Catholic Outlook Magazine Ordinary Time Winter Edition 2022

The official publication of the Diocese of Parramatta

The official publication of the Diocese of Parramatta


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

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<br />

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<br />

Nurturing the God-seed Why <strong>Ordinary</strong> within <strong>Time</strong> us I is Mark not Wahlberg’s ordinary new movie<br />

<strong>Ordinary</strong> <strong>Time</strong> | <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2022</strong> 2021

Imprimatur and Publisher:<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Bishop of Parramatta<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

PO Box 3066,<br />

North Parramatta, NSW, 1750<br />

bishop@parracatholic.org<br />

www.catholicoutlook.org<br />

Editor & Vicar for Communication:<br />

Br Mark O’Connor FMS<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

PO Box 3066,<br />

North Parramatta, NSW, 1750<br />

comms@parracatholic.org<br />

Communications Manager:<br />

Christina Gretton<br />

Communications Officer:<br />

Mary Brazell<br />

Nihil Obstat:<br />

Fr Wim Hoekstra<br />

Accounts:<br />

Alfie Ramirez<br />

(02) 8838 3437<br />

alfie.ramirez@parracatholic.org<br />

Printing:<br />

IVE Group Australia Pty Ltd<br />

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

may not be reproduced without permission of<br />

the publisher. 43,500 copies are printed and<br />

distributed to 47 parishes and more than 80<br />

schools, after school care centres and early<br />

learning centres in Western Sydney and the<br />

Blue Mountains.<br />

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

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

© Diocese of Parramatta <strong>2022</strong><br />

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

of the lands in which our Diocese sits, the land of the Darug and<br />

Gundungurra people.<br />

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

and future, for they hold the traditions, memories of Mother Earth on<br />

which we place our feet upon today.<br />

Pictured: The artist Josh Sly is a proud Biripi, Worimi and Wiradjuri Guri (man).<br />

Josh works as Aboriginal Cultural Officer at the <strong>Catholic</strong> Education Diocese of<br />

Parramatta (CEDP) Jarara Indigenous Education Unit in Mount Druitt. His artwork<br />

highlights the CEDP commitment to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait<br />

Islander peoples for reconciliation. It is featured in CEDP's first Reconciliation<br />

Action Plan available online at parra.catholic.edu.au/reconciliation.<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta reaffirms the<br />

wise axiom attributed to Saint Augustine of<br />

Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials,<br />

freedom; in all things, charity.” In this spirit,<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> publishes a variety of<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> viewpoints. They are not necessarily<br />

the official views of the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Cover Image: Violet Wang and Kevin Lai and their son at the Easter Vigil<br />

Mass at St Michael’s Church, Parish of Baulkham Hills.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta

From Bishop Vincent<br />

Dear Sisters and Brothers,<br />

It is helpful to remind ourselves, as we celebrate<br />

Pentecost in <strong>2022</strong>, that the images of God’s<br />

transforming Holy Spirit are wind and fire. That is the<br />

incredible personal presence we have inside each<br />

of us.<br />

This is the power through which God became one of<br />

us in Palestine and then fills the disciples’ hearts at<br />

Pentecost with courage and creativity.<br />

Our annual celebration of the season of Pentecost<br />

especially reminds us that our Lord and Liberator,<br />

Jesus of Nazareth, is not just some figure<br />

from history. In some mysterious way, beyond our<br />

understanding but not beyond our belief, Jesus is still<br />

with us.<br />

For Jesus promised us his deep abiding presence<br />

until He comes again in glory. At Pentecost we<br />

especially remember that He keeps his promise!<br />

For Jesus of Nazareth sent his Holy Spirit to<br />

empower us to go out and preach and live out the<br />

Gospel especially to those on the margins.<br />

Our front cover of this <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> edition shows<br />

the joy and wonder of parents and their baby being<br />

filled with the Holy Spirit, during a recent baptism at<br />

the Easter Vigil.<br />

It reminds us that our own<br />

baptism, is the same powerful<br />

force that, like a wind, blows<br />

all the cobwebs of sin and<br />

selfishness away and that<br />

burns down all barriers we erect<br />

against living our Christian<br />

life. For we are baptised into an<br />

ongoing and intense union with<br />

the Spirit of Christ.<br />

The bus driver going about his work, the nurse<br />

caring for the patients in hospital, because they are<br />

baptised Christians, are bathed in the presence and<br />

energy of the Spirit of God. And so are all of us,<br />

as we journey through the ups and downs of our<br />

daily lives.<br />

As our chaotic world stumbles from one crisis to<br />

the next, let’s never forget the Spirit is ‘hovering’<br />

over the seeming chaos of our unsettling times and<br />

mysteriously giving birth to the Kingdom of God.<br />

This Pentecost may we accept this grace of the Holy<br />

Spirit close by, especially in this the great Southern<br />

Land of the Holy Spirit. For:<br />

Without the Holy Spirit God is far away. Christ stays<br />

in the past, The Gospel is simply an organisation,<br />

Authority is a matter of propaganda, The liturgy is<br />

no more than an evolution, Christian loving a slave<br />

mentality.<br />

But in the Holy Spirit the cosmos is resurrected and<br />

grows with the Birth pangs of the kingdom.<br />

The Risen Christ is there,The Gospel is the power<br />

of life,The Church shows forth the life of the<br />

Trinity, Authority is a liberating science, Mission<br />

is a Pentecost, The liturgy is both renewal and<br />

anticipation, Human action is deified.<br />

Come Holy Spirit! <br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Bishop of Parramatta<br />




Enrolling now<br />

for 2023<br />

Belong.<br />


Visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au today to find your local <strong>Catholic</strong> school and join one of our<br />

caring, faith-filled communities.

16<br />

46<br />

40<br />

On the Inside<br />

<strong>Ordinary</strong> <strong>Time</strong> | <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2022</strong><br />

Get instant updates on <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

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facebook.com/parracatholic.<br />

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of charge every week.<br />

04 <strong>Outlook</strong>Looks<br />

08 Short & Sweet<br />

09 A prayer for strong faith<br />

10 We can all walk with refugees<br />

12 St Bernadette's parishioners<br />

welcome strangers as new<br />

friends<br />

14 Family is where it all begins<br />

16 Families - wonderful and fragile<br />

18 The Parramatta Way of looking<br />

out for each other<br />

20 The Parramatta Way of<br />

Safeguarding<br />

22 Love without end - Noel and<br />

Honorine McKertich<br />

24 Fun, love and understanding:<br />

the fruits of intergenerational<br />

connection<br />

26 Serving local families through<br />

faith and community<br />

28 School leadership is all about<br />

heart<br />

30 <strong>Catholic</strong> Care starts a new<br />

chapter<br />

32 Looking deeper<br />

34 Pentecost - accepting variety<br />

and difference<br />

36 The go-between God<br />

38 Faith in the ordinary<br />

40 Nurturing the God-seed within<br />

us<br />

42 Nurture the God-Seed in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta<br />

44 A cuppa with the Priest: Fr Alan<br />

Layt of St Aidan's Rooty Hill<br />

46 Parish Profile: St Aidan's Parish<br />

Rooty Hill: Small Parish, Big<br />

People<br />

48 Diocese of Parramatta walks<br />

towards the Synod of Bishops<br />

2023<br />

50 Accompanying seminarians<br />

to be beacons of light to the<br />

people<br />

52 Watch, Listen, Read, Think<br />

54 Pray with the Pope<br />

55 Kid's Corner<br />

56 Directory of services<br />

57 Latest appointments<br />

57 Voice of the people

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

Healing during Refugee Week<br />

Refugee Week runs from 19 to 25 June <strong>2022</strong>. This year’s theme,<br />

‘Healing’ highlights the opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on how we<br />

behave towards each other, particularly as the importance of human<br />

connection was highlighted during the pandemic. The National<br />

Refugee Week website has a host of resources to explore, links to<br />

movies you can watch during the week and a CANVA page of designs<br />

you can adapt for your social media feed. Image at left: @refugeeweek<br />

Check them out at refugeeweek.org.au<br />

Image: Shutterstock.<br />

Food drive for refugees<br />

Refugee Week is a great opportunity to organise your parish or<br />

school group to donate much-needed food and toiletries for refugee<br />

organisations in the Diocese of Parramatta. Jesuit Refugee Service,<br />

Parramatta and the House of Welcome, Granville provide food and<br />

other essentials for refugees and people seeking asylum who have little<br />

other support.<br />

Sign up to the Diocesan food drive roster at<br />

parracatholic.org/diocesanfooddrive<br />

Ready to travel in 2023?<br />

Bishop Vincent invites all young people of the Diocese of Parramatta to join him and <strong>Catholic</strong> Youth Parramatta on<br />

pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 to be held in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal during the month of August.<br />

The event will attract hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims ready to deepen their faith, encounter Christ with others<br />

around the world and worship with Pope Francis - in short, the experience of a lifetime. The Diocese of Parramatta has<br />

prepared an itinerary that begins in Paris and ends in Assisi – journeying through four countries encountering the lives of<br />

ordinary people who became extraordinary Saints.<br />

Experience St Vincent de Paul, St Thérèse of Lisieux, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Bernadette, St Ignatius of Loyola, St<br />

Dominic, St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila, Our Lady of Fatima, Bl Carlo Acutis, St Francis of Assisi and St Clare<br />

over 22 days!<br />

More details will be released in the coming<br />

weeks. You're also invited to the WYD23<br />

launch in the Diocese of Parramatta on the<br />

evening of 18 August when Fr Rob Galea<br />

will be joined by FRG Ministry Band at<br />

St John XXIII <strong>Catholic</strong> College, Stanhope<br />

Gardens.<br />

Young pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

in Panama for World Youth Day 2019. Image:<br />

Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Contact James Camden, Head Mission<br />

Engagement at met@parracatholic.org<br />


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

A season to give<br />

Fourteen young men are training to become beacons of<br />

Christ’s light in our Diocese at the Holy Spirit Seminary<br />

in Harris Park. Watch the video of a day in the life of our<br />

seminarians as they prepare for the priesthood. Your<br />

donation to our Good Shepherd Appeal will support our<br />

seminarians respond to God’s call.<br />

See the video and donate at catholicoutlook.info/<br />

goodshepherds<br />

Image: Shutterstock.<br />

#10familytips for Year of the<br />

Family<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Our video on life as a seminarian at Holy Spirit Seminary can be<br />

viewed at catholicoutlook.info/goodshepherds.<br />

Consider Caritas<br />

For over 55 years, Caritas Australia has been working with<br />

vulnerable communities around the world to end the cycle<br />

of poverty. Through partnerships with local organisations<br />

and Churches we are able to reach where the need is<br />

greatest and work towards an equal future for all.<br />

The universal <strong>Catholic</strong> Church is celebrating the<br />

conclusion of the Year of the Family in June <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

This special year, which commenced in March<br />

2021 highlights the special role that families play<br />

in our Church. Family, after all, is the first place we<br />

find and learn about love and caring for others. The<br />

Vatican has launched a campaign of #10familytips<br />

relevant to all families based on Pope Francis’<br />

letter Amoris Laetitia meaning “The Joy of Love”.<br />

Download the tips and more at our new family<br />

hub parracatholic.org/family<br />

Find out more at caritas.org.au<br />

Revolutionary Goals<br />

On Earth Day in April this year, the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

launched its journey towards the seven Laudato Si’ goals.<br />

These are goals set by Pope Francis to revolutionize our<br />

approach to the environment and the poor. The goals follow<br />

on from his ground-breaking letter on the environment,<br />

Laudato Si’. Find out how you can join with the Church in<br />

Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to make lasting<br />

change.<br />

Watch the video inviting you to join our Diocese's seven year<br />

journey to the Laudato Si' goals at parracatholic.org/laudatosi.<br />

Details at parracatholic.org/laudatosi<br />

Image: Shutterstock.<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> family time<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> presents a special time to build family<br />

togetherness indoors. Recognise the talent within<br />

your family with a family talent show. Don’t accept<br />

any excuses, God has given everyone something to<br />

be good at, sometimes it just needs encouragement<br />

to let it shine.<br />

Find this and other ideas to help your family talk<br />

about faith at catholicoutlook.info/familyideas<br />


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

NAIDOC Week in the Diocese<br />

of Parramatta<br />

With the largest urban population of Aboriginal people in<br />

Australia living within the Diocese of Parramatta, there is plenty<br />

to celebrate in NAIDOC Week 3 to 10 July <strong>2022</strong>. This year’s<br />

theme is 'Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!' encouraging all of us<br />

to continue to work for change and equal rights.<br />

Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong> Services are holding a day of celebration<br />

for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people on Monday<br />

4 July 10am to 2pm. There’ll be entertainment, music, face<br />

painting, rides and more. Show your solidarity and have some<br />

family fun with members of our local Aboriginal community.<br />

The celebration will be held at Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Services, 254 Luxford Rd Emerton.<br />

What’s On<br />

in the Diocese?<br />

6-12 JUNE<br />

Safe Parishes Week. Find out more about making<br />

your parish a safe space at safeguarding.org.au<br />

24 JUNE<br />

Fr Patrick McInerney from the Columban Centre<br />

will be presenting on Interfaith Dialogue at 10am.<br />

Call Maree on 02 8838 3486 to register.<br />

26 JUNE<br />

World Meeting of Families parish celebrations.<br />

Contact your parish for details.<br />

3 JULY<br />

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander<br />

Sunday. For information go to natsicc.org.au<br />

4 JULY<br />

NAIDOC Week celebration 10am to 2pm. Join<br />

our Aboriginal brothers and sisters to celebrate<br />

Aboriginal culture and the achievements of<br />

Aboriginal people. Family fun with stalls,<br />

entertainment, face painting and rides.<br />

Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong> Services, 254 Luxford Rd,<br />

Emerton<br />

11 AUGUST<br />

Ministry Leadership Program, Blacktown – a 10<br />

week faith formation to support you in pastoral<br />

leadership and personal faith. For upcoming and<br />

current leaders aged over 18 in parishes and faith<br />

communities. Details at parracatholic.org/met<br />

12 AUGUST<br />

Faith in Marriage seminar. Contact met@<br />

parracatholic.org for details.<br />

Boost your spirituality during<br />

<strong>Ordinary</strong> <strong>Time</strong><br />

Following the high points of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost,<br />

our Church has a period known as ‘<strong>Ordinary</strong> <strong>Time</strong>’. But<br />

don’t be mistaken that this means our spiritual lives<br />

become ordinary. After the fasting and the feasting of the<br />

previous season it’s a time to bring our connection back<br />

‘into order’ through reflection, community and service. Put<br />

your hand up to be an active participant at Mass, or check<br />

what courses and discussion groups are on offer to give<br />

your faith a boost.<br />

Find out more in our articles on forming your spirituality<br />

on page 40 and opportunities in the Diocese on page 42.<br />

18 AUGUST<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta launches World Youth<br />

Day 2023. Join Bishop Vincent, Fr Rob Galea and<br />

the FRG Ministry Band at St John XXIII <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

College, Stanhope Gardens. For details email<br />

James Camden met@parracatholic.org<br />


Adult Confirmation at St Patrick’s Cathedral,<br />

Parramatta. A community celebration for those<br />

who have received both the sacraments of<br />

Baptism and Eucharist. Find out more at<br />

officeforworship.org.au<br />

5, 12, 19 SEPTEMBER<br />

Liturgical Ministry Formation Course. For<br />

those who wish to serve at the altar at Mass.<br />

Information at officeforworship.org.au

For more than 55 years, we have been working with vulnerable<br />

communities around the world to forge a path out of poverty.<br />

Working together for justice and dignity. Walking together in hope.<br />

Forging a just world together.<br />

Your generous support today can help to change the<br />

lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.<br />

www.caritas.org.au | 1800 024 413

Short & Sweet<br />

A ‘family-friendly’ society is<br />

possible, because society is born<br />

and evolves with the family.<br />

His Holiness Pope Francis<br />

Image: Shutterstock.<br />

The Church in this country is an immense contributor<br />

to our society, through our parishes, our schools,<br />

our hospital and aged care, our social services and<br />

countless other ministries.<br />

As we continue to contemplate how we live out the<br />

Gospel in this age, including through the Plenary<br />

Council, I look forward to working with my brother<br />

bishops and the People of God to carry forward<br />

Christ’s mission.<br />

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB<br />

President-elect of the Australian<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Bishops Conference. His<br />

term will commence 13 July <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Image: ACBC.<br />

Here on this sacred land of the Darug and<br />

Gundungurra people, and elsewhere, and in the<br />

spirit of the Gospel, we seek to bring healing and<br />

restore trust. We commit to the Uluru Statement of<br />

the Heart: to work for a fair and truthful relationship<br />

with the people of Australia and a better future for<br />

our children based on justice and<br />

self-determination.<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

Bishop of Parramatta in the <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Education Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Reconciliation Action Plan, April <strong>2022</strong><br />

It is a battle not just for democracy against autocracy,<br />

but for freedom against slavery, for truth against<br />

falsehood, for life against death, for good against<br />

evil. In such a battle the Church cannot remain<br />

neutral, which is why we write to you now to express<br />

our unqualified solidarity with you and your people.<br />

Australian <strong>Catholic</strong> Bishops<br />

Conference President, Archbishop<br />

Mark Coleridge to Major Archbishop<br />

Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian<br />

Greek <strong>Catholic</strong> Church, May <strong>2022</strong><br />

Image: ACBC.<br />

Support our seminarians<br />

to become beacons of<br />

Christ’s light<br />

“<br />

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all<br />

involved in the formation of these faithful men.<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta<br />

Please give generously to the<br />

Bishop’s Good Shepherd Appeal<br />



Strong Faith<br />

May you find the beauty of Mother Earth fills your spirit<br />

and your life to strengthen your prayer and your work.<br />

May you find a stillness in the running water that<br />

cleanses you and quenches your thirst. May the<br />

land and its bounty connect your feet and your spirit<br />

to give you food for your journey.<br />

May your dreaming find you in a liminal space where<br />

you draw strength and inspiration from the past<br />

to go forward courageously, to co-create the future.<br />

May you experience the gentleness of the Father’s<br />

love that touches the land, touches the wild things and<br />

touches you. May you find strength in allowing the Holy<br />

Spirit to guide you,<br />

And may your connectedness to the land and your trust<br />

in the Lord strengthen the bedrock of your faith so that<br />

He may build His House in you.<br />

Amen.<br />

Frances Brown, Ngemba Woman, 2018<br />

From Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Spirituality: Prayers and Quotes<br />

By the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander <strong>Catholic</strong> Council and<br />

Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong> Ministry in Canberra.<br />

The publication will be available to purchase in the coming months.<br />

Details at natsicc.org.au<br />

Image: Shutterstock<br />


Tamara Domicelj, Country Director of JRS Australia right, with<br />

from left, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta,<br />

and refugees Hava and Magdalene. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

We can all walk<br />

with refugees<br />


If one part suffers, every part suffers with it;<br />

if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.<br />

1 Corinthians 12:26<br />


When issues such as the refugee crisis seem<br />

overwhelming, Tamara Domicelj, Country<br />

Director JRS Australia, reassures us that actions<br />

we take at the local level make a difference.<br />

This is an abridged version of the address<br />

she gave to leaders from our parishes<br />

at a March gathering organised by the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta initiative, Diocesan<br />

Journey…Walking with Refugees and People<br />

Seeking Asylum.<br />

Local engagement - human-to-human acts - are<br />

an increasingly prominent part of a global fabric<br />

of determined goodwill which I believe is gaining<br />

strength in these volatile and harrowing times.<br />

We are all bearing witness, here in Australia and<br />

overseas, to so many tragedies (not all refugeerelated),<br />

with a devastating toll upon human lives,<br />

family unity, infrastructure and the environment.<br />

We stand alongside Pope Francis and the broader<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Church in lamenting the ‘diabolical<br />

senselessness of violence’, in the Ukraine and<br />

Afghanistan – and in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Yemen<br />

and beyond.<br />

Amidst such calamitous scenes and stories, it is<br />

normal to feel overwhelmed and even pulled towards<br />

despair. We yearn to do more for those who are less<br />

safe than we are, and we can feel pained by our very<br />

human limitations.<br />

And yet, we also bear witness to countless everyday<br />

acts of generosity and courage, small and large,<br />

which collectively are worthy beyond measure.<br />

Prams left at train stations for fleeing Ukrainian<br />

parents to retrieve. Welcoming toys lined up across<br />

border-line bridges to comfort children. Algorithms<br />

developed to connect those with spare rooms with<br />

those who need them. Here, locally, neighbours<br />

saving neighbours from rooftops, in tinnies, amidst<br />

raging brown waters and debris. And everywhere,<br />

acts of proud defiance and resistance, as people<br />

speak truth to power: nuns kneeling before troops in<br />

Myanmar; crowds standing before heavily armoured<br />

tanks in the Ukraine; girls marching for access to<br />

their closed schools in Afghanistan.<br />

We know that there is so much that we do not see,<br />

on our phones and news bulletins, from where<br />

cameras are no longer present, or never were, or<br />

from where footage cannot safely emerge.<br />

Everyone has a role – and every contribution does<br />

count. Individually and collectively, they help to save<br />

and rebuild shattered lives.<br />

Australia was amongst the majority of nations that<br />

affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees a few<br />

years ago. Over 70 years ago, it was Australia’s<br />

signature, the 6th amongst nations, which brought<br />

the International Refugees Convention into effect.<br />

Australia has, at times, played a pivotal role in this<br />

arena - including, historically, with our refugee<br />

resettlement program and humanitarian responses,<br />

such as under the Comprehensive Plan of Action in<br />

the late 1980s and ‘90s, when we welcomed around<br />

70,000 refugees to our shores – mostly from Vietnam<br />

- many of whom have, of course, gone on to make<br />

extraordinary contributions to this country.<br />

Currently much of Australia’s approach is relentlessly<br />

punitive, profoundly ill-conceived, and widely,<br />

globally, decried.<br />

The financial, physical, psychological, ethical and<br />

reputational costs of all of that are immense.<br />

We may be starting to see the fracturing of our<br />

egregious so-called “offshore processing” regime.<br />

There is much still to undo, but after nine long years<br />

Australia has finally accepted New Zealand’s offer<br />

to resettle 450 refugees. And people are also now<br />

leaving for the USA and Canada. There is extensive<br />

and sustained people power behind all of that.<br />

I believe we can roll back this global crisis in<br />

humanitarian response. It will take time and tenacity.<br />

And we will need to be constant and collaborative in<br />

all of our efforts.<br />

We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one<br />

part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is<br />

honoured, every part rejoices with it”.<br />

Please know that your donations of funds, material<br />

goods, and displays of compassion and care<br />

assure those refugees whom we serve, that they are<br />

welcome here; that we see and honour their courage<br />

and dignity; and that, in our shared humanity, we will<br />

continue to walk alongside them. <br />

To find out how you can support refugees<br />

through your deanery, parish or school, or be<br />

involved in the “Diocesan Journey… Walking<br />

with Refugees” in the Diocese of Parramatta go<br />

to parracatholic.org/socialjustice<br />

National Refugee Week takes place<br />

19 to 25 June <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Tamara Domicelj, is Country Director of JRS Australia, one of<br />

several <strong>Catholic</strong> organisations which support refugees in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


The St Bernadette’s parish mentor group recently gathered to celebrate Eid with the Samim family (centre of pic)<br />

who are refugees from Afghanistan. Joanne Long is second from left. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

St Bernadette’s<br />

parishioners<br />

welcome strangers<br />

as new friends<br />


Parishioners from St Bernadette’s at Castle<br />

Hill are building on the parish’s long history of<br />

supporting refugees by forming a new group to<br />

mentor an Afghan refugee family who arrived in<br />

Australia following the Taliban’s takeover of their<br />

homeland.<br />

The mentoring relationship is part of <strong>Catholic</strong> Care’s<br />

Parish Group Mentorship Program which is a<br />

partnership between <strong>Catholic</strong> Care Western Sydney<br />

and the Blue Mountains and Community Refugee<br />

Sponsorship Australia (CRSA).<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Care’s Manager of Community Engagement,<br />

Celia Vagg says parish mentorship of refugees offers<br />

a way to demonstrate love to our new neighbours,<br />

to show our solidarity with the marginalised and<br />

suffering, and welcome strangers as new friends.<br />

The program helps refugees successfully settle and<br />

integrate into their new communities and fosters<br />

connection between locals and refugees.<br />

Joanne Long, a parishioner at St Bernadette’s<br />

who leads the parish group, says she first became<br />

involved after seeing <strong>Catholic</strong> Care’s notice about the<br />

program on the parish’s Facebook page.<br />

“I know Fr Fernando was keen to have our parish<br />

help refugees and I was happy to be part of it,<br />

because I’d seen how my brother-in-law’s family are<br />

still in touch with a Vietnamese refugee family they<br />

supported years ago, and how lovely that is.”<br />

Joanne says there are currently six other people<br />

from St Bernadette’s and four members of the wider<br />

community involved in the refugee support group.<br />

They are mentoring a young Afghan couple and<br />

their children who arrived as refugees in December<br />

and are living in the Hills district in Sydney. The<br />

couple, in their 30s, have four children under six<br />

years of age. Both parents have university degrees.<br />

The wife was working in Human Resources for an<br />


international company when the Taliban took over<br />

and the husband worked with a company which had<br />

Australian links, and which helped them to escape<br />

over the border into Pakistan.<br />

She says CRSA provided training and support for<br />

group-members and continues to do so.<br />

“We all had to do the usual security and Working<br />

With Children Checks,” she says. “And then,<br />

because of COVID, we did our six-hour training<br />

course online over two days. Normally CRSA would<br />

hold in-person workshops. They work with lots of<br />

groups from all over Australia and the world, so we<br />

feel very well supported by them.”<br />

The first request for the group was to help find a<br />

computer for the refugee family, as they had to leave<br />

theirs behind when they fled Afghanistan, and they<br />

require one to complete their online English courses<br />

through TAFE, among other day-to-day reasons.<br />

“We’ve also helped set the family up on their mobile<br />

phones and the parish raised money over Christmas<br />

which helped provide them with food voucher debit<br />

cards, as they’ve arrived with no money and no job.<br />

We’ve met for coffee, walks, picnics and provided<br />

general information about government processes,<br />

job-seeking, community links, playgroup and<br />

sport and helped with school fees, uniforms and<br />

household bills.<br />

“In the future we’ll help them get their driver’s licence<br />

and get their driving hours up.<br />

“A big part of it though, is just friendship. They’ve<br />

arrived in a new country, with few connections, so<br />

friendship is really important.”<br />

St Bernadette’s has a long history of supporting<br />

refugee families, going back to the 1970s when<br />

parishioners took in Vietnamese refugee families and<br />

helped them settle into life in Australia. <br />

“We put out a call in the parish newsletter and<br />

one parishioner, who works for a major financial<br />

services company, donated 12 laptops which were<br />

almost brand-new, and we’ve been able to distribute<br />

them to other refugee families across Sydney,”<br />

Joanne says.<br />

To learn more about how your parish could<br />

mentor a refugee family contact Celia Vagg<br />

at <strong>Catholic</strong> Care: (02) 8843 2550 or<br />

celia.vagg@ccss.org.au<br />

Debra Vermeer is a freelance writer.<br />


Family is where<br />

it all begins<br />


When you think of an image that represents the<br />

Church, what comes to your mind?<br />

It might be a building, such as the parish you go to,<br />

or a church that means something to you, or it might<br />

be a person or a group that has supported you in<br />

faith. If we look a little longer and go a little deeper,<br />

we might come to see that a good image of the<br />

Church could be a family.<br />

Family the beginning of faith<br />

The Bible begins with God creating people – men<br />

and women – to live in relationship with one another<br />

and to bear life. It tells countless stories of families<br />

who followed God’s ways. And it tells us that God<br />

Himself chose to be born and to grow in a family.<br />

Family is the place in which we first encounter God’s<br />

love and where we learn how to love others in the<br />

spirit of Jesus.<br />

This year, the Church is honouring the fundamental<br />

importance of families in a special way. We are<br />

continuing the Year of the Family and preparing for<br />

the World Meeting of Families in June.<br />

The Year of the Family<br />

On March 19, 2021, the Year of the Family began.<br />

This date isn’t only the Solemnity of St Joseph, but<br />

it also marked the fifth anniversary of publication of<br />

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia,<br />

or “The Joy of Love”.<br />

You might wonder why we need a Year of the Family,<br />

and what it might offer for your family today.<br />

This special year strives to ensure all families across<br />

the world, in every situation, are heard, valued and<br />

reached through evangelisation, catechesis and<br />

formation.<br />

The World Meeting of Families<br />

The Year of the Family will officially conclude with<br />

the Tenth World Meeting of Families from 23 to 26<br />

June <strong>2022</strong>. The World Meeting of Families, which<br />

was initiated by Pope St John Paul II in 1994 and<br />

is held every three years, brings together families<br />

from all around the world. It includes official events<br />

in the presence of the Pope, catechesis, a Festival<br />

of Families, and a closing Eucharistic celebration<br />

at which Pope Francis will deliver his Mandate to<br />

Families.<br />

Each World Meeting of Families has its own unique<br />

theme. The theme for the Tenth World Meeting of<br />

Families is “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to<br />

Holiness”. Given the current global situation, the<br />

Meeting will be attended in person by delegates and<br />

representatives from Episcopal Conferences and<br />

international family movements.<br />

The Bible begins with<br />

God creating people<br />


Celebrating my family and the family<br />

of the Church<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta is encouraging all<br />

parishes to celebrate the World Meeting of Families<br />

on 26 June <strong>2022</strong>. Contact your parish for details.<br />

There are many resources and tools you can use to<br />

grow as a family and to recognise your own place at<br />

the heart of the Church.<br />

Our Diocese of Parramatta is proud to launch<br />

its Family Hub. This hub is the place where you<br />

can access videos, interactive tools, and prayer<br />

resources, and where you have the opportunity to<br />

share the joys of your family life. It also has important<br />

information and updates about the Year of the Family.<br />

The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has many<br />

resources aimed to promote the Year of the Family,<br />

including videos, catecheses, and prayer materials. <br />

To find the Diocese of Parramatta’s family<br />

hub with resources and links to the Vatican’s<br />

Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life go to<br />

parracatholic.org/family<br />

One of the family tips the Vatican is promoting to spread family<br />

love and kindness. Image: Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown<br />

parishioner Cryste Degollacion (left) with her parents<br />

Crystal and Steve and brothers Joey and Oscar.<br />

Image: Supplied.<br />

Families – wonderful and fragile<br />


In preparing for the Vatican’s World Meeting of<br />

Families we are asked to recognise family love<br />

is fragile and needs to be cared for. Members of<br />

our Diocesan community share their tips.<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Care’s Aleksandra Kadiroglu, a Family<br />

Therapeutic Caseworker, supports vulnerable families<br />

in our community who are dealing with an array of<br />

complex issues.<br />

“There is a sense of accompaniment in the work that<br />

we do,” she told <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong>.<br />

Aleksandra explained that a family might have<br />

issues that need sorting out including a lack of<br />

communication, blaming and shaming family<br />

members, ostracising and scapegoating, mental<br />

health, drug and alcohol abuse and complex trauma<br />

Some families from culturally diverse backgrounds<br />

may also experience isolation from their communities<br />

due to the stigma of seeking professional support<br />

from outside of the family or community and they<br />

may have limited access to services due to a<br />

language barrier.<br />

When asked what a ‘strong’ family looks like,<br />

Aleksandra said that it may not necessarily be<br />

a family that has it 'all together', but one that<br />

understands the individual members of the family<br />

and their needs.<br />

“A strong family sees that if there is a problem,<br />

there’s a solution and they work hard to repair<br />

those issues.”<br />

“They need to be supported and be given<br />

opportunities to work out these issues with love,<br />

support, care and compassion.”<br />


The Degollacion Family – Mary, Queen of the<br />

Family Parish, Blacktown<br />

For Cryste Degollacion, a young parishioner of<br />

Mary, Queen of the Family Parish, Blacktown, the<br />

welcoming of her youngest brother, Joey, has been a<br />

wonderous time for the family. “He keeps the whole<br />

family on our toes,” she explains.<br />

“Even at such a young age, he shows such a strong<br />

child-like love for God, which in turn, reminds our<br />

family to be child-like in the way we talk, care and<br />

show love with one another.”<br />

Attending Mass together and sharing a meal<br />

afterwards is one way Cryste’s family's bond is<br />

strengthened and provides an opportunity for the<br />

family to share moments of their week.<br />

“This time with God as a family strengthens our own<br />

family bond because we get to share the love of God<br />

with Joey and lead by example with how important<br />

our faith means to us.<br />

“Dad always taught me to never go to bed angry<br />

and Mum always said, ‘if there’s three things that<br />

every family should always say, it is ‘thank you’,<br />

‘I love you’, and ‘I’m sorry’.’”<br />

The Rodricks Family – St Patrick’s Parish,<br />

Guildford<br />

For Blannie Rodricks, an Acolyte at St Patrick’s<br />

Parish, Guildford, the faith he and his wife Caroline<br />

share, has set the benchmark for their two teenage<br />

daughters, Taylor and Tracey.<br />

“The foundation of the faith is at home, and if you<br />

get it right at home, you can then take it out into<br />

the world.<br />

“My wife and I have developed a ‘no fear’ culture<br />

in our house where my children can ask questions<br />

about their faith and society openly and honestly,<br />

and no matter what they ask, my children will<br />

be respected.<br />

“Being a good listener goes a long way to making<br />

them more comfortable with you, and more likely for<br />

them to share their feelings, whether good or bad.” <br />

To contact <strong>Catholic</strong> Care, visit<br />

catholiccarewsbm.org.au<br />

Find out more about the World Meeting<br />

of Families through our family hub at<br />

parracatholic.org/family.<br />

Aleksandra’s tips for keeping the family<br />

strong, healthy and connected:<br />

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• Sharing a meal together at least once per day<br />

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• Organised family time at least once per week<br />

such as big family dinners, picnics, sports, movies<br />

or visits to extended family members is also<br />

important in terms of connection, and building<br />

strong individual identity as well as building<br />

trustworthy relationships.<br />

• Open communication, providing safe space for<br />

members to communicate their individual needs<br />

and emotions, communicating love and high<br />

regard for individual family members are a must.<br />

• Setting clear boundaries and expressing<br />

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The Parramatta Way of<br />

looking out for each other<br />

It’s an approach that encourages participation<br />

and looking out for each other.<br />


Everyone in the Diocese of Parramatta has a role in ‘The<br />

Parramatta Way’, a way of thinking about Safeguarding throughout<br />

the Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.<br />

Designed by a group representing the Church community in the<br />

Diocese, the Parramatta Way asks parishioners, employees, and clergy<br />

to act with justice, love tenderly, acknowledge the diversity in the<br />

Diocese and promote <strong>Catholic</strong> social teachings.<br />

It’s an approach that encourages participation and looking out<br />

for each other.<br />

Brett Groves<br />

Bishop Vincent OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta explained the origins.<br />

“The Parramatta Way of Safeguarding is built on the foundation of<br />

Christian faith. We mirror the way of Jesus who came to empower all<br />

to live life to the full. May we help create and facilitate safe, caring and<br />

nurturing environments for our children to thrive,” he said.<br />

Nathan Khoury, who was a student of Parramatta Marist High<br />

School, Westmead in 2021, was invited to participate in the working<br />

group which developed the statement. The diverse group discussed<br />

how to articulate what Safeguarding means and consisted of<br />

members of parish communities and the CEDP school community,<br />

youth and employees.<br />

“Everyone in the group felt they had an obligation to ensure<br />

the Parramatta Way covers all people,” says Nathan.“We felt<br />

Safeguarding is a way that members of the Diocese can follow the<br />

footsteps of Christ, as people of the Church. We can be there for those<br />

that need protecting.”<br />

Nathan explained the responsibility the group felt for past survivors of<br />

abuse. “So many people have been through so much,” he said. “We<br />

need to let people who have been harmed through the Church know,<br />

that ‘we are here for you’.”<br />


Nathan Khoury in 2021 as a student at<br />

Parramatta Marist High School, Westmead<br />

speaking at CYP CEDP LIFTED with the<br />

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

At the same time, the statement needed to set<br />

the direction for the future. Nathan explains the<br />

deliberate inclusion of ‘zero tolerance of abuse’. “We<br />

want to make it clear that no abuse is acceptable.”<br />

“The Diocese of Parramatta is one of the most<br />

diverse communities in Australia,” he explained.<br />

“We realised we also needed to honour the diverse<br />

gifts and talents our people can bring no matter their<br />

background or ability. Knowing you can bring your<br />

gifts to Church life, helps people to thrive.<br />

“We wanted the words to reflect that sense of<br />

belonging for everyone, which also comes with<br />

protection and support.”<br />

The Parramatta Way acknowledges the traditional<br />

custodians of the land in which the Diocese sits – the<br />

Durag and Gundungurra people. Indigenous artist<br />

Brett Groves who grew up in Mt Druitt and now lives<br />

in the Blue Mountains developed the artwork for<br />

the statement.<br />

The artwork represents the 47 parishes plus the Holy<br />

Spirit Seminary, the two rivers, the mountains and the<br />

people of the Diocese of Parramatta. He explained<br />

that he was attracted to the project because the<br />

project felt inclusive, and felt that it was helping “right<br />

the wrongs of the past.”<br />

Tracy McLeod-Howe, Head of Safeguarding hopes<br />

that parishes will also display the artwork on their<br />

websites and in their churches and buildings.<br />

“We want everyone in the Diocese of Parramatta to<br />

have access and understand this is how we treat all<br />

people, especially the vulnerable,” she said. “The<br />

Parramatta Way asks us to act as God has asked us<br />

to, as explained by the verse Micah 6:8 ‘This is what<br />

the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love<br />

tenderly and to walk humbly with your God’.” <br />

The Diocese of Parramatta is holding Safe<br />

Parishes Week from 6 to 12 June. For information<br />

on the Parramatta Way and Safeguarding in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta, go to safeguarding.org.au.<br />


The Parramatta Way<br />

of Safeguarding<br />

is to...<br />

Act with Justice, and state that we have a<br />

zero tolerance for any form of abuse or<br />

harm to children or any person<br />

And it is to<br />

Love tenderly, as we accept all who<br />

come to the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

from all walks of life, cultures, and<br />

abilities<br />

Love tenderly, as we accept any<br />

person for who they are and where<br />

they are at in their lives<br />

Love tenderly, as we look after and<br />

prioritise children and care for those<br />

at risk of harm for whatever reason<br />

Love tenderly, as we are servants of<br />

the Church, and our role is to walk<br />

beside you and support you

Act with justice and ensure that laws<br />

and obligations are upheld, and<br />

safety is paramount<br />

And acknowledge<br />

The traditional custodians of the land<br />

in which the Diocese of Parramatta sits<br />

– the Darug and Gundungurra people<br />

The lifelong trauma of abuse victims<br />

and those failures of the Church to<br />

protect children and all adults at risk<br />

The diversity of many cultural groups<br />

that reside in Parramatta creating a<br />

kaleidoscope of diversity and beliefs<br />

that are valued and respected<br />

And celebrate the talents and gifts<br />

of the community and families of<br />

all abilities<br />

And promote<br />

The principles of <strong>Catholic</strong> social<br />

teaching of dignity, respect,<br />

association, participation, support for<br />

the vulnerable, solidarity, stewardship,<br />

subsidiarity, equality and the principle<br />

of the common good.<br />

“This is what the Lord asks of you:<br />

only this, to act justly, to love tenderly<br />

and to walk humbly with your God.”<br />

(Micah 6:8)

Love is a very important thing,<br />

As St Paul said,‘the greatest of all is love’.<br />

Love without end –<br />

Noel and Honorine McKertich<br />


How to love for 60 years? It’s how you approach<br />

it, say Noel and Honorine from St Anthony of<br />

Padua Parish, Toongabbie, who celebrated their<br />

diamond wedding anniversary last month.<br />

Sitting down in the kitchen/dining room of their<br />

Girraween home where they have lived for 47 years, I<br />

ask Noel and Honorine McKertich about the happiest<br />

moments of their 60 years of marriage.<br />

“Every moment has been happy,” Noel, 92, replied.<br />

In May this year, Noel and Honorine celebrated their<br />

diamond wedding anniversary with a Mass at Sacred<br />

Heart Church, Westmead, followed by a reception<br />

with family and friends.<br />

But, the couple told me, it almost wasn’t to pass.<br />

Growing up in the southern parts of India, the couple<br />

first met at a wedding. They met up again five years<br />

later at a local dance. “After the music stopped, I<br />

kept holding his hand, and he kept holding my hand,<br />

and that was it,” Honorine said, beaming. “It was<br />

electric. It was love straight away. I knew then he was<br />

the one for me, no doubt.”<br />

Noel and Honorine McKertich are seen during their 60th<br />

wedding anniversary celebration at Sacred Heart Parish,<br />

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

A couple of weeks later, due to family pressures,<br />

Honorine was asked not to see Noel again and she<br />

made the hard decision to end the relationship.<br />

Meeting up by chance a week later, Honorine realised<br />

her true feelings: “Then and there, I made up my<br />

mind. I felt strongly about my love I had for Noel and<br />

I wanted him to be my life partner. We made a date<br />

for the next day,” she chuckled.<br />

“We never broke up after that,” Noel added.<br />

Married and with five children, they migrated to<br />

Australia, renting in Toongabbie in 1971.<br />


The whole family would walk two kilometres to<br />

Mass at St Anthony of Padua Parish, Toongabbie<br />

every week. They would attend Confession every<br />

month and would recite their night prayers along<br />

with the Rosary.<br />

In their role as parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents,<br />

both Noel and Honorine try and<br />

spread the Good News amongst their family, whether<br />

it be giving them small reminders to attend Mass,<br />

gifting prayers, icons and statues as presents or just<br />

simply offering prayers for them at one of the three<br />

altars they have set up in their home.<br />

“We share our faith by loving our five children, 14<br />

grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (so far),<br />

caring for them and teaching them to be good, kind,<br />

honest and forgiving people,” they said.<br />

“We assure them that prayers do work miracles and<br />

can move mountains.”<br />

When asked for advice they could share with younger<br />

couples, Noel and Honorine emphasised always<br />

being there for each other, being compassionate,<br />

loving unconditionally and having faith in God, the<br />

Church and each other.<br />

“Every marriage has ‘ups and downs’, it’s just how<br />

you approach them and how you deal with them<br />

and that you work them out together with patience,<br />

sometimes silence, tears, apologies, hugs and kisses<br />

and lots of love.<br />

“Couples must learn the art and form of giving,<br />

loving, sharing, serving, praising one another.<br />

“Most of all, keep your faith strong and practise it<br />

every day. Keep the Holy Family close, and pray to<br />

Jesus to stay near you each hour of each day.”<br />

In reflecting on what has kept them together over<br />

60 years, the couple mentioned the deep love and<br />

commitment they share with each other and with<br />

God, practising their faith and always remembering<br />

the vows they made on their wedding day.<br />

“Love is a very important thing,” Noel said. “As St<br />

Paul said, ‘the greatest of all is love’.” <br />

Noel and Honorine’s five ways to love:<br />

Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)<br />

Give without sparing (Proverbs 21-26)<br />

Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)<br />

Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12)<br />

Love without ending – Honorine.

Fun, love and understanding:<br />

the fruits of intergenerational connection<br />


Fostering relationships between children and<br />

grandparents or other elderly people is crucially<br />

important for our society, says Pope Francis<br />

– a teaching that the youngsters attending the<br />

Ambrose School Age Care service at Our Lady<br />

of the Way (OLOW) in Emu Plains couldn’t agree<br />

with more.<br />

Apart from spending time with their own<br />

grandparents, some of the children attending the<br />

OLOW after-school care have been involved in a<br />

program where they visit residents in the Edinglassie<br />

residential aged care facility just up the street.<br />

Ruth Apelu, acting Service Coordinator, says the<br />

program, which operates when COVID-safe visiting<br />

regulations allow, delivers a range of benefits for both<br />

the children and seniors.<br />

“It’s been an important way of fostering the<br />

connection between children and older people,” she<br />

says. “They’ve learnt so much from it, in terms of<br />

values like respect and compassion.”<br />

Ruth says the program has also helped the children<br />

to understand some of the challenges of older age,<br />

including memory loss.<br />

“These things provide an educational opportunity to<br />

teach the children that the elderly residents are not<br />

necessarily sick, they are just older and sometimes<br />

their memory might not work as well as younger<br />

people. Children are resilient and curious, and they<br />

ask lots of questions. Learning about this helps them<br />

develop empathy and caring for others.”<br />

Kate Easthope, the OLOW Service Coordinator,<br />

currently on parental leave, was an instrumental part<br />

of developing the program.<br />

It’s great. It creates this wonderful<br />

intergenerational connection.<br />

Paul Lowe and his granddaughter<br />

Kathryn at the Ambrose School<br />

Age Care service at Our Lady of<br />

the Way, Emu Plains.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

“I was part of a Vinnies group in Emu Plains and we<br />

had a friendship group there, which started going to<br />

Edinglassie to visit and I noticed there were some<br />

elderly people there who had no visitors, or very<br />

infrequent visitors,” she says.<br />

“So, I thought it would be great to have some<br />

kids come down of an afternoon and play games,<br />

do craft activities and just hang out with the<br />

elderly residents.”<br />

“It’s great. It creates this wonderful intergenerational<br />

connection,” she says.<br />

Kate says the elderly residents also benefit from<br />

the visits.<br />

“It helps them build on their sense of self-worth. For<br />

residents who don’t receive many visitors, they know<br />

that at least once a week, the kids come and visit.<br />

They feel they are still beneficial to society and can<br />

still contribute by passing on some of the lessons<br />

they’ve learnt in their life,” she says.<br />

“Their whole face lights up for that hour they<br />

spend together.”<br />

During the pandemic, Ruth says the children have<br />

been keeping in contact with the Edinglassie<br />

residents by writing letters and cards and sending<br />

cookies and hampers.<br />

In January 2021, Pope Francis announced the<br />

World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be<br />

celebrated each year on the fourth Sunday of July,<br />

coinciding with the feasts of the Blessed Virgin<br />

Mary’s parents and Jesus’ grandparents, Saints<br />

Joachim and Anne.<br />

The theme for this year’s World Day for Grandparents<br />

and the Elderly is: “In old age they will still bear fruit”<br />

(Psalms 92:15).<br />

“I have chosen this theme for the Second World<br />

Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be held<br />

on 24 July <strong>2022</strong>, to promote dialogue among the<br />

generations, especially between grandparents and<br />

grandchildren,” the Pope said.<br />

Paul Lowe, grandfather to six-year-old Kathryn who<br />

attends the Ambrose service at OLOW, says this<br />

inter-generational dialogue is a product of spending<br />

time together.<br />

“I’ve got seven grandchildren from age 14 down,<br />

and I spend time with all of them,” he says. “Over<br />

the years, I’ve picked them up from school or looked<br />

after them at home when their parents work.<br />

Ruth Apelu.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

“Kate and her mother, my daughter, live with us, so<br />

we spend a lot of time together.<br />

“It’s good for all of us. I lost my wife over eight years<br />

ago, and thanks to the love my wife fostered, we<br />

have a very strong family and we enjoy spending<br />

time together.<br />

“When we’re together they get to know a bit of what<br />

my lifestyle is like at 73 and I learn from them too.<br />

They’ve got plenty of energy and enthusiasm which<br />

is good to be a part of. They know I don’t mollycoddle<br />

them, but sometimes of course I do spoil<br />

them, like all grandparents.<br />

“I get such a kick out of them. Each generation<br />

has got something to teach the others and I know<br />

I share my strong values and thoughts on things<br />

with them.” <br />

Ambrose® early years education and school<br />

age care services are run by <strong>Catholic</strong> Diocese of<br />

Parramatta Services Limited, an agency of the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta. To find a service near you<br />

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

Debra Vermeer is a freelance journalist.<br />


For where two or three are gathered<br />

together in my name, there am I in<br />

the midst of them.<br />

Matthew 18:19–20<br />

Serving local families through<br />

faith and community<br />


From the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the Easter<br />

of 2020 through to the present, thousands of<br />

teachers across the Diocese have witnessed the<br />

love and light of Christ as they responded to the<br />

profound and changing needs of local families.<br />

While leading the remote learning for their students,<br />

many teachers helped their own children learning at<br />

home too. Many also shared the experiences of local<br />

families isolated from loved ones, particularly elderly<br />

family members. This created a strong sense of<br />

solidarity as school staff sought to support students<br />

and their families.<br />

Our teachers have offered a calming presence of<br />

faith during times of fear and chaos. This has been<br />

a ministry of presence, walking alongside students<br />

and families as a tangible example of the pilgrim<br />

church called by the Second Vatican Council<br />

(Lumen Gentium 8).<br />

Our teachers have lived the “call to holiness” as<br />

the saints next door referred to by Pope Francis<br />

in Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad): On<br />

the Call to Holiness in Today's World (2018). This<br />

call to holiness has involved many steps, often<br />

behind the scenes.<br />

The following words from Anthony Matthews, a<br />

teacher and leader of Religious Education at St John<br />

XXIII <strong>Catholic</strong> College Stanhope Gardens, offer a<br />

special insight into these steps:<br />

“The pandemic saw our role as educators become<br />

a continued actual fraternal opportunity where we<br />

had the awesome privilege to be able to respond and<br />

care for one another in a time of challenge.<br />

“This opportunity bore witness in our daily life,<br />

moving to pastoral care conversations daily with<br />

families, staff fundraising and community support of<br />

one another, to the opportunity to be able to pray,<br />

hope and love - the new paradigm was endless.<br />

“The most awesome experience was leading weekly<br />

and frequent prayer and liturgy opportunities online<br />

where not only the student, but the family were able<br />

to connect and be in communion with one another<br />

‘actually’ not just ‘virtually’ as the presence of Christ<br />

is with us all.”<br />

Isabella Plust, teacher at St John Paul II <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

College at Maryong shares her experiences:<br />

“It is safe to say that COVID-19 has not only<br />

reshaped our thinking of education but ministry and<br />

formation also. During the lockdowns of 2020 and<br />

2021, the call to respond to the needs of families and<br />

the longing for human interaction was increasingly<br />

evident. Students were restless with constant<br />

Zooms, classwork and screen time, that many would<br />

reach out to their homeroom teachers just to have a<br />

listening ear.<br />

“As a religious education teacher and youth minister,<br />

I am forever grateful for the moments we were<br />

able to connect with students online and speak<br />

to ‘real-world’ events. Praying with students and<br />

accompanying them on their faith journey will<br />

be something I will cherish forever. Although the<br />

future may hold a sense of uncertainty, teachers<br />

will continue to strive to support students and<br />

dialogue with their families, during this time<br />

of accompaniment.”<br />


Gilroy <strong>Catholic</strong> College teacher Declan Horan together with students from the Class of 2021. Image: CEDP.<br />

St Mary’s Primary Rydalmere parent Anthony Ellard<br />

really valued the support from his daughter Caitlin’s<br />

school during the period of intense COVID-19<br />

restrictions in Western Sydney. This included regular<br />

calls from Caitlin's teacher for feedback on learning,<br />

providing valuable assurances about the way that her<br />

parents were helping with her schoolwork.<br />

“Our teachers did a fantastic job to ensure families<br />

had the support that we needed during the<br />

lockdown, including parents like us working from<br />

home,” Anthony said. “The communications from<br />

the principal and teachers was phenomenal, really<br />

keeping families up to date and supporting kids<br />

during the break.”<br />

What these many steps all have in common is that<br />

they are each encounters of love within the dayto-day<br />

lives of our communities. They are also<br />

evidence of teachers living a vocation - more than a<br />

job. Teachers have also done this together with their<br />

fellow colleagues as a faith community. Our teachers<br />

have prayed together and with their students, calling<br />

on God for guidance, comfort and inspiration. In<br />

this they have invited the Holy Spirit to be with<br />

their communities.<br />

Our teachers have asked for the gift of Christ’s<br />

peace for students and families in turbulence.<br />

In times of darkness and uncertainty, they have<br />

called on the light of Christ.<br />

The pandemic is unfortunately not over and we can<br />

trust that our teachers will continue to accompany<br />

our families, guided by the light of Christ. So let us<br />

give thanks, pray for our teachers and remember the<br />

vital role schools hold in our communities. <br />

Do you have a family member who may be called<br />

to the powerful vocation of teaching? It is a<br />

privilege that will challenge, and an opportunity<br />

to serve others in a truly powerful way. If there is<br />

someone in your family who you can see would<br />

flourish in this calling, why not invite them to<br />

consider it?<br />

Mark Smith is a member of the Mission Team for <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Education Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


School leadership is<br />

all about heart<br />


Monica Fitzalan and students at St<br />

Patrick’s Primary School, Blacktown.<br />

Image: CEDP

Growing up on a beautiful farm in Bathurst, taught<br />

me to be positive, calm, grateful, committed to<br />

helping others, and always see the bright side of<br />

life. What I learned from my parents and from my<br />

own <strong>Catholic</strong> education, is that faith, hope and<br />

love are the ingredients to happiness<br />

and success.<br />

This is my fourth year as a School Principal and I<br />

intend to follow this calling for many years to come. I<br />

am blessed to work with and lead the dedicated staff<br />

at St Patrick’s Primary Blacktown. Knowing that I can<br />

make a difference in the lives of students, creating<br />

a rewarding working life for staff and long-lasting<br />

learning experiences for students is my passion.<br />

Each day I greet the staff and students as they<br />

arrive for school. Checking in with everyone is a<br />

highlight of my day - noticing who has a birthday or<br />

a broken arm really helps me to know what is going<br />

on in our community. Communication and building<br />

relationships are the foundation of my work. Being an<br />

active listener who is understanding of where people<br />

are coming from and the life experience they bring<br />

to school with them, always helps me to understand<br />

children more.<br />

Feel God in every gentle touch.<br />

See God in every happy face.<br />

Hear God in every caring word.<br />

Receive God’s blessings every<br />

day of your life.<br />

Motivational words of wisdom<br />

My favourite part of each day is seeing the learning<br />

that is happening in our learning spaces. Engaged,<br />

challenged students are what we are all about!<br />

Seeing the JOY in a child or a staff member's<br />

face when you recognise a talent, achievement or<br />

something to celebrate is what inspires me each<br />

day. The opportunity to make life or conditions<br />

better for learning is what calls to me and helps me<br />

jump out of bed with a spring in my step. No day is<br />

ever the same and we always have lots to celebrate.<br />

Seeing students graduate as outstanding young<br />

citizens who can make positive changes in the<br />

world is so rewarding. ‘Be the change’ is something<br />

that inspires me every day - we can make a big<br />

difference! The students I work with today will be<br />

our future doctors, scientists, teachers, parents,<br />

scriptwriters, OTs, nurses, and accountants. They<br />

may one day save your life!<br />

Working in our <strong>Catholic</strong> community is an extension<br />

of my own personal faith and life, so I have the<br />

opportunity to enrich the lives of others.<br />

I am blessed to have my own wonderful husband<br />

Matt, and three children, Georgia, Brianna and<br />

William, who support me, laugh with me, journey<br />

through the ‘everyday-ness’ with me and nourish<br />

my soul. <strong>Catholic</strong> education and our own parish,<br />

St Bernadette’s, Castle Hill, have been a wonderful<br />

blessing for our children too.<br />

Watching passionate staff work side by side with<br />

their students is life-giving. The team brings out<br />

curiosity in their students and guides their learning<br />

through inquiry: I feel so proud of my fabulous<br />

staff. Seeing the light in staff and students’ eyes<br />

when you acknowledge their great work is the best<br />

feeling. No wonder I smile a lot!<br />

Working with children and shaping their lives is<br />

a privilege and a pleasure. If teaching/school<br />

leadership calls to you, go for it! We need more<br />

wonderful teachers in our system who are<br />

committed to the <strong>Catholic</strong> faith and sharing it<br />

with others.<br />

Monica Fitzalan is Principal of St Patrick’s Primary<br />

School, Blacktown.<br />


<strong>Catholic</strong> Care starts<br />

a new chapter<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Care exists to do<br />

Christ’s work in the community.<br />

in distress could receive professional care from<br />

the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church, <strong>Catholic</strong> Care has grown to<br />

become a well-respected organisation that reaches<br />

thousands of people in the community each year<br />

through the work of more than 200 committed staff<br />

and volunteers.<br />

For more than 70 years, <strong>Catholic</strong> Care has been<br />

here for people who need us. People from all<br />

walks of life.<br />

Those who may need somewhere to sleep, help<br />

caring for their newborn baby, or perhaps they are<br />

lonely and need someone to talk to.<br />

There are those who need help to protect their family<br />

from violence and those who want to stay living<br />

independently with a little support, and those looking<br />

to stay active and connected with their community.<br />

Our care and support through the church is all about<br />

making sure no one is left behind. It always has been,<br />

and it always will be.<br />

From our humble beginnings in the 1940s when four<br />

Sydney women dreamed that the poor and anyone<br />

In an ever-changing environment, we have continued<br />

to grow as an organisation to ensure we are filling the<br />

gaps and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable<br />

and disadvantaged members of the community.<br />

<strong>2022</strong> signals the start of a new chapter for <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. It’s<br />

a time to reach further into the community, digging<br />

deeper to help more people by telling more people<br />

who we are and what we do. By reaching out with<br />

better services and more services, having delved<br />

deeper into what our community really needs.<br />

This new chapter starts with our people – our staff<br />

and our volunteers and the work we have done over<br />

the past year or so in developing the values that<br />

guide us in our work and in our decision-making.<br />

Our values and our links to the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church are<br />

the foundation of our organisation.<br />


With honesty and openness, our staff created our<br />

values to guide how we work and engage with those<br />

we serve in our community.<br />

Fundamental to the way we work, is that we embrace<br />

every journey with love and gratitude, for our clients,<br />

the community and each other.<br />

And to live up to this value, each and<br />

every day we:<br />

Are available with an open mind and heart<br />

Advocate with patience and passion<br />

Build trust with integrity and respect, and<br />

We persevere with resilience and belief.<br />

With these values now embedded in all that we<br />

do, we are looking at this new chapter in our<br />

organisation’s history as an opportunity to better<br />

listen and hear what our clients need. And better<br />

respond. To aim higher in all that we do while staying<br />

grounded. To share more about who we are and what<br />

we are here for.<br />

This is a truly exciting time for our people, our<br />

community, our clients, our parish, and our Diocese.<br />

It’s a time for us all to remember why we are here<br />

reaching out our hands to those who may be<br />

suffering or vulnerable.<br />

No one can be saved alone, but as a community<br />

carrying out the work of Christ, we can help to heal<br />

lives and enable human flourishing even through the<br />

most challenging of times.<br />

As we turn the page on this new chapter, you will<br />

see changes. Some new faces, a new logo, a new<br />

website. All of these changes aim to ensure we are<br />

better reaching those who need us, by making it<br />

easier for those who need us to reach out.<br />

What won’t change is our work as the face of Christ,<br />

our drive to make a positive difference in the lives of<br />

those who need our support, and to help them find<br />

joy and purpose in life.<br />

We are here. <br />

Visit catholiccarewsbm.org.au to find out more.<br />

Maureen (right) is supported to stay in her<br />

own home by the team at <strong>Catholic</strong> Care.<br />

Image: <strong>Catholic</strong> Care WSBM.

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi<br />

(Basilica Papale di San Francesco)<br />

at sunset in Assisi, Umbria, Italy.<br />

Image: Shutterstock.

Looking Deeper<br />

Looking deeper<br />

The following articles encourage deeper reflection,<br />

prayer and personal learning.

Pentecost – accepting variety<br />

and difference<br />


The earliest Christians had to consider whether<br />

they would impose restrictions on their new faith<br />

as followers of Christ. Who could join? Dr Laurie<br />

Woods considers the lessons they learned in the<br />

context of today.<br />

Pentecost represents the fulfilment of Christ’s<br />

work. His band of disciples had quickly grown into<br />

a community of dedicated followers committed to<br />

living out the values of the Master. Christians do<br />

not always demonstrate awareness that nearly all<br />

of these people were Jewish and were, in reality, a<br />

sect of Judaism. They were still praying at the temple<br />

in Jerusalem and kept faith with the customs and<br />

religious practices of Judaism.<br />

The Eastertide readings from the Acts of the Apostles<br />

give us a glimpse of the trials and decisions that<br />

these early Jesus people had to face as their<br />

numbers grew. One of the chief matters of concern<br />

was the qualification for membership. Who should<br />

be allowed to join? Should there be any restrictions?<br />

Were non-Jews welcome? And if so, should they be<br />

obliged to follow Jewish laws and customs?<br />

We know from his letters that Paul was opposed<br />

to any policy that might require newly baptised<br />

gentile members to follow Jewish laws and customs<br />

that insisted on male circumcision, observance of<br />

food regulations and ritual cleanliness customs.<br />

He maintained that it was only necessary that new<br />

members commit in faith to Jesus Christ and his<br />

values. Acts and the Pauline letters also reveal<br />

factions who opposed each other quite strongly on<br />

some of these issues. In time, the leading Apostles<br />

agreed that non-Jewish converts did not have to go<br />

to Christ through the doorway of Judaism.<br />

The difficulties the early Jesus people had to deal<br />

with have their counterparts in our Church and<br />

society today. How well do we accept difference?<br />

Can we learn from the almost infinite diversity<br />

in nature that our God is the maker of variety<br />

and difference?<br />

Jesus was a model of living with difference and being<br />

comfortable with all kinds of people. He was good<br />

at accepting individuals where they were at. He was<br />

criticised by the self-righteous for mixing with tax<br />

collectors and sinners, but then he saw the potential<br />

in every human being and never wrote anyone off.<br />

Jesus reminded Simon the Pharisee how unfair he<br />

was in passing judgment on the woman who wept at<br />

his feet. He refused to condemn the woman accused<br />

of adultery but he pointed out to her that what<br />

she was doing was no way to live, no way to grow<br />

to wholeness.<br />

He touched the untouchables and restored them as<br />

much with his compassion as with healing power.<br />

He challenged the rich man to follow him but did not<br />

love him any less when the man could not make the<br />

leap to discipleship. He did not pass judgement but<br />

accepted that the man was not ready.<br />

Pentecost can prompt us to reflect on the broadminded<br />

thinking of Jesus who relished variety and<br />

difference in everyone he met. As he said, “The Spirit<br />

moves where it wills,” and it is up to us to look for<br />

the Spirit in the events and people that come into our<br />

life. Seeing the good and the potential in others is to<br />

imitate the attitude of Jesus as well as being a mark<br />

of sound mental health.<br />

Dr Laurie Woods is a retired senior lecturer in Biblical<br />

Studies from the Australian <strong>Catholic</strong> University and currently<br />

conducts teacher inservice sessions and parish reflection<br />

days. He lives in the Diocese of Parramatta and is a member<br />

of Our Lady of the Nativity Parish, Lawson.<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

Pentecost can prompt us to reflect on the<br />

broad-minded thinking of Jesus who relished variety<br />

and difference in everyone he met<br />

Image: John Nava Eastend Arts, Inc.

Image: Jan Richardson Images<br />

The go-between God<br />


The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its<br />

sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or<br />

where it is going. So it is with everyone<br />

who is born of the spirit.<br />

John 3:8

Looking Deeper<br />

This season of Pentecost, let’s remind ourselves<br />

that nothing is more important than experiencing<br />

the grace and beauty of the Holy Spirit of<br />

the Risen Christ, who breathes on us every<br />

day afresh.<br />

Listen again to St John Paul II’s encouraging and<br />

prophetic words about how the Spirit has been so<br />

present in our ancient land. His words spoke so<br />

powerfully to the indigenous people at Alice Springs<br />

in 1986:<br />

“For thousands of years you have lived in this land<br />

and fashioned a culture that endures to this day.<br />

And during all this time, the spirit of God has been<br />

with you. Your ‘Dreaming’, which influences your<br />

lives so strongly that, no matter what happens, you<br />

remain forever people of your culture, is your only<br />

way of touching the mystery of God’s spirit in you<br />

and in creation. You must keep your striving for God<br />

and hold on to it in your lives.”<br />

Sadly, in our sceptical and pragmatic Australian<br />

culture, we can, however, become agnostic about<br />

the Holy Spirit.<br />

Many of us often neglect or fear the life of the<br />

Holy Spirit. But if there is a God, then certainly<br />

experiencing the grace of the Holy Spirit is the<br />

only realism.<br />

That is why I treasure J.V. Taylor’s book on the Holy<br />

Spirit, The Go-Between God. It is the best book I<br />

have ever read on the Holy Spirit. For Taylor, the<br />

Spirit is literally the ‘Go-Between God’, the bond<br />

between the Father and the Son, and the One<br />

through whom they are present to us.<br />

Taylor makes the Spirit come alive through<br />

describing how the Holy Spirit works in the ‘nittygritty’<br />

of personal relationships in daily life. The<br />

Spirit does this by helping people to see other<br />

individuals as entirely ‘other’ from them; by helping<br />

people to realise that the other persons they<br />

encounter see the world through entirely different<br />

lenses shaped by their own experiences.<br />

Drawing heavily on Martin Buber’s I and Thou,<br />

Taylor’s main point is that the Holy Spirit primarily<br />

works as a ‘go-between’. In other words, when<br />

individuals meet and converse, the Spirit is not<br />

merely ‘in’ each of the individuals but is his own<br />

personality working between them.<br />

Taylor explains: “To live in prayer, therefore, is to<br />

live in the Spirit; and to live in the Spirit is to live in<br />

Christ … to live in Christ is to live in prayer. Prayer is<br />

not something you do; it is a style of living.”<br />

A ‘style of living’ that Taylor illustrates in one<br />

ordinary but very beautiful experience of the<br />

Holy Spirit.<br />

He describes a West Indian woman in London,<br />

who in her flat had just received the news that her<br />

husband had been killed in a street accident. She<br />

sat in the corner of the sofa, paralysed. Nobody<br />

could get near to her; it was as if she were in a<br />

trance. And then the teacher of one of her children<br />

came in, saw the situation in a moment and sat<br />

down beside her, and put her arm across her<br />

shoulders and held her tightly. The white face was<br />

pressed to the brown one. And as the intolerable<br />

pain of this seeped through to the visitor, her<br />

tears began to fall, onto their hands clasped in<br />

the woman’s lap. This went on until the grieving<br />

woman herself began to weep, and their tears were<br />

mingled, and the healing began.<br />

Taylor’s comments: “That is the embrace of God.<br />

That is his kiss of life. That is the embrace of his<br />

mission with our intercession. And the Holy Spirit<br />

is the force in the straining muscles of an arm; the<br />

Holy Spirit is in the thin film of perspiration between<br />

a white cheek and a brown one. The Holy Spirit is<br />

in those mingled tears falling onto those clasped<br />

hands. He is as close and as unobtrusive as that,<br />

and as irresistibly strong.”<br />

The Holy Spirit, then, is the invisible third party<br />

who stands between me and the other, making us<br />

mutually aware. The Spirit opens our eyes to Christ<br />

and also opens our eyes to our brothers and sisters<br />

in Christ—especially the poor.<br />

More than ever, inside and outside the Church, we<br />

all need to be on the lookout for the presence of this<br />

‘Go-Between God’.<br />

Come Holy Spirit! <br />

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

in the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


Faith in the ordinary<br />


Paolo, 28, is a parishioner at Our Lady Queen<br />

of Peace, Greystanes, and currently working<br />

as a Campus Pastoral Associate at ACU<br />

North Sydney Campus. He shares about his<br />

relationship with Jesus.<br />

Comforting and reassuring.<br />

It was not always like that but right now He is very<br />

much a friend and a source of comfort, strength and<br />

reassurance. I was brought up <strong>Catholic</strong>, would pray,<br />

but coming into my teenage years where you do start<br />

questioning things you aren’t really sure about, faith<br />

was not at the forefront of my mind - neither was my<br />

relationship with Jesus. I still went to Mass but very<br />

much questioned whether it was real or the point of<br />

it. I was involved in the music ministry which kept me<br />

going to Mass.<br />

In 2015, I was invited by <strong>Catholic</strong> Youth Parramatta<br />

to a retreat called LIFTED. Initially, I did not want to<br />

go but I remember it was the last day to register. I<br />

was reading and I got up to go to the study, where<br />

my Mum was helping my brother register, and I said,<br />

“Oh you are still registering? Can you register me<br />

too?”. They were stunned ‘cause I had been telling<br />

them “No I don’t want to go,” for a month straight.<br />

I felt this interior tug to go. When I got there, there<br />

were just so many young people which I found odd<br />

because there are usually so many old people at<br />

Church. It was a beautiful moment.<br />

One night we had adoration, which was my first<br />

experience of it. I remember just being there, Jesus<br />

just present, and I just sat there looking up at the<br />

monstrance and thinking I did not know what I was<br />

doing with my life. Then this feeling of warmth just<br />

filled me and there is no other way of describing it<br />

but this pure love radiating, and I burst into tears.<br />

It was such a powerful moment, and I went to<br />

Reconciliation and had a really honest confession. It<br />

hit me that I just need to focus on what's important<br />

in life and from that moment I knew Jesus was real,<br />

He loves me, and I believe. I attended more retreats,<br />

met an amazing community at the university I was<br />

attending at the time, going to daily Mass on campus<br />

to learn more about the faith.<br />

Faith in small moments<br />

I think a lot of times we can think of faith and look<br />

at some of the saints’ lives and the extraordinary<br />

things that happened like St Padre Pio who had<br />

the stigmatas. But it does not always have to be<br />

extraordinary. It can be just those small moments in<br />

your life where God is there, where you can see God<br />

moving in a conversion or in a moment. It could be a<br />

decision you have to make in terms of work or study<br />

or in the ordinary day-to-day things, and faith can<br />

definitely be present. I think practising gratitude helps<br />

with that; you can feel that this did not happen by<br />

chance, there is a Creator who created all of this.<br />

On a day-to-day basis I am reassured by God’s plan<br />

for my life and live my life on purpose. It's about<br />

trying to live that plan even if I don’t know what the<br />

next step is yet. For me, God is a central part of my<br />

life. He isn’t just something on the side - it’s small<br />

prayers throughout the day, having a conversation<br />

with God, and keeping Him in the loop in my life. <br />

Young people in the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

are invited to find out more about <strong>Catholic</strong><br />

Youth Parramatta. Find details at linktr.ee/<br />

catholicyouthparra.<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

Paulo Grella. Image: Supplied.<br />

Have you been considering<br />

broadening your faith<br />

understanding?<br />

Wondering where to next in your pastoral activities?<br />

What paths study may lead to?<br />

• Many tertiary theological degrees to choose from<br />

• Small class sizes and quality of lecturers ensure a personalised learning experience<br />

• Classes can be audited (attended without completing assessment)<br />

• Government assistance for tuition fees is available to eligible students<br />

For more information contact us on:<br />

T: 02 9752 9500 I e: registrar@cis.catholic.edu.au<br />

or visit our website: www.cis.catholic.edu.au<br />

CIS is a Partner Institution of the University of Notre Dame, Australia<br />

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,<br />

Baulkham Hills. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Nurturing the<br />

God-seed within us<br />

You have made us for yourself, O Lord and<br />

our hearts are restless until they rest in you<br />


St Augustine<br />

Sr Patty Andrew osu explains why, just like we<br />

grow and learn from our family and community,<br />

our spiritual heart can be awakened though our<br />

faith community.<br />

The English poet, William Wordsworth (1802)<br />

captured the truth and wonder of our Divine origins<br />

in the verse “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;<br />

trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who<br />

is our home.” Parents are reminded of this reality<br />

again and again as they give birth to their children.<br />

Whether they are people of faith or not, as they<br />

experience and witness the pain, the beauty and joy,<br />

of childbirth, parents sense they are in the depthless<br />

field of mystery.<br />

Each of us is born with the indelible imprint of God<br />

who is our creator. In our <strong>Catholic</strong> tradition we name<br />

this as the “imago dei”, the image of God. Through<br />

the centuries this little piece of infinity in each of us<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

has been captured in a range of beautiful metaphors.<br />

The Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks<br />

of the divine imprint as “the immortal diamond”.<br />

The Vatican II Document, Gaudium et spes (1965)<br />

describes it as the “God-like seed”.<br />

Daniel O’Leary speaks of our humanity as the<br />

“womb of the divine.”<br />

He assures us that already we carry within us<br />

unknowingly, the fresh wells we thirst for and<br />

beckoning horizons for which we long. In recent<br />

years Richard Rohr talked about each of us<br />

receiving the “kiss of the divine then.” It is therefore<br />

more accurate to honour our divine origins by<br />

understanding ourselves as first and foremost<br />

spiritual beings who are becoming human.<br />

apostles which conquered fear. Such a deep infusion<br />

of the power of the Holy Spirit gifted each one<br />

with an intuitive grasp of the whole, gracing them<br />

with a heart understanding of Christ’s death and<br />

Resurrection. This deep perception opened the eyes<br />

of their hearts as they became aware of the profound<br />

meaning of a self-emptying God incarnated in Jesus.<br />

It was this “heart seeing” which empowered them<br />

with the courage to spread the Good News.<br />

As people of faith we desire to live life with an<br />

openness to the transcendent – that which is beyond<br />

us. We express this way of being in mission which<br />

Pope Francis reminds us is about bringing “light,<br />

blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing and freeing”<br />

(Evangelii Gaudium). Our spiritual unfolding is<br />

increased through taking formal opportunities for the<br />

awakening of the heart. <br />

This divine imprint is spoken of as residing in the<br />

heart, which we know is not in essence physical.<br />

Hence it cannot be located in a particular place<br />

within the body. When we speak about matters of the<br />

heart, we are referring to that which is at the hidden<br />

centre of our being, beyond the grasp of reason. Our<br />

tradition teaches us that only the spirit of God can<br />

fathom the heart and know it fully.<br />

Everyone’s unique life journey is about many things<br />

as it unfolds with surprising twists and turns. Along<br />

the way, we can observe and measure physical<br />

growth and enjoy acquiring new skills and knowledge<br />

as we allow our potential to unfold and develop. In<br />

our growth to human wholeness, we also need to<br />

nurture the ‘God-seed’ planted within each of us.<br />

Like all our human possibilities, unless the capacity<br />

of our heart is awakened and nurtured, it will remain<br />

asleep within us.<br />

Sr Patty Andrew osu is an Ursuline Sister in the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

As well as teaching on faith and spirituality matters, she is a chaplain<br />

with Kairos Outside for Women, a support organisation for women with<br />

incarcerated relatives.<br />

Sr Patty Andrew osu<br />

Image: Supplied.<br />

As it is with every aspect of our human development,<br />

we cannot do this alone. The infant child acquires<br />

the complexity of language and the ability to walk,<br />

always through the belief and encouragement of<br />

others. Likewise with the awakening of our spiritual<br />

potential. This is birthed in a faith community<br />

grounded in a deep sense of the sacred.<br />

At Pentecost we recall a time in the missionary<br />

outreach of our <strong>Catholic</strong> tradition when collectively<br />

the heart of the early Christian community was<br />

deeply awakened. As we read the account of this<br />

historic event, from the Acts of the Apostles, it is<br />

evident that something was released within the<br />


Nurture your God-seed in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta<br />

The Mission Enhancement Team in the Diocese of Parramatta has a full program of courses,<br />

retreats, and other events to boost your spiritual life and nurture your ‘God-seed’.<br />

Faith<br />

LIFTED Retreat – a weekend of prayer, formation<br />

and connection: for young adults 18+.<br />

1-3 July<br />

Grose Vale<br />

Ministry Leadership Program: for upcoming<br />

and current adult leaders in parishes and<br />

faith communities.<br />

Ten Thursdays commencing 11 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

Themes of Faith: for adults keen to explore key<br />

themes of <strong>Catholic</strong> life and faith.<br />

Flexible, minimum of eight required<br />

Online or Blacktown<br />

Adult Confirmation Catechesis Day: for adults<br />

aged 16+ who have received the Eucharist and<br />

Baptism and would like to receive the Sacrament<br />

of Confirmation.<br />

20 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Seminar:<br />

for adults who are wanting to become <strong>Catholic</strong>s.<br />

Four Wednesdays starting from 10 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

Youth<br />

World Youth Day 2023 launch in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta: for young people aged 16 to 35 wanting<br />

to find out about the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to<br />

France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.<br />

18 August<br />

St John XXIII <strong>Catholic</strong> College, Stanhope Gardens<br />

I know Theology is not<br />

easy but it has given<br />

me glimpses of what<br />

the Church offers. In<br />

how to relate to others,<br />

this ministry will help<br />

me to be more open<br />

to others, be mindful<br />

of their individuality<br />

and really, I will be<br />

more confident in<br />

serving others.<br />

I find the sessions very<br />

reflective and they<br />

have assisted me so<br />

much in some of my<br />

struggles. I have really<br />

felt lifted up in my<br />

faith!!<br />

Len from Our Lady of the<br />

Nativity Church, Lawson<br />

Parish, a participant in<br />

the Ministry Leadership<br />

Program.<br />

Pearl from Holy Spirit<br />

Parish, St Clair, a<br />

participant in the Ministry<br />

Leadership Program.<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

Visit parracatholic.org/met for details on<br />

these events and courses and more<br />

Domestic Church<br />

Natural Family Planning Fertility Awareness:<br />

for couples wishing to find out about natural<br />

family planning.<br />

21 June<br />

Online<br />

Service<br />

Liturgical Ministry Formation Course for Readers:<br />

for adults seeking to serve at Mass in their parish as<br />

a reader.<br />

12 and 19 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

World Meeting of Families Local Celebrations –<br />

liturgy and community event: for catholic families<br />

and parish communities.<br />

26 June<br />

Local Parishes<br />

Pre-marriage preparations: for engaged couples<br />

who want a great <strong>Catholic</strong> marriage.<br />

8 to 10 July<br />

Blacktown<br />

Faith in Marriage Seminar “Living marriage, living<br />

faith: ideas to inspire your children”: for married<br />

couples.<br />

Liturgical Ministry Formation Course: for adults<br />

seeking to serve at Mass in their parish.<br />

5 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

Social Justice<br />

Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor Tri-diocesan<br />

Social Justice Reflection Evening: for adults<br />

wishing to hear speakers and reflect on the Australian<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Bishops’ Social Justice Statement.<br />

20 July<br />

Blacktown<br />

12 August<br />

Blacktown<br />

I don’t want to tell<br />

anyone what to<br />

expect, you have to<br />

come and experience<br />

it for yourself – but<br />

you’ll probably like it!<br />

Roderick from Mary<br />

Immaculate Parish<br />

Quakers Hill, a participant<br />

in the Liturgical Ministry<br />

Formation Course.<br />

I’m pretty excited to be<br />

a Eucharistic Minister<br />

and a reader, because<br />

it’s another way of<br />

being involved in the<br />

parish and deepening<br />

your faith by serving.<br />

I wanted to be more<br />

involved and deepen<br />

my faith.<br />

Revathi from St Andrew<br />

the Apostle Parish,<br />

Marayong, a participant<br />

in the Liturgical Ministry<br />

Formation Course.<br />


When anyone experiences<br />

suffering, Jesus is sharing his<br />

cross with them.<br />

A cuppa with the priest<br />

Fr Alan Layt<br />

St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill<br />


Fr Alan Layt has been Parish Priest of St Aidan’s<br />

Parish, Rooty Hill for the past 11 years. Born and<br />

bred locally, he has spent his life dedicated to<br />

the welfare of others in both social and spiritual<br />

contexts.<br />

A late vocation at age 47, Fr Alan had been a high<br />

school teacher before he was ordained in 1996 by<br />

Bishop Bede Heather, the first bishop in the relatively<br />

newly formed Diocese of Parramatta. Fr Alan had<br />

grown up in Silverwater, formed by the Pallottines, an<br />

order from Germany. After leaving school, he entered<br />

their seminary, but only stayed for around three<br />

years. During his years teaching, he also became<br />

involved in the union movement, inspired by his<br />

grandfather who had been Mayor of Auburn and a<br />

member of the steering committee of the then Labor<br />

Premier Jack Lang who saw NSW through the Great<br />

Depression. Speaking with him about his work as a<br />

Parish Priest today, it is clear his focus is on still on<br />

the care of others, and in particular their relationship<br />

with Christ.<br />

When he first arrived at St Aidan’s in 2008, then<br />

Parish Priest Fr Renato Paras recognized his<br />

strengths and appointed him to minister to youth, in<br />

particular, to prepare them for World Youth Day 2008.<br />

Today he continues to want to see young people<br />

strong in their faith, and believes formation is critical.<br />

He appreciates the St Aidan’s parishioners who<br />

are also members of Opus Dei who have assisted<br />

with formation of the young people of the parish.<br />

Currently the youth group meets regularly and he<br />

happily reports the young people are now instructing<br />

other young members of the group.<br />

He is concerned about the apparent drop in numbers<br />

of parishioners returning to Mass after COVID<br />

restrictions. Not only does this situation impact<br />

parish communities, his real concern is for the impact<br />

on the individuals themselves and how they are<br />

missing out on the chance to be close to Christ.<br />

He calls on all <strong>Catholic</strong>s to reach out to others with<br />

their faith. “Be prepared to do it,” he says to all lay<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>s encouraging them to evangelise. “You<br />

have brothers and sisters sitting around you who are<br />

depending on your faith,” he says, cautioning that<br />

the “It’ll be alright Jack” approach doesn’t address<br />

the urgency of the situation whereby numbers of<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong>s living in the faith are decreasing.<br />

It’s one of the reasons he has created a welcoming<br />

committee for the parish, and happily found no<br />

shortage of parishioners wanting to sign up.<br />

Given this has been the universal <strong>Catholic</strong> Church’s<br />

Year of the Family, he has a good sense of the<br />

connection between family and faith community.<br />

“Church is family,” he says. “People tend to say that<br />

Church is like a family, but Church is the true family.<br />

We are united by the Holy Spirit.”<br />

Reflecting on why older people make up such a<br />

large proportion of members of parish communities,<br />

he says they come to understand how Church is<br />

their family. “It’s a place for them,” he says before<br />

explaining the vital role they play in parish life.<br />

He cautions against the thinking that our society<br />

sometimes appears tohave: that younger people are<br />

making a more valuable contribution than the older<br />

generation who, because of ailments and issues that<br />

arise when we age, tend to suffer more. To counter<br />

this perception, he poses one question:<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

“When was Jesus at his most powerful?”<br />

Fr Alan explains his answer.<br />

“When anyone experiences suffering, Jesus is<br />

sharing His cross with them,” he says.<br />

“If they are prepared to accept it and offer it with<br />

Jesus to the Father, especially at Mass, then they are<br />

co-redeeming with Him.<br />

“They may feel their contribution is small by<br />

comparison - and it is - just the way that small boy's<br />

seven loaves and two fish were too tiny to make<br />

much difference among 5,000. It is what Jesus can<br />

do with it that counts, and that turns on the faith in<br />

Jesus of the person who suffers with Him.”<br />

When we suffer with Jesus, three things happen<br />

says Fr Alan.<br />

The first he says, is that He suffers less. “Secondly,”<br />

he continues, “we are suffering here for our sins<br />

instead of Purgatory, and it is better to do it here than<br />

there because here we can merit in the eyes of the<br />

Father because we accept suffering through faith<br />

in Jesus.”<br />

“You can't do that in Purgatory,” he reminds us.<br />

“Thirdly, and more importantly, we are involved in<br />

saving the souls of others.”<br />

“If you think about it, this is a real expression of<br />

the twofold law of love. You know you really love<br />

someone when you share their suffering, and we<br />

do that for Jesus and for the souls of those in need<br />

of salvation.”<br />

Fr Alan returns to his point about the suffering<br />

of the elderly.<br />

“Just as Jesus was at His most powerful on the<br />

cross” he says, “when He was at His most helpless<br />

physically, so any person suffering - and that<br />

includes those experiencing all the problems of<br />

getting older - who accepts their suffering with faith<br />

and trust in Jesus, is the greatest asset to any parish<br />

and to the Church as a whole.” <br />

Fr Alan Layt, Parish Priest of<br />

St Aidan's Parish, Rooty Hill.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

The altar of St Aidan’s Church, Rooty Hill.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Parish Profile – St Aidan’s Parish,<br />

Rooty Hill: Small Parish, Big People<br />


Growing up as a child in Samoa, Emma Iliae<br />

would go with her mother and other women<br />

of her village to help clean and decorate their<br />

local church.<br />

Now, as an adult, she does the same thing for St<br />

Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill, her parish since 2014.<br />

“In my heart, I knew I wanted to do what they do,”<br />

she told me. “And now, I work here, I do this and I<br />

love to come here, and when I work, I am with God<br />

and Jesus is looking down on us.”<br />

Rosemarie Estigoy, the parish’s Special Religious<br />

Education coordinator and a member of the Legion<br />

of Mary group, explains that by volunteering for<br />

the parish, she is able to share her faith and the<br />

blessings the Lord has given her with others.<br />

“I cannot just have my faith on my own, I have to<br />

share it, and others have to know the love of God –<br />

why just keep it to yourself?” she asks.<br />

“If you are feeling blessed, you have to share it.”<br />

Sacristan and Chief Acolyte Stan Pakulski adds,<br />

“God has done so much for me throughout my whole<br />

life, this is my way of giving back, albeit in a small<br />

way, for everything He has done.”<br />

Meeting with the parishioners, they describe the<br />

parish as being welcoming, vibrant and caring.<br />

“We have so many different nationalities here –<br />

everyone gets along so very well,” Stan said.<br />

Assistant Priest Fr Galbert Albino, who has been at<br />

the parish for four years, describes his joy at seeing<br />

parishioners from all nationalities working together<br />

on projects for the church. “People are very keen<br />

to help,” he said. In particular, he describes how<br />

parishioners will go and collect older parishioners<br />

to bring them to Mass. “It’s a way we can directly<br />

express our love for God,” he says. “They [the<br />

parishioners] own that.”<br />


Looking Deeper<br />

Parish priests inspire others to care<br />

The parishioners say they are ‘very blessed’ to have<br />

such ‘beautiful’ priests in Fr Alan Layt and Fr Galbert.<br />

“Our priests are so fatherly, very supportive and<br />

they help us grow in our faith with their beautiful<br />

and powerful homilies,” parishioner of 34 years Nina<br />

Chavez described.<br />

Youth team member Maelody Gevero is grateful<br />

that both priests are supportive of the youth, and<br />

their initiatives to look after the spiritual needs<br />

of the parish. “They really care about our souls,<br />

and that makes us want to take the initiative to<br />

care for everyone else’s souls,” she said. “They<br />

are witnesses, so you want to be a witness just<br />

as much.”<br />

Rosemarie added, “Fr Alan is always open and he<br />

doesn’t say no. He would like us all to be saints, and<br />

he’s really guiding us to be holy.”<br />

Holy Spirit providing fruitful gifts to the parish<br />

The parishioners feel that it is through their witness,<br />

and that of their priests, that the Holy Spirit is at work<br />

in their parish.<br />

“We’ve had many new parishioners, people who have<br />

moved to the area and are finding the church and are<br />

being welcomed to the community,” Rosemarie said,<br />

adding that she often carries an extra bulletin in her<br />

bag in case someone from Church recognises her.<br />

Parishioners at St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Fr Galbert Albino (left) and Fr Alan Layt.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Working towards an ever wider ‘we’<br />

In his 2021 message for World Day of Migrants and<br />

Refugees, Pope Francis said, “We are all in the same<br />

boat and called to work together so that there will be<br />

no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but<br />

only a single ‘we’, encompassing all of humanity.”<br />

The parishioners agreed with the Holy Father, as<br />

many of them have migrant backgrounds.<br />

Emma said, “I think it’s very important in every parish<br />

to work together as a community because we are<br />

One Body, One Spirit, we are the children of God, we<br />

must work together, treating everybody the same.”<br />

Stan added, “it doesn’t really matter where we come<br />

from, we’re all here for the same reason because<br />

God put us here.”<br />

Nina said, “We are a multicultural community, and<br />

we welcome people from all walks of life. We try<br />

to become one big, good family because of the<br />

Christian teachings from the homilies of our two<br />

beautiful priests, who hope that we are holy Christian<br />

people practising not only by words but in deeds as<br />

well, and to be an example for others.”. <br />


Diocese of Parramatta walks towards<br />

Synod of Bishops 2023<br />


An historic event is taking place in our<br />

Church as the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops<br />

considers the responses by ordinary <strong>Catholic</strong>s<br />

to the Church today. Here in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta, Sr Grace Roclawska explains the<br />

gifts of walking together and how we have<br />

participated.<br />

Imagine walking on your own through your<br />

neighbourhood. You are enjoying your time of quiet<br />

and solitude, maybe breathing, planning the rest<br />

of your day, or simply looking around. Imagine,<br />

that on your way you meet a friend who walks<br />

with a couple of little children. The way you walk<br />

changes as you need to follow the pace of the little<br />

ones. You need to stop from time to time or help<br />

your friend to run after the child who decides to<br />

wander away.<br />

Imagine you meet your old friend in a wheelchair<br />

on your walk as he leaves the retirement village.<br />

The way you converse with your friend requires<br />

you to bend over at times and speak louder.<br />

Walking with others changes your own experience,<br />

sometimes it even changes the direction or the goal<br />

you want to achieve.<br />

The idea of ‘walking together’ is the core image<br />

which Pope Francis presented to the faithful when<br />

convoking the Synod on Synodality in 2021.<br />

He called on us: “Let us have a good journey<br />

together,” and asked that we be “pilgrims in love<br />

with the Gospel and open to the surprises of<br />

the Spirit.” At the opening Mass of the Synod in<br />

October 2021 he urged us not to miss out “on<br />

the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter,<br />

listening, and discernment.”<br />

This is the essence of what has been experienced<br />

over the past nine months in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta. Following the call from Pope Francis,<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of<br />

Parramatta invited all members of the Diocese to<br />

participate in the Synod of Bishops by submitting<br />

their thoughts on questions around communion,<br />

participation and mission.<br />

At the same time, a Diocesan Committee for the<br />

Consultation on the Synod of Bishops and the<br />

Diocesan Synod Writing Group worked together<br />

on listening and discerning the voices of people in<br />

Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.<br />

The Final Synthesis document resulting from this<br />

consultation has now been published. After a period<br />

of viewing and exhibition of the document in late<br />

April <strong>2022</strong>, the parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes,<br />

Seven Hills welcomed Bishop Vincent and members<br />

of both committees who prepared the Diocese<br />

of Parramatta submissions to celebrate the final<br />

document in early May.<br />

As Bishop Vincent stated in his homily, “Let us renew<br />

our commitment to co-create with Pope Francis a<br />

Church that is fit-for-purpose going forward, one that<br />

is humble, transparent, accountable and faithful to<br />

the command to evangelise the world.”<br />

Imagine… if we continue walking and listening…<br />

that truly would be the synodality in action as Pope<br />

Francis wants us to live. <br />

You can read the Synthesis document of<br />

submissions by parishioners in the Diocese of<br />

Parramatta at bit.ly/synod2023.<br />

Sr Grace Roclawska csfn is Head of Formation for Mission in<br />

the Diocese of Parramatta.<br />


From left Sr Grace Roclawska, Padmi Pathinather, Anastasia Boulus, Wendy Goonan, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv,<br />

Bishop of Parramatta, Anne Benjamin, David Bourne and Leo Tucker at the celebration of the Final Synthesis at our Lady<br />

of Lourdes, Seven Hills on 1 May <strong>2022</strong>. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Diocese of Parramatta Committee for the<br />

Consultation on the Synod of Bishops:<br />

Sr Grace Roclawska<br />

James Camden<br />

Fr Shinto Francis<br />

Wendy Goonan<br />

Leo Tucker<br />

Padmi Pathinather<br />

Fr Joseph Lam (theological advisor)<br />

Synthesis Writing Group:<br />

Anne Benjamin<br />

Anastasia Boulus<br />

David Bourne<br />

Wendy Goonan<br />

Walking with others changes<br />

your own experience, sometimes<br />

it even changes the direction or<br />

the goal you want to achieve.<br />

Go out into the Deep:<br />

Become the Church Christ calls us to be<br />

Final Synthesis<br />

Contribution to the Synod for a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission,<br />

from the Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Acknowledgement of Country:<br />

“We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the unceded lands on which we walk, the lands<br />

of the Darug and Gundungurra Peoples. We pay our respects to them and to all Aboriginal and<br />

Torres Strait Islander Elders – past, present and emerging. We recognise that they hold the<br />

memories, traditions, culture and hopes of Indigenous Australia and the wisdom of Mother<br />

Earth, and we wish to learn from them as we journey forward.”<br />


Second-year seminarians Menard Gaspi (left) and Patrick<br />

Laurente (centre) are seen in prayer at the Holy Spirit Seminary,<br />

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

Accompanying seminarians to be<br />

beacons of light for the people<br />


Our faith teaches us the importance of<br />

community, and nowhere is this more evident<br />

than in our Diocese of Parramatta. Every day,<br />

members of the community support one another<br />

in countless ways through their prayer, faith in<br />

action and charitable works.<br />

This generosity of heart and spirit can be carried<br />

through to the formation of our future priests. Our<br />

Holy Spirit Seminary at Harris Park is carrying out<br />

its mission to prepare men who have been called<br />

by God to become His disciples and priests for the<br />

people and with the people, not for themselves.<br />

The Diocese of Parramatta has 14 men who have<br />

chosen to answer God’s call and are currently going<br />

through their formation.<br />

“I really admire these men for saying ‘I’m going to try<br />

this call I feel I’m receiving’,” Fr Paul Marshall, the<br />

new Rector of the Holy Spirit Seminary said. “It takes<br />

a lot of courage and a lot of hard work.<br />

“It’s a brave decision, requiring an incredible<br />

leap of faith.”<br />

Patrick Laurente, in his second year of formation,<br />

explained that by attending World Youth Day in<br />

Panama, he was given the opportunity to meet<br />

different people who are living out God’s vocation<br />

with “fire and zeal”.<br />

“One thing led to another, and I finally decided to<br />

respond to God’s invitation. That meant being more<br />

involved in my parish, developing a consistent prayer<br />

life, and attending Mass and receiving Our Lord<br />

daily,” Patrick said.<br />

“Prior to entering the seminary, I was on a career<br />

change to become a physiotherapist. But I guess<br />

when God calls, He calls.”<br />

Menard Gaspi, also a second-year seminarian,<br />

devoted 14 years to working as a missionary before<br />

he decided to take the next step towards a life<br />

dedicated to serving God as a priest.<br />

“From a young age, I would serve at our church<br />

and I always thought about the priesthood,”<br />

Menard explained.<br />

“My vocation was nurtured in my family. My love for<br />

family and missionary experience has guided my<br />


desire to serve the Lord and His Church. I believe<br />

that’s where my gifts and talents can bear the<br />

most fruit.”<br />

Both seminarians are very clear about how they see<br />

their role as priests and how they wish to serve our<br />

faith community in the future.<br />

“I would like to help inspire them to give life to the<br />

world and make it a better, more fulfilled place,”<br />

Menard said. “I would like to help guide people to<br />

live out the essence of the Church, a beacon of light<br />

that leads the way to Christ.”<br />

Patrick agreed, “it’s about promoting unity in what<br />

we do and how we can be that light for all walks<br />

of life, not just <strong>Catholic</strong>s in our parish. Because we<br />

never know who we might encounter, as God calls all<br />

of us to love.”<br />

As our Diocese continues to grow, we need to train<br />

more visionary young men to join Patrick and<br />

Menard in becoming beacons of light for the people.<br />

“Seminarians are formed with the people and for<br />

the people, not for themselves. Therefore, I invite all<br />

of God’s people in the Diocese to be the extended<br />

formation community for these faithful men. You<br />

do so by your prayer, support and when and where<br />

possible, accompaniment,” Bishop Vincent Long<br />

OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta said.<br />

Your donation to our Bishop’s Good Shepherd<br />

Appeal will support our seminarians to answer the<br />

calling in their hearts and follow the path to a life of<br />

service to God and our community. <br />

“Your kind donations allow us to devote our lives to God, sharing the<br />

Gospel, and to serving you and your families – our faith community,”<br />

Menard said. “Thank you for your kind accompaniment.”<br />

To donate, please call (02) 8838 3482 or visit<br />

yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appeal-shepherd<br />

Classifieds<br />

To place your ad in <strong>Catholic</strong> <strong>Outlook</strong> and reach over<br />

43,000 families in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains<br />

contact Christina Gretton at comms@parracatholic.org<br />


Hugh McDermott MP<br />


Standing<br />

up for our<br />

community.<br />

Contact Prospect Electorate Office,<br />

2/679 The Horsley Drive, Smithfield NSW<br />

Telephone (02) 9756 4766<br />

Email prospect@parliament.nsw.gov.au<br />

Authorised by Hugh McDermott MP, 2/679 The Horsley Dr, Smithfield NSW produced using Parliamentary Entitlements June <strong>2022</strong>.

Play it<br />

Check out these Spirit-filled music recommendations,<br />

courtesy of Geraldine Vytilingam, a member of the<br />

Gen Bryant Ministry team.<br />

Watch, Listen<br />

Read, Think<br />

Use the winter months to<br />

nourish your faith with<br />

these recommendations.<br />

Fresh Wind by Hillsong Worship featuring<br />

Brooke Ligertwood and David Ware.<br />

Same God by Elevation Worship featuring<br />

Jonsal Barrientes.<br />

Always Will Be by Jonathan Ogden.<br />

Now I Know by Gen Bryant.<br />

Declaring Glory (The Earth Sings its Refrain)<br />

by The Porter’s Gate and Jon Guerra<br />

featuring Audrey Assad and Page CXVI.<br />

Watch it<br />

Father Stu<br />

Peter Malone MSC of Australian <strong>Catholic</strong>s<br />

<strong>Magazine</strong> has some advice if you haven’t<br />

already seen Fr Stu, the Mark Wahlberg movie<br />

on the life of Fr Stuart Long, the American<br />

boxer-turned-priest currently in cinemas. He<br />

advises <strong>Catholic</strong> viewers: be patient as it might<br />

not be what you are expecting, accept that<br />

the strong language used is part of sharing<br />

Stu’s life, and go see the movie before looking<br />

up the true-life story of Stuart Long. He says<br />

“See the film and share the complexities of<br />

Sturt Long’s life and life choices from a fresh<br />

perspective. You will have mixed emotions<br />

along the way. But the ending will be credible.<br />

For many audiences quite moving.”<br />

Father Stu stars Mark Wahlberg, Mel<br />

Gibson, Teresa Ruiz, Malcolm McDowell<br />

and Jacqui Weaver. Rated M.<br />

With thanks to Peter Malone MSC.<br />

Image: Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) in Columbia<br />

Pictures' Father Stu. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.<br />

©2021 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.<br />


Tube it<br />

Have you explored the<br />

spiritual nourishment<br />

available on YouTube?<br />

Here’s a few to try.<br />

Sr Joan Chittister a<br />

Benedictine Sister of<br />

Erie, PA. and a leading<br />

voice on peace, human<br />

rights, women’s issues<br />

and church renewal. She<br />

is a best-selling author,<br />

having written more<br />

than 60 books and cochairs<br />

the Global Peace<br />

Initiative of Women.<br />

Fr Richard Rohr OFM a Franciscan priest has been<br />

called “one of the most popular spirituality authors<br />

and speakers in the world.” He founded the Center for<br />

Action and Contemplation which introduces seekers<br />

to the contemplative Christian path of transformation.<br />

Fr Richard has numerous YouTube clips to explore, and<br />

you can also sign up for short daily meditations.<br />

Walter Brueggemann is a renowned author and Old<br />

Testament scholar and has been described as “one<br />

of the world’s great teachers about the prophets who<br />

both anchor the Hebrew Bible and have transcended it<br />

across history.”<br />

Yale Divinity School – Yale University has numerous<br />

videos from its Divinity School lecturers. You can<br />

watch hours of videos on topics including the history<br />

of Early Modern Christianity, peace, justice and<br />

dismantling racism.<br />

Sr Joan Chittister. Image Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

Listen in<br />

Soul Food<br />

Produced by the Pastoral<br />

Formation team in the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta, this<br />

podcast series brings you<br />

stories of faith and hope.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta<br />

Find it on Spotify or<br />

though the website<br />

pfparra.org.au/soulfood<br />

Read it<br />

God’s Guide for Grandparents<br />

“Very often it is grandparents who<br />

ensure that the most important<br />

values are passed down to their<br />

grandchildren, and many people<br />

can testify that they owe their<br />

initiation into the Christian life to<br />

their grandparents.” - Pope Francis,<br />

Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of Love.<br />

As fun and special as time spent with<br />

grandchildren can be, we know that<br />

being a grandparent is a supporting -<br />

and not a starring - role. So, how can<br />

grandparents truly make a difference<br />

in their grandchildren’s lives?<br />

God’s Guide for Grandparents<br />

draws on sacred Scripture, the<br />

example of the saints, the teachings<br />

of the Church, the writings of Pope<br />

Francis, and anecdotes from today’s<br />

grandparents. Grandchildren are<br />

always watching. Make the most of<br />

your opportunity to have a positive<br />

and lasting impact in their lives.<br />

God’s Guide for Grandparents<br />

By Susan M Erschen<br />

Published by Our Sunday Visitor<br />

Publishing. Available at Freedom<br />

Publishing.<br />


Pray with Pope Francis<br />

Pope Francis’ care for humanity and the<br />

mission of the Church are expressed through<br />

the monthly Pope’s prayer intentions. You can<br />

find videos of the Pope’s monthly intentions at<br />

thepopevideo.org<br />

JUNE | For families<br />

We pray for Christian families around the world;<br />

may they embody and experience unconditional<br />

love and advance in holiness in their daily lives.<br />

JULY | For the elderly<br />

We pray for the elderly, who represent the roots<br />

and memory of a people; may their experience<br />

and wisdom help young people to look towards<br />

the future with hope and responsibility.<br />

AUGUST | For small businesses<br />

We pray for small and medium sized businesses;<br />

in the midst of economic and social crisis, may<br />

they find ways to continue operating, and serving<br />

their communities.<br />

On 24 July <strong>2022</strong> the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church celebrates World Day for<br />

Grandparents and the Elderly with the theme “In old age they<br />

will still bear fruit.” Read our article on the special relationship<br />

between grandparents and grandchildren on page 24.<br />

Photo © ACN International<br />


APPEAL<br />

forUkraine<br />

at this time. Please pray for peace<br />

and protection for this country and<br />

its inhabitants who have already<br />

endured so much suffering and<br />

pain. Despite difficulties and<br />

hardship, the Church promises<br />

not to abandon its faithful,<br />

whatever might happen.<br />

Aid to the Church in Need<br />

Australia has launched an<br />

emergency appeal to support the<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Church in Ukraine. ACN is<br />

committed to strengthening and<br />

supporting the <strong>Catholic</strong> Church<br />

in Ukraine, as we have done for<br />

the past 70 years. The appeal has<br />

been given the support of Bishop<br />

Mykola Bychok CSsR, Eparch of<br />

the Ukrainian <strong>Catholic</strong> Church<br />

in Australia, New Zealand and<br />

Oceania.<br />

ACN began its support to<br />

exiled Ukrainian Christians in<br />

1953. ACN<br />

was crucial in<br />

helping rebuild<br />

Church life and<br />

still has many<br />

projects in<br />

Ukraine. These<br />

include the formation of some<br />

900 seminarians - of both Latin<br />

and Eastern <strong>Catholic</strong> Churches -<br />

and the upkeep and restoration<br />

of seminaries, churches and<br />

monasteries.<br />

Please make a generous offering<br />

to help ease the burden that the<br />

people of Ukraine are shouldering<br />

GIVE<br />

Founded in 1947, ACN is the only international<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Charity dedicated to the pastoral<br />

support of suffering and persecuted Christians.<br />

NOW<br />

To make an offering<br />

scan the QR code<br />

OR visit<br />

www.aidtochurch.<br />



At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus’ disciples to allow them<br />

to share the Good News with everyone around the world.<br />

The flames on the heads of the disciples are a symbol of the Holy Spirit.<br />

As you colour in this picture, think of all the symbols of the Holy Spirit you can.<br />

3rd Glorious Mystery: Descent of the Holy Spirit. © The<strong>Catholic</strong>Kid.com<br />


Directory of services<br />

(02) 8843 2500 or visit catholiccarewsbm.org.au<br />

Chancery Office<br />

www.parracatholic.org<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

diocese@parracatholic.org<br />

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv<br />

(02) 8838 3400<br />

bishop@parracatholic.org<br />

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

Diocese of Parramatta<br />

parra.catholic.edu.au<br />

(02) 9840 5600<br />

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

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

Services Limited<br />

(02) 9407 7044<br />

enquiries@cdpsl.org.au<br />

Ambrose Early Years Education<br />

and School Age Care<br />

(02) 9407 7044<br />

ambrose.org.au<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Care Western Sydney<br />

and the Blue Mountains<br />

(02) 8843 2500<br />

catholiccarewsbm.org.au<br />

Mission Enhancement Team<br />

(MET Parramatta)<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Youth Parramatta<br />

Marriage, Family and Natural Fertility<br />

Pastoral Formation<br />

Peace, Justice and Ecology<br />

Worship<br />

met@parracatholic.org<br />

parracatholic.org/met<br />

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine<br />

(02) 8838 3486<br />

ccd@parracatholic.org<br />

Tribunal Office<br />

(02) 8838 3480<br />

tribunal@parracatholic.org<br />

Vocations<br />

(02) 8838 3460<br />

vocations@parracatholic.org<br />

Parramatta <strong>Catholic</strong> Foundation<br />

(02) 8838 3482<br />

yourfoundation@parracatholic.org<br />

Diocesan Development Fund<br />

(02) 8839 4500<br />

enquiries@parraddf.org.au<br />

Holy Spirit Seminary<br />

(02) 9296 6300<br />

Office for Safeguarding<br />

(02) 8838 3419<br />

safeguarding@parracatholic.org<br />

Ageing Well<br />

Whatever your age, you will never be invisible to the people at <strong>Catholic</strong> Care. Our range of<br />

supports aim to keep you living independently in your own home for as long as possible,<br />

while staying connected with your friends and community.<br />

Our Commonwealth Home Support Program support elderly people to stay living<br />

independently at home, while our Community Visitor’s Scheme aims to reduce loneliness<br />

and enrich people’s lives through fortnightly visits to residents at aged-care facilities.<br />

Bringing a baby into the world<br />

There are few things more important than caring for a newborn child. Our programs have helped<br />

many young women who are feeling lost or have been excluded from their community and are<br />

at risk of homelessness, to get the support they need. Our parenting support program supports<br />

new parents finding the challenges of a newborn overwhelming.<br />

Chaplaincy<br />

Our chaplains provide spiritual and emotional support for patients and inmates, their<br />

families and staff in the seven hospitals and three correctional centres throughout the<br />

Diocese of Parramatta. An inclusive ministry available to all faiths, our 15 chaplains work<br />

alongside others involved in the care of patients and inmates.<br />

Children<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> Care offers a range of support services to ensure children are taken care of in any<br />

situation. It starts with early years learning and childcare — our home-based early learning and<br />

parenting program for families with young children helps them and their parents develop skills,<br />

and our family day care helps kids get a good start with their education. Our creche is a thriving<br />

early learning centre, providing care for children of Sudanese refugee women enrolled in English<br />

classes offered on the grounds of <strong>Catholic</strong> Care.<br />

Connecting with my Community<br />

Our drop-in centres provide a safe place for people to belong and connect with others.<br />

They are a place to be, a place to get information, join a group, and be accepted.<br />

In Emerton, Aboriginal <strong>Catholic</strong> Services is a drop-in centre led by Aboriginal people for<br />

Aboriginal people. In Blacktown, culturally and linguistically diverse families are accessing<br />

support to settle into life in Australia by the team at All Saints of Africa. And at our Springwood<br />

Drop-in Centre, established to support the community after the 2014 bushfires, clients stop by<br />

for a chat, join a reading group or seek support with their mental health.<br />

Living well with Disability<br />

We all need a support network to live our lives to the fullest. Our disability support team, can<br />

help you with living, learning and overcoming obstacles on your journey, whatever they may<br />

look like. We can help you set goals, and achieve them, and help you build a brighter future.<br />

As a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, we support clients<br />

at home and in the community, whether you want to learn how to cook, need support with<br />

personal care, or want to play sport.<br />

Support for my Family<br />

When life gets tough for our families, the people we care about most can suffer. Our range<br />

of family support services can support you to better relate to your spouse and understand<br />

their behaviour, to deal with dependence or gambling problems, single parenting, or just<br />

connecting with your kids.<br />

We support families who are going through the most difficult of times to cope through<br />

separation, and with grief and loss. We help parents deal with all the stresses that can<br />

impact your family, from anxiety and depression to money worries, gambling—we have the<br />

people, the resources and the support to help you make it through.<br />


Latest appointments<br />

Most Rev Vincent Long OFM<br />

Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, has<br />

confirmed these appointments in<br />

the Diocese of Parramatta:<br />

Fr Floyd Kanongi Gatana SM<br />

Assistant Priest at St Andrew the<br />

Apostle Parish, Marayong<br />

from 20 March <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Fr John Walenciej SDB<br />

Assistant Priest of Our Lady of the<br />

Rosary Church, St Marys<br />

from 29 April <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Deacon HuYao Zhang OSA<br />

Assistant Deacon of Holy Spirit<br />

Parish St Clair<br />

from 2 May <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Deacon Andrew Rooney<br />

Deacon of St Michael’s Church,<br />

Parish of Baulkham Hills<br />

from 9 May <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Voice of the people<br />

What does family love<br />

look like to you?<br />

“Family love to me looks like being<br />

connected, sharing the good and hard<br />

moments, praying together, forgiveness<br />

and sacrifice. With a young family, it<br />

is shown in little moments amongst<br />

the busyness of life – helping each<br />

other, listening to each other, laughing<br />

together and showing the love of Christ<br />

to each other.”<br />

Tanya Castellino - Mother of four and parishioner of Our Lady of the<br />

Angels Parish, Rouse Hill.<br />

Image: Supplied<br />

“Family love is the love that<br />

keeps a family together. It’s an<br />

important part of a home. Our<br />

Christian values of faith, trust and<br />

our commitment moulds us as a<br />

unit, not only in the home, but in<br />

society and wider world, home to<br />

all God’s living creatures.”<br />

Noel McKertich - Parishioner of St Anthony of Padua Parish,<br />

Toongabbie.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

“Family love is a special type of love<br />

that comes with its unique feelings,<br />

behaviours, challenges and rewards. It’s<br />

a group of people that function as a unit<br />

that faces challenges together, shows<br />

respect for each other, works together,<br />

takes responsibility, makes time for<br />

each other and practises forgiveness.”<br />

Honorine McKertich - Parishioner of St Anthony of Padua Parish,<br />

Toongabbie.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.<br />

“It has the potential to be an authentic altruistic<br />

experience. It is nursing COVID-19 or broken hearts and<br />

then watching the joy on the faces of people who have<br />

made new discoveries about themselves and the world.<br />

It is courageous, joyous, infuriating, vulnerable, hopeful,<br />

sacrificial and occasionally, transcendent.”<br />

Francis O’Callaghan - Religious<br />

Education Coordinator at St Columba’s<br />

<strong>Catholic</strong> College, Springwood.<br />

Image: CEDP.<br />

“It is a basic ecclesial community wherein every member is<br />

shown mutual love, respect and understanding regardless of<br />

differences. For me, that is the very foundation that every family<br />

should have. Much more, love of family can remain strong if it is<br />

deeply rooted in the love of God.”<br />

Fr Galbert Albino - Assistant Priest of St<br />

Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill.<br />

Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

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