M A G A Z I N E
The Year of St Joseph The – time Spirit to is be alive receptive in Parramatta to God’s I plans The Go-between | Being a friend God to yourself and others
Sorting Year of out the your Family kid’s in the friendships Diocese I | St Book Aidan’s giveaway Parish, for Rooty Grandparents’ Hill up close Day
Nurturing the God-seed Why Ordinary within Time us I is Mark not Wahlberg’s ordinary new movie
Ordinary Time | Winter 2022 2021
Imprimatur and Publisher:
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
(02) 8838 3400
PO Box 3066,
North Parramatta, NSW, 1750
Editor & Vicar for Communication:
Br Mark O’Connor FMS
(02) 8838 3400
PO Box 3066,
North Parramatta, NSW, 1750
Fr Wim Hoekstra
(02) 8838 3437
IVE Group Australia Pty Ltd
All material in this publication is copyright and
may not be reproduced without permission of
the publisher. 43,500 copies are printed and
distributed to 47 parishes and more than 80
schools, after school care centres and early
learning centres in Western Sydney and the
Catholic Outlook is a member of the
Australasian Catholic Press Association.
© Diocese of Parramatta 2022
In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the traditional custodians
of the lands in which our Diocese sits, the land of the Darug and
We would like to pay our respects to the Aboriginal Elders past, present
and future, for they hold the traditions, memories of Mother Earth on
which we place our feet upon today.
Pictured: The artist Josh Sly is a proud Biripi, Worimi and Wiradjuri Guri (man).
Josh works as Aboriginal Cultural Officer at the Catholic Education Diocese of
Parramatta (CEDP) Jarara Indigenous Education Unit in Mount Druitt. His artwork
highlights the CEDP commitment to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples for reconciliation. It is featured in CEDP's first Reconciliation
Action Plan available online at parra.catholic.edu.au/reconciliation.
The Diocese of Parramatta reaffirms the
wise axiom attributed to Saint Augustine of
Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials,
freedom; in all things, charity.” In this spirit,
Catholic Outlook publishes a variety of
Catholic viewpoints. They are not necessarily
the official views of the Diocese of Parramatta.
Cover Image: Violet Wang and Kevin Lai and their son at the Easter Vigil
Mass at St Michael’s Church, Parish of Baulkham Hills.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
From Bishop Vincent
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
It is helpful to remind ourselves, as we celebrate
Pentecost in 2022, that the images of God’s
transforming Holy Spirit are wind and fire. That is the
incredible personal presence we have inside each
This is the power through which God became one of
us in Palestine and then fills the disciples’ hearts at
Pentecost with courage and creativity.
Our annual celebration of the season of Pentecost
especially reminds us that our Lord and Liberator,
Jesus of Nazareth, is not just some figure
from history. In some mysterious way, beyond our
understanding but not beyond our belief, Jesus is still
For Jesus promised us his deep abiding presence
until He comes again in glory. At Pentecost we
especially remember that He keeps his promise!
For Jesus of Nazareth sent his Holy Spirit to
empower us to go out and preach and live out the
Gospel especially to those on the margins.
Our front cover of this Catholic Outlook edition shows
the joy and wonder of parents and their baby being
filled with the Holy Spirit, during a recent baptism at
the Easter Vigil.
It reminds us that our own
baptism, is the same powerful
force that, like a wind, blows
all the cobwebs of sin and
selfishness away and that
burns down all barriers we erect
against living our Christian
life. For we are baptised into an
ongoing and intense union with
the Spirit of Christ.
The bus driver going about his work, the nurse
caring for the patients in hospital, because they are
baptised Christians, are bathed in the presence and
energy of the Spirit of God. And so are all of us,
as we journey through the ups and downs of our
As our chaotic world stumbles from one crisis to
the next, let’s never forget the Spirit is ‘hovering’
over the seeming chaos of our unsettling times and
mysteriously giving birth to the Kingdom of God.
This Pentecost may we accept this grace of the Holy
Spirit close by, especially in this the great Southern
Land of the Holy Spirit. For:
Without the Holy Spirit God is far away. Christ stays
in the past, The Gospel is simply an organisation,
Authority is a matter of propaganda, The liturgy is
no more than an evolution, Christian loving a slave
But in the Holy Spirit the cosmos is resurrected and
grows with the Birth pangs of the kingdom.
The Risen Christ is there,The Gospel is the power
of life,The Church shows forth the life of the
Trinity, Authority is a liberating science, Mission
is a Pentecost, The liturgy is both renewal and
anticipation, Human action is deified.
Come Holy Spirit!
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA
BE WELCOMED | BE VALUED | BE CONFIDENT
Visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au today to find your local Catholic school and join one of our
caring, faith-filled communities.
On the Inside
Ordinary Time | Winter 2022
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08 Short & Sweet
09 A prayer for strong faith
10 We can all walk with refugees
12 St Bernadette's parishioners
welcome strangers as new
14 Family is where it all begins
16 Families - wonderful and fragile
18 The Parramatta Way of looking
out for each other
20 The Parramatta Way of
22 Love without end - Noel and
24 Fun, love and understanding:
the fruits of intergenerational
26 Serving local families through
faith and community
28 School leadership is all about
30 Catholic Care starts a new
32 Looking deeper
34 Pentecost - accepting variety
36 The go-between God
38 Faith in the ordinary
40 Nurturing the God-seed within
42 Nurture the God-Seed in the
Diocese of Parramatta
44 A cuppa with the Priest: Fr Alan
Layt of St Aidan's Rooty Hill
46 Parish Profile: St Aidan's Parish
Rooty Hill: Small Parish, Big
48 Diocese of Parramatta walks
towards the Synod of Bishops
50 Accompanying seminarians
to be beacons of light to the
52 Watch, Listen, Read, Think
54 Pray with the Pope
55 Kid's Corner
56 Directory of services
57 Latest appointments
57 Voice of the people
Healing during Refugee Week
Refugee Week runs from 19 to 25 June 2022. This year’s theme,
‘Healing’ highlights the opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on how we
behave towards each other, particularly as the importance of human
connection was highlighted during the pandemic. The National
Refugee Week website has a host of resources to explore, links to
movies you can watch during the week and a CANVA page of designs
you can adapt for your social media feed. Image at left: @refugeeweek
Check them out at refugeeweek.org.au
Food drive for refugees
Refugee Week is a great opportunity to organise your parish or
school group to donate much-needed food and toiletries for refugee
organisations in the Diocese of Parramatta. Jesuit Refugee Service,
Parramatta and the House of Welcome, Granville provide food and
other essentials for refugees and people seeking asylum who have little
Sign up to the Diocesan food drive roster at
Ready to travel in 2023?
Bishop Vincent invites all young people of the Diocese of Parramatta to join him and Catholic Youth Parramatta on
pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 to be held in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal during the month of August.
The event will attract hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims ready to deepen their faith, encounter Christ with others
around the world and worship with Pope Francis - in short, the experience of a lifetime. The Diocese of Parramatta has
prepared an itinerary that begins in Paris and ends in Assisi – journeying through four countries encountering the lives of
ordinary people who became extraordinary Saints.
Experience St Vincent de Paul, St Thérèse of Lisieux, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Bernadette, St Ignatius of Loyola, St
Dominic, St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, Our Lady of Fatima, Bl Carlo Acutis, St Francis of Assisi and St Clare
over 22 days!
More details will be released in the coming
weeks. You're also invited to the WYD23
launch in the Diocese of Parramatta on the
evening of 18 August when Fr Rob Galea
will be joined by FRG Ministry Band at
St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope
Young pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta
in Panama for World Youth Day 2019. Image:
Diocese of Parramatta.
Contact James Camden, Head Mission
Engagement at email@example.com
A season to give
Fourteen young men are training to become beacons of
Christ’s light in our Diocese at the Holy Spirit Seminary
in Harris Park. Watch the video of a day in the life of our
seminarians as they prepare for the priesthood. Your
donation to our Good Shepherd Appeal will support our
seminarians respond to God’s call.
See the video and donate at catholicoutlook.info/
#10familytips for Year of the
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
Our video on life as a seminarian at Holy Spirit Seminary can be
viewed at catholicoutlook.info/goodshepherds.
For over 55 years, Caritas Australia has been working with
vulnerable communities around the world to end the cycle
of poverty. Through partnerships with local organisations
and Churches we are able to reach where the need is
greatest and work towards an equal future for all.
The universal Catholic Church is celebrating the
conclusion of the Year of the Family in June 2022.
This special year, which commenced in March
2021 highlights the special role that families play
in our Church. Family, after all, is the first place we
find and learn about love and caring for others. The
Vatican has launched a campaign of #10familytips
relevant to all families based on Pope Francis’
letter Amoris Laetitia meaning “The Joy of Love”.
Download the tips and more at our new family
Find out more at caritas.org.au
On Earth Day in April this year, the Diocese of Parramatta
launched its journey towards the seven Laudato Si’ goals.
These are goals set by Pope Francis to revolutionize our
approach to the environment and the poor. The goals follow
on from his ground-breaking letter on the environment,
Laudato Si’. Find out how you can join with the Church in
Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to make lasting
Watch the video inviting you to join our Diocese's seven year
journey to the Laudato Si' goals at parracatholic.org/laudatosi.
Details at parracatholic.org/laudatosi
Winter family time
Winter presents a special time to build family
togetherness indoors. Recognise the talent within
your family with a family talent show. Don’t accept
any excuses, God has given everyone something to
be good at, sometimes it just needs encouragement
to let it shine.
Find this and other ideas to help your family talk
about faith at catholicoutlook.info/familyideas
NAIDOC Week in the Diocese
With the largest urban population of Aboriginal people in
Australia living within the Diocese of Parramatta, there is plenty
to celebrate in NAIDOC Week 3 to 10 July 2022. This year’s
theme is 'Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!' encouraging all of us
to continue to work for change and equal rights.
Aboriginal Catholic Services are holding a day of celebration
for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on Monday
4 July 10am to 2pm. There’ll be entertainment, music, face
painting, rides and more. Show your solidarity and have some
family fun with members of our local Aboriginal community.
The celebration will be held at Aboriginal Catholic
Services, 254 Luxford Rd Emerton.
in the Diocese?
Safe Parishes Week. Find out more about making
your parish a safe space at safeguarding.org.au
Fr Patrick McInerney from the Columban Centre
will be presenting on Interfaith Dialogue at 10am.
Call Maree on 02 8838 3486 to register.
World Meeting of Families parish celebrations.
Contact your parish for details.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Sunday. For information go to natsicc.org.au
NAIDOC Week celebration 10am to 2pm. Join
our Aboriginal brothers and sisters to celebrate
Aboriginal culture and the achievements of
Aboriginal people. Family fun with stalls,
entertainment, face painting and rides.
Aboriginal Catholic Services, 254 Luxford Rd,
Ministry Leadership Program, Blacktown – a 10
week faith formation to support you in pastoral
leadership and personal faith. For upcoming and
current leaders aged over 18 in parishes and faith
communities. Details at parracatholic.org/met
Faith in Marriage seminar. Contact met@
parracatholic.org for details.
Boost your spirituality during
Following the high points of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost,
our Church has a period known as ‘Ordinary Time’. But
don’t be mistaken that this means our spiritual lives
become ordinary. After the fasting and the feasting of the
previous season it’s a time to bring our connection back
‘into order’ through reflection, community and service. Put
your hand up to be an active participant at Mass, or check
what courses and discussion groups are on offer to give
your faith a boost.
Find out more in our articles on forming your spirituality
on page 40 and opportunities in the Diocese on page 42.
The Diocese of Parramatta launches World Youth
Day 2023. Join Bishop Vincent, Fr Rob Galea and
the FRG Ministry Band at St John XXIII Catholic
College, Stanhope Gardens. For details email
James Camden firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Confirmation at St Patrick’s Cathedral,
Parramatta. A community celebration for those
who have received both the sacraments of
Baptism and Eucharist. Find out more at
5, 12, 19 SEPTEMBER
Liturgical Ministry Formation Course. For
those who wish to serve at the altar at Mass.
Information at officeforworship.org.au
For more than 55 years, we have been working with vulnerable
communities around the world to forge a path out of poverty.
Working together for justice and dignity. Walking together in hope.
Forging a just world together.
Your generous support today can help to change the
lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
www.caritas.org.au | 1800 024 413
Short & Sweet
A ‘family-friendly’ society is
possible, because society is born
and evolves with the family.
His Holiness Pope Francis
The Church in this country is an immense contributor
to our society, through our parishes, our schools,
our hospital and aged care, our social services and
countless other ministries.
As we continue to contemplate how we live out the
Gospel in this age, including through the Plenary
Council, I look forward to working with my brother
bishops and the People of God to carry forward
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB
President-elect of the Australian
Catholic Bishops Conference. His
term will commence 13 July 2022.
Here on this sacred land of the Darug and
Gundungurra people, and elsewhere, and in the
spirit of the Gospel, we seek to bring healing and
restore trust. We commit to the Uluru Statement of
the Heart: to work for a fair and truthful relationship
with the people of Australia and a better future for
our children based on justice and
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta in the Catholic
Education Diocese of Parramatta
Reconciliation Action Plan, April 2022
It is a battle not just for democracy against autocracy,
but for freedom against slavery, for truth against
falsehood, for life against death, for good against
evil. In such a battle the Church cannot remain
neutral, which is why we write to you now to express
our unqualified solidarity with you and your people.
Australian Catholic Bishops
Conference President, Archbishop
Mark Coleridge to Major Archbishop
Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian
Greek Catholic Church, May 2022
Support our seminarians
to become beacons of
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all
involved in the formation of these faithful men.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta
Please give generously to the
Bishop’s Good Shepherd Appeal
A PRAYER FOR
May you find the beauty of Mother Earth fills your spirit
and your life to strengthen your prayer and your work.
May you find a stillness in the running water that
cleanses you and quenches your thirst. May the
land and its bounty connect your feet and your spirit
to give you food for your journey.
May your dreaming find you in a liminal space where
you draw strength and inspiration from the past
to go forward courageously, to co-create the future.
May you experience the gentleness of the Father’s
love that touches the land, touches the wild things and
touches you. May you find strength in allowing the Holy
Spirit to guide you,
And may your connectedness to the land and your trust
in the Lord strengthen the bedrock of your faith so that
He may build His House in you.
Frances Brown, Ngemba Woman, 2018
From Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Spirituality: Prayers and Quotes
By the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council and
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Canberra.
The publication will be available to purchase in the coming months.
Details at natsicc.org.au
Tamara Domicelj, Country Director of JRS Australia right, with
from left, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta,
and refugees Hava and Magdalene. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
We can all walk
STORY TAMARA DOMICELJ
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it;
if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:26
When issues such as the refugee crisis seem
overwhelming, Tamara Domicelj, Country
Director JRS Australia, reassures us that actions
we take at the local level make a difference.
This is an abridged version of the address
she gave to leaders from our parishes
at a March gathering organised by the
Diocese of Parramatta initiative, Diocesan
Journey…Walking with Refugees and People
Local engagement - human-to-human acts - are
an increasingly prominent part of a global fabric
of determined goodwill which I believe is gaining
strength in these volatile and harrowing times.
We are all bearing witness, here in Australia and
overseas, to so many tragedies (not all refugeerelated),
with a devastating toll upon human lives,
family unity, infrastructure and the environment.
We stand alongside Pope Francis and the broader
Catholic Church in lamenting the ‘diabolical
senselessness of violence’, in the Ukraine and
Afghanistan – and in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Yemen
Amidst such calamitous scenes and stories, it is
normal to feel overwhelmed and even pulled towards
despair. We yearn to do more for those who are less
safe than we are, and we can feel pained by our very
And yet, we also bear witness to countless everyday
acts of generosity and courage, small and large,
which collectively are worthy beyond measure.
Prams left at train stations for fleeing Ukrainian
parents to retrieve. Welcoming toys lined up across
border-line bridges to comfort children. Algorithms
developed to connect those with spare rooms with
those who need them. Here, locally, neighbours
saving neighbours from rooftops, in tinnies, amidst
raging brown waters and debris. And everywhere,
acts of proud defiance and resistance, as people
speak truth to power: nuns kneeling before troops in
Myanmar; crowds standing before heavily armoured
tanks in the Ukraine; girls marching for access to
their closed schools in Afghanistan.
We know that there is so much that we do not see,
on our phones and news bulletins, from where
cameras are no longer present, or never were, or
from where footage cannot safely emerge.
Everyone has a role – and every contribution does
count. Individually and collectively, they help to save
and rebuild shattered lives.
Australia was amongst the majority of nations that
affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees a few
years ago. Over 70 years ago, it was Australia’s
signature, the 6th amongst nations, which brought
the International Refugees Convention into effect.
Australia has, at times, played a pivotal role in this
arena - including, historically, with our refugee
resettlement program and humanitarian responses,
such as under the Comprehensive Plan of Action in
the late 1980s and ‘90s, when we welcomed around
70,000 refugees to our shores – mostly from Vietnam
- many of whom have, of course, gone on to make
extraordinary contributions to this country.
Currently much of Australia’s approach is relentlessly
punitive, profoundly ill-conceived, and widely,
The financial, physical, psychological, ethical and
reputational costs of all of that are immense.
We may be starting to see the fracturing of our
egregious so-called “offshore processing” regime.
There is much still to undo, but after nine long years
Australia has finally accepted New Zealand’s offer
to resettle 450 refugees. And people are also now
leaving for the USA and Canada. There is extensive
and sustained people power behind all of that.
I believe we can roll back this global crisis in
humanitarian response. It will take time and tenacity.
And we will need to be constant and collaborative in
all of our efforts.
We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one
part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is
honoured, every part rejoices with it”.
Please know that your donations of funds, material
goods, and displays of compassion and care
assure those refugees whom we serve, that they are
welcome here; that we see and honour their courage
and dignity; and that, in our shared humanity, we will
continue to walk alongside them.
To find out how you can support refugees
through your deanery, parish or school, or be
involved in the “Diocesan Journey… Walking
with Refugees” in the Diocese of Parramatta go
National Refugee Week takes place
19 to 25 June 2022.
Tamara Domicelj, is Country Director of JRS Australia, one of
several Catholic organisations which support refugees in the
Diocese of Parramatta.
The St Bernadette’s parish mentor group recently gathered to celebrate Eid with the Samim family (centre of pic)
who are refugees from Afghanistan. Joanne Long is second from left. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
as new friends
STORY DEBRA VERMEER
Parishioners from St Bernadette’s at Castle
Hill are building on the parish’s long history of
supporting refugees by forming a new group to
mentor an Afghan refugee family who arrived in
Australia following the Taliban’s takeover of their
The mentoring relationship is part of Catholic Care’s
Parish Group Mentorship Program which is a
partnership between Catholic Care Western Sydney
and the Blue Mountains and Community Refugee
Sponsorship Australia (CRSA).
Catholic Care’s Manager of Community Engagement,
Celia Vagg says parish mentorship of refugees offers
a way to demonstrate love to our new neighbours,
to show our solidarity with the marginalised and
suffering, and welcome strangers as new friends.
The program helps refugees successfully settle and
integrate into their new communities and fosters
connection between locals and refugees.
Joanne Long, a parishioner at St Bernadette’s
who leads the parish group, says she first became
involved after seeing Catholic Care’s notice about the
program on the parish’s Facebook page.
“I know Fr Fernando was keen to have our parish
help refugees and I was happy to be part of it,
because I’d seen how my brother-in-law’s family are
still in touch with a Vietnamese refugee family they
supported years ago, and how lovely that is.”
Joanne says there are currently six other people
from St Bernadette’s and four members of the wider
community involved in the refugee support group.
They are mentoring a young Afghan couple and
their children who arrived as refugees in December
and are living in the Hills district in Sydney. The
couple, in their 30s, have four children under six
years of age. Both parents have university degrees.
The wife was working in Human Resources for an
international company when the Taliban took over
and the husband worked with a company which had
Australian links, and which helped them to escape
over the border into Pakistan.
She says CRSA provided training and support for
group-members and continues to do so.
“We all had to do the usual security and Working
With Children Checks,” she says. “And then,
because of COVID, we did our six-hour training
course online over two days. Normally CRSA would
hold in-person workshops. They work with lots of
groups from all over Australia and the world, so we
feel very well supported by them.”
The first request for the group was to help find a
computer for the refugee family, as they had to leave
theirs behind when they fled Afghanistan, and they
require one to complete their online English courses
through TAFE, among other day-to-day reasons.
“We’ve also helped set the family up on their mobile
phones and the parish raised money over Christmas
which helped provide them with food voucher debit
cards, as they’ve arrived with no money and no job.
We’ve met for coffee, walks, picnics and provided
general information about government processes,
job-seeking, community links, playgroup and
sport and helped with school fees, uniforms and
“In the future we’ll help them get their driver’s licence
and get their driving hours up.
“A big part of it though, is just friendship. They’ve
arrived in a new country, with few connections, so
friendship is really important.”
St Bernadette’s has a long history of supporting
refugee families, going back to the 1970s when
parishioners took in Vietnamese refugee families and
helped them settle into life in Australia.
“We put out a call in the parish newsletter and
one parishioner, who works for a major financial
services company, donated 12 laptops which were
almost brand-new, and we’ve been able to distribute
them to other refugee families across Sydney,”
To learn more about how your parish could
mentor a refugee family contact Celia Vagg
at Catholic Care: (02) 8843 2550 or
Debra Vermeer is a freelance writer.
Family is where
it all begins
STORY SOPHIE BOFFA
When you think of an image that represents the
Church, what comes to your mind?
It might be a building, such as the parish you go to,
or a church that means something to you, or it might
be a person or a group that has supported you in
faith. If we look a little longer and go a little deeper,
we might come to see that a good image of the
Church could be a family.
Family the beginning of faith
The Bible begins with God creating people – men
and women – to live in relationship with one another
and to bear life. It tells countless stories of families
who followed God’s ways. And it tells us that God
Himself chose to be born and to grow in a family.
Family is the place in which we first encounter God’s
love and where we learn how to love others in the
spirit of Jesus.
This year, the Church is honouring the fundamental
importance of families in a special way. We are
continuing the Year of the Family and preparing for
the World Meeting of Families in June.
The Year of the Family
On March 19, 2021, the Year of the Family began.
This date isn’t only the Solemnity of St Joseph, but
it also marked the fifth anniversary of publication of
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia,
or “The Joy of Love”.
You might wonder why we need a Year of the Family,
and what it might offer for your family today.
This special year strives to ensure all families across
the world, in every situation, are heard, valued and
reached through evangelisation, catechesis and
The World Meeting of Families
The Year of the Family will officially conclude with
the Tenth World Meeting of Families from 23 to 26
June 2022. The World Meeting of Families, which
was initiated by Pope St John Paul II in 1994 and
is held every three years, brings together families
from all around the world. It includes official events
in the presence of the Pope, catechesis, a Festival
of Families, and a closing Eucharistic celebration
at which Pope Francis will deliver his Mandate to
Each World Meeting of Families has its own unique
theme. The theme for the Tenth World Meeting of
Families is “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to
Holiness”. Given the current global situation, the
Meeting will be attended in person by delegates and
representatives from Episcopal Conferences and
international family movements.
The Bible begins with
God creating people
Celebrating my family and the family
of the Church
The Diocese of Parramatta is encouraging all
parishes to celebrate the World Meeting of Families
on 26 June 2022. Contact your parish for details.
There are many resources and tools you can use to
grow as a family and to recognise your own place at
the heart of the Church.
Our Diocese of Parramatta is proud to launch
its Family Hub. This hub is the place where you
can access videos, interactive tools, and prayer
resources, and where you have the opportunity to
share the joys of your family life. It also has important
information and updates about the Year of the Family.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has many
resources aimed to promote the Year of the Family,
including videos, catecheses, and prayer materials.
To find the Diocese of Parramatta’s family
hub with resources and links to the Vatican’s
Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life go to
One of the family tips the Vatican is promoting to spread family
love and kindness. Image: Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.
Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown
parishioner Cryste Degollacion (left) with her parents
Crystal and Steve and brothers Joey and Oscar.
Families – wonderful and fragile
STORY MARY BRAZELL
In preparing for the Vatican’s World Meeting of
Families we are asked to recognise family love
is fragile and needs to be cared for. Members of
our Diocesan community share their tips.
Catholic Care’s Aleksandra Kadiroglu, a Family
Therapeutic Caseworker, supports vulnerable families
in our community who are dealing with an array of
“There is a sense of accompaniment in the work that
we do,” she told Catholic Outlook.
Aleksandra explained that a family might have
issues that need sorting out including a lack of
communication, blaming and shaming family
members, ostracising and scapegoating, mental
health, drug and alcohol abuse and complex trauma
Some families from culturally diverse backgrounds
may also experience isolation from their communities
due to the stigma of seeking professional support
from outside of the family or community and they
may have limited access to services due to a
When asked what a ‘strong’ family looks like,
Aleksandra said that it may not necessarily be
a family that has it 'all together', but one that
understands the individual members of the family
and their needs.
“A strong family sees that if there is a problem,
there’s a solution and they work hard to repair
“They need to be supported and be given
opportunities to work out these issues with love,
support, care and compassion.”
The Degollacion Family – Mary, Queen of the
Family Parish, Blacktown
For Cryste Degollacion, a young parishioner of
Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown, the
welcoming of her youngest brother, Joey, has been a
wonderous time for the family. “He keeps the whole
family on our toes,” she explains.
“Even at such a young age, he shows such a strong
child-like love for God, which in turn, reminds our
family to be child-like in the way we talk, care and
show love with one another.”
Attending Mass together and sharing a meal
afterwards is one way Cryste’s family's bond is
strengthened and provides an opportunity for the
family to share moments of their week.
“This time with God as a family strengthens our own
family bond because we get to share the love of God
with Joey and lead by example with how important
our faith means to us.
“Dad always taught me to never go to bed angry
and Mum always said, ‘if there’s three things that
every family should always say, it is ‘thank you’,
‘I love you’, and ‘I’m sorry’.’”
The Rodricks Family – St Patrick’s Parish,
For Blannie Rodricks, an Acolyte at St Patrick’s
Parish, Guildford, the faith he and his wife Caroline
share, has set the benchmark for their two teenage
daughters, Taylor and Tracey.
“The foundation of the faith is at home, and if you
get it right at home, you can then take it out into
“My wife and I have developed a ‘no fear’ culture
in our house where my children can ask questions
about their faith and society openly and honestly,
and no matter what they ask, my children will
“Being a good listener goes a long way to making
them more comfortable with you, and more likely for
them to share their feelings, whether good or bad.”
To contact Catholic Care, visit
Find out more about the World Meeting
of Families through our family hub at
Aleksandra’s tips for keeping the family
strong, healthy and connected:
built on Catholic values
• Sound routine provides kids and families with safety
and predictability however flexibility also comes into
play when it comes to healthy family routines.
• Sharing a meal together at least once per day
keeps the family connected.
• Organised family time at least once per week
such as big family dinners, picnics, sports, movies
or visits to extended family members is also
important in terms of connection, and building
strong individual identity as well as building
• Open communication, providing safe space for
members to communicate their individual needs
and emotions, communicating love and high
regard for individual family members are a must.
• Setting clear boundaries and expressing
disappointment for actions, not for a person.
Don't 'blame and shame', instead, allow mistakes
to happen and provide safety and support when
mistakes are made.
Ambrose Early Learning Traditional and
extended hours Preschool education
Ambrose School Age Care Before and
After School Care (OSHC) for K-6 children
Ambrose Activities Innovative afternoon
Masterclasses led by schoolteachers,
covering exciting topics like art, sport,
robotics, dance and cooking
Vacation Care School holidays and
pupil-free days, K-6 children enjoy fun activities
in professionally supervised, caring environments
A social enterprise of Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited (CDPSL)
Government subsidies available to eligible families.
Visit ambrose.org.au or scan the QR Code
The Parramatta Way of
looking out for each other
It’s an approach that encourages participation
and looking out for each other.
STORY CHRISTINA GRETTON
Everyone in the Diocese of Parramatta has a role in ‘The
Parramatta Way’, a way of thinking about Safeguarding throughout
the Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Designed by a group representing the Church community in the
Diocese, the Parramatta Way asks parishioners, employees, and clergy
to act with justice, love tenderly, acknowledge the diversity in the
Diocese and promote Catholic social teachings.
It’s an approach that encourages participation and looking out
for each other.
Bishop Vincent OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta explained the origins.
“The Parramatta Way of Safeguarding is built on the foundation of
Christian faith. We mirror the way of Jesus who came to empower all
to live life to the full. May we help create and facilitate safe, caring and
nurturing environments for our children to thrive,” he said.
Nathan Khoury, who was a student of Parramatta Marist High
School, Westmead in 2021, was invited to participate in the working
group which developed the statement. The diverse group discussed
how to articulate what Safeguarding means and consisted of
members of parish communities and the CEDP school community,
youth and employees.
“Everyone in the group felt they had an obligation to ensure
the Parramatta Way covers all people,” says Nathan.“We felt
Safeguarding is a way that members of the Diocese can follow the
footsteps of Christ, as people of the Church. We can be there for those
that need protecting.”
Nathan explained the responsibility the group felt for past survivors of
abuse. “So many people have been through so much,” he said. “We
need to let people who have been harmed through the Church know,
that ‘we are here for you’.”
Nathan Khoury in 2021 as a student at
Parramatta Marist High School, Westmead
speaking at CYP CEDP LIFTED with the
Bishop. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
At the same time, the statement needed to set
the direction for the future. Nathan explains the
deliberate inclusion of ‘zero tolerance of abuse’. “We
want to make it clear that no abuse is acceptable.”
“The Diocese of Parramatta is one of the most
diverse communities in Australia,” he explained.
“We realised we also needed to honour the diverse
gifts and talents our people can bring no matter their
background or ability. Knowing you can bring your
gifts to Church life, helps people to thrive.
“We wanted the words to reflect that sense of
belonging for everyone, which also comes with
protection and support.”
The Parramatta Way acknowledges the traditional
custodians of the land in which the Diocese sits – the
Durag and Gundungurra people. Indigenous artist
Brett Groves who grew up in Mt Druitt and now lives
in the Blue Mountains developed the artwork for
The artwork represents the 47 parishes plus the Holy
Spirit Seminary, the two rivers, the mountains and the
people of the Diocese of Parramatta. He explained
that he was attracted to the project because the
project felt inclusive, and felt that it was helping “right
the wrongs of the past.”
Tracy McLeod-Howe, Head of Safeguarding hopes
that parishes will also display the artwork on their
websites and in their churches and buildings.
“We want everyone in the Diocese of Parramatta to
have access and understand this is how we treat all
people, especially the vulnerable,” she said. “The
Parramatta Way asks us to act as God has asked us
to, as explained by the verse Micah 6:8 ‘This is what
the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love
tenderly and to walk humbly with your God’.”
The Diocese of Parramatta is holding Safe
Parishes Week from 6 to 12 June. For information
on the Parramatta Way and Safeguarding in the
Diocese of Parramatta, go to safeguarding.org.au.
The Parramatta Way
Act with Justice, and state that we have a
zero tolerance for any form of abuse or
harm to children or any person
And it is to
Love tenderly, as we accept all who
come to the Diocese of Parramatta
from all walks of life, cultures, and
Love tenderly, as we accept any
person for who they are and where
they are at in their lives
Love tenderly, as we look after and
prioritise children and care for those
at risk of harm for whatever reason
Love tenderly, as we are servants of
the Church, and our role is to walk
beside you and support you
Act with justice and ensure that laws
and obligations are upheld, and
safety is paramount
The traditional custodians of the land
in which the Diocese of Parramatta sits
– the Darug and Gundungurra people
The lifelong trauma of abuse victims
and those failures of the Church to
protect children and all adults at risk
The diversity of many cultural groups
that reside in Parramatta creating a
kaleidoscope of diversity and beliefs
that are valued and respected
And celebrate the talents and gifts
of the community and families of
The principles of Catholic social
teaching of dignity, respect,
association, participation, support for
the vulnerable, solidarity, stewardship,
subsidiarity, equality and the principle
of the common good.
“This is what the Lord asks of you:
only this, to act justly, to love tenderly
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Love is a very important thing,
As St Paul said,‘the greatest of all is love’.
Love without end –
Noel and Honorine McKertich
STORY MARY BRAZELL
How to love for 60 years? It’s how you approach
it, say Noel and Honorine from St Anthony of
Padua Parish, Toongabbie, who celebrated their
diamond wedding anniversary last month.
Sitting down in the kitchen/dining room of their
Girraween home where they have lived for 47 years, I
ask Noel and Honorine McKertich about the happiest
moments of their 60 years of marriage.
“Every moment has been happy,” Noel, 92, replied.
In May this year, Noel and Honorine celebrated their
diamond wedding anniversary with a Mass at Sacred
Heart Church, Westmead, followed by a reception
with family and friends.
But, the couple told me, it almost wasn’t to pass.
Growing up in the southern parts of India, the couple
first met at a wedding. They met up again five years
later at a local dance. “After the music stopped, I
kept holding his hand, and he kept holding my hand,
and that was it,” Honorine said, beaming. “It was
electric. It was love straight away. I knew then he was
the one for me, no doubt.”
Noel and Honorine McKertich are seen during their 60th
wedding anniversary celebration at Sacred Heart Parish,
Westmead. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.
A couple of weeks later, due to family pressures,
Honorine was asked not to see Noel again and she
made the hard decision to end the relationship.
Meeting up by chance a week later, Honorine realised
her true feelings: “Then and there, I made up my
mind. I felt strongly about my love I had for Noel and
I wanted him to be my life partner. We made a date
for the next day,” she chuckled.
“We never broke up after that,” Noel added.
Married and with five children, they migrated to
Australia, renting in Toongabbie in 1971.
The whole family would walk two kilometres to
Mass at St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie
every week. They would attend Confession every
month and would recite their night prayers along
with the Rosary.
In their role as parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents,
both Noel and Honorine try and
spread the Good News amongst their family, whether
it be giving them small reminders to attend Mass,
gifting prayers, icons and statues as presents or just
simply offering prayers for them at one of the three
altars they have set up in their home.
“We share our faith by loving our five children, 14
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (so far),
caring for them and teaching them to be good, kind,
honest and forgiving people,” they said.
“We assure them that prayers do work miracles and
can move mountains.”
When asked for advice they could share with younger
couples, Noel and Honorine emphasised always
being there for each other, being compassionate,
loving unconditionally and having faith in God, the
Church and each other.
“Every marriage has ‘ups and downs’, it’s just how
you approach them and how you deal with them
and that you work them out together with patience,
sometimes silence, tears, apologies, hugs and kisses
and lots of love.
“Couples must learn the art and form of giving,
loving, sharing, serving, praising one another.
“Most of all, keep your faith strong and practise it
every day. Keep the Holy Family close, and pray to
Jesus to stay near you each hour of each day.”
In reflecting on what has kept them together over
60 years, the couple mentioned the deep love and
commitment they share with each other and with
God, practising their faith and always remembering
the vows they made on their wedding day.
“Love is a very important thing,” Noel said. “As St
Paul said, ‘the greatest of all is love’.”
Noel and Honorine’s five ways to love:
Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)
Give without sparing (Proverbs 21-26)
Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)
Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12)
Love without ending – Honorine.
Fun, love and understanding:
the fruits of intergenerational connection
STORY DEBRA VERMEER
Fostering relationships between children and
grandparents or other elderly people is crucially
important for our society, says Pope Francis
– a teaching that the youngsters attending the
Ambrose School Age Care service at Our Lady
of the Way (OLOW) in Emu Plains couldn’t agree
Apart from spending time with their own
grandparents, some of the children attending the
OLOW after-school care have been involved in a
program where they visit residents in the Edinglassie
residential aged care facility just up the street.
Ruth Apelu, acting Service Coordinator, says the
program, which operates when COVID-safe visiting
regulations allow, delivers a range of benefits for both
the children and seniors.
“It’s been an important way of fostering the
connection between children and older people,” she
says. “They’ve learnt so much from it, in terms of
values like respect and compassion.”
Ruth says the program has also helped the children
to understand some of the challenges of older age,
including memory loss.
“These things provide an educational opportunity to
teach the children that the elderly residents are not
necessarily sick, they are just older and sometimes
their memory might not work as well as younger
people. Children are resilient and curious, and they
ask lots of questions. Learning about this helps them
develop empathy and caring for others.”
Kate Easthope, the OLOW Service Coordinator,
currently on parental leave, was an instrumental part
of developing the program.
It’s great. It creates this wonderful
Paul Lowe and his granddaughter
Kathryn at the Ambrose School
Age Care service at Our Lady of
the Way, Emu Plains.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
“I was part of a Vinnies group in Emu Plains and we
had a friendship group there, which started going to
Edinglassie to visit and I noticed there were some
elderly people there who had no visitors, or very
infrequent visitors,” she says.
“So, I thought it would be great to have some
kids come down of an afternoon and play games,
do craft activities and just hang out with the
“It’s great. It creates this wonderful intergenerational
connection,” she says.
Kate says the elderly residents also benefit from
“It helps them build on their sense of self-worth. For
residents who don’t receive many visitors, they know
that at least once a week, the kids come and visit.
They feel they are still beneficial to society and can
still contribute by passing on some of the lessons
they’ve learnt in their life,” she says.
“Their whole face lights up for that hour they
During the pandemic, Ruth says the children have
been keeping in contact with the Edinglassie
residents by writing letters and cards and sending
cookies and hampers.
In January 2021, Pope Francis announced the
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be
celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday of July,
coinciding with the feasts of the Blessed Virgin
Mary’s parents and Jesus’ grandparents, Saints
Joachim and Anne.
The theme for this year’s World Day for Grandparents
and the Elderly is: “In old age they will still bear fruit”
“I have chosen this theme for the Second World
Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be held
on 24 July 2022, to promote dialogue among the
generations, especially between grandparents and
grandchildren,” the Pope said.
Paul Lowe, grandfather to six-year-old Kathryn who
attends the Ambrose service at OLOW, says this
inter-generational dialogue is a product of spending
“I’ve got seven grandchildren from age 14 down,
and I spend time with all of them,” he says. “Over
the years, I’ve picked them up from school or looked
after them at home when their parents work.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
“Kate and her mother, my daughter, live with us, so
we spend a lot of time together.
“It’s good for all of us. I lost my wife over eight years
ago, and thanks to the love my wife fostered, we
have a very strong family and we enjoy spending
“When we’re together they get to know a bit of what
my lifestyle is like at 73 and I learn from them too.
They’ve got plenty of energy and enthusiasm which
is good to be a part of. They know I don’t mollycoddle
them, but sometimes of course I do spoil
them, like all grandparents.
“I get such a kick out of them. Each generation
has got something to teach the others and I know
I share my strong values and thoughts on things
Ambrose® early years education and school
age care services are run by Catholic Diocese of
Parramatta Services Limited, an agency of the
Diocese of Parramatta. To find a service near you
go to ambrose.org.au.
Debra Vermeer is a freelance journalist.
For where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in
the midst of them.
Serving local families through
faith and community
STORY MARK SMITH
From the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the Easter
of 2020 through to the present, thousands of
teachers across the Diocese have witnessed the
love and light of Christ as they responded to the
profound and changing needs of local families.
While leading the remote learning for their students,
many teachers helped their own children learning at
home too. Many also shared the experiences of local
families isolated from loved ones, particularly elderly
family members. This created a strong sense of
solidarity as school staff sought to support students
and their families.
Our teachers have offered a calming presence of
faith during times of fear and chaos. This has been
a ministry of presence, walking alongside students
and families as a tangible example of the pilgrim
church called by the Second Vatican Council
(Lumen Gentium 8).
Our teachers have lived the “call to holiness” as
the saints next door referred to by Pope Francis
in Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad): On
the Call to Holiness in Today's World (2018). This
call to holiness has involved many steps, often
behind the scenes.
The following words from Anthony Matthews, a
teacher and leader of Religious Education at St John
XXIII Catholic College Stanhope Gardens, offer a
special insight into these steps:
“The pandemic saw our role as educators become
a continued actual fraternal opportunity where we
had the awesome privilege to be able to respond and
care for one another in a time of challenge.
“This opportunity bore witness in our daily life,
moving to pastoral care conversations daily with
families, staff fundraising and community support of
one another, to the opportunity to be able to pray,
hope and love - the new paradigm was endless.
“The most awesome experience was leading weekly
and frequent prayer and liturgy opportunities online
where not only the student, but the family were able
to connect and be in communion with one another
‘actually’ not just ‘virtually’ as the presence of Christ
is with us all.”
Isabella Plust, teacher at St John Paul II Catholic
College at Maryong shares her experiences:
“It is safe to say that COVID-19 has not only
reshaped our thinking of education but ministry and
formation also. During the lockdowns of 2020 and
2021, the call to respond to the needs of families and
the longing for human interaction was increasingly
evident. Students were restless with constant
Zooms, classwork and screen time, that many would
reach out to their homeroom teachers just to have a
“As a religious education teacher and youth minister,
I am forever grateful for the moments we were
able to connect with students online and speak
to ‘real-world’ events. Praying with students and
accompanying them on their faith journey will
be something I will cherish forever. Although the
future may hold a sense of uncertainty, teachers
will continue to strive to support students and
dialogue with their families, during this time
Gilroy Catholic College teacher Declan Horan together with students from the Class of 2021. Image: CEDP.
St Mary’s Primary Rydalmere parent Anthony Ellard
really valued the support from his daughter Caitlin’s
school during the period of intense COVID-19
restrictions in Western Sydney. This included regular
calls from Caitlin's teacher for feedback on learning,
providing valuable assurances about the way that her
parents were helping with her schoolwork.
“Our teachers did a fantastic job to ensure families
had the support that we needed during the
lockdown, including parents like us working from
home,” Anthony said. “The communications from
the principal and teachers was phenomenal, really
keeping families up to date and supporting kids
during the break.”
What these many steps all have in common is that
they are each encounters of love within the dayto-day
lives of our communities. They are also
evidence of teachers living a vocation - more than a
job. Teachers have also done this together with their
fellow colleagues as a faith community. Our teachers
have prayed together and with their students, calling
on God for guidance, comfort and inspiration. In
this they have invited the Holy Spirit to be with
Our teachers have asked for the gift of Christ’s
peace for students and families in turbulence.
In times of darkness and uncertainty, they have
called on the light of Christ.
The pandemic is unfortunately not over and we can
trust that our teachers will continue to accompany
our families, guided by the light of Christ. So let us
give thanks, pray for our teachers and remember the
vital role schools hold in our communities.
Do you have a family member who may be called
to the powerful vocation of teaching? It is a
privilege that will challenge, and an opportunity
to serve others in a truly powerful way. If there is
someone in your family who you can see would
flourish in this calling, why not invite them to
Mark Smith is a member of the Mission Team for Catholic
Education Diocese of Parramatta.
School leadership is
all about heart
STORY MONICA FITZALAN
Monica Fitzalan and students at St
Patrick’s Primary School, Blacktown.
Growing up on a beautiful farm in Bathurst, taught
me to be positive, calm, grateful, committed to
helping others, and always see the bright side of
life. What I learned from my parents and from my
own Catholic education, is that faith, hope and
love are the ingredients to happiness
This is my fourth year as a School Principal and I
intend to follow this calling for many years to come. I
am blessed to work with and lead the dedicated staff
at St Patrick’s Primary Blacktown. Knowing that I can
make a difference in the lives of students, creating
a rewarding working life for staff and long-lasting
learning experiences for students is my passion.
Each day I greet the staff and students as they
arrive for school. Checking in with everyone is a
highlight of my day - noticing who has a birthday or
a broken arm really helps me to know what is going
on in our community. Communication and building
relationships are the foundation of my work. Being an
active listener who is understanding of where people
are coming from and the life experience they bring
to school with them, always helps me to understand
Feel God in every gentle touch.
See God in every happy face.
Hear God in every caring word.
Receive God’s blessings every
day of your life.
Motivational words of wisdom
My favourite part of each day is seeing the learning
that is happening in our learning spaces. Engaged,
challenged students are what we are all about!
Seeing the JOY in a child or a staff member's
face when you recognise a talent, achievement or
something to celebrate is what inspires me each
day. The opportunity to make life or conditions
better for learning is what calls to me and helps me
jump out of bed with a spring in my step. No day is
ever the same and we always have lots to celebrate.
Seeing students graduate as outstanding young
citizens who can make positive changes in the
world is so rewarding. ‘Be the change’ is something
that inspires me every day - we can make a big
difference! The students I work with today will be
our future doctors, scientists, teachers, parents,
scriptwriters, OTs, nurses, and accountants. They
may one day save your life!
Working in our Catholic community is an extension
of my own personal faith and life, so I have the
opportunity to enrich the lives of others.
I am blessed to have my own wonderful husband
Matt, and three children, Georgia, Brianna and
William, who support me, laugh with me, journey
through the ‘everyday-ness’ with me and nourish
my soul. Catholic education and our own parish,
St Bernadette’s, Castle Hill, have been a wonderful
blessing for our children too.
Watching passionate staff work side by side with
their students is life-giving. The team brings out
curiosity in their students and guides their learning
through inquiry: I feel so proud of my fabulous
staff. Seeing the light in staff and students’ eyes
when you acknowledge their great work is the best
feeling. No wonder I smile a lot!
Working with children and shaping their lives is
a privilege and a pleasure. If teaching/school
leadership calls to you, go for it! We need more
wonderful teachers in our system who are
committed to the Catholic faith and sharing it
Monica Fitzalan is Principal of St Patrick’s Primary
Catholic Care starts
a new chapter
Catholic Care exists to do
Christ’s work in the community.
in distress could receive professional care from
the Catholic Church, Catholic Care has grown to
become a well-respected organisation that reaches
thousands of people in the community each year
through the work of more than 200 committed staff
For more than 70 years, Catholic Care has been
here for people who need us. People from all
walks of life.
Those who may need somewhere to sleep, help
caring for their newborn baby, or perhaps they are
lonely and need someone to talk to.
There are those who need help to protect their family
from violence and those who want to stay living
independently with a little support, and those looking
to stay active and connected with their community.
Our care and support through the church is all about
making sure no one is left behind. It always has been,
and it always will be.
From our humble beginnings in the 1940s when four
Sydney women dreamed that the poor and anyone
In an ever-changing environment, we have continued
to grow as an organisation to ensure we are filling the
gaps and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable
and disadvantaged members of the community.
2022 signals the start of a new chapter for Catholic
Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. It’s
a time to reach further into the community, digging
deeper to help more people by telling more people
who we are and what we do. By reaching out with
better services and more services, having delved
deeper into what our community really needs.
This new chapter starts with our people – our staff
and our volunteers and the work we have done over
the past year or so in developing the values that
guide us in our work and in our decision-making.
Our values and our links to the Catholic Church are
the foundation of our organisation.
With honesty and openness, our staff created our
values to guide how we work and engage with those
we serve in our community.
Fundamental to the way we work, is that we embrace
every journey with love and gratitude, for our clients,
the community and each other.
And to live up to this value, each and
every day we:
Are available with an open mind and heart
Advocate with patience and passion
Build trust with integrity and respect, and
We persevere with resilience and belief.
With these values now embedded in all that we
do, we are looking at this new chapter in our
organisation’s history as an opportunity to better
listen and hear what our clients need. And better
respond. To aim higher in all that we do while staying
grounded. To share more about who we are and what
we are here for.
This is a truly exciting time for our people, our
community, our clients, our parish, and our Diocese.
It’s a time for us all to remember why we are here
reaching out our hands to those who may be
suffering or vulnerable.
No one can be saved alone, but as a community
carrying out the work of Christ, we can help to heal
lives and enable human flourishing even through the
most challenging of times.
As we turn the page on this new chapter, you will
see changes. Some new faces, a new logo, a new
website. All of these changes aim to ensure we are
better reaching those who need us, by making it
easier for those who need us to reach out.
What won’t change is our work as the face of Christ,
our drive to make a positive difference in the lives of
those who need our support, and to help them find
joy and purpose in life.
We are here.
Visit catholiccarewsbm.org.au to find out more.
Maureen (right) is supported to stay in her
own home by the team at Catholic Care.
Image: Catholic Care WSBM.
Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
(Basilica Papale di San Francesco)
at sunset in Assisi, Umbria, Italy.
The following articles encourage deeper reflection,
prayer and personal learning.
Pentecost – accepting variety
STORY DR LAURIE WOODS
The earliest Christians had to consider whether
they would impose restrictions on their new faith
as followers of Christ. Who could join? Dr Laurie
Woods considers the lessons they learned in the
context of today.
Pentecost represents the fulfilment of Christ’s
work. His band of disciples had quickly grown into
a community of dedicated followers committed to
living out the values of the Master. Christians do
not always demonstrate awareness that nearly all
of these people were Jewish and were, in reality, a
sect of Judaism. They were still praying at the temple
in Jerusalem and kept faith with the customs and
religious practices of Judaism.
The Eastertide readings from the Acts of the Apostles
give us a glimpse of the trials and decisions that
these early Jesus people had to face as their
numbers grew. One of the chief matters of concern
was the qualification for membership. Who should
be allowed to join? Should there be any restrictions?
Were non-Jews welcome? And if so, should they be
obliged to follow Jewish laws and customs?
We know from his letters that Paul was opposed
to any policy that might require newly baptised
gentile members to follow Jewish laws and customs
that insisted on male circumcision, observance of
food regulations and ritual cleanliness customs.
He maintained that it was only necessary that new
members commit in faith to Jesus Christ and his
values. Acts and the Pauline letters also reveal
factions who opposed each other quite strongly on
some of these issues. In time, the leading Apostles
agreed that non-Jewish converts did not have to go
to Christ through the doorway of Judaism.
The difficulties the early Jesus people had to deal
with have their counterparts in our Church and
society today. How well do we accept difference?
Can we learn from the almost infinite diversity
in nature that our God is the maker of variety
Jesus was a model of living with difference and being
comfortable with all kinds of people. He was good
at accepting individuals where they were at. He was
criticised by the self-righteous for mixing with tax
collectors and sinners, but then he saw the potential
in every human being and never wrote anyone off.
Jesus reminded Simon the Pharisee how unfair he
was in passing judgment on the woman who wept at
his feet. He refused to condemn the woman accused
of adultery but he pointed out to her that what
she was doing was no way to live, no way to grow
He touched the untouchables and restored them as
much with his compassion as with healing power.
He challenged the rich man to follow him but did not
love him any less when the man could not make the
leap to discipleship. He did not pass judgement but
accepted that the man was not ready.
Pentecost can prompt us to reflect on the broadminded
thinking of Jesus who relished variety and
difference in everyone he met. As he said, “The Spirit
moves where it wills,” and it is up to us to look for
the Spirit in the events and people that come into our
life. Seeing the good and the potential in others is to
imitate the attitude of Jesus as well as being a mark
of sound mental health.
Dr Laurie Woods is a retired senior lecturer in Biblical
Studies from the Australian Catholic University and currently
conducts teacher inservice sessions and parish reflection
days. He lives in the Diocese of Parramatta and is a member
of Our Lady of the Nativity Parish, Lawson.
Pentecost can prompt us to reflect on the
broad-minded thinking of Jesus who relished variety
and difference in everyone he met
Image: John Nava Eastend Arts, Inc.
Image: Jan Richardson Images
The go-between God
BR MARK O’CONNOR FMS
The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its
sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or
where it is going. So it is with everyone
who is born of the spirit.
This season of Pentecost, let’s remind ourselves
that nothing is more important than experiencing
the grace and beauty of the Holy Spirit of
the Risen Christ, who breathes on us every
Listen again to St John Paul II’s encouraging and
prophetic words about how the Spirit has been so
present in our ancient land. His words spoke so
powerfully to the indigenous people at Alice Springs
“For thousands of years you have lived in this land
and fashioned a culture that endures to this day.
And during all this time, the spirit of God has been
with you. Your ‘Dreaming’, which influences your
lives so strongly that, no matter what happens, you
remain forever people of your culture, is your only
way of touching the mystery of God’s spirit in you
and in creation. You must keep your striving for God
and hold on to it in your lives.”
Sadly, in our sceptical and pragmatic Australian
culture, we can, however, become agnostic about
the Holy Spirit.
Many of us often neglect or fear the life of the
Holy Spirit. But if there is a God, then certainly
experiencing the grace of the Holy Spirit is the
That is why I treasure J.V. Taylor’s book on the Holy
Spirit, The Go-Between God. It is the best book I
have ever read on the Holy Spirit. For Taylor, the
Spirit is literally the ‘Go-Between God’, the bond
between the Father and the Son, and the One
through whom they are present to us.
Taylor makes the Spirit come alive through
describing how the Holy Spirit works in the ‘nittygritty’
of personal relationships in daily life. The
Spirit does this by helping people to see other
individuals as entirely ‘other’ from them; by helping
people to realise that the other persons they
encounter see the world through entirely different
lenses shaped by their own experiences.
Drawing heavily on Martin Buber’s I and Thou,
Taylor’s main point is that the Holy Spirit primarily
works as a ‘go-between’. In other words, when
individuals meet and converse, the Spirit is not
merely ‘in’ each of the individuals but is his own
personality working between them.
Taylor explains: “To live in prayer, therefore, is to
live in the Spirit; and to live in the Spirit is to live in
Christ … to live in Christ is to live in prayer. Prayer is
not something you do; it is a style of living.”
A ‘style of living’ that Taylor illustrates in one
ordinary but very beautiful experience of the
He describes a West Indian woman in London,
who in her flat had just received the news that her
husband had been killed in a street accident. She
sat in the corner of the sofa, paralysed. Nobody
could get near to her; it was as if she were in a
trance. And then the teacher of one of her children
came in, saw the situation in a moment and sat
down beside her, and put her arm across her
shoulders and held her tightly. The white face was
pressed to the brown one. And as the intolerable
pain of this seeped through to the visitor, her
tears began to fall, onto their hands clasped in
the woman’s lap. This went on until the grieving
woman herself began to weep, and their tears were
mingled, and the healing began.
Taylor’s comments: “That is the embrace of God.
That is his kiss of life. That is the embrace of his
mission with our intercession. And the Holy Spirit
is the force in the straining muscles of an arm; the
Holy Spirit is in the thin film of perspiration between
a white cheek and a brown one. The Holy Spirit is
in those mingled tears falling onto those clasped
hands. He is as close and as unobtrusive as that,
and as irresistibly strong.”
The Holy Spirit, then, is the invisible third party
who stands between me and the other, making us
mutually aware. The Spirit opens our eyes to Christ
and also opens our eyes to our brothers and sisters
in Christ—especially the poor.
More than ever, inside and outside the Church, we
all need to be on the lookout for the presence of this
Come Holy Spirit!
Br Mark O’Connor FMS is the Vicar for Communications
in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Faith in the ordinary
STORY PAOLO GRELLA
Paolo, 28, is a parishioner at Our Lady Queen
of Peace, Greystanes, and currently working
as a Campus Pastoral Associate at ACU
North Sydney Campus. He shares about his
relationship with Jesus.
Comforting and reassuring.
It was not always like that but right now He is very
much a friend and a source of comfort, strength and
reassurance. I was brought up Catholic, would pray,
but coming into my teenage years where you do start
questioning things you aren’t really sure about, faith
was not at the forefront of my mind - neither was my
relationship with Jesus. I still went to Mass but very
much questioned whether it was real or the point of
it. I was involved in the music ministry which kept me
going to Mass.
In 2015, I was invited by Catholic Youth Parramatta
to a retreat called LIFTED. Initially, I did not want to
go but I remember it was the last day to register. I
was reading and I got up to go to the study, where
my Mum was helping my brother register, and I said,
“Oh you are still registering? Can you register me
too?”. They were stunned ‘cause I had been telling
them “No I don’t want to go,” for a month straight.
I felt this interior tug to go. When I got there, there
were just so many young people which I found odd
because there are usually so many old people at
Church. It was a beautiful moment.
One night we had adoration, which was my first
experience of it. I remember just being there, Jesus
just present, and I just sat there looking up at the
monstrance and thinking I did not know what I was
doing with my life. Then this feeling of warmth just
filled me and there is no other way of describing it
but this pure love radiating, and I burst into tears.
It was such a powerful moment, and I went to
Reconciliation and had a really honest confession. It
hit me that I just need to focus on what's important
in life and from that moment I knew Jesus was real,
He loves me, and I believe. I attended more retreats,
met an amazing community at the university I was
attending at the time, going to daily Mass on campus
to learn more about the faith.
Faith in small moments
I think a lot of times we can think of faith and look
at some of the saints’ lives and the extraordinary
things that happened like St Padre Pio who had
the stigmatas. But it does not always have to be
extraordinary. It can be just those small moments in
your life where God is there, where you can see God
moving in a conversion or in a moment. It could be a
decision you have to make in terms of work or study
or in the ordinary day-to-day things, and faith can
definitely be present. I think practising gratitude helps
with that; you can feel that this did not happen by
chance, there is a Creator who created all of this.
On a day-to-day basis I am reassured by God’s plan
for my life and live my life on purpose. It's about
trying to live that plan even if I don’t know what the
next step is yet. For me, God is a central part of my
life. He isn’t just something on the side - it’s small
prayers throughout the day, having a conversation
with God, and keeping Him in the loop in my life.
Young people in the Diocese of Parramatta
are invited to find out more about Catholic
Youth Parramatta. Find details at linktr.ee/
Paulo Grella. Image: Supplied.
Have you been considering
broadening your faith
Wondering where to next in your pastoral activities?
What paths study may lead to?
• Many tertiary theological degrees to choose from
• Small class sizes and quality of lecturers ensure a personalised learning experience
• Classes can be audited (attended without completing assessment)
• Government assistance for tuition fees is available to eligible students
For more information contact us on:
T: 02 9752 9500 I e: email@example.com
or visit our website: www.cis.catholic.edu.au
CIS is a Partner Institution of the University of Notre Dame, Australia
99 Albert Road, Strathfield NSW 2135
Our spiritual potential is birthed in a faith community. Parishioners with Fr Wim Hoekstra at St Michael’s Church,
Baulkham Hills. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
God-seed within us
You have made us for yourself, O Lord and
our hearts are restless until they rest in you
STORY SR PATTY ANDREW OSU
Sr Patty Andrew osu explains why, just like we
grow and learn from our family and community,
our spiritual heart can be awakened though our
The English poet, William Wordsworth (1802)
captured the truth and wonder of our Divine origins
in the verse “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who
is our home.” Parents are reminded of this reality
again and again as they give birth to their children.
Whether they are people of faith or not, as they
experience and witness the pain, the beauty and joy,
of childbirth, parents sense they are in the depthless
field of mystery.
Each of us is born with the indelible imprint of God
who is our creator. In our Catholic tradition we name
this as the “imago dei”, the image of God. Through
the centuries this little piece of infinity in each of us
has been captured in a range of beautiful metaphors.
The Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks
of the divine imprint as “the immortal diamond”.
The Vatican II Document, Gaudium et spes (1965)
describes it as the “God-like seed”.
Daniel O’Leary speaks of our humanity as the
“womb of the divine.”
He assures us that already we carry within us
unknowingly, the fresh wells we thirst for and
beckoning horizons for which we long. In recent
years Richard Rohr talked about each of us
receiving the “kiss of the divine then.” It is therefore
more accurate to honour our divine origins by
understanding ourselves as first and foremost
spiritual beings who are becoming human.
apostles which conquered fear. Such a deep infusion
of the power of the Holy Spirit gifted each one
with an intuitive grasp of the whole, gracing them
with a heart understanding of Christ’s death and
Resurrection. This deep perception opened the eyes
of their hearts as they became aware of the profound
meaning of a self-emptying God incarnated in Jesus.
It was this “heart seeing” which empowered them
with the courage to spread the Good News.
As people of faith we desire to live life with an
openness to the transcendent – that which is beyond
us. We express this way of being in mission which
Pope Francis reminds us is about bringing “light,
blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing and freeing”
(Evangelii Gaudium). Our spiritual unfolding is
increased through taking formal opportunities for the
awakening of the heart.
This divine imprint is spoken of as residing in the
heart, which we know is not in essence physical.
Hence it cannot be located in a particular place
within the body. When we speak about matters of the
heart, we are referring to that which is at the hidden
centre of our being, beyond the grasp of reason. Our
tradition teaches us that only the spirit of God can
fathom the heart and know it fully.
Everyone’s unique life journey is about many things
as it unfolds with surprising twists and turns. Along
the way, we can observe and measure physical
growth and enjoy acquiring new skills and knowledge
as we allow our potential to unfold and develop. In
our growth to human wholeness, we also need to
nurture the ‘God-seed’ planted within each of us.
Like all our human possibilities, unless the capacity
of our heart is awakened and nurtured, it will remain
asleep within us.
Sr Patty Andrew osu is an Ursuline Sister in the Diocese of Parramatta.
As well as teaching on faith and spirituality matters, she is a chaplain
with Kairos Outside for Women, a support organisation for women with
Sr Patty Andrew osu
As it is with every aspect of our human development,
we cannot do this alone. The infant child acquires
the complexity of language and the ability to walk,
always through the belief and encouragement of
others. Likewise with the awakening of our spiritual
potential. This is birthed in a faith community
grounded in a deep sense of the sacred.
At Pentecost we recall a time in the missionary
outreach of our Catholic tradition when collectively
the heart of the early Christian community was
deeply awakened. As we read the account of this
historic event, from the Acts of the Apostles, it is
evident that something was released within the
Nurture your God-seed in the
Diocese of Parramatta
The Mission Enhancement Team in the Diocese of Parramatta has a full program of courses,
retreats, and other events to boost your spiritual life and nurture your ‘God-seed’.
LIFTED Retreat – a weekend of prayer, formation
and connection: for young adults 18+.
Ministry Leadership Program: for upcoming
and current adult leaders in parishes and
Ten Thursdays commencing 11 August
Themes of Faith: for adults keen to explore key
themes of Catholic life and faith.
Flexible, minimum of eight required
Online or Blacktown
Adult Confirmation Catechesis Day: for adults
aged 16+ who have received the Eucharist and
Baptism and would like to receive the Sacrament
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Seminar:
for adults who are wanting to become Catholics.
Four Wednesdays starting from 10 August
World Youth Day 2023 launch in the Diocese of
Parramatta: for young people aged 16 to 35 wanting
to find out about the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens
I know Theology is not
easy but it has given
me glimpses of what
the Church offers. In
how to relate to others,
this ministry will help
me to be more open
to others, be mindful
of their individuality
and really, I will be
more confident in
I find the sessions very
reflective and they
have assisted me so
much in some of my
struggles. I have really
felt lifted up in my
Len from Our Lady of the
Nativity Church, Lawson
Parish, a participant in
the Ministry Leadership
Pearl from Holy Spirit
Parish, St Clair, a
participant in the Ministry
Visit parracatholic.org/met for details on
these events and courses and more
Natural Family Planning Fertility Awareness:
for couples wishing to find out about natural
Liturgical Ministry Formation Course for Readers:
for adults seeking to serve at Mass in their parish as
12 and 19 August
World Meeting of Families Local Celebrations –
liturgy and community event: for catholic families
and parish communities.
Pre-marriage preparations: for engaged couples
who want a great Catholic marriage.
8 to 10 July
Faith in Marriage Seminar “Living marriage, living
faith: ideas to inspire your children”: for married
Liturgical Ministry Formation Course: for adults
seeking to serve at Mass in their parish.
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor Tri-diocesan
Social Justice Reflection Evening: for adults
wishing to hear speakers and reflect on the Australian
Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement.
I don’t want to tell
anyone what to
expect, you have to
come and experience
it for yourself – but
you’ll probably like it!
Roderick from Mary
Quakers Hill, a participant
in the Liturgical Ministry
I’m pretty excited to be
a Eucharistic Minister
and a reader, because
it’s another way of
being involved in the
parish and deepening
your faith by serving.
I wanted to be more
involved and deepen
Revathi from St Andrew
the Apostle Parish,
Marayong, a participant
in the Liturgical Ministry
When anyone experiences
suffering, Jesus is sharing his
cross with them.
A cuppa with the priest
Fr Alan Layt
St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill
STORY CHRISTINA GRETTON
Fr Alan Layt has been Parish Priest of St Aidan’s
Parish, Rooty Hill for the past 11 years. Born and
bred locally, he has spent his life dedicated to
the welfare of others in both social and spiritual
A late vocation at age 47, Fr Alan had been a high
school teacher before he was ordained in 1996 by
Bishop Bede Heather, the first bishop in the relatively
newly formed Diocese of Parramatta. Fr Alan had
grown up in Silverwater, formed by the Pallottines, an
order from Germany. After leaving school, he entered
their seminary, but only stayed for around three
years. During his years teaching, he also became
involved in the union movement, inspired by his
grandfather who had been Mayor of Auburn and a
member of the steering committee of the then Labor
Premier Jack Lang who saw NSW through the Great
Depression. Speaking with him about his work as a
Parish Priest today, it is clear his focus is on still on
the care of others, and in particular their relationship
When he first arrived at St Aidan’s in 2008, then
Parish Priest Fr Renato Paras recognized his
strengths and appointed him to minister to youth, in
particular, to prepare them for World Youth Day 2008.
Today he continues to want to see young people
strong in their faith, and believes formation is critical.
He appreciates the St Aidan’s parishioners who
are also members of Opus Dei who have assisted
with formation of the young people of the parish.
Currently the youth group meets regularly and he
happily reports the young people are now instructing
other young members of the group.
He is concerned about the apparent drop in numbers
of parishioners returning to Mass after COVID
restrictions. Not only does this situation impact
parish communities, his real concern is for the impact
on the individuals themselves and how they are
missing out on the chance to be close to Christ.
He calls on all Catholics to reach out to others with
their faith. “Be prepared to do it,” he says to all lay
Catholics encouraging them to evangelise. “You
have brothers and sisters sitting around you who are
depending on your faith,” he says, cautioning that
the “It’ll be alright Jack” approach doesn’t address
the urgency of the situation whereby numbers of
Catholics living in the faith are decreasing.
It’s one of the reasons he has created a welcoming
committee for the parish, and happily found no
shortage of parishioners wanting to sign up.
Given this has been the universal Catholic Church’s
Year of the Family, he has a good sense of the
connection between family and faith community.
“Church is family,” he says. “People tend to say that
Church is like a family, but Church is the true family.
We are united by the Holy Spirit.”
Reflecting on why older people make up such a
large proportion of members of parish communities,
he says they come to understand how Church is
their family. “It’s a place for them,” he says before
explaining the vital role they play in parish life.
He cautions against the thinking that our society
sometimes appears tohave: that younger people are
making a more valuable contribution than the older
generation who, because of ailments and issues that
arise when we age, tend to suffer more. To counter
this perception, he poses one question:
“When was Jesus at his most powerful?”
Fr Alan explains his answer.
“When anyone experiences suffering, Jesus is
sharing His cross with them,” he says.
“If they are prepared to accept it and offer it with
Jesus to the Father, especially at Mass, then they are
co-redeeming with Him.
“They may feel their contribution is small by
comparison - and it is - just the way that small boy's
seven loaves and two fish were too tiny to make
much difference among 5,000. It is what Jesus can
do with it that counts, and that turns on the faith in
Jesus of the person who suffers with Him.”
When we suffer with Jesus, three things happen
says Fr Alan.
The first he says, is that He suffers less. “Secondly,”
he continues, “we are suffering here for our sins
instead of Purgatory, and it is better to do it here than
there because here we can merit in the eyes of the
Father because we accept suffering through faith
“You can't do that in Purgatory,” he reminds us.
“Thirdly, and more importantly, we are involved in
saving the souls of others.”
“If you think about it, this is a real expression of
the twofold law of love. You know you really love
someone when you share their suffering, and we
do that for Jesus and for the souls of those in need
Fr Alan returns to his point about the suffering
of the elderly.
“Just as Jesus was at His most powerful on the
cross” he says, “when He was at His most helpless
physically, so any person suffering - and that
includes those experiencing all the problems of
getting older - who accepts their suffering with faith
and trust in Jesus, is the greatest asset to any parish
and to the Church as a whole.”
Fr Alan Layt, Parish Priest of
St Aidan's Parish, Rooty Hill.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
The altar of St Aidan’s Church, Rooty Hill.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
Parish Profile – St Aidan’s Parish,
Rooty Hill: Small Parish, Big People
STORY MARY BRAZELL
Growing up as a child in Samoa, Emma Iliae
would go with her mother and other women
of her village to help clean and decorate their
Now, as an adult, she does the same thing for St
Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill, her parish since 2014.
“In my heart, I knew I wanted to do what they do,”
she told me. “And now, I work here, I do this and I
love to come here, and when I work, I am with God
and Jesus is looking down on us.”
Rosemarie Estigoy, the parish’s Special Religious
Education coordinator and a member of the Legion
of Mary group, explains that by volunteering for
the parish, she is able to share her faith and the
blessings the Lord has given her with others.
“I cannot just have my faith on my own, I have to
share it, and others have to know the love of God –
why just keep it to yourself?” she asks.
“If you are feeling blessed, you have to share it.”
Sacristan and Chief Acolyte Stan Pakulski adds,
“God has done so much for me throughout my whole
life, this is my way of giving back, albeit in a small
way, for everything He has done.”
Meeting with the parishioners, they describe the
parish as being welcoming, vibrant and caring.
“We have so many different nationalities here –
everyone gets along so very well,” Stan said.
Assistant Priest Fr Galbert Albino, who has been at
the parish for four years, describes his joy at seeing
parishioners from all nationalities working together
on projects for the church. “People are very keen
to help,” he said. In particular, he describes how
parishioners will go and collect older parishioners
to bring them to Mass. “It’s a way we can directly
express our love for God,” he says. “They [the
parishioners] own that.”
Parish priests inspire others to care
The parishioners say they are ‘very blessed’ to have
such ‘beautiful’ priests in Fr Alan Layt and Fr Galbert.
“Our priests are so fatherly, very supportive and
they help us grow in our faith with their beautiful
and powerful homilies,” parishioner of 34 years Nina
Youth team member Maelody Gevero is grateful
that both priests are supportive of the youth, and
their initiatives to look after the spiritual needs
of the parish. “They really care about our souls,
and that makes us want to take the initiative to
care for everyone else’s souls,” she said. “They
are witnesses, so you want to be a witness just
Rosemarie added, “Fr Alan is always open and he
doesn’t say no. He would like us all to be saints, and
he’s really guiding us to be holy.”
Holy Spirit providing fruitful gifts to the parish
The parishioners feel that it is through their witness,
and that of their priests, that the Holy Spirit is at work
in their parish.
“We’ve had many new parishioners, people who have
moved to the area and are finding the church and are
being welcomed to the community,” Rosemarie said,
adding that she often carries an extra bulletin in her
bag in case someone from Church recognises her.
Parishioners at St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
Fr Galbert Albino (left) and Fr Alan Layt.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
Working towards an ever wider ‘we’
In his 2021 message for World Day of Migrants and
Refugees, Pope Francis said, “We are all in the same
boat and called to work together so that there will be
no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but
only a single ‘we’, encompassing all of humanity.”
The parishioners agreed with the Holy Father, as
many of them have migrant backgrounds.
Emma said, “I think it’s very important in every parish
to work together as a community because we are
One Body, One Spirit, we are the children of God, we
must work together, treating everybody the same.”
Stan added, “it doesn’t really matter where we come
from, we’re all here for the same reason because
God put us here.”
Nina said, “We are a multicultural community, and
we welcome people from all walks of life. We try
to become one big, good family because of the
Christian teachings from the homilies of our two
beautiful priests, who hope that we are holy Christian
people practising not only by words but in deeds as
well, and to be an example for others.”.
Diocese of Parramatta walks towards
Synod of Bishops 2023
STORY SR GRACE ROCLAWSKA CSFN
An historic event is taking place in our
Church as the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops
considers the responses by ordinary Catholics
to the Church today. Here in the Diocese of
Parramatta, Sr Grace Roclawska explains the
gifts of walking together and how we have
Imagine walking on your own through your
neighbourhood. You are enjoying your time of quiet
and solitude, maybe breathing, planning the rest
of your day, or simply looking around. Imagine,
that on your way you meet a friend who walks
with a couple of little children. The way you walk
changes as you need to follow the pace of the little
ones. You need to stop from time to time or help
your friend to run after the child who decides to
Imagine you meet your old friend in a wheelchair
on your walk as he leaves the retirement village.
The way you converse with your friend requires
you to bend over at times and speak louder.
Walking with others changes your own experience,
sometimes it even changes the direction or the goal
you want to achieve.
The idea of ‘walking together’ is the core image
which Pope Francis presented to the faithful when
convoking the Synod on Synodality in 2021.
He called on us: “Let us have a good journey
together,” and asked that we be “pilgrims in love
with the Gospel and open to the surprises of
the Spirit.” At the opening Mass of the Synod in
October 2021 he urged us not to miss out “on
the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter,
listening, and discernment.”
This is the essence of what has been experienced
over the past nine months in the Diocese of
Parramatta. Following the call from Pope Francis,
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of
Parramatta invited all members of the Diocese to
participate in the Synod of Bishops by submitting
their thoughts on questions around communion,
participation and mission.
At the same time, a Diocesan Committee for the
Consultation on the Synod of Bishops and the
Diocesan Synod Writing Group worked together
on listening and discerning the voices of people in
Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
The Final Synthesis document resulting from this
consultation has now been published. After a period
of viewing and exhibition of the document in late
April 2022, the parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes,
Seven Hills welcomed Bishop Vincent and members
of both committees who prepared the Diocese
of Parramatta submissions to celebrate the final
document in early May.
As Bishop Vincent stated in his homily, “Let us renew
our commitment to co-create with Pope Francis a
Church that is fit-for-purpose going forward, one that
is humble, transparent, accountable and faithful to
the command to evangelise the world.”
Imagine… if we continue walking and listening…
that truly would be the synodality in action as Pope
Francis wants us to live.
You can read the Synthesis document of
submissions by parishioners in the Diocese of
Parramatta at bit.ly/synod2023.
Sr Grace Roclawska csfn is Head of Formation for Mission in
the Diocese of Parramatta.
From left Sr Grace Roclawska, Padmi Pathinather, Anastasia Boulus, Wendy Goonan, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv,
Bishop of Parramatta, Anne Benjamin, David Bourne and Leo Tucker at the celebration of the Final Synthesis at our Lady
of Lourdes, Seven Hills on 1 May 2022. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
Diocese of Parramatta Committee for the
Consultation on the Synod of Bishops:
Sr Grace Roclawska
Fr Shinto Francis
Fr Joseph Lam (theological advisor)
Synthesis Writing Group:
Walking with others changes
your own experience, sometimes
it even changes the direction or
the goal you want to achieve.
Go out into the Deep:
Become the Church Christ calls us to be
Contribution to the Synod for a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission,
from the Diocese of Parramatta
Acknowledgement of Country:
“We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the unceded lands on which we walk, the lands
of the Darug and Gundungurra Peoples. We pay our respects to them and to all Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Elders – past, present and emerging. We recognise that they hold the
memories, traditions, culture and hopes of Indigenous Australia and the wisdom of Mother
Earth, and we wish to learn from them as we journey forward.”
Second-year seminarians Menard Gaspi (left) and Patrick
Laurente (centre) are seen in prayer at the Holy Spirit Seminary,
Harris Park. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta.
Accompanying seminarians to be
beacons of light for the people
STORY MARY BRAZELL
Our faith teaches us the importance of
community, and nowhere is this more evident
than in our Diocese of Parramatta. Every day,
members of the community support one another
in countless ways through their prayer, faith in
action and charitable works.
This generosity of heart and spirit can be carried
through to the formation of our future priests. Our
Holy Spirit Seminary at Harris Park is carrying out
its mission to prepare men who have been called
by God to become His disciples and priests for the
people and with the people, not for themselves.
The Diocese of Parramatta has 14 men who have
chosen to answer God’s call and are currently going
through their formation.
“I really admire these men for saying ‘I’m going to try
this call I feel I’m receiving’,” Fr Paul Marshall, the
new Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary said. “It takes
a lot of courage and a lot of hard work.
“It’s a brave decision, requiring an incredible
leap of faith.”
Patrick Laurente, in his second year of formation,
explained that by attending World Youth Day in
Panama, he was given the opportunity to meet
different people who are living out God’s vocation
with “fire and zeal”.
“One thing led to another, and I finally decided to
respond to God’s invitation. That meant being more
involved in my parish, developing a consistent prayer
life, and attending Mass and receiving Our Lord
daily,” Patrick said.
“Prior to entering the seminary, I was on a career
change to become a physiotherapist. But I guess
when God calls, He calls.”
Menard Gaspi, also a second-year seminarian,
devoted 14 years to working as a missionary before
he decided to take the next step towards a life
dedicated to serving God as a priest.
“From a young age, I would serve at our church
and I always thought about the priesthood,”
“My vocation was nurtured in my family. My love for
family and missionary experience has guided my
desire to serve the Lord and His Church. I believe
that’s where my gifts and talents can bear the
Both seminarians are very clear about how they see
their role as priests and how they wish to serve our
faith community in the future.
“I would like to help inspire them to give life to the
world and make it a better, more fulfilled place,”
Menard said. “I would like to help guide people to
live out the essence of the Church, a beacon of light
that leads the way to Christ.”
Patrick agreed, “it’s about promoting unity in what
we do and how we can be that light for all walks
of life, not just Catholics in our parish. Because we
never know who we might encounter, as God calls all
of us to love.”
As our Diocese continues to grow, we need to train
more visionary young men to join Patrick and
Menard in becoming beacons of light for the people.
“Seminarians are formed with the people and for
the people, not for themselves. Therefore, I invite all
of God’s people in the Diocese to be the extended
formation community for these faithful men. You
do so by your prayer, support and when and where
possible, accompaniment,” Bishop Vincent Long
OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta said.
Your donation to our Bishop’s Good Shepherd
Appeal will support our seminarians to answer the
calling in their hearts and follow the path to a life of
service to God and our community.
“Your kind donations allow us to devote our lives to God, sharing the
Gospel, and to serving you and your families – our faith community,”
Menard said. “Thank you for your kind accompaniment.”
To donate, please call (02) 8838 3482 or visit
To place your ad in Catholic Outlook and reach over
43,000 families in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains
contact Christina Gretton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugh McDermott MP
STATE MEMBER FOR PROSPECT
up for our
Contact Prospect Electorate Office,
2/679 The Horsley Drive, Smithfield NSW
Telephone (02) 9756 4766
Authorised by Hugh McDermott MP, 2/679 The Horsley Dr, Smithfield NSW produced using Parliamentary Entitlements June 2022.
Check out these Spirit-filled music recommendations,
courtesy of Geraldine Vytilingam, a member of the
Gen Bryant Ministry team.
Use the winter months to
nourish your faith with
Fresh Wind by Hillsong Worship featuring
Brooke Ligertwood and David Ware.
Same God by Elevation Worship featuring
Always Will Be by Jonathan Ogden.
Now I Know by Gen Bryant.
Declaring Glory (The Earth Sings its Refrain)
by The Porter’s Gate and Jon Guerra
featuring Audrey Assad and Page CXVI.
Peter Malone MSC of Australian Catholics
Magazine has some advice if you haven’t
already seen Fr Stu, the Mark Wahlberg movie
on the life of Fr Stuart Long, the American
boxer-turned-priest currently in cinemas. He
advises Catholic viewers: be patient as it might
not be what you are expecting, accept that
the strong language used is part of sharing
Stu’s life, and go see the movie before looking
up the true-life story of Stuart Long. He says
“See the film and share the complexities of
Sturt Long’s life and life choices from a fresh
perspective. You will have mixed emotions
along the way. But the ending will be credible.
For many audiences quite moving.”
Father Stu stars Mark Wahlberg, Mel
Gibson, Teresa Ruiz, Malcolm McDowell
and Jacqui Weaver. Rated M.
With thanks to Peter Malone MSC.
Image: Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) in Columbia
Pictures' Father Stu. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.
©2021 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Have you explored the
available on YouTube?
Here’s a few to try.
Sr Joan Chittister a
Benedictine Sister of
Erie, PA. and a leading
voice on peace, human
rights, women’s issues
and church renewal. She
is a best-selling author,
having written more
than 60 books and cochairs
the Global Peace
Initiative of Women.
Fr Richard Rohr OFM a Franciscan priest has been
called “one of the most popular spirituality authors
and speakers in the world.” He founded the Center for
Action and Contemplation which introduces seekers
to the contemplative Christian path of transformation.
Fr Richard has numerous YouTube clips to explore, and
you can also sign up for short daily meditations.
Walter Brueggemann is a renowned author and Old
Testament scholar and has been described as “one
of the world’s great teachers about the prophets who
both anchor the Hebrew Bible and have transcended it
Yale Divinity School – Yale University has numerous
videos from its Divinity School lecturers. You can
watch hours of videos on topics including the history
of Early Modern Christianity, peace, justice and
Sr Joan Chittister. Image Diocese of Parramatta.
Produced by the Pastoral
Formation team in the
Diocese of Parramatta, this
podcast series brings you
stories of faith and hope.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Find it on Spotify or
though the website
God’s Guide for Grandparents
“Very often it is grandparents who
ensure that the most important
values are passed down to their
grandchildren, and many people
can testify that they owe their
initiation into the Christian life to
their grandparents.” - Pope Francis,
Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of Love.
As fun and special as time spent with
grandchildren can be, we know that
being a grandparent is a supporting -
and not a starring - role. So, how can
grandparents truly make a difference
in their grandchildren’s lives?
God’s Guide for Grandparents
draws on sacred Scripture, the
example of the saints, the teachings
of the Church, the writings of Pope
Francis, and anecdotes from today’s
grandparents. Grandchildren are
always watching. Make the most of
your opportunity to have a positive
and lasting impact in their lives.
God’s Guide for Grandparents
By Susan M Erschen
Published by Our Sunday Visitor
Publishing. Available at Freedom
Pray with Pope Francis
Pope Francis’ care for humanity and the
mission of the Church are expressed through
the monthly Pope’s prayer intentions. You can
find videos of the Pope’s monthly intentions at
JUNE | For families
We pray for Christian families around the world;
may they embody and experience unconditional
love and advance in holiness in their daily lives.
JULY | For the elderly
We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots
and memory of a people; may their experience
and wisdom help young people to look towards
the future with hope and responsibility.
AUGUST | For small businesses
We pray for small and medium sized businesses;
in the midst of economic and social crisis, may
they find ways to continue operating, and serving
On 24 July 2022 the Catholic Church celebrates World Day for
Grandparents and the Elderly with the theme “In old age they
will still bear fruit.” Read our article on the special relationship
between grandparents and grandchildren on page 24.
Photo © ACN International
at this time. Please pray for peace
and protection for this country and
its inhabitants who have already
endured so much suffering and
pain. Despite difficulties and
hardship, the Church promises
not to abandon its faithful,
whatever might happen.
Aid to the Church in Need
Australia has launched an
emergency appeal to support the
Catholic Church in Ukraine. ACN is
committed to strengthening and
supporting the Catholic Church
in Ukraine, as we have done for
the past 70 years. The appeal has
been given the support of Bishop
Mykola Bychok CSsR, Eparch of
the Ukrainian Catholic Church
in Australia, New Zealand and
ACN began its support to
exiled Ukrainian Christians in
was crucial in
Church life and
still has many
include the formation of some
900 seminarians - of both Latin
and Eastern Catholic Churches -
and the upkeep and restoration
of seminaries, churches and
Please make a generous offering
to help ease the burden that the
people of Ukraine are shouldering
Founded in 1947, ACN is the only international
Catholic Charity dedicated to the pastoral
support of suffering and persecuted Christians.
To make an offering
scan the QR code
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus’ disciples to allow them
to share the Good News with everyone around the world.
The flames on the heads of the disciples are a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
As you colour in this picture, think of all the symbols of the Holy Spirit you can.
3rd Glorious Mystery: Descent of the Holy Spirit. © TheCatholicKid.com
Directory of services
(02) 8843 2500 or visit catholiccarewsbm.org.au
(02) 8838 3400
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
(02) 8838 3400
Diocese of Parramatta
(02) 9840 5600
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
(02) 9407 7044
Ambrose Early Years Education
and School Age Care
(02) 9407 7044
Catholic Care Western Sydney
and the Blue Mountains
(02) 8843 2500
Mission Enhancement Team
Catholic Youth Parramatta
Marriage, Family and Natural Fertility
Peace, Justice and Ecology
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
(02) 8838 3486
(02) 8838 3480
(02) 8838 3460
Parramatta Catholic Foundation
(02) 8838 3482
Diocesan Development Fund
(02) 8839 4500
Holy Spirit Seminary
(02) 9296 6300
Office for Safeguarding
(02) 8838 3419
Whatever your age, you will never be invisible to the people at Catholic Care. Our range of
supports aim to keep you living independently in your own home for as long as possible,
while staying connected with your friends and community.
Our Commonwealth Home Support Program support elderly people to stay living
independently at home, while our Community Visitor’s Scheme aims to reduce loneliness
and enrich people’s lives through fortnightly visits to residents at aged-care facilities.
Bringing a baby into the world
There are few things more important than caring for a newborn child. Our programs have helped
many young women who are feeling lost or have been excluded from their community and are
at risk of homelessness, to get the support they need. Our parenting support program supports
new parents finding the challenges of a newborn overwhelming.
Our chaplains provide spiritual and emotional support for patients and inmates, their
families and staff in the seven hospitals and three correctional centres throughout the
Diocese of Parramatta. An inclusive ministry available to all faiths, our 15 chaplains work
alongside others involved in the care of patients and inmates.
Catholic Care offers a range of support services to ensure children are taken care of in any
situation. It starts with early years learning and childcare — our home-based early learning and
parenting program for families with young children helps them and their parents develop skills,
and our family day care helps kids get a good start with their education. Our creche is a thriving
early learning centre, providing care for children of Sudanese refugee women enrolled in English
classes offered on the grounds of Catholic Care.
Connecting with my Community
Our drop-in centres provide a safe place for people to belong and connect with others.
They are a place to be, a place to get information, join a group, and be accepted.
In Emerton, Aboriginal Catholic Services is a drop-in centre led by Aboriginal people for
Aboriginal people. In Blacktown, culturally and linguistically diverse families are accessing
support to settle into life in Australia by the team at All Saints of Africa. And at our Springwood
Drop-in Centre, established to support the community after the 2014 bushfires, clients stop by
for a chat, join a reading group or seek support with their mental health.
Living well with Disability
We all need a support network to live our lives to the fullest. Our disability support team, can
help you with living, learning and overcoming obstacles on your journey, whatever they may
look like. We can help you set goals, and achieve them, and help you build a brighter future.
As a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, we support clients
at home and in the community, whether you want to learn how to cook, need support with
personal care, or want to play sport.
Support for my Family
When life gets tough for our families, the people we care about most can suffer. Our range
of family support services can support you to better relate to your spouse and understand
their behaviour, to deal with dependence or gambling problems, single parenting, or just
connecting with your kids.
We support families who are going through the most difficult of times to cope through
separation, and with grief and loss. We help parents deal with all the stresses that can
impact your family, from anxiety and depression to money worries, gambling—we have the
people, the resources and the support to help you make it through.
Most Rev Vincent Long OFM
Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, has
confirmed these appointments in
the Diocese of Parramatta:
Fr Floyd Kanongi Gatana SM
Assistant Priest at St Andrew the
Apostle Parish, Marayong
from 20 March 2022.
Fr John Walenciej SDB
Assistant Priest of Our Lady of the
Rosary Church, St Marys
from 29 April 2022.
Deacon HuYao Zhang OSA
Assistant Deacon of Holy Spirit
Parish St Clair
from 2 May 2022.
Deacon Andrew Rooney
Deacon of St Michael’s Church,
Parish of Baulkham Hills
from 9 May 2022.
Voice of the people
What does family love
look like to you?
“Family love to me looks like being
connected, sharing the good and hard
moments, praying together, forgiveness
and sacrifice. With a young family, it
is shown in little moments amongst
the busyness of life – helping each
other, listening to each other, laughing
together and showing the love of Christ
to each other.”
Tanya Castellino - Mother of four and parishioner of Our Lady of the
Angels Parish, Rouse Hill.
“Family love is the love that
keeps a family together. It’s an
important part of a home. Our
Christian values of faith, trust and
our commitment moulds us as a
unit, not only in the home, but in
society and wider world, home to
all God’s living creatures.”
Noel McKertich - Parishioner of St Anthony of Padua Parish,
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
“Family love is a special type of love
that comes with its unique feelings,
behaviours, challenges and rewards. It’s
a group of people that function as a unit
that faces challenges together, shows
respect for each other, works together,
takes responsibility, makes time for
each other and practises forgiveness.”
Honorine McKertich - Parishioner of St Anthony of Padua Parish,
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
“It has the potential to be an authentic altruistic
experience. It is nursing COVID-19 or broken hearts and
then watching the joy on the faces of people who have
made new discoveries about themselves and the world.
It is courageous, joyous, infuriating, vulnerable, hopeful,
sacrificial and occasionally, transcendent.”
Francis O’Callaghan - Religious
Education Coordinator at St Columba’s
Catholic College, Springwood.
“It is a basic ecclesial community wherein every member is
shown mutual love, respect and understanding regardless of
differences. For me, that is the very foundation that every family
should have. Much more, love of family can remain strong if it is
deeply rooted in the love of God.”
Fr Galbert Albino - Assistant Priest of St
Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.
Image: Diocese of Parramatta.