simon and Schuster Ltd<br />

T<br />

<br />

Soul – Classified PG<br />

WATCH IT<br />

The Disney movie Soul hit the screens in October 2020 and<br />

can now be streamed on Disney+.<br />

As its name suggests, it’s a story about life before and after<br />

death and deals with the big questions about the meaning<br />

of life.<br />

Reviews have been mixed. It doesn’t strictly follow <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

beliefs that souls exist before conception. Some reviewers<br />

say this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have great messages for<br />

our young people.<br />

The storyline follows the journey of a music teacher (voiced<br />

by Jamie Foxx) whose soul ends up in the afterlife after an<br />

accident. He becomes a mentor to an impatient younger<br />

soul (voiced by Tina Fey). Together they go on a journey,<br />

ending up at a place of self-discovery and an examination<br />

of the purpose of life – even if it’s not what they originally<br />

planned.<br />

Soul is an opportunity for parents to talk to their children<br />

about life after death. The Australian Council on Children<br />

and the Media also suggests that it gives parents the<br />

opportunity to discuss attitudes, and real-life behaviours<br />

with their children such as “What happens when people<br />

lose sight of the true meaning of life?”, and “negative selftalk”<br />

and how it can be overcome.<br />

The Australian Council on Children and the Media suggests<br />

Soul may be too mature and contain scary scenes for<br />

children aged under eight years.<br />


Search for<br />

Search for Easter words (word search is two words)<br />

Easter words<br />

How many of these words do you know? Do you know what th<br />

Easter? (Hint – you’ll find the answer in this magazine). Find th<br />

How many of the words below do you know?<br />

sideways, Do you know what and they horizontally! mean in relation After to Lent you’ve and Easter? found all the words, s<br />

(Hint – you’ll find the answer in this magazine).<br />

message.<br />

Find them in<br />

this puzzle.<br />

Look up, down, sideways,<br />

and horizontally! After<br />

you’ve found all the<br />

words, see if you can<br />

find the hidden<br />

message.<br />

J E S U S C G I P P V E S U C S N E W L<br />

I F E B H V X I R A B V D D L A W S M H<br />

W S E R J F T O E H S N E S I R N M U B<br />

H A I E T T C Z E U N C W Z H P L D G E<br />

R S S Q Y E C L E D O I H D U A F O L T<br />

M D B H S S M J Y K P T S A P M N W S E<br />

H N R S I A D G S E B T U U L B G O Y I<br />

O V I H M N W U T D Y U Q I D T C Z O S<br />

M O R N F B G D G I K D J U X E K J I T<br />

N S D O R E C O N C I L I A T I O N G Q<br />

H T R I D U U M F B C M Q N L S J W D N<br />

M T A T H V W N I F Z N E J P C Z B O O<br />

H F B C F I F T Y X E P L I G I V I M G<br />

L N V E B T E M I T R E T S A E S T Y I<br />

D D E R T W D Y M U E R T W H S C T G N<br />

Q V I R Q G F Q P H V A X E A B W V C D<br />

D W X U O V D Y X U Q P V P O A U J O F<br />

W M Q S Z N Q U W J C Y F F Y H S G S U<br />

X T E E T E R I V W E N G O J H G Y L V<br />

U L Z R B K P Q C Q G U M H J T C D T A<br />

56<br />

CANDLE<br />

CHRISM<br />


FIFTY<br />

PALM<br />

CANDLE<br />

CHRISM<br />


FIFTY<br />

PALM<br />








RISEN<br />


VIGIL<br />


Kids' Corner<br />

This year is the Year of St Joseph in the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church. St Joseph was a good parent to Jesus. He looked<br />

after the Holy Family, making sure Mary and Jesus were safe and had everything they needed. He was with<br />

Jesus when he learnt to walk and talk and would have taken him into his workshop too. St Joseph was<br />

strong, he worked hard, and he was very caring. He trusted God when God told him to take care of Mary<br />

before Jesus was born.<br />

St Joseph teaches us to respect and appreciate our parents and everything they do for us, and to trust in God.<br />


Directory of Services<br />

Houses to Homes<br />

Disability NDIS<br />

Mamre Garden<br />

Services<br />

Blacktown Family<br />

Support<br />

Financial Counselling<br />

Problem Gambling<br />

Project Elizabeth<br />

Blacktown Neighbour<br />

Aid For Blacktown<br />

LGA<br />

Community Visitors<br />

Scheme<br />

Family & Relationship<br />

Services (FARS)<br />

Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Service Emerton<br />

Springwood<br />

Drop-in Centre<br />

Baulkham Hills Family<br />

Day Care Centre<br />

(02) 8843 2500 or visit ccss.org.au<br />

A service for pregnant girls or parenting<br />

young women, 16-25 years old, homeless<br />

or at risk of homelessness in the Blacktown<br />

LGA. Accommodation and parenting skills,<br />

with transition to education and long term<br />

housing.<br />

A service with people with a disability, it is<br />

part of the Government’s National Disability<br />

Insurance Scheme. <strong>Catholic</strong> Care provides<br />

Plan Management and Home Support.<br />

Offers employment for people with a<br />

disability by providing garden services in the<br />

community, to individual homes, schools,<br />

parishes. New gardening clients welcome.<br />

A free service for families with children and<br />

young people 0-17, who are experiencing<br />

stress and/or relationship difficulties. includes<br />

Intensive Family Preservation.<br />

A free service offering a range of supports to<br />

help clients manage finances.<br />

A free service offers assistance to individuals<br />

and families affected by problem gambling.<br />

Counselling for people experiencing parenting<br />

issues with children up to two years of<br />

age, also covers still births, miscarriages,<br />

unexpected pregnancies.<br />

A program of social inclusion for seniors.<br />

Provides accompaniment for social activities,<br />

shopping, transport to medical appointments.<br />

New volunteers welcome.<br />

Visit socially isolated residents in aged care<br />

facilities across the diocese. New volunteers<br />

welcome.<br />

Counselling for adults, couples, families,<br />

children.Family Law Court referrals.<br />

Grief and Loss.<br />

Drop-In centre for local community.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care services provided for individuals<br />

and groups.<br />

Drop-In centre for local community.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care services provided for individuals<br />

and groups.<br />

Accredited childcare in Hills area.<br />

Contractors offer care in own home.<br />

Chancery Office<br />

www.parracatholic.org<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

diocese@parracatholic.org<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

bishop@parracatholic.org<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Education<br />

Diocese of Parramatta<br />

(02) 9840 5600<br />

communityliaison@parra.catholic.edu.au<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Services Limited<br />

(02) 9407 7044<br />

enquiries@cdpsl.org.au<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>Care Western Sydney<br />

and the Blue Mountains<br />

(02) 8843 2500<br />

enquiries@ccss.org.au<br />

Institute for Mission<br />

(02) 9296 6369<br />

connect@ifm.org.au<br />

Diocesan Ministries<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Youth Parramatta<br />

Life, Marriage & Family Office<br />

Office for Worship<br />

Pastoral Planning Office<br />

Social Justice Office<br />

(02) 8838 3460<br />

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine<br />

(02) 8838 3486<br />

ccd@parracatholic.org<br />

Tribunal Office<br />

(02) 8838 3480<br />

tribunal@parracatholic.org<br />

Vocations<br />

(02) 8838 3460<br />

vocations@parracatholic.org<br />

Parramatta <strong>Catholic</strong> Foundation<br />

(02) 8838 3482<br />

yourfoundation@parracatholic.org<br />

Diocesan Development Fund<br />

(02) 8839 4500<br />

enquiries@parraddf.org.au<br />

Holy Spirit Seminary<br />

(02) 9296 6300<br />

Office for Safeguarding<br />

(02) 8838 3419<br />

safeguarding@parracatholic.org<br />


Latest Appointments<br />

in the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, has confirmed<br />

these appointments in the Diocese of Parramatta:<br />

Rev John McSweeney<br />

Dean of the Mountains Deanery from 15 October 2020 until 2 August <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Rev Chadi Ibrahim SDB<br />

Assistant Priest of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta from 1 November 2020.<br />

Rev Joby Kadambattuparambil Ittira MS<br />

Dean of the Central East Deanery from 22 December 2020 until 2 August <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Rev Alan Layt<br />

Dean of the Central West Deanery from 22 December 2020 until 2 August <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Rev Huy Viet Nguyen SJ<br />

Assistant Priest of Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt from 15 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Rev Leo Choi SDB<br />

Assistant Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys from 15 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Rev Clifford D’souza MSFS<br />

Assistant Priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes from 16 January <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Very Rev Robert Riedling<br />

Dean and Administrator of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta from 1 March <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Brother David O’Brien SDB<br />

Assistant at Don Bosco Youth and Recreation Centre, St Marys.<br />

Fr Joby Kadambattuparambil Ittira MS, Dean of the Central East Deanery.<br />

Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Why is Faith important in a family?<br />

Fr Vincent Savarimuthu,<br />

Parish Priest, St Madeleine<br />

Sophie Barat Parish,<br />

Kenthurst<br />

Images: Supplied.<br />

“As breath is to life, so<br />

faith is to family. Faith<br />

in God creates a loving,<br />

trusting atmosphere in<br />

the family; it enriches the<br />

relationships among the<br />

members of the family;<br />

it heals the wounds and<br />

hurts bound to happen<br />

in any relationship. Faith<br />

in the family reflects the<br />

Family of Triune God.<br />

Faith enables them to<br />

embrace others in the<br />

spirit of love and service”.<br />

Christine Ranaste,<br />

Parish Coordinator,<br />

Our Lady of the Way<br />

Parish, Emu Plains<br />

“The family is called<br />

the domestic church<br />

which, like cells of a<br />

body, holds the body<br />

of Christ together.<br />

Faith in the family is<br />

like the DNA which<br />

helps us individually<br />

and corporately to<br />

function according to<br />

the will and purpose<br />

of our God”.<br />

Joy Adan, writer, speaker<br />

and content producer<br />

and mother of two,<br />

St Andrew the Apostle<br />

Parish, Marayong<br />

“Our Faith invites us<br />

into a deeply personal,<br />

relevant relationship<br />

with God, who is<br />

unwavering and reliable<br />

and provides us<br />

direction and comfort<br />

in the midst of the<br />

everyday chaos of<br />

marriage and parenting.<br />

I believe Faith is the<br />

greatest gift my parents<br />

gave to me, and the<br />

best things I can offer<br />

my children”.

The Diocesan Development Fund (DDF) is not a typical investment vehicle. While the<br />

money invested in the DDF pays interest to its investors, a small part finds its way to<br />

programs in your parish and throughout the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

For example, counselling programs to address drug addiction, marital<br />

breakdown, family violence, and poverty together with adult education and youth<br />

development programs are all funded by investors in the DDF.<br />

To find out more contact us on (02) 8839 4500 | parracatholic.org/ddf.<br />

Disclosure Statement<br />

The Diocesan Development Fund <strong>Catholic</strong> Diocese of Parramatta (DDF) (the Fund) is required by law to make the following disclosure. The Fund is not prudentially supervised by<br />

the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority nor has it been examined or approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. An investor in the Fund will not<br />

receive the benefit of the financial claims scheme or the depositor protection provisions in the Banking Act 1959 (Cth). Investments in the Fund are intended to be a means for<br />

investors to support the charitable, religious and educational works of the <strong>Catholic</strong> Diocese of Parramatta and for whom the consideration of profit are not of primary relevance<br />

in the investment decision. The investments that the Fund offers are not subject to the usual protections for investors under the Corporations Act (Cth) or regulation by Australian<br />

Securities and Investments Commission. Investors may be unable to get some or all of their money back when the investor expects or at all and any investment of the Fund are<br />

not comparable to investments with banks, finance companies or fund managers. The Fund’s identification statement may be viewed at https://parracatholic.org or by contacting<br />

the Fund. The Fund does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.

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