M A G A Z I N E
Parramatta heads to World Youth Day 2023 I Season of Creation in the Diocese
Meet Fr Vincy of The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton I Deep listening with Dadirri
Our November traditions I Inner pilgrimages
Season of Creation | Spring 2022
M A G A Z I N E
Parramatta heads to World Youth Day 2023 I Season of Creation in the Diocese
Meet Fr Vincy of The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton I Deep listening with Dadirri
Our November traditions I Inner pilgrimages
Imprimatur and Publisher:
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
(02) 8838 3400
PO Box 3066,
North Parramatta, NSW, 1750
Editor & Vicar for Communication:
Br Mark O’Connor FMS
(02) 8838 3400
PO Box 3066,
North Parramatta, NSW, 1750
Very Rev Peter G. Williams AM
(02) 8838 3437
IVE Group Australia Pty Ltd
All material in this publication is copyright and
may not be reproduced without permission
of the publisher. 8,500 copies are printed and
distributed to 47 parishes and more than 80
schools, after school care centres and early
learning centres in Western Sydney and the
Catholic Outlook is a member of the
Australasian Catholic Press Association.
© Diocese of Parramatta 2022
Jenny Kuchta and Elyse Provest worked with Aboriginal students at
Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary Greystanes to create this Rainbow
Lorikeet artwork. Many local schools are adopting totems in the
lead-up to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education
NSW State Conference in Leura in October 2022. This event will be
proudly hosted by Catholic Schools NSW and Catholic Education
Diocese of Parramatta.
The Diocese of Parramatta reaffirms the
wise axiom attributed to Saint Augustine of
Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials,
freedom; in all things, charity.” In this spirit,
Catholic Outlook publishes a variety of
Catholic viewpoints. They are not necessarily
the official views of the Diocese of Parramatta.
Season of Creation | Spring 2022
Cover Image: Sunset on the road to Santiago de Navarra,
Spain. The Camino de Santiago is one of the world’s
greatest pilgrimages. Image: Shutterstock.
From Bishop Vincent
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Only the Kingdom therefore
is absolute and it makes
everything else relative.
As we enter into Spring and see God’s creation
bursting forth into new life, let’s remind ourselves that
the Kingdom of God is shining forth all around us!
We are all pilgrims of faith, on a journey to spread the
Good News that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified but
is now risen from the dead.
Sometimes, however, we are blinded from living
our joyous faith and noticing God’s Kingdom
We are like the masses in Jesus’ day, who were
yearning for God to send a messiah to rescue
them but were looking in all the wrong places.
Yes, there are many things in our chaotic
contemporary world that can blind and depress
us and threaten our hope. We can be tempted to
despair at so much injustice, rampant greed, the
destruction of our environment and especially
the horror of war and the suffering of innocents in
places like Ukraine.
But let’s never forget that Jesus proclaimed the
Kingdom and insisted that God’s reign could begin in
people’s lives any time they are ready to awaken to
Jesus still speaks to us today:
St. Pope Paul VI
Do not look for God to
appear in the desert or on a
mountaintop, because the
Kingdom is not about location.
Instead, the Kingdom of God
is within you.
If, however, we can resist the temptation to despair
and overcome the delusion that we can save
ourselves, we can discover this divine presence.
As the Anglican biblical scholar N. T. Wright puts
it: “...we need to discover that when God wants to
take charge of the world or the Church, he does
not send in the tanks. Instead, he sends in the
poor and the meek.”
That is what Pope Francis has also been tirelessly
saying for the last ten years. Our salvation is not
achieved by ‘circling the wagons’ and seeking refuge
in some supposed ‘Golden Age’ of the Church.
Our recent Plenary Council was a moment of hope
and new life for many of us Australian Catholics.
Why? Because it rightly discerned that we Australian
Catholics need to march on in our journey of
synodality, to make the Kingdom a reality in the
Australia of today.
We, the People of God in the Diocese of Parramatta,
are sent on mission as ‘kingdom people’ to the
‘peripheries’. As a pilgrim people, the poor and meek
are our salvation and our guides, the 'anawim' of
God who live their witness in the world and in history.
With them, we go on a journey to form a community
of ‘kinship’ for God longs for us to encounter him at
This season of Spring 2022, we are called then to
open our eyes to see the Kingdom of God breaking
through all around us: “for the vision still has time,
presses on to fulfillment, and it will not
disappoint; and if it delays, wait for it”
(cf. Habakkuk 2:3).
Let's continue our pilgrimage of
hope. For: Only the kingdom
... is absolute!
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
This was not a message most people of Jesus’ time
wanted to hear. I suspect it is not something we want
to accept deep down either.
We can be tempted to want a Kingdom even a
Church where we are in ‘control’.
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA
BE WELCOMED | BE VALUED | BE CONFIDENT
Visit www.parra.catholic.edu.au today to find your local Catholic school and join one of our
caring, faith-filled communities.
On the Inside
Season of Creation | Spring 2022
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08 Short & Sweet
10 Spring awakens our care
for refugees and our
12 Sustainable gardening
harvests a strong community
14 Diocese of Parramatta
announces pilgrimage to
World Youth Day 2023
16 The impact of saying ‘yes’ to
God through World Youth Day
18 Being a World Youth Day
witness eleven years on
20 A renewed era of pilgrimage
21 Saints to inspire young people
on their WYD pilgrimage
22 Nurturing a child’s
24 A servant leader
26 Speak up, speak out
and speak on
28 A reflection on the
32 Looking Deeper
34 The journey within
36 Journey to Emmaus
38 Living in the monastery
of the heart
40 The Pilgrim Church
42 Our traditions for those
who have died
44 Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap,
Parish Priest The Good
46 Parish Profile: The Good
Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
48 Quest to know sets
a life in motion
50 Let us care for those who
have cared for us through
their lifetime of service
52 Watch, Listen, Read, Think
54 Kid's Corner
56 Directory of services
57 Latest appointments
57 Diocesan Award
A time for journeying
With the announcement of the Diocese of Parramatta’s World Youth Day 2023 pilgrimage, we’ve asked pilgrims
young and old what being on pilgrimage is like. Check out the testimonials throughout this edition of Catholic
Outlook on how you can grow through pilgrimage, no matter your life stage. You don’t even need to leave home.
Our HSC students are soon
to sit their final exams. Parish
communities in the Diocese will be
holding Masses to pray for our local
students and show them support
Find the Mass for students in your
parish at bit.ly/HSCMass22
Year 12 Students from Emmaus Catholic College,
Kemps Creek with Bishop Vincent in June 2022
Sustainability tips from Ambrose Early Learning
The start of our Spring in September is also the Season of Creation.
Throughout the month, we are encouraged to take action and care
for our common home. The children of Ambrose Early Learning in the
Diocese of Parramatta are learning how to reduce their impact on the
Here are their top tips:
Children at Mary Queen of the Parish
Ambrose Early Learning learn about
recycling. Image: Ambrose Early Learning.
• Get a worm farm and feed your worms food scraps.
The ‘worm juice’ is great fertiliser.
• Recycle water through the use of rain tanks.
• Grow things in the garden rather than buy them,
especially your own food.
• Recycle plastic soft drink and milk bottle lids.
The ‘Lids for Kids’ project collects plastic bottle lids
to be recycled to help make mobility aids for children.
Sign up as an
Catholic Earthcare has a program
to help your family live more
sustainably. There's a program for
parishes and schools too. Find out
more on page 10.
Combine learning about
ecological care with fun and
play the Catholic Earthcare
Game. Image: Supplied.
You can purchase the
Earthcare game through
Image: Cath Family website
Baking for All Souls
Following All Saints Day on 1 November, we
commemorate All Souls Day on the 2nd, when we
pray for those who have died. It is a centuries-old
tradition, originally accompanied, in England and
Ireland, by the baking and distribution of ‘soul cakes’
for the poor. Try one of the recipes and talk with your
families about the tradition of All Souls Day, and
loved ones who have died.
Check out this recipe on the Cath Family website
Season of Creation
Take time out from your busy lifestyle for
a few days to camp in nature with friends,
family and other members of the Christian
community to celebrate the Season of
Creation. To be held at Wooglemai Catholic
Bush Retreat Centre, Oakdale from
30 September to 2 October.
Speaking out against
violence and abuse
The Australian Catholic Church launched its social
justice statement for 2022/23 in August. The
statement, Respect: Confronting Violence and
Abuse looks at family and domestic violence and
explains that using religious teachings to excuse
violence or exert control over others is wrong. The
Australian Catholic bishops call for all people to do
their part, so all people can live in safety and peace.
Social Justice Statement Image: The Office for Social Justice,
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Download the statement at bit.ly/SJS22-23
Supporting our retired clergy
Our clergy accompany us during some of the most important times of our lives. Having given a life of service
to others, when it comes to retirement or illness, sometimes they need our help.
You can contribute to the Bishop's Father's Day Appeal at catholicoutlook.info/csfFathersday
Did you see our team with Bishop Vincent, priests,
seminarians and parishioners who ran the City2Surf in
August this year? They hope you'll join them next year
to help promote vocations.
You can still donate to their campaign raising
funds for Holy Spirit Seminary, Harris Park at
What’s On in the Diocese?
1 SEPTEMBER TO 4 OCTOBER
Season of Creation. Find resources at
World Day for Migrants and Refugees.
Diocesan Journey... Walking with Refugees
event celebrating the gifts and contributions of
refugees in our community. Find out more at
Parish HSC Masses. Our parishes invite you to
Mass to support our students. Find a Mass at
6 AND 13 OCTOBER
Sacraments, Blacktown. A short course on
the Sacraments for your parish community.
Details at MET@parracatholic.org
13 TO 15 OCTOBER
National Deacons’ Conference, Baulkham
Hills. Details at catholicoutlook.info/
Seminarian Tom Green (right), Fr Pawel Barszczewski OP
(centre) and Head of Clergy Wellbeing in the Diocese of
Parramatta, Mark Buhagier (left) run in the Active4Vocations
campaign in the City2Surf 2022. Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Talking about the Church
The National Deacons’ Conference
is being hosted by the Diocese of
Parramatta 13 to 15 October. All
interested parishioners are invited
to attend and hear the lineup of
Find out more at
LIFTED Live in the Forecourt. Join the largest
outdoor youth festival in the Diocese at St
Patrick’s Cathedral Precinct Parramatta 7-10pm.
Register at parracatholic.org/liftedlive
The FaithFeed for those aged in their 20s to 40s.
Details at MET@parracatholic.org
Peace, Justice and Ecology Sharing Online. A
sharing opportunity for those interested in Social
Justice, Care for Creation or Global Peace.
Email MET@parracatholic.org for a Zoom link.
World Youth Day Parramatta. Each year Pope
Francis celebrates young people around
the world! Join us for an outdoor mass and
celebration. 6pm St John XXIII Catholic
College, Stanhope Gardens
Mass for Deceased Clergy in the Diocese of
Parramatta. Mass will be followed by prayers at
the graves of deceased clergy buried in Castle
Hill Cemetery. 10.30am St Bernadette’s Parish,
Members of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of
Parramatta and their wives at their formation weekend in 2021
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
• Scripture and Socials for young adults
20’s-40’s online courses.
• Spirituality for beginners
• Interpersonal Skilling for Ministry
Details at pfparra.org.au or
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
On 25 September, the Catholic Church around the world celebrates the World Day of Migrants and
Refugees. On this day, we express concern for vulnerable people on the move, pray for them as they face
many challenges, and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers. In 2022, Pope
Francis invites us all to join in “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees”. One practical step is to hold
a food drive for the local refugees in our midst.
Find out more at parracatholic.org/diocesanfooddrive
AFRICA IS FACING
A FOOD CRISIS
You can help deliver
urgent humanitarian aid to
communities facing hunger
www.caritas.org.au | 1800 024 413
Short & Sweet
I thank God that the Plenary Council had the humility
and courage to not go home with a false unity but
a deep and new awareness of God’s unfolding
revelation and our evolving maturity. At least
that is the indication of the majority. The synodal
journey can be messy, painful and uncertain. But
it can lead to renewed and
deepened commitment and even
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
on the Plenary Council 17 July 2022
I believe some people – lots of people – pray to the
witness of their lives through the work they do, the
friendships they have, the love
they offer people and receive from
people. Since when are words the
only acceptable form of prayer?
Dorothy Day Image: Wikimedia Commons
Noel Pearson also said Australians have an epic story.
It’s one of the greatest epic stories of this planet.
We will recognise the scale of our story when we
recognise each other.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Federal Opposition Leader Peter
Dutton at the opening of the
Australian Pariament 26 July 2022
The use of digital media, especially social media,
has raised a number of serious ethical issues that
call for wise and discerning judgment on the part
of communicators, and all those concerned with
authenticity and the quality of
His Holiness Pope Francis
to the lay communication network
SIGNIS August 2022 Image: Shutterstock.
The teaching of Christ urges us to promote
relationships marked by respect and freedom
rather than coercion and control. The message of
the Gospel is not a message of domination of one
person over another but a message of mutual
esteem and kindness.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB
launching the Australian Catholic
Bishops’ Social Justice Statement
for 2022/23 Respect: Confronting
Violence and Abuse Image: ACBC.
The profit-driven and self-oriented model that
undergirds our consumerist, economic system is
no longer viable going forward. We will perish under
these conditions unless we return to the roots of
nature and rewire ourselves to be part of nature.
For we humans belong to nature;
nature does not belong to us.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Tri Diocesan Social Justice evening,
Pope’s Prayer Intentions
This Spring, Pope Francis asks us to pray
together as a worldwide community:
SEPTEMBER | For the abolition of the death penalty
We pray that the death penalty, which attacks the
dignity of the human person, may be legally
abolished in every country.
OCTOBER | For a Church open to everyone
We pray for the Church; ever faithful to, and
courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church
be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome,
always living in an atmosphere of synodality.
Pope Francis at World Youth Day 2016 in Poland
NOVEMBER | For children who suffer
We pray for children who are suffering, especially
those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of
war; may they be guaranteed access to education
and the opportunity to experience family affection.
Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to
wait. We do not try to hurry things up. We let them
follow their natural course – like the seasons. We
watch the moon in each of its phases. We wait for
the rain to fill our rivers and water the thirsty earth…
When twilight comes, we prepare for the night.
At dawn we rise with the sun.
We watch the bush foods and wait for them to ripen
before we gather them. We wait for our young people
as they grow, stage by stage, through their initiation
ceremonies. When a relation dies, we wait a long
time with the sorrow. We own our grief and allow
it to heal slowly.
We wait for the right time for our ceremonies and
our meetings. The right people must be present.
Everything must be done in the proper way. Careful
preparations must be made. We don’t mind waiting,
because we want things to be done with care.
Sometimes many hours will be spent on painting the
body before an important ceremony.
We don’t like to hurry. There is nothing more
important than what we are attending to. There is
nothing more urgent that we must hurry away for.
We wait on God, too. His time is the right time. We
wait for Him to make His Word clear to us. We don’t
worry. We know that in time and in the spirit of dadirri
(that deep listening and quiet stillness).
His way will be clear.
We are River people. We cannot hurry the river. We
have to move with its current and understand its ways.
We hope that the people of Australia will wait. Not so
much waiting for us – to catch up – but waiting with
us, as we find our pace in this world.
There is much pain and struggle as we wait.
The Holy Father understood this patient struggle
when he said to us:
“If you stay closely united, you are like a tree,
standing in the middle of a bushfire sweeping
through the timber. The leaves are scorched and
the tough bark is scarred and burnt; but inside the
tree the sap is still flowing, and under the ground
the roots are still strong. Like that tree, you have
endured the flames, and you still have the power
to be reborn”.
An excerpt from Dadirri by Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr
To read the full reflection go to
(left) 2021 Senior
Australian of the Year,
will visit the Diocese
of Parramatta for the
Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Catholic
Education Conference in
Leura in October 2022.
Image: Salty Dingo
our care for
refugees and our
STORY SEBASTIAN SALASKE-LENTERN
AND JAMES ATANASIOUS LUKERE
September is a special time for social and
environmental justice in the Catholic Church.
Sebastian and James from the Mission
Enhancement Team (MET) explain why.
Each year, the Season of Creation and the World
Day of Migrants and Refugees fall in the month of
September. It’s a time when Catholics around the
world are particularly reminded to care more deeply
for God’s creation and for people seeking refuge in
Where to start
Sometimes, knowing how to start can be confusing
or overwhelming. To help you, Catholic Earthcare, the
ecological advisory agency for the Catholic Church in
Australia, has a special program for families, parishes
and schools to take them through the steps, from
understanding our connection to nature, to taking
stock and taking action.
Take action in the Season of Creation
Coinciding with our Australian Spring, the Season
of Creation is a worldwide ecumenical initiative from
1 September to 4 October. Concluding on the Feast
of St Francis of Assisi, considered the patron saint
of our natural environment, it is a time when Pope
Francis and the Australian Bishops encourage all
Catholics to prayer and action in caring for God’s
creation, our common home.
In April this year, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv,
Bishop of Parramatta launched our Diocesan
Laudato Si’ Action Campaign, aimed at achieving
the seven Laudato Si’ Goals set by Pope Francis.
All Catholic schools, parishes, families, and
organisations in the Diocese of Parramatta are
invited to join us on the journey.
Watch the video at parracatholic.org/laudatosi
Parishes will learn how to audit where your parish
is at regarding sustainability, and help you plan
for the future, including how to build and motivate
Already four parishes have signed up from the Diocese
of Parramatta including The Good Shepherd at
Plumpton, and St Madeleine Sophie Barat at Kenthurst.
Find out more about the Diocesan Laudato Si’
action campaign and the Laudato Si’ Goals at
The Good Shepherd Parish responds to
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
The Good Shepherd Parish in Plumpton has
envisaged and actioned their response to the
Diocesan Laudato Si’ Action Campaign. In January
2022, the parish’s social justice group initiated a
discernment process, resulting in the decision to
join Catholic Earthcare’s Parishes Program and to
undertake an Earthcare audit.
Parishioners from The Good Shepherd, Plumpton raised money for refugees at a special concert. Image: Supplied
They have taken stock of the ways in which the
parish is responding to “the cry of the earth and the
cry of the poor.” Actions include using solar energy,
regular food drives for the refugee organisation the
House of Welcome, and holding a concert to raise
funds for refugee families.
Read more about the parish’s actions on page 46.
The Laudato Si’ Goals
Respond to the Cry of the Earth
Response to the Cry of the Poor
Adoption of sustainable lifestyles
Community resilience and
Details at laudatosiactionplatform.org
Find more opportunities to get involved
with social and environmental justice at
parracatholic.org/socialjustice and subscribe
to the Peace, Justice, Ecology Newsletter at
World Day of Migrants and
Refugees 25 September
Celebrate and support refugees in the
Diocese of Parramatta
The Catholic Church celebrates the World Day
of Migrants and Refugees in 2022 on Sunday 25
September. It is a time to pray and raise awareness
of the challenges of vulnerable people on the move.
In the Diocese of Parramatta, our network of refugee
organisations and parishes come together in the
Diocesan Journey... Walking With Refugees to
support and keep the conversation going.
Celebrate the gifts refugees bring us all,
at a special event
As a former refugee myself, I
understand the sufferings, destitution,
and cry for prosperity of those who
are seeking a place of safety where
they can rebuild their lives. I want
you to be hopeful and prayerful, for
the Lord will provide. No condition is
permanent, and change is possible.
James Atanasious Lukere
Sebastian Salaske-Lentern and James Atanasious Lukere are
members of the Diocese of Parramatta’s Mission Enhancement
Team (MET) focusing on Peace, Justice, Ecology.
Margaret (left) and Hanna (right) in the garden
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Sustainable gardening harvests
a strong community
STORY MARY BRAZELL
The Season of Creation coincides with our
Australian Spring weather. In Blacktown, a
group of gardeners are sustainably growing their
favourite vegetables and following the call to
care for each other and our common home.
It’s Thursday morning and Margaret Bayoa has
finished her night shift.
After getting home at 7am, she gets her kids ready
for school and drops them off.
But instead of heading home to rest after work,
she is pulling weeds and cultivating her garden bed
alongside other Sudanese women in the community
garden at the All Saints of Africa Centre, next to St
Patrick’s Church in Blacktown.
I ask her why she isn’t at home taking it easy. “My
heart is here,” she replies with a beaming smile,
looking over the beds of traditional African crops.
Catholic Care Western Sydney and the Blue
Mountains Family Support Worker Rafa Godo
explains that the All Saints of Africa Centre was
established as a central hub for members of the
African community to gather and to socialise.
Originally established for young people, over time,
local Sudanese women have become the main
group of gardeners. They grow okra, black beans,
white corn, sukuma and sugar cane – crops that
are Sudanese staples and remind the gardeners
Although it is an overcast day when I visit the garden,
it fails to dampen their spirits as the women chat
as they pick from the existing plants and begin
preparations for Spring.
Each woman has her own garden bed, but if
someone is not around, the other members of the
community are allowed to harvest their crops.
The food is also shared amongst the community
members free of charge.
“We often have a lot of people asking for the food
from the garden,” one of the women explains.
“My kids ask me when I am cooking whether the food
is from the garden. When I say ‘yes’ they get excited.”
The garden is a living example of sustainability. The
women harvest their own seeds from the crops, and
the only item they pay for is water. Any leftovers are
frozen for use throughout the year.
“It’s really encouraging that we are planting our own
seeds, and it’s organic and healthy for us to eat,”
Esther Kenyi says.
As well as tending to the garden, the women are also
nurturing their relationships with one another and
with their community.
“On Thursdays, we have playgroup and then
afterwards, I go and do garden work,” Hanna Abadia
says. “Working in the garden is exercise for me and it
feels really good.”
Helping out in the garden is beneficial for older
members of the community too, says Hanna. “For
some of them, it is the only way to get them out of
the house, out exercising and keeping them busy
during the day,” she says.
The women feel that they are embracing Pope
Francis’ call to care for creation and care for the
earth through their traditional gardening practices
and also by sharing the food with others.
Sukuma with ugali and chicken. Image: Shutterstock
A recipe for sukuma
• Wash sukuma and cut finely
• Chop onions and tomatoes
• Cook onion in oil until it browns then
• Cook for five minutes
• Add tomatoes
• Flavour with salt, seasoning or finely
cut onion leaves
• Add a small amount of water to
prevent it burning
• Cook it on slow until you are happy
with the taste
• Serve with meat and ugali
Growing their own food helps the members of the
community save money. Their native vegetables are
often hard to find in markets, and, as the women
explain, don’t taste as good.
As the garden remains a staple for the community,
the gardeners hope to find a bigger plot of land
around Western Sydney and expand their garden.
Tips from the All Saints of Africa gardeners:
• Keep older crops in for longer – it enriches the
soil for new planting in the spring.
• Use grass clippings, manure and homegrown
compost, instead of fertiliser.
Gardener Night Drania
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
• If you have leftovers after your harvest, freeze
them for use throughout the year.
• Sharing your harvest builds community!
Diocese of Parramatta announces
pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2023
STORY MARY BRAZELL
Young people across Western Sydney and the
Blue Mountains are invited on a once-in-alifetime
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of
Parramatta has launched the official Diocese of
Parramatta pilgrimage to the 16th International World
Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, in August 2023.
The 22-day pilgrimage takes place from 21 July to
11 August 2023. Across four countries. young people
will walk in the footsteps of saints who changed the
course of history. Starting in Paris, the young pilgrims
will travel to Spain before the official WYD event
in Lisbon, Portugal, and conclude with a retreat in
World Youth Day is a gathering of young people
from all over the world with the Pope: a celebration
of youth, an expression of the universal Church
and an intense moment of evangelisation for the
It was created in 1986 by Pope St John Paul
II and is hosted in a different international city
every few years.
To find out more information and to register
your interest in attending World Youth Day, visit
The image (on facing page) for the Diocese of Parramatta
WYD 2023 pilgrimage depicts the Blessed Virgin running,
indicating her haste and honouring the WYD 2023 theme
“Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) – the third
chapter in Pope Francis’ Marian-based themes for
World Youth Day.
The elements of creation depicted remind us of St Francis
of Assisi’s love and care of the natural world and the Lisbon
lettering is reminiscent of local Portuguese art styles, with a
yellow tram and flamenco guitar nods to the host city.
The impact of saying ‘yes’ to God
through World Youth Day
STORY MARY BRAZELL
We hear the stories of four of our young adult
pilgrims who attended World Youth Day in
Panama in 2019.
In his invitation to young people across Western
Sydney and the Blue Mountains to join him in
journeying to World Youth Day, Bishop Vincent says
for young people, the worldwide celebration of faith
has a “profound impact on their relationship with
Jesus, their prayer life, their lived mission and their
relationship with others”.
Qwayne Guevara, Manager – Catholic Youth
Parramatta, explains that “past World Youth Day
pilgrims have returned to their local communities
taking up leadership and service opportunities
in their schools, parishes, workplaces, pursuing
further theological study and some discerning
As the youth of Western Sydney and the Blue
Mountains consider journeying with Christ on World
Youth Day, we asked pilgrims from previous World
Youth Day pilgrimages to reflect on what called
them to this amazing mountain-top experience,
and how they share the love of God with their
local faith communities.
Chantelle Ocsan, parishioner of
Holy Family Parish, Emerton
While I entered World Youth Day hoping to always be
surrounded and be comfortable with people I already
knew, throughout the pilgrimage, WYD taught me
the beauty in virtuous friendships. WYD allowed me
to create friendships with the other pilgrims knowing
that we were all on the same faith journey but just at
different points in our lives.
On pilgrimage, I learnt how much I love serving
the people around me, and it is through making
sure I showed a Christ-like joy every day, even
when I wasn’t feeling 100%. It was the ability to
recognise that in any circumstance, God is trying
to call out to me.
World Youth Day is a continuous pilgrimage where
every day, I learn how God is trying to call me to be
His servant. My faith was strengthened throughout
World Youth Day to emulate this unwavering yes
Mama Mary gave to God; inspiring me to do
what I can to make sure I answer His call in my
Qwayne Guevara (back far left), Kathleen (middle right) and
Chantelle (front right) at WYD 2019 with other pilgrims from
the Diocese of Parramatta. Image: Supplied
Dale Ahern – Head of Learning,
St Clare’s Catholic High School, Hassall Grove
There are people that I would not have met without
this experience who are people in my life I can count
on for anything. I very much cherish the friends I
have made along the way, some I know will be in
my life forever.
I remember in Panama being near the beach with
two other groups and in that moment, we decided
to share how we were feeling in that moment and
prayed together. After we prayed, I remember feeling
this calm come over us – I felt like Christ was with
us. It felt as if we were all meant to be there in that
moment, sharing and appreciating the world around us.
As a teacher, I have had many opportunities to share
my experiences and my own faith journey after WYD.
Kathleen Hernandez, parishioner of
St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill
During WYD week in Panama city, there was a
‘Fiat Night’ which centred around the theme of
WYD. There were talks and a time of Adoration of
the Blessed Sacrament. When I looked at Jesus in
the tiny host in the monstrance, I felt His gaze upon
me. In my vulnerability, I knew deeply that God’s love
was for me.
In the procession of the Blessed Sacrament that
followed, I heard deeply in my heart the words,
“Come back to me, my love. Come back to me, my
love. Come back to me, my love.” It felt as if Jesus
and I were speaking the words to each other – heart
to heart – and I was drawn into a deeper intimacy
I entered a new season of my life after World Youth
Day. I gave the year to God, fell more deeply in love
with Him, and felt called to step out to join a religious
community. I discerned Religious Life for two blessed
years and recently felt called to come back home.
Abigail Diaz, parishioner of
Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
No day was the same on pilgrimage – there was
time for prayer and reflection, great friendships and
fellowship being developed with each experience,
lots of food, excitement, music, learning, moments
of laughter, vulnerability, tears of sorrow and
tears of joy.
During the pilgrimage, I crossed paths with some
fellow parishioners whom I only ever knew as a face
in the pews prior to WYD. Our encounters during the
pilgrimage soon lead the way for deeper friendships.
These friends are a source of hope and continue to
inspire me and my faith journey.
Claire Brown (second from left)
at the WYD lunch she attended
with Pope Benedict XVI in 2011
Being a World Youth Day witness
eleven years on
STORY CLAIRE BROWN
A World Youth Day pilgrimage can bring
experiences you never imagined, as Claire Brown
I experienced my first taste of what a pilgrimage
would be like at World Youth Day Sydney, 2008.
I, along with 350,000 pilgrims from here and
around the world, attended the final Mass
which Pope Benedict XVI celebrated. It was an
When the Pope announced that WYD 2011 would be
in Madrid, Spain, I remember thinking very clearly,
“I wonder if I’ll be there?” and praying about it there
Turns out God had some amazing things in store
for me on that journey.
Not only did I attend WYD in Madrid, but I also had
the great privilege of being chosen, with eleven
others, to have lunch with Pope Benedict!
The Pope was a very kind, humble, gentle person
who showed such care and concern for the youth of
the church. Meeting him was incredible and certainly
a highlight of my pilgrimage. Although, God’s hand in
that circumstance has been even more incredible. He
has used that experience for me to be able to bless
and witness to many people over the years.
Another highlight for me was experiencing over three
million people gathering together to celebrate our
faith. When my pilgrim group first arrived in Spain,
we spent some time in a town called Cáceres. The
parishioners there made us all feel so welcome. It felt
like a home away from home. There were the older
ladies preparing home-cooked meals, the parish
dads being our tour guides, families inviting us into
their homes and the local priests hanging out, playing
games and praying with us.
What really struck me was that even though our
cultures were so different – a lot of us didn’t speak
Spanish and most of them couldn’t speak English
– but our faith and connection with God surpassed
all of that. We are all the same in Christ. We share
similar joys, struggles, heartaches, and triumphs.
It was also a wonderful experience sharing the
journey with my pilgrim group. It was great getting
to know them, hearing their stories and sharing the
same experiences together.
Pilgrimages aren’t always easy. Sometimes we
think that a pilgrimage will be a holy, adventurous
time where nothing goes wrong and we become
enlightened and grow deeper with God.
Don’t get me wrong, that does happen. But there
were a lot of times when it was hard and exhausting.
We sometimes got on each other’s nerves, things
didn’t always go to plan and there were sicknesses
and injuries. We were reminded a lot that we were on
pilgrimage, not a holiday, and to offer everything up
Of course, with those struggles also came many
wonderful times. From the amazing moments
when the Holy Spirit touched our hearts in so many
different ways, to playing games, sharing meals and
many discussions. We were all so blessed to share
Pilgrimages don’t stop affecting your life once you
return home. I had many profound moments on the
trip, but also so many when I got home. It took years
to process and unpack the journey.
Even though it’s been 11 years since Madrid, I’m still
seeing the effect of it in my Faith and walk with God
and my ministry with the youth and young adults of
our parish and diocese.
Also witnessing the effect it has had on the other
pilgrims, many of whom have taken incredible steps
in their various vocations.
I encourage anyone who is discerning going on
a pilgrimage to go for it! To be able to journey
and experience God in new and deeper ways is
something that you will never regret.
Claire Brown is a parishioner and youth ministry leader at
St Finbar’s Parish, Glenbrook.
A renewed era of pilgrimage
STORY SELINA HASHAM
Engraved in marble along the side of St Mary of
the Cross MacKillop’s tomb at her shrine in North
Sydney are her words “Remember we are but
Sage words from a woman who made a pilgrim
of herself while on earth, travelling the length and
breadth of Australia to fulfil her mission of serving
the poor and remote, often on horseback in the most
Pilgrimage has long been part of our spiritual heritage
as the people of God. As the prophet Jeremiah (6:16)
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies;
and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
In Australia, the profile of a typical pilgrim is
dynamic, and varied. Many pilgrims are young like
those who attend World Youth Days, and many
are older who have the time and means to travel;
some are workers, professionals, parents, and
students seeking to walk a pathway that will lead to
meaningful and spiritual encounters.
Some are religious including priests and consecrated
women and men. Others are not as engaged in
the Church and come as seekers, open to all
the experiences that pilgrimage provides. Many
are looking for friendship and fellowship, and an
enriching break from the everyday. In recent years
there has been an increase in the number of pilgrims
from Church agency sectors (particularly Catholic
Education) for the purposes of faith formation and
Whatever a typical pilgrim might look like, the
wonderful thing about pilgrimage is, that it is a great
leveller. We are all pilgrims on the journey and walk
the sacred pathways together.
Embarking on a pilgrimage to a holy place, for a
sacred purpose, reminds us that we are but travellers
in this life, and like every Christian pilgrim before us,
are wanderers without permanency, destined for an
After an extraordinary two years, with international
travel interrupted on a global scale as never before,
the appetite for travel, and for travel with meaning
and purpose, is bouncing back.
Well-worn pilgrimage paths, such as the Camino
in Spain, the via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, and the
entrance to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, smooth with
the footsteps of the faithful over hundreds of years,
after a pandemic reprieve, are once again receiving
Lesser-known pilgrimage paths in our own country,
such as the footsteps of Mary MacKillop from
Melbourne to Adelaide, or the outback trail to the
Red Centre, are revealing themselves and being
discovered by a new cohort of Aussie pilgrims eager
to walk the pathways of the Great South Land of
the Holy Spirit.
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nations’ first Saint.
Saints to inspire
young people on their
On their journey to World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon,
Portugal, young people from across the Diocese of
Parramatta will be walking in the footsteps of 13 Saints
that changed the course of history.
We ask these holy men and women to pray for our
pilgrims, group leaders, chaplains, Bishop Vincent, and
young people across the Diocese and around the world.
Our Lady of Lourdes
“I do not promise
you a happiness
in this world, but
in the next.”
“Enjoy God's amazing opportunities bestowed
on us. Have faith in Him always.”
“I am not capable
of doing big things,
but I want to do
the smallest things,
for the greater
glory of God.”
St Ignatius of Loyola
“Whatever you are
doing, that which
makes you feel the
most alive... that is
where God is.”
St Thérèse of Lisieux
simply in doing
God's will, and being
just what God
wants us to be."
St Clare of Assisi
“We become what
we love and who we
love shapes what
Our Lady of Fatima
Heart will be your
refuge and the way
that will lead you
St Vincent de Paul
“Love the poor.
my children, as
you would honour
St Francis of Assisi
“Do all you can to
preach the gospel
and if necessary
Blessed Carlo Acutis
“The only thing we
have to ask God for,
in prayer, is the
desire to be holy.”
St Teresa of Ávila
“Trust God that you
are exactly where you
are meant to be.”
St John of the Cross
“In sorrow and suffering, go straight to God
with confidence, and you will be strengthened,
enlightened and instructed.”
St Catherine of
“One must see God
Nurturing a child’s
Sarah with a student at
Ambrose Winston Hills
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
STORY CHRISTINA GRETTON
Are your children shy about their cultural heritage?
Our educators in the Diocese of Parramatta have
some tips to keep children connected with this
part of their lives.
Sarah Prego, Assistant Coordinator of Ambrose at
St Paul the Apostle Primary School, Winston Hills,
already sees some differences in how children today
see their cultural heritage compared to when she
was a child.
With a South American heritage, she was reluctant to
learn Spanish, her family’s language. Sadly she also
experienced some teasing around this.
“I just wanted to take Vegemite sandwiches to school,”
she says, instead of the delicious pastas, schnitzels
and other foods her mother prepared for her.
Still only in her mid-twenties, she is thrilled to see the
children at Ambrose embracing their cultural heritage.
Ambrose Winston Hills, like most of the Diocese
of Parramatta, has a varied cultural makeup. She
counts around nine different nationalities represented
at the centre.
While part of her own experience was due to,
attitudes that had been around under previous
immigration policies, Sarah credits the change in
attitude to a more intentional approach to children’s
cultural heritage today.
“We’ve incorporated food from the countries our
students come from,” she says, as an example of
the strategies they use at Ambrose. “We’ve served a
South American bread called alfajores, and children
have told me how their grandma also makes it. We’ve
also served roti bread which was very exciting for a
student from Malaysia. When we served butter chicken,
one of our students with an Indian heritage was very
proud to tell us it is what his mum makes at home.”
The centre keeps the conversation going throughout
the activities. “We play lots of soccer,” says Sarah,
and we tell one of our students who’s a great player,
that he’s sure to represent Lebanon one day!
We also read and discuss
books, such as those on
Aboriginal culture, which
a child brought to read to
the other students about her
Sarah cautions that children need to find their own
pace, particularly around the age group of 9 to 13
years old. This is when they will be finding out who
they are as people, so it’s natural they might ‘push
back’ at times. She reassures parents that as long as
the connection to culture is there, young people will
pick it up again when they are developmentally ready.
This is exactly what happened to her.
It's an experience that the school community of St
Andrews College at Marayong can relate to. With
over a dozen nationalities at the school at any one
time, the school comes together to celebrate with
a ‘Unity Day’ celebration, also attended by around
1,000 family members. At the event, students can
showcase their culture in music, dance, clothing,
food, sport and more. Leader of Learning Music
and Performance, Antonio Chiapetta, sees not only
the enjoyment it brings the students, but also the
confidence and school spirit it fosters.
“Students realise it’s cool to embrace their story, and
perhaps share their vulnerability,” he says. “It’s great
to see them comfortable in their own skin.”
Manager - Catholic Youth Parramatta, Qwayne
Guevara sees the impact of accepting our cultural
heritage in her work with young people’s faith.
“When we embrace our multicultural reality, we send
a message that faith is not just for a few, but for all,”
“This is important in our work in youth ministry. We
want each young person to know that they belong
- in all that they are, even in the way their culture
expresses faith, builds community, and engages in
service and mission.”
Tips to help your
children embrace their
• Be patient – make your culture
accessible to your children.
• There may be culturally-based activity
groups in your community your child
might enjoy – check them out.
• Understand where your child is at
developmentally. From ages 9 to 13,
children are finding out who they are. At
this age they tend to be resistant to lots
of things, including pressure to conform
to the family. Don’t worry, it’s a natural
stage of child development.
• Be proud yourself – set an example of
living your cultural heritage with pride.
Students at St Andrews Marayong celebrate their
cultural heritage at their annual Unity Day celebration
Image: St Andrews Marayong
From left: Geoffrey Kemmis (Assistant Principal),
Jeanette Holland (Principal), Julia Freeman (School Captain),
Abhishek Maharaj (School Captain), Gavin Hilder (Assistant Principal
A servant leader
STORY CATHOLIC EDUCATION DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA
St Agnes Catholic High School Principal Jeanette
Holland loves the Rooty Hill community she
serves, her staff and most importantly, students.
Yet when asked about her role as a school leader,
she quickly turns the conversation to those
“I’d prefer to talk about the school, the students
and our great teachers rather than me front and
centre. I want to celebrate the things that we all do,”
St Agnes Catholic High School is a proudly culturally
diverse co-educational Years 7 to 12 school. From
its humble beginnings in 1962, St Agnes Catholic
High School has grown from a school of just 27
girls to a vibrant community of 865 students. With
a strong focus on sharing their Franciscan charism
through all they do, the school looks to serve the
community, others in need and seeks to make a
Leading this community requires the type of leader
who not only has a deep understanding of learning
and teaching but who values the importance of
building relationships to bring people together for a
“It is not just about me,” Jeanette said. “My role is
to serve the community, that is really important. The
work we do in schools is relational, whether it is in
the classroom or in the staffroom, so it starts with
getting to know each other as people,” she said. “It’s
all about caring about others, not being removed
from them. It is about being on the ground, building
relationships, working things through and being
present to the students, the staff and the parents.
It’s not leadership, it’s leading,” she said. “Anyone
can talk themselves up, you need someone who
walks the talk.”
It’s all about caring about
others, not being removed
from them. It is about being
on the ground, building
relationships, working things
through and being present to
the students, the staff and the
parents. It’s not leadership,
Jeanette also comes to supporting teachers with this
same view. Her colleague Lauren Walters, who just
won the Australian Schools Plus Early Career Teacher
Award in the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards,
says Jeanette is the best boss she’s ever had.
“Jeanette is a truly inspiring leader. Since coming
to St Agnes, Jeanette has taken the time to get to
know each and every one of her staff, learning their
professional interests and strengths, and providing
opportunities for us to explore those interests, Lauren
reflects. “She has a real team mentality, welcoming
and appreciating our input into decisions. What's in
the best interest of the students underpins everything
that she does.”
As Jeanette herself reflected: “Leadership isn’t about
being centre stage, it is about putting other people
forward and giving them a voice and an opportunity
to lead. It is about building capacity in others,
working with and assisting them in their leadership.”
“I guess you could call that being a servant leader.”
Careers Advisor and teacher Nashwa Karafotias,
who leads many of the school’s outstanding
programs to support students from culturally diverse
backgrounds, said this approach instills a positive
culture of mutual respect at St Agnes. “Jeanette
treats staff and students on an equal playing
field bringing consistency and a new perspective
to all that she does,” said Nashwa. “She is the
true definition of a servant leader leading at the
Jeanette previously served as Assistant Principal
and Acting Principal of Marian College Kenthurst
and most recently worked within the Learning team
at Catholic Education but said she was drawn to St
Agnes because of the community. “I thought I could
make a difference here and the students are lovely,
so respectful and grateful,” Jeanette said. “For our
school, we have to be very aware of cultural context
and communication because of the diversity. We
offer pathways leadership opportunities looking at
the students wholistically, identifying where they
are at, opening their worlds to where they can go,
guiding them to achieve their goals.”
Being an advocate for students and building their
confidence to achieve is a top priority. “Self efficacy
is really important and we really look at how we can
help to build that up in the students so they can look
at themselves as learners and know that they can
do anything – work hard, overcome obstacles and
achieve,” she said.
built on Catholic values
Ambrose Early Learning Traditional and
extended hours Preschool education
Ambrose School Age Care Before and
After School Care (OSHC) for K-6 children
Ambrose Activities Innovative afternoon
Masterclasses led by schoolteachers,
covering exciting topics like art, sport,
robotics, dance and cooking
Vacation Care School holidays and
pupil-free days, K-6 children enjoy fun activities
in professionally supervised, caring environments
A social enterprise of Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Services Limited (CDPSL)
Government subsidies available to eligible families.
Visit ambrose.org.au or scan the QR Code
Speak up, speak
out and speak on
Sr Joan Chittister at a speaking
event in Parramatta in May
2022. Image: Diocese
STORY MARGURITE O’CONNOR
Prophets are the heroes
of the day. They keep one
eye on society's will for a
few and the other eye on
God’s will for everyone.
The time is now to be people who are committed
and have courage to speak the word of God. The
roar of silence is no longer acceptable and we
need to take steps to determine the future of our
planet and our people.
This was the message of American Benedictine
nun, theologian and author Sr Joan Chittister as
she addressed her audience at Monte Sant’ Angelo
Mercy College North Sydney on 30 May 2022.
Sr Joan spoke with passion about our need to be
challenged by the example of Jesus and to be people
who speak out against injustice. Speaking about
the prevalence of violence, she shared her fears
for the modern world, where people come second
to personal profit and advancement and where the
planet is carelessly used and not protected.
Taking action for change
• Get involved in the conversations
that matter through blogs, petitions
• Study the issues that threaten life and
justice by reading and engaging in
dialogue with others.
• Seek solutions that are not the trusted
old way but are innovative, capable of
making real change and taking us into
Her concern, she said, is for the choices that
we make when faced with challenges. Sr Joan
suggested that we are people who choose to ignore,
leaving it to others to answer the problems. We are
people who surrender and eventually just accept the
situation, taking on the values of society rather than
the Faith. Her response is to not ignore or surrender,
but rather disrupt. She suggests we become prophets
who speak up against all that goes against the voice
and vision of God so loudly it cannot be ignored.
Sr Joan acknowledged that being a prophet is
not easy. She recounted the stories of the Biblical
Prophets who were afraid to accept the call from
God, not wanting to have their lives interrupted, and
so made a list of all the reasons why they could not
accept the call, including their personal limitations.
God’s answer was that He needed them now,
demanding that they be courageous and committed,
trusting they had something great to offer.
The reluctance to be a prophet in the modern world
has not changed. We too feel that we are unavailable
to do the will of God for all the same reasons – too
busy, not skilled enough, or afraid. Just like the
prophets of old, God needs us now. God wants us
to disrupt rather than ignore and challenge rather
On a personal level, I felt inspired to learn more about
the issues that threaten the equality of people and
the planet so that I would no longer be a passive
observer but rather someone who was able to
contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. Sr
Joan’s suggestions made me think that the call to be
a prophet in the modern world was possible, stating
that even the smallest of acts have the potential to
seed change and make life better for everyone.
...we must show our
students the way to a
of love and compassion,
solidarity and service in
the world where there is so
much fear, indifference and
Bishop Vincent Long,
CEDP System Leaders’ Day, January 2018.
Margurite O’Connor is a member of the Mission Team,
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.
Schools leading the way
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
schools work with various agencies to
actively live out the message of Sr Joan to
be prophets who speak up, speak out and
speak on. Examples of initiatives include:
• The Winter Appeal and Winter Sleepout
(St Vincent de Paul)
• Project Compassion Fundraising (Caritas)
• Socktober (Catholic Mission)
• Food Drives (Jesuit Social Services)
• Interfaith Education (Together for Humanity)
• Catholic Earthcare Summit
• Recycling and sustainability initiatives
Through such initiatives, our students and
staff are invited and are accepting the call
to be prophets who say NO to everything
that goes against God and YES to equality,
justice and life.
Children and their families at Our Lady of the
Nativity Primary, Lawson recently slept out in
the cold in solidarity with the homeless as part
of the Winter Sleepout for St Vincent De Paul
The Second Assembly of the
Plenary Council of Australia
on Wednesday 6 July 2022
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
A reflection on the
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of
Parramatta, wrote this reflection on 17 July 2022,
following the conclusion of the Second Assembly
of the Plenary Council of the Australian Catholic
Church which took place 3 to 9 July 2022.
Dear friends in Christ,
BISHOP VINCENT OFM CONV,
BISHOP OF PARRAMATTA
Last week, nine delegates from our Diocese,
including myself, participated as members of the
Plenary Council in the Final Assembly in Sydney.
This was a historic event in the life of the Church in
Australia. We gathered to pray, listen, discern and
make decisions, mindful of the voice of the Holy
Spirit through God’s Word, tradition, the magisterium
and the signs of the times. We were conscious of
your communion with us through personal interest,
prayers and loving support. As at the first gathering
on the feast of St Francis of Assisi in 2021, we were
stirred by the call issued to us as once to him: “Go
and rebuild my Church that is falling into ruins”. We
earnestly sought to address the many challenges
we face as a community of disciples and map out a
better future for the Church going forward.
I am pleased to say that the Plenary Council has
been a moment of grace, a celebration of hope and
a conviction of God’s enduring accompaniment. Like
the disciples with Mary in the Upper Room, we were
bonded in one common faith, one baptism and one
Lord. Despite our differences, which were many and
intense at times, we came together with the best
interest of the Church at heart.
Of the many issues discussed, debated and voted
upon, the Plenary Council showed strong support for
the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Catholics have
largely been ahead of the general community on First
Nations concerns. We have long learned to honour
Indigenous language, culture, wisdom, sovereignty
and way of life. Calling for a First Nations Voice to
Parliament to be enshrined in Australia’s constitution
is indeed a momentous step.
On ecology, there is a recognition of the urgency in
addressing the environmental crises of our times and
a commitment to join the Laudato Si’ Action Plan.
This call to action obliges us not only to care for our
common home as a matter of planetary sustainability
but also a sense of God-given stewardship. In
other words, ecological conversion in all of its
manifestations is a deeply spiritual concern arising
from our love of God and all of his creation. Our
response to the cry of the poor and the cry of the
earth is inextricably linked together.
One of the most contentious issues was the motion
concerning the equality and dignity of women and
men in governance structures, ministry and decisionmaking
mechanisms. The discussion took place at a
half-way point and proved to be a pivotal moment.
Providentially, the reading for that day was part of the
Pentecost story. It read “and suddenly from heaven,
there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting”.
We did not expect a kind of “violent wind” that
disrupted, changed the group dynamic and led to a
moment of profound revelation.
When the initial motion failed to receive the majority
of the deliberative votes, the bishops realised we
could not continue business as usual. There were
tears, deep sorrow and hurt in the room, especially
among those who staged a silent protest. This
caught me totally unawares at first but I eventually
walked around and shared the pain. Later on, the
bishops held crisis talks, agreed on the re-drafting
and the assembly passed the re-worked motion.
Like the disciples with Mary
in the Upper Room, we were
bonded in one common faith,
one baptism and one Lord.
For some, the protest might have been judged as
a stunt and an act of intimidation. For many others,
myself included, it was a respectful and powerful
gesture of dissent, rooted in the prophetic tradition.
There was a
profound sense of
being together and
even if we have
distinct roles in
Bishop Vincent casts a vote
at the Second Assembly of
the Plenary Council
Image: Fiona Basile/ACBC
The assembly could have walked away with a
superficial unity had we not addressed this iconic
issue of our time. I believe that the Church cannot
have a better future if it persists in the old paradigm
of clericalism and male dominance. So long as
we continue to exclude women from the Church’s
governance structures, decision-making processes
and institutional functions, we deprive ourselves of
richness of our full humanity.
I thank God that the Plenary Council had the
humility and courage to not go home with a false
unity but a deep and new awareness of God’s
unfolding revelation and our evolving maturity.
At least that is the indication of the majority.
The Synodal journey can be messy, painful and
uncertain. But it can lead to renewed and deepened
commitment and even transformation. The mood
of the assembly changed after the matter had been
dealt with. For many, it was like a paschal moment
that brought a ray of hope out of despair.
The Plenary Council was an act of enormous trust,
or perhaps in betting terms, a massive gamble.
It was an Abrahamic journey from the start. We
gambled on the invitation of Pope Francis to be
the People of God, walking together, sharing the
burdens of humanity, listening to the voice of the
most marginalised, reforming its structures and ways
of doing things. We did not set out to resolve every
question of importance. For instance, on matter of
sex and gender, there was very little on the agenda.
The acceptance of LGBTIQ+ as the reference to nonbinary
brothers and sisters was perhaps not a small
consensus among the members.
In the end, the significance of this synodal exercise
was much more than what was decided. What was
highly symbolic and paradigm-shifting was the
fact that we met as equals. The emphasis on the
superiority of the ordained gave way to an ecclesial
communion based on common baptism. Bishops,
priests, religious and lay were all addressed by our
first names. No one’s voice counted more than
another’s. There was a profound sense of being
together and working together even if we have
distinct roles in the Church.
Dear sisters and brothers,
In today’s Gospel, Martha was occupied with serving
her guests, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened
to his teaching. Martha wanted her sister to help
with the serving, but Jesus gently informed her that
Mary had chosen the better portion, which would
not be taken from her. This stance was more radical
than modern readers may realise. In Jewish culture,
women weren’t allowed to study theology, and the
student’s place at a rabbi’s feet was reserved for men
only. By welcoming Mary as a pupil, Jesus flipped
that cultural script on its head.
There were many other stories of how he treated
women with kindness and respect, affirming their
value and dignity as those made in the image of
God. He welcomed them, defended them, freed and
empowered them to find their identity as daughters
of God. He included women in his ministry team and
welcomed them as disciples, to follow and learn from
him – actions unheard of for a Jewish rabbi.
Inspired by the example of Jesus and the guidance
of the Holy Spirit on the Plenary Council, may
the Church learn to embody a way of being
together, sharing responsibility and proclaiming
God’s Kingdom. We must continue to embody the
alternative relational paradigm that Jesus taught.
This counter paradigm turns the world’s system of
power structures on its head because it is rooted in
the biblical narrative of the new social order of radical
inclusion, justice and equality.
All things considered, the Plenary Council has
moved decisively towards the vision of Vatican II. I am
heartened to say that most of its insights have already
been captured by our unique “Parramatta Way”.
Women, in particular, are indispensable in our synodal
structures and decision-making processes such as
the Diocesan Curia. We hope to keep the momentum
going and implement all the endorsed decrees.
As we move into a new era, may we grow to be a
more fit for purpose Church, so that we can be a more
effective vehicle for the Good News. May the Holy
Spirit “lead the Church in Australia into a hope-filled
future, that we may live the joy of the Gospel, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, bread for the journey from
age to age.” Amen.
Read the motions and decrees from the Plenary
Council at plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au
Have you been considering
broadening your faith
Wondering where to next in your pastoral activities?
What paths study may lead to?
• Many tertiary theological degrees to choose from
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The following articles encourage deeper reflection,
prayer and personal learning.
Lisbon, Portugal, the location of World Youth Day 2023
The journey within
STORY DR ROBYN REYNOLDS OLSH
As persons on pilgrimage, we engage in the
quest for meaning, and in the movement towards
spiritual health and maturity.
We strive, individually and together, for human
wellbeing, and for the flourishing of all life on
Earth. Whether or not we may identify ourselves as
‘pilgrims’, we are all members of the global family,
moving onwards in a world of continuing war and
violence, of dramatic and increasing climate change,
and of a continuing COVID culture.
This brief reflection will consider some of the
questions Jesus Himself faced in relation to His own
human journey, as well as some of the questions
He poses to those He invited to ‘Come, follow me’
(Lk 18:22). As ones beloved by our Creator God, we
yearn and strive for life within the daily pilgrimage of
the unfolding of our life’s story. And as disciples of
Jesus, we remember that all is grace:
No one can come to me unless
the Father who sent me,
In the fullness of time, the Divine Pilgrim began His
journey: ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among
us’ (Jn 1:14). And as we know ‘He emptied Himself…
becoming like us in all things’ (Phil 2:7). He struggled,
questioned, agonised. Being the beloved Son of God
did not remove Him from the doubts, temptations
and challenges faced by us all.
A query (perhaps something like ‘Why should I
help you’?) was implied in Jesus’ response to the
Canaanite woman’s plea (Mt 15:24). Similarly at Cana
– before his public journey began – with the question
to His mother: ‘Woman, what does this have to
do with me?’ (Jn 2:4). Experiencing and reflecting
integrity includes voicing the questions along the
way, looking for answers, struggling with the truth:
the truth of who I am, to what (and to whom) I am
called. Jesus experienced these challenges.
Along the way He Himself took, we may ask what
were His own deep feelings and queries behind such
questions as ‘Who do they say I am?’ (Mt 16:13)
Along with the scholarly biblical commentaries on
such passages, may we also surmise that Jesus
had hopes and fears about his reputation? And what
were His feelings behind the sad, quiet question?
‘Where are the other nine?’ (Lk 17:17). He too,
experienced disappointment, ingratitude, dismissal.
His integrity however, did not depend on the approval
or admiration of others.
Jesus’ integrity was reflected in His daily living
and dying. ‘I am the Way’ (Jn 14:6), He told us. We
witness in His living an everyday engagement and
unfolding of the paschal mystery. Yes, there was a
price to be paid for proclaiming and witnessing to the
Kingdom. What sustained Him all along the way? He
told us: ‘My meat is to do the will of Him who sent
me’ (Jn 4:34) and furthermore, as faithful pilgrim, we
hear Him say: ‘I came forth from the Father and have
come into the world; I am leaving the world again
and am going to the Father’ (Jn 16:28).
Such profound and total belonging did not cancel
out that final deep cry from the heart: ‘Why have you
abandoned me?’ (Mt 27:46). Jesus’ walk with the
Spirit, and with His Abba, along with His faithfulness
to the human condition and struggle remained to the
end when, with the Resurrection, His transformation
And what of His questions to us, as we ourselves
continue on our way and strive for personal integrity,
and for that freedom of spirit which it brings?
‘Who do you say I am?’ He asks. So how do I name
who He is for me. And His later stark question: ‘Do
you love me?’ Such a direct question invites us to
respond truthfully, and in so doing to recognise and
name the nature of our relationship. The question
may move us to face our insecurities perhaps, or our
duplicity, our hypocrisy, our lack of integrity.
Another challenging question Jesus poses ‘What do
you want me to do for you?’ invites us to sit with the
question awhile and then to respond with humility
and honesty. Similarly, with the even more specific
invitation: ‘Do you want me to wash your feet?’ which
may encourage us to sit quietly with our own reality
– and with our relationship with the One we call
‘Lord and God’.
To own and address these – and other questions, to
address them with sincerity – this is our on-going
task. It is one that requires courage, but one that
can bring freedom – and ultimately, deep peace.
We hold on to those encouraging words of the Divine
Pilgrim: ‘I am going away and I will come to you.’
(Jn 14:28). On our own pilgrim way, we trust in the
loving presence and guidance of the Spirit (Jn 16:7).
We walk on together.
Dr Robyn Reynolds OLSH spent many years living and
working in remote Aboriginal communities in northern and
central Australia. She now teaches at the University of
Divinity in Melbourne (Yarra Theological Union) and also at
‘Heart of Life’, Centre for Spiritual & Pastoral Formation.
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Journeying to Emmaus
STORY BR MARK O’CONNOR FMS
Many of us like to travel. But Christians are not
just tourists but pilgrims on a faith journey deep
into God’s loving presence.
Of course, it’s great that we can literally walk ‘in the
footsteps of Jesus’ when we visit the Holy Land.
It’s also wonderful for us to encounter the sacred as
we pray and meditate at such holy places as Rome,
Assisi and Lourdes. Such pilgrimages are often
the highlight of many people’s spiritual lives. And
certainly, World Youth Day pilgrimages have helped
energise many young people’s faith lives in our own
But Jesus of Nazareth calls us to go far deeper than
these external physical pilgrimages.
There is a little verse from the early Irish Church
that points this out:
Who to Rome goes,
Much labour, little profit knows.
For God, on earth though
long you sought him.
You’ll miss in Rome
unless you brought him.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, in reality,
our inner journey of faith can actually be quite
confusing! We can often experience moments of
despair (“we had hoped”) before recognising that the
Risen Jesus has been there all along!
Karl Rahner, the great Jesuit theologian, helps us
pilgrims navigate that spiritual journey.
Rahner once wisely observed that there are
essentially two types of spirituality in the Church
today. One is a ‘summertime’ spirituality where
people find God easily accessible and understood.
Such people are gifted with a sense of certainty and
a conviction that the beauty and truth of God is very
nearby. Perhaps this more external style of faith was
easier to live in a culture that was thoroughly Catholic
like in the medieval period.
The other spirituality however is a ‘wintertime’ style
of faith where people, battered and bruised by the
chaos and suffering of the world, need to go an inner
pilgrimage to address the mystery of pain and chaos
all around them.
Rahner argued that this is the more typical journey
of contemporary Catholics struggling to believe. It
is a difficult pilgrimage that goes on inside our own
souls, as we seek to discover the hidden Christ who
mysteriously dwells in our very own hearts.
Not surprisingly, that’s a pilgrimage we are all too
often very reluctant to undertake. For it can involve
loneliness, depression and even tempt some
It inevitably demands navigating a ‘dark night of the
soul’. For at some point in all our lives, like Jesus, we
each have our own personal ‘agony in the garden’.
Then the demons of our inner life come to the fore
and wreak havoc. Old obsessions and wounds,
perhaps even guilt and shame at past failures rush in.
Martin Laird OSA, in his wonderful book Into the
Silent Land, describes it poetically as “the liturgy
of our wounds”. Unquestionably, it is a long and
demanding task for most of us. It certainly is for me.
Laird explains that there is a deeply ingrained
tendency to recoil from our own brokenness, to judge
it as others have judged it, to loathe it as we have
been ‘taught’ over a lifetime to loathe it. In doing
this we avoid what God, in Christ, draws close to
Like the companions of Jesus on the road to
Emmaus, our Resurrection moments can come as
quite a shock to us! Like them, as we ponder the
Scriptures and break bread with our Risen Lord, we
can be often surprised, even shocked, by grace.
Supper at Emmaus,
detail of high altar by
Sieger Koder in Church
of Our Lady of Sorrows in
For at such moments of epiphany we discover,
alongside the depressed and despairing disciples
of Emmaus, how God interrupts our lives. For our
God meets us at that precise point where we are
most in need, in our poverty and brokenness. And
paradoxically, this costly acceptance of Christ's
compassionate love, opens our eyes to the reality
that 'all is grace'.
As Gerald Manley Hopkins S.J divined:
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is –
Thank God we are each given many ‘resurrection’
moments on our Emmaus like journey of faith.
They console us on our pilgrimage home to the
Father of all mercies.
For as the early Irish mystics would say:
Let your feet follow your
heart until you find your
place of resurrection.
Chríst – for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.
Br Mark O’Connor FMS is the Vicar for Communications
in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Living in the monastery
of the heart
STORY SR PATTY ANDREW OSU
Historians note that when the period of Christian
martyrdom ceased around the beginning of the
4th Century A.D, the phenomenon that we know
as Christian monasticism began to sprout and
flourish. It was as Tertullian, an early Christian
writer said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed
of the Church.” Martyrdom transformed the
person into the perfected, complete, full and
whole image of the divine.
Such a process of transformation is the hope and
goal of our Christian life. St Paul expresses this
central reality of our faith journey in the third chapter
of his second letter to the Christian community in
Corinth. Using the beautiful image of the mirror, he
describes our transformation into Christ in terms of
light. Paul portrays our life journey in faith, as one
in which we reflect like mirrors the brightness of the
Lord. In doing this faithfully, we all grow brighter and
brighter until eventually we are transformed into the
image of the one that we reflect (2 Cor:18).
The spiritual movement of the Desert Fathers and
Mothers which formed the foundations of Christian
monasticism, was grounded in this Pauline belief of
the divinization of the human person. St Athanasius,
Bishop of Alexandria from 328, said “that God
became man in order that man might become God.”
In a short biography of Anthony of Egypt one of the
earliest of the desert fathers, Athanasius shows how
only God incarnate can transform human nature into
divine likeness. To participate in this transformation,
certain spiritual practices were adopted by those in
the monastic desert communities. One of these was
a simple focussed mantra called “The Jesus Prayer.”
This prayer is founded on the biblical view that God’s
name is conceived as the place of God’s presence.
The Vatican II Council (1962-1965) called us all
to renewal in the light of the foundational story of
Christianity. In current times, many books are being
written and programmes created which reflect the
grounded spirituality of the early centuries of our
Christian tradition. One of these is a book titled,
Joy in God - Rekindling an Inner Fire by Joachim
Hartman SJ and Annette Clara Unkelhäußer.
They propose a method which is titled the “Gries
Path.” It is based on a contemplative approach to
prayer characterised by simplicity, silence and an
attentiveness which enables God in the present
moment, to be revealed.
The authors have developed a consistent approach
structured in conversational style, to assist those
who wish to deepen this way of enabling God to
illuminate and transform their lives.
It is framed within what they term, as a spiritual
conversation concentrated around two central
questions. These echo the experience of the
Emmaus Disciples (Luke: 24:13-35)
Why was my heart burning?
Where were my eyes opened?
In all the reflections there is an accent on awakening
the senses. They are seen as significant doorways
leading us to become more aware of the presence of
God in us, in our lives and in all that is. The chapters
are focussed on the following foundational themes
relating to the life of the human spirit;
Gratitude and Joy
Emptiness and Fullness
Healing and Wholeness
Suffering and Consolation
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Vocation and Mission
The pairing of these themes with what appears to
be oppositional movements, enables a perception of
spiritual wholeness wherein as Richard Rohr (2003)
says “everything belongs.” Our journey to wholeness
or as the Vatican II Document, Lumen Gentium
(1964) says “holiness,” is about integrating these
In recent years, Lawrence Freeman osb, Director of
the World Community for Christian Meditation, spoke
of this contemplative way of prayer as being for all.
He described those who are engaged in the prayer
of the heart as the new monks of the modern world.
Noting that “some live in traditional monasteries
but the majority do not. Many are integrating what
previously seemed impossible to reconcile – deep
spiritual practice, and conjugal love, solitude and
Through our Baptism, we are
all called into this “way of the
pilgrim” wherever life finds us.
Just as the pilgrim travels lightly,
this small accessible book gives
us the essentials to find and
remain dwelling in the heart of
God, thus enabling our inner
divine spring, to continue to well
up within us to the fullness of life.
The book can be used in a
supportive way both personally or
with small faith sharing groups.
Sr Patty Andrew osu is an Ursuline
Sister in the Diocese of Parramatta.
Images: Messenger Publications and
Diocese of Parramatta
Let us care for those who have cared
for us through their lifetime of service
Please give generously to the Bishop’s Father’s Day
Appeal supporting our retired and sick clergy
The Pilgrim Church
STORY DR ANTONIA PIZZEY
After almost three years without travelling
anywhere, I embarked on my first international
journey. I was struck by the vulnerability of being
The language, customs and food were foreign, and I
felt uncomfortable and out of place. Even with those
who spoke English, my accent immediately betrayed
my foreignness. Even the night refused to come, as
the Scandinavian midnight sun stayed up 23 out of
24 hours. I was no longer “at home”, a jarring feeling
after endlessly “being at home”. I could not take
anything for granted. Even simple conversations
required effort to bridge the language and cultural
gaps. I was confronted with how much easier it is to
be at home – and how challenging to be a foreigner.
This sense of strangeness, of “not-being-at-home”
evokes something of what St Augustine meant when
he called the Church peregrinatio. Notoriously hard to
translate, peregrinatio means “foreigner”, “stranger”,
“exile”, “migrant” – and “pilgrim”.
What does it mean to call the Church “pilgrim”?
To be a pilgrim Church is to be a journeying people,
continually on the move. More than this, it is to be a
“home-less” people. This understanding resonates in
Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, article 6: “The Church,
while on earth it journeys in a foreign land away from
the Lord, is like in exile.” The pilgrim travels far from
home, facing many dangers, moving without rest.
Dr Antonia Pizzey
This sense of Church as pilgrim is also central to
Pope Francis. In Evangelii Gaudium, he insists that
the Church is “first and foremost a people advancing
on its pilgrim way towards God.” In a 2021 address,
he says, “When the Church stops, she is no longer
Church, but a beautiful pious association which
imprisons the Holy Spirit.” Journeying is part of our
nature as Christians – Church is not a “what,” it is
who we are. We are pilgrim. Being pilgrim means to
be not at home; to be vulnerable, but also enriched
by the journey.
Pilgrim Church is not meant to be an individualistic
image; pilgrims travel together. In Christian thinking,
we travel with the entire communion of saints. This
sense of “journeying together” is being evoked by
Pope Francis’ concept of synodality. The Preparatory
Document for the 2023 Synod states: “Our
‘journeying together’ is, in fact, what most effectively
enacts and manifests the nature of the Church as the
pilgrim and missionary People of God.” To be pilgrim
is to be synodal.
Aside from this, the Church as pilgrim highlights two
key dimensions of being Church. Firstly, it refers to
the living Church in history, the Church here and now.
The Church is not a great ark sailing untouched and
impervious over the choppy and dangerous waters of
history. Instead, the Church is a pilgrim people, living
in and with the world. This understanding is reflected
by the opening lines of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes:
Understanding the Church as pilgrim reminds us of a
certain “now-but-not-yet” that is part of being Church.
As Gaudium et Spes states, in article 48, “The
Church…will attain its full perfection only in the glory
of heaven.” As such, the Church is called always to
conversion and repentance. Repentance is a key part
of being pilgrim, along with the humility to recognise
that we are not yet what the Spirit calls us to be.
Of course, we do not know what the Kingdom will
be like. But Scripture gives us an idea: “See, the
home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with
them; they will be His peoples, and God Himself will
be with them and be their God; He will wipe every
tear from their eyes.” (Rev 21:3-4). For now, we are
a wandering people; but we are walking homeward.
Under the circumstances, what else can we be but a
Dr Antonia Pizzey is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Australian
Catholic University’s Research Centre for Studies of the
Second Vatican Council. Dr Pizzey has a PhD in Theology
from ACU and is a lecturer at the university’s School of
Theology. Her research focuses on Receptive Ecumenism
and the Church as “pilgrim”.
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties
of the people of this age, especially those who
are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the
joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the
followers of Christ.”
As pilgrim, the Church journeys within history, not
outside of it. This Pilgrim Church must be humble,
open to recognising the Spirit at work in other
cultures and languages, not just reinforcing the status
quo. Walking a pilgrim path is one of hardship and
struggle – but also of rebirth through conversion. So,
the image of “pilgrim” reflects the historical nature of
Secondly, the Church as pilgrim highlights the
connection between Church and Kingdom. The
Church is not moving purposelessly, like a mouse
running on a wheel, going nowhere. The Church is
journeying always towards the Kingdom of God.
This is what brings hope to the sometimes dark
and suffering journey of the pilgrim people. There
is a destination, a home where we belong, and that
destination is with God.
for those who
On 2 November, we commemorate All Souls Day,
a day we pray for people who have died. This
year, the Diocese of Parramatta also invites you
to its first official Mass for our deceased clergy to
be held 25 November at St Bernadette’s Parish at
Castle Hill, followed by prayers at the gravesides
of clergy buried in Castle Hill Cemetery.
We look at some of the Catholic traditions around
death and new life.
Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical (letter) on hope,
Spe Salvi writes about our encounters with Christ
on our deaths and how it is a chance to shed the
trappings of our earthly existence and heal.
“Before His (Christ’s) gaze, all falsehood melts away.
This encounter with Him, as it burns us, transforms
and frees us allowing us to become truly ourselves.
All that we build during our lives can prove to be
mere straw, pure bluster and it collapses. Yet in the
pain of this encounter, when the impurity of sickness
of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation.
His gaze, the touch of His heart heals us through an
undeniably painful transformation.”
Pope Benedict continues, “The belief that love can
reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and
receiving is possible in which our affection for one
another continues beyond the limits of death – this
has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity
throughout the ages and it remains a source of
comfort today. Who would not feel the need to
convey to their departed loved ones a sign of
kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request
How then, do we show our love to those who have
Spe Salvi November 2007
A funeral Mass commends the soul of those who
have passed to God as well as consoling family and
friends. Masses can also be offered for the repose of
their souls, whether on the anniversary of their death
or at other special times of the year. This is a gentle
way to pray with our parish communities for our
We can light an offertory candle at our parish church
and ask the intercession of Jesus, Mary, and the
Saints. Visiting our loved one's grave and offering
special prayers is beautiful, and we can keep
photographs of them in our homes or place of work
to prompt us to say a prayer for them.
Praying the Rosary is particularly powerful. Each
Hail Mary concludes with a petition for grace in
death: “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
All Souls Mass in November 2020 at St Patrick's
Cathedral, Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Our God is an incredibly merciful and loving God.
He longs to be with each of us. He welcomes our
prayers for the living and the dead, and He will
certainly reward them.
You are invited
The Mass and prayers for the
deceased clergy in the Diocese of
Parramatta commence at
25 November 2022
St Bernadette’s Parish,
You are invited to attend and give
your gift of prayer to those whose
lives were dedicated to bringing
us all closer to Christ.
Bishop Vincent celebrates All Souls Mass in November
2020 at the St Francis Chapel in St Patrick’s Cemetery,
Parramatta. Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Photo © ACN International
Sister Rita Kurochkina was born
in Kazakhstan and joined the order
of the Sisters of the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, which was founded in Poland in
the 1850s to support both the spiritual
and the intellectual formation of
women and girls.
To this day, the congregation is
primarily active in Poland, but
can also be found in a number of
Eastern European countries, such
as Kazakhstan. The religious sisters
run schools, kindergartens, and
children’s homes, teach catechesis
in parishes and give religious
instruction at public schools, take
care of poor children and support
impoverished families. They provide
pastoral care to prisoners and also
Three sisters, all of them born in
Kazakhstan, work in the house
of St. Clara. They currently take
care of 18 children with difficult
family situations. Sister Rita says,
“Spiritually, the communist system
devastated the people in this
country. Many stopped believing in
God, which led to addiction problems
and dysfunctional families. And the
children suffer the consequences.
The children who come to us have
experienced trauma and tragedy.”
ACN helps one in every 34 of the
630,099 religious Sisters in the
world today! Can you help provide
subsistence aid to religious sisters in
countries throughout the world so they
can continue to live their vocation
and help keep the faith alive through
their physical and spiritual aid?
To watch a video on Sr Rita and the
Sisters and to make
a donation visit
scan the QR Code.
Founded in 1947, ACN is the only international
Catholic Charity dedicated to the pastoral
support of suffering and persecuted Christians.
A cuppa with the priest
Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap, Parish Priest
The Good Shepherd, Plumpton
STORY CHRISTINA GRETTON
When Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap, Parish Priest of
The Good Shepherd, Plumpton, was growing up
in Goa, India, all he knew about Australia was its
national cricket team. Meanwhile, he had plenty
of time to observe the local Capuchin Franciscan
Friars who were based close to his home, and
was drawn into their simple, welcoming and
dignified approach to life and faith.
It was not until a few weeks before his ordination to
the Capuchins that he would make any connection
between the two. Having been told he would be sent
to Australia from his homeland where he loved the
natural beauty including mountains and beaches, he
slept little that evening.
“I had nightmares,” he said. “I didn’t know anything
about Australia. They had a cricket team that was
going through its ‘golden era’,” he says, but that was
On arriving in Australia, one of the first events
he was taken to was ‘Theology on Tap’, a talk on
faith held in a pub in Parramatta, a completely
new experience, he admits.
Since then, he’s discovered a lot he likes about
Australia. Starting as Assistant Priest under Fr Gerard
O’Dempsey OFM Cap at The Good Shepherd, he
became Parish Priest only four years later when Fr
Gerard was elected Provincial of the Capuchins.
“I never expected it,” he says of his appointment
which, at 34, made him the youngest Parish Priest in
the Diocese. “I expected my hair would turn grey,” he
laughs, “but five years later, I’m still ok.”
There are a few secrets to his success in ministering
a parish of around 13,000 that sees some Masses
attended by around 600 people, he says.
The parish community
has supported me from the
very beginning,” he says.
“They respect how I run the
parish, allowing them (lay
parishioners) to lead and I
support and guide them.
When asked what this means to parishioners, he
reflects. “They feel it is their parish, they belong. They
are doing things for themselves.”
He is delighted how this plays out in practice as
he tries to follow the example of St Francis of
Assisi. St Francis set the example of ‘poverty of
spirit’ meaning, he explains, letting go of pride and
allowing guidance by the Holy Spirit. While following
this example himself, he also sees it in the Good
Shepherd parishioners. “They come to me with
humility,” he says. “If I see something, I can approach
them and talk to them about it,” he says. “I feel this is
how Christ would have wanted the Church to be,” he
says. “Christ asked us to serve.”
Fr Vincy D’Costa OFM Cap, Parish Priest of The Good Shepherd, Plumpton
Image: Diocese of Parramatta
This gentle approach saw the parish stay together
during the pandemic, when there were limitations
on how many people could attend Mass. Along with
livestreaming, they prayed the Rosary of an evening,
allowing everyone to participate and feel like they
belonged, he says.
Fr Vincy’s lifelong love of nature sees him
bushwalking whenever he can in the Blue Mountains.
And it has seen him enthusiastically support the
parishioners who were keen to turn around the
Good Shepherd’s ecological footprint. They have
purchased solar panels and LED lights and are
already seeing big savings. “It’s Pope Francis’
ecological economics in action,” says Fr Vincy. He
recalls that even in his homeland of Goa, the words
of Pope Francis “the cry of the earth” resonated with
him. “I could sense Mother Earth weeping,” he says.
He is thrilled the parish is surrounded by nature, and
that children love to come and discover insects and
wildlife in the parish grounds. At the same time, they
heed “Cry of the Poor” and he is overwhelmed by the
generosity of his parishioners in their support of the
House of Welcome and St Vincent de Paul.
Fr Vincy wants to keep growing the parish and
extending that sense of welcome the Capuchins
extended to him.
Regardless of where they come
from,” he says “All people are
welcome. We always want to
be a welcoming parish.
The Good Shepherd Church, Plumpton
Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta
The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton
STORY MARY BRAZELL
The Good Shepherd is a parish hearing the
cry of the earth and cry of the poor and whose
parishioners are taking action in response.
Patricia (Trish) Pacleb has been a parishioner of The
Good Shepherd Parish, for most of her life. However,
it wasn’t until her experience at the 2019 World Youth
Day in Panama that she felt called to become more
active in the parish community.
“I wanted to keep the WYD spirit strong, and
promised to say ‘yes’ to wherever God wanted to
take me,” she says.
In strengthening her faith and connection to her
parish community, Trish is part of the parish’s Antioch
youth group, and is a former member of the Good
Shepherd Youth Choir.
These are just two of the dozens of active, dedicated
and passionate groups in what is one of the largest
parishes in the Diocese.
In speaking with Trish and a few of her fellow
parishioners, I ask why they think so many other
parishioners have put their hands up to get actively
involved in the parish.
“Being a part of a community that takes care of you give
you a sense of hope, it strengthens you and makes
your relationship with Christ stronger,” Trish says.
“Everyone in the parish is always so welcoming
and encouraging. As long as you have an open
heart and willingness to serve, you will always
find a part in the community.”
Sacramental coordinator Priscilla Corpuz adds,
“Serving our church community is a gift and we need
to share that gift.
“The parish is my spiritual home and the
parishioners, who have become friends, are my
“The Good Shepherd is always alive and active
through the dedication and involvement of
Another passionate ministry of the parish is the social
justice group, which started three years ago following
the parish’s involvement in the ‘Diocesan Walking
with Refugees’ initiative.
Sr Colleen Foley osu has been connected to the
parish since 1991 and has been a social justice
advocate for a similar length of time. She is the selfdescribed
“grandmother” of the social justice group.
“We’re a small group, but whatever we discuss as a
group, we take to [Parish Priest] Fr Vincy [D’Costa]
and the rest of the parish.
“Fr Vincy is very easy to work with. He is open and
willing to engage with the initiatives of the social
justice group. He is very busy with such a large
parish, but makes time to listen.
The social justice group’s latest project is
channelling their Franciscan roots and enacting
Pope Francis’ call to listen to the “cry of the earth”
and the “cry of the poor” .
A few months ago, the parish signed up to the
Catholic Earthcare Parishes Program, which
provides assistance for parishes on their journey to
enacting the Laudato Si’ Action Platform’s 7 Goals
for 7 sectors over 7 years and to become a living
Laudato Si’ community.
The parish has started small by opting for
environmentally friendly products including wooden
and paper cutlery in their kitchen, eliminating the
use of single-use plastics as much as possible
and encouraging the children of the parish to
create messages of hope to be displayed during
Season of Creation.
In the future, the parish hopes to begin planting local
species and more trees on church grounds, switching
to a renewable energy provider and committing to
using locally-sourced produce and suppliers.
Anthony Matthews, a parishioner of four years, and
Religious Education Coordinator at St John XXIII
Catholic College Stanhope Gardens, is one of the
driving factors of the Catholic Earthcare process.
“When my family moved to Plumpton, through my
social justice involvement in schools, I was able
to connect with an action the parish held through
which I was already connected on a school level,”
“From here, I was able to continue to work with and
accompany the social justice team to serve those
Sr Colleen says that the parish has been very
receptive of the changes they are implementing
with the Catholic Earthcare plan, saying that even
15-year-olds are coming to the social justice group
full of energy and passion and hoping to make the
“The young people and children of the parish are
the ones who love this stuff. They’re really aware of
sustainability, which gives me a lot of hope,” she says.
Trish adds, “It is our duty to preserve God’s creation
because it is a gift, worthy of our care and protection.
How we take care of our environment shows how we
value God’s gift.”
When asked what other parishes across the
Diocese can do to be proactive in social justice, the
parishioners recommended by starting small.
“Having the opportunity to listen to stories of the
most vulnerable and asking them what they need
most – this drives your discernment process, and
then action,” Anthony says.
“Mary MacKillop said, ‘never see a need without
doing something about it.’ Let us practise her words
and put it into action,” Priscilla says.
Trish adds, “it only takes one person to say yes to
an opportunity for others to be empowered and be
inspired to take action too. Be that one person to
start the chain reaction.”
(L-R) Parishioners of The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton, Priscilla Corpuz, Patricia (Trish) Pacleb, Anthony Matthews,
Parish Priest Fr Vincy D’Costa and Sr Colleen Foley osu. Image: Mary Brazell/Diocese of Parramatta
Quest to know sets
a life in motion
STORY CHRISTINA GRETTON
If planning her life was up to Dr Anne Benjamin,
an Honorary Professor of Australian Catholic
University, who has written several books,
travelled the world and worked at senior levels
of education, she thinks it would have turned
out quite uninteresting.
“I find my plans for myself are fairly unimaginative,
and if I had the total say, life would have been quite
dull,” she says.
Dr Anne Benjamin
Anne has recently published a book After All
This Time: Reflections on Jesus sharing her inner
pilgrimage, an idea that sprang from being on
pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain. In the book
she calls on Gospel readings, deep insights gained
through her many life experiences, and neat
engrossing ‘tankas’ - short poems of precisely chosen
words which set an otherworldly mood. The aim of
the book, she says, is to help people look at Jesus
in a new way and perhaps make connections with
scripture they would not have otherwise have made.
She was a young person when the Second Vatican
Council took place and its message of a church that
is engaged with the world resonated with her. It led
her to travel to the USA to study religious education
– the start of her life’s quest to seek experiences that
enhance her sense of meaning.
Working with her husband in India for a number of
years enriched her with the experience of being “an
unknown” and an “outsider”. “When we returned to
Australia,” she added, “I had a small taste of being a
migrant, which is the experience of many people in
For Anne, pilgrimage is “seeking home and coming
together in wholeness”. It helps her understand
and feel closer to the scriptures she has studied to
answer the question: “Who was Jesus?”
Anne’s top tips for pilgrims
A trip to the Holy Land brought her in touch with land
that Jesus would have walked on. “To be in the land
and to be on the soil, to be on the lake and to try and
absorb the feeling of being on the hillside and to be
alone in the desert. That was powerful,” she says.
“You get an immediacy.”
“You think what it would have been like for Christ to
be praying in the desert.“ Later in the discussion, she
returns to the power of the desert, “To me the desert is
an image of searching for God – a place of healing and
redemption. It is a place where you can discover God.”
“Being there awakened in me the need to understand
Jesus better, the need to answer the question “Who
is this Jesus and how did He work out His mission?”
On the Camino, pilgrims walk at their own pace.
You may therefore have several different walking
companions along the way, and need to adjust your
speed. “I thought that was one of the biggest lessons
for me, to walk through life at my own pace,” she says.
“As I walked, I would encounter different people for a
couple of hours. They were wonderful encounters.”
For Anne, Vatican II was life changing, and
encouraged her to seek further formation. She is now
hearted by Pope Francis’ insistence on synodality as
THE way of being church. “Today we are walking a
synodal path – what’s that if not pilgrims searching,
going forward together?”
• Be open to possibilities – there is mystery and
uncertainty in every journey. Without space for
mystery, the search is cut short.
• Come with a mindset that the searching is
more important than the answer.
• Be brave enough to walk alone.
• There is immense freedom in carrying only
what you need on your back.
• Pilgrimages can be done with others –
it doesn’t need to be a lonely journey. Those
with you can help you find gems along the way.
• Keep a journal – you don’t have to write
everything, just whatever you can.
• Read the daily Mass readings – sit with the
readings each day and note the thoughts that
come into your head.
• Invite others to reflect and pray with you –
reflection together creates special bonds.
• Can’t go overseas? Walk where you can –
and be present to your walk.
Dr Anne Benjamin is a parishioner of St Anthony of Padua
Parish Toongabbie. She is a former Executive Director of
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, and was one
of the co-creators of the recently launched Biographical
Dictionary of Australian Catholic Educators, a website for
researchers and those wanting to learn about Catholic
education. Her book After All This Time: Reflections on
Jesus is available from Coventry Press.
To place your ad in Catholic Outlook and reach over
8,500 families in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains
contact Christina Gretton at email@example.com
Toongabbie Legal Centre provides free legal services to
vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised persons.
NALL DONATION ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLEN
TLC’s 15 th Annual Dinner
Saturday 26 November 2022
Blacktown Leisure Centre, Stanhope Gardens
Ticket $100 includes dinner & entertainment –
more details see www.tlc.asn.au
AT MAMRE HOUSE
Shared reading group
English classes and Crafty Kritters
Wednesdays: English classes and Seniors day activities
Seniors tech classes
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TOO!
181 Mamre Rd, Orchard Hills
Contact Lisa on (02) 8843 2514 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us care for those who
have cared for us through
their lifetime of service
STORY CLERGY SUPPORT FOUNDATION
As we prepare to celebrate the father figures
in our lives this Father’s Day, the Diocese of
Parramatta’s family of faith is also being urged
to care for our spiritual fathers, priests now
living in retirement after a lifetime of caring
for parish communities.
The Clergy Support Foundation supports the
Diocese of Parramatta’s ageing priests and those
in ill-health, providing the necessary care and
guidance for them to transition to a well-deserved,
spiritually fulfilling retirement.
Diocese of Parramatta’s Head of Clergy Health
and Wellbeing, Dr Mark Buhagiar, is supported
by Clergy Healthcare Coordinators, Elizabeth
Hanrahan and Ellen Small in caring for retired and
ill priests across Western Sydney and the Blue
“As well as supporting our priests’ healthcare and
wellbeing, Mark and his team keep an eye on their
mental health and attend to their practical needs,”
said Fr Wim Hoekstra from the Clergy Support
“This includes important daily tasks like organising
meals, taking them to appointments and making
sure they are taking their medicines. They also put
a lot of care into ensuring that our priests’ social
networks are maintained.”
Other ongoing assistance includes organising
independent retirement living and aged care or
nursing home accommodation.
Mark said the work of the Clergy Support Foundation
recognises the fatherly spiritual and pastoral care
that the Diocese’s priests have given to people for
“Our priests have looked after us in parishes for their
whole life, including the important moments such as
Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, and
Marriage,” he said.
“So, this is our opportunity, as Catholics and as
parishioners, to show our gratitude and care for
those who have cared for us, when they need us.
This speaks very strongly to me and it’s why I love
what I do.”
Retired priests, Monsignor John Boyle and Fr Chris
Dixon now live in accommodation set up by Diocese
of Parramatta’s Clergy Support Foundation.
Mons John said he is deeply grateful for the care
being bestowed on him in his retirement, thanks to
the support of the Diocesan community.
“It brings out a huge sense of gratitude in me, that
we’re able to live in this comfortable place, and have
people who come to make sure we’re safe and well,”
Fr Chris agreed, saying he recognises the support of
so many for the Clergy Support Foundation:
It’s a joy to be able to
retire and to live as we do.
It’s quite a privilege.
Fr Chris Dixon (left) with Clergy Healthcare Coordinator Ellen Small and Monsignor John Boyle. Image: Diocese of Parramatta
I’m deeply thankful for the
generosity of the people
in our Diocese.
Another big aspect of the Clergy Support
Foundation’s work is making sure the Diocese’s
retired priests stay involved in parish life.
Both Mons John and Fr Chris are still very active in
the Diocesan community, celebrating Mass most
weekends and stepping in when priests go on leave.
“I’m regularly invited out to dinner by my former
parishioners,” said Mons John.
“They’re keen to look after me. I feel like I’m still
in their community even though I’m no longer
For Fr Chris, it’s providing ongoing spiritual guidance
and sharing the faith, that he finds to be life-giving.
“The privilege of being able to tell people your own
experience of getting to know Jesus, that, to me, is
sharing something sacred and wonderful.”
The Clergy Support Foundation’s Father’s Day
Appeal is an opportunity to care for the priests who
have cared for us all through a lifetime of service to
our faith community.
To donate, please call
(02) 8838 3482 or visit
Check out our latest spirit-filled recommendations to
add to your daily mix!
Books, movies, music
and more for Spring
Há Pressa No Ar
the official World Youth Day 2023 theme song
Receive the Power
(Sydney WYD 2008 theme song)
by Guy Sebastian and Gary Pinto
Every Little Thing
Hillsong Young & Free
Soul on Fire
by Fr Rob Galea featuring Michela
St Francis of Assisi: Sign of Contradiction
With his feast day on 4 October, here’s a movie that
explores more than just St Francis of Assisi’s faith
and appreciation of creation. This film is about a
sinner and a saint who was on a lifelong journey
animated by grace. St Francis of Assisi was a real
person with real struggles, temptations, and doubts.
He was a disciple, perhaps, the greatest disciple.
Francis is known as a lover of peace and of
nature, and this is true. But he also went against
all social norms. All that the world said would lead
to happiness, he abandoned for something else,
something more. It wasn’t until he encountered
Christ that darkness and confusion were replaced
with light and peace.
His life was marked by an unwavering openness to
the Holy Spirit and a deep call to live penance.
Watch it on Amazon Prime or the subscription
A Wide and Open Land – Walking the Last of
Western Sydney’s Woodlands
By Peter Ridgeway
This Season of Creation, find out about the hidden beauty
and fragility of the lands on which our Diocese sits. In
the Winter of 2019, Peter Ridgeway set out to walk 179
kilometres across the Cumberland Plain, the region
of rural land west of Sydney, and home to the Darug,
Gundungurra and Dharawal people. Carrying his food and
water and camping under the stars, he crossed one of the
least-known landscapes in Australia, all within view of its
largest city. This book recounts a unique journey across a
landscape few Australians will ever see.
Peter shares many wonderful places across Western
Sydney including Wivenhoe at Camden, conserved by the
wisdom of the wonderful Good Samaritan congregation.
This book provides an immersion in the history, wildlife,
and culture of one of Australia's most rapidly vanishing
landscapes, and reveals how the destruction of 'the West'
is erasing not only itself, but something central to the
identity of all Australians.
A Wide and Open Land – Walking the Last of
Western Sydney’s Woodlands
By Peter Ridgeway
Published by Peter Ridgeway April 2022
ISBN : 9780645308914
Little Green Pod with Fiona Poole ABC Listen App
Little Green Pod is a podcast for busy people who know
they could do more to help protect the world and save the
environment. Join mother-of-two Fi Poole on her quest to
find quick and easy ways to live a little greener in these
The Average Shepherd
A weekly homily podcast dedicated to opening, exploring,
and living the Word of God, produced by young priest
Fr Sam French from the Diocese of Broken Bay.
Images: From podcasts
Design a border around this prayer
using nature as inspiration.
Cut it out, stick on recycled
cardboard and hang it up.
you are in the
whole universe and
in every tiny creature.
Help us protect your world,
which gives us life.
Thank you God for being
with us each day.
These activities are from our catechists in the
Diocese of Parramatta. Melissa McDonald,
Regional Catechist Coordinator for the Blue
Mountains, says that looking after God's creation
often comes naturally to children and they love
talking about the topic.
To find out more about becoming a
catechist in the public schools in the
Diocese of Parramatta contact Maree at
Prayer adapted from Pope Francis'
Prayer for the Earth.
WHY DOES POPE FRANCIS' LETTER
LAUDATO SI' EFFECT EVERYONE?
Using the clues below, complete the words going across.
The answer will be revealed in the blue boxes running down the page.
1. First words of the the Bible : In _ _ _ beginning when God created the
heavens and the earth
2. The third person of the Trinity who is present in all Creation. H_ _ _ S_ _ _ _ _
3. The name of our planet _ _ _ _ _
4. I became man to show God's endless love for all his creatures _ _ _ _ _
5. The Latin name of the Pope's letter to everyone on Earth aboutcaring for our
common home. L_ _ _ _ _ _ S_
6. Instead of throwing paper products away we should _ _ _ _ _ _ _ them.
7. Too often we W_ _ _ _ resources instead of using less, reusing and recycling.
8. In theLord's prayer we call God
'Our F_ _ _ _ _ '
9. In the Bible Creation story we
see that people are made in
God's _ m _ g _
10. From the Lord's prayer: "Thy
kingdom come, thy will be done
on Earth as it _ _ in heaven.
11. When we burn fossil fuels it
causes air p_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ which
contributes toclimate change.
12. It is up to all of _ _ to work
together to look after the Earth.
13. At Easter we celebrate that Jesus
has r_ _ _ _ from the dead.
14. Pope _ _ _ _ _ _ _ took the name
of this saint, the patron saint of
animals and the environment.
15. In the Bible story, after creating
all things, God looks at it and
sees that it is all very G_ _ _ _
16. This lights up our night sky and in
his poem 'Canticle of Creation' Saint
Francis called it our sister _ _ _ _
17. C_ _ _ _ _ _ C_ _ _ _ _: Pope
Franciscalls this "one of the
principle challenges facing
humanity in our day" (LS25)
18. The Pope calls for an Ecological
C_nv_rs_ _n. This means
changing our ways and taking
better care of the Earth.
19. One important way to feel
God's presence is to spend
time outdoors in n_ _ _ _ _.
20. Jesus says "I am the Good
S_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _" who loves
and cares for his sheep.
21. "Climate change affects us all but
it is the P_ _ _ _ _communities
that will suffer the most."
22. We are called to live s_ _ _ply
and not take more than we need
of the Earth's resources.
23. Caring for the Earth, wasting less
and consuming less is being a
good st_ _ _ _ _ _ of the Earth.
Directory of services
(02) 8843 2500 or visit catholiccarewsbm.org.au
(02) 8838 3400
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
(02) 8838 3400
Diocese of Parramatta
(02) 9840 5600
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
(02) 9407 7044
Ambrose Early Years Education
and School Age Care
(02) 9407 7044
Catholic Care Western Sydney
and the Blue Mountains
(02) 8843 2500
Mission Enhancement Team
Catholic Youth Parramatta
Marriage, Family and Natural Fertility
Peace, Justice and Ecology
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
(02) 8838 3486
(02) 8838 3480
(02) 8838 3460
Parramatta Catholic Foundation
(02) 8838 3482
Diocesan Development Fund
(02) 8839 4500
Holy Spirit Seminary
(02) 9296 6300
Office for Safeguarding
(02) 8838 3419
Whatever your age, you will never be invisible to the people at Catholic Care. Our range of
supports aim to keep you living independently in your own home for as long as possible,
while staying connected with your friends and community.
Our Commonwealth Home Support Program support elderly people to stay living
independently at home, while our Community Visitor’s Scheme aims to reduce loneliness
and enrich people’s lives through fortnightly visits to residents at aged-care facilities.
Bringing a baby into the world
There are few things more important than caring for a newborn child. Our programs have helped
many young women who are feeling lost or have been excluded from their community and are
at risk of homelessness, to get the support they need. Our parenting support program supports
new parents finding the challenges of a newborn overwhelming.
Our chaplains provide spiritual and emotional support for patients and inmates, their
families and staff in the seven hospitals and three correctional centres throughout the
Diocese of Parramatta. An inclusive ministry available to all faiths, our 15 chaplains work
alongside others involved in the care of patients and inmates.
Catholic Care offers a range of support services to ensure children are taken care of in any
situation. It starts with early years learning and childcare — our home-based early learning and
parenting program for families with young children helps them and their parents develop skills,
and our family day care helps kids get a good start with their education. Our creche is a thriving
early learning centre, providing care for children of Sudanese refugee women enrolled in English
classes offered on the grounds of Catholic Care.
Connecting with my Community
Our drop-in centres provide a safe place for people to belong and connect with others.
They are a place to be, a place to get information, join a group, and be accepted.
In Emerton, Aboriginal Catholic Services is a drop-in centre led by Aboriginal people for
Aboriginal people. In Blacktown, culturally and linguistically diverse families are accessing
support to settle into life in Australia by the team at All Saints of Africa. And at our Springwood
Drop-in Centre, established to support the community after the 2014 bushfires, clients stop by
for a chat, join a reading group or seek support with their mental health.
Living well with Disability
We all need a support network to live our lives to the fullest. Our disability support team, can
help you with living, learning and overcoming obstacles on your journey, whatever they may
look like. We can help you set goals, and achieve them, and help you build a brighter future.
As a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, we support clients
at home and in the community, whether you want to learn how to cook, need support with
personal care, or want to play sport.
Support for my Family
When life gets tough for our families, the people we care about most can suffer. Our range
of family support services can support you to better relate to your spouse and understand
their behaviour, to deal with dependence or gambling problems, single parenting, or just
connecting with your kids.
We support families who are going through the most difficult of times to cope through
separation, and with grief and loss. We help parents deal with all the stresses that can
impact your family, from anxiety and depression to money worries, gambling—we have the
people, the resources and the support to help you make it through.
Most Rev Vincent Long OFM
Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, has
confirmed these appointments in
the Diocese of Parramatta:
Deacon Jack Elkazzi
St Bernadette’s Parish
Castle Hill, from 25 July 2022
Fr Paul Gurr OCarm
Part-time Assistant Priest
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish
Wentworthville, from 27 July 2022
Bishop Vincent (centre) with recipients of the Diocesan Awards, presented on 8 August 2022. Image: Diocese of Parramatta
Diocesan Award Recipients 2022
On the feast of St Mary MacKillop, 8 August 2022, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, presented the
following members of our faith community with Diocesan Awards at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta.
Diocesan Medal of Honour
Sylvia Belsey, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville
Juan Caceres, St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith
Vincent Connelly, St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Joseph Doyle, St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
Enrico Enriquez, St Andrew the Apostle Parish, Marayong
James Eves, Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill-Schofields
Maureen Fearnside, St Bernadette’s Parish, Castle Hill
Annette Hartman, St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Norman Heffernan, St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith
Roderick Hilliker, St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Dudley Littlewood, Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair-Erskine Park
Deirdre Said, Diocese Development Fund, Diocese of Parramatta
Helen Steyns, Diocese Development Fund, Diocese of Parramatta
Annette Tan, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Kellyville
Citation of Merit for Youth
Mindy Mercado, St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta
Patrice Moriarty, Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair-Erskine Park
We congratulate all our recipients and thank them for
their dedicated service to our faith community.
You can read more about them at
THE DDF: AN INVESTMENT IN GOOD
FAITH AND A SOUND FUTURE
The parish of St Aidan’s Rooty Hill is undergoing a church extension and renovation project. The building works include an extension to
the church foyer, installation of external sunshades, recarpeting the church and refurbishment of the sanctuary including the installation
of a baldacchino. The foyer extension is to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners attending St Aidan’s - the flow-on
effect of the rapid development of the suburb of Rooty Hill. However, projects aren’t always smooth sailing; building works were halted,
parishioner numbers fell, and costs rose rapidly due to the impact of the pandemic. “Hopefully, the Parish will be able to complete the
project in the near future,” said Fr Alan Layt, Parish Priest of St Aidan’s.
The DDF provided finance for the project which was flexible enough to support the changing needs of the parish as the project
unfolded and moved to completion.
The Diocesan Development Fund (DDF) provides financial services that helps to promote the continued growth and development of a
vibrant and evangelising Catholic Church in the Diocese of Parramatta.
The DDF’s services include:
• Providing loans to assist Catholic agencies to further their Mission. Loans are available for any worthwhile purpose including
construction, renovation, land purchase, furnishings, and equipment.
• Facilitating transactional services to Catholic agencies such as parishes and schools.
• Operating efficiently to generate income for the Diocese to support the Mission of the Church, pastoral priorities, and ministry
• The development of deep long-term relationships with all Catholic entities within the Diocese.
To contact the DDF please phone (02) 8839 4500 or email email@example.com
Visit the DDF website at www.parracatholic.org.au/ddf
Disclosure Statement The Diocesan Development Fund Catholic Diocese of Parramatta (DDF) (the Fund) is required by law to make the following disclosure.
The Fund is not prudentially supervised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority nor has it been examined or approved by the Australian Securities
and Investments Commission. An investor in the Fund will not receive the benefit of the financial claims scheme or thedepositor protection provisions in the
Banking Act 1959 (Cth). Investments in the Fund are intended to be a means for investors to support the charitable, religious and educational works of the
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and for whom the consideration of profit are not of primary relevance in the investment decision. The investments that the
Fund offers are not subject to the usual protections for investors under the Corporations Act (Cth) or regulation by Australian Securities and Investments
Commission. Investors may be unable to get some or all of their money back when the investor expects or at all and an of the Fund are not comparable to
investments with banks, finance companies or fund managers. The Fund’s identification statement may be viewed at https://parracatholic.org or by contacting
the Fund. The Fund does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.