This week's collection of stories includes the recently celebrated Requiem Mass for Bert Newton at St Patrick's Cathedral. As one of Australia's legendary entertainers, Bert was remembered as a humble man of faith, whose generosity and talents brought warmth and laughter to all those around him and onscreen.

Also this week, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has written to all members of the Catholic community in the Archdiocese expressing grave concerns about the State Government's proposed new legislation, the Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021, and is encouraging the community to join him in speaking out against this 'serious overreach' by the Government. We also look at the latest with the Archdiocese's Take the Way of the Gospel initiative and how it forms part of Pope Francis’ call for ‘a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything’. Plus, during this month of remembrance, Melbourne Catholic Joe Doolan explores the amazing story of hundreds of soldiers who, during the Great War, attributed their safety and recovery to God's providence through the direct intercession of Sister Thérèse Martin (later St Thérèse of Lisieux). In doing so, Joe poses the question for today's generation: Which holy lives or courageous acts will lead us to the steadfast love of God and gentle love of neighbour?

Finally, there are a number of events coming up in the following weeks including training sessions for parish leaders in the lead up to the Synod on Synodality, as well as the online book launch of Greg Craven's Shadow of the Cross with former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, to be moderated by Jacinta Collins.

All this and more below.

Australia farewells Bert Newton
Australian entertainment legend Bert Newton was farewelled at a Requiem Mass on Friday 12 November at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. The state funeral was attended by Bert’s family and friends from the entertainment industry, along with a number of dignitaries from around Australia including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brigadier Robert Marshall (representing the Governor General of Australia), the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews MP, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.
Proposed Bill a 'serious overreach': Archbishop Comensoli
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has written to all members of the Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Melbourne expressing grave concerns about the State Government's proposed new legislation, the Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021. In the letter, the Archbishop explained that the proposed changes will significantly impact all faith-based organisations in Victoria who will no longer be able to employ staff who hold the same religious beliefs and values unless they can prove that it is an "inherent requirement" of the job.
The passing of a giant: Sir James Gobbo
On Sunday 7 November, Sir James Gobbo AC, CVO, QC, died at age 90. Sir James was the Governor of Victoria from 1997 to 2000, and prior to that he served as a Supreme Court Judge for sixteen years, contributing in lasting ways to issues of law and Australia’s multicultural policies. Sir James was a man of deep faith and devotion and is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Shirley, and their five children. The state funeral for Sir James Gobbo will take place on Tuesday 16 November at St Patrick's Cathedral.
Take the Way of the Gospel: Moving with the global Church into a reimagined future
Earlier this year, at gatherings of clergy and lay leaders from parishes, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli proposed that we "Take the Way of the Gospel" together, renewing the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s focus on mission, and opening ourselves to Pope Francis’ call for ‘a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything’. While this journey is just beginning, more than 1500 people from across our Archdiocese have already begun planning, discussing and discerning together with their communities. Find out more about the journey so far, resources that are available and the next steps.
Pope Francis appoints new auxiliary bishop for Brisbane
Pope Francis has appointed Fr Tim Norton, a priest of the Society of the Divine Word, an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Fr Norton, born and raised in Australia, has spent much of his priestly ministry overseas, including for the past several years in Italy. He has served as head of the Australian province of his order, and spent time as vice president of Catholic Religious Australia.
Red Wednesday: Stand up for persecuted Christians
Across the Archdiocese, we are invited to stand in solidarity on Red Wednesday, 24 November, and to pray for those around the world who are suffering violence, persecution and death simply for professing their religious beliefs. A range of resources—including five ways to mark Red Wednesday—have been developed to help parishes, households and individuals mark this day in a meaningful way. And St Patrick’s Cathedral will join other cathedrals, churches and prominent buildings around Australia and the world on 24 November by floodlighting the exterior of the cathedral in red and by holding a prayer vigil at 7.30pm.
Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and The First World War
Melbourne Catholic Joe Doolan reflects on the recently published collection of letters entitled, Stronger than Steel: Soldiers of the Great War write to Thérèse of Lisieux (Angelico Press). It tells the story of hundreds of soldiers who prayed to Sister Thérèse Martin (later St Thérèse of Lisieux) and who would read her spiritual memoir, Story of a Soul, in the trenches. Joe also recalls his own grandfather's experiences in the Great War, as told in his journal from 1917.
Discipleship: Embarking on mission
The life of a disciple is shaped by a number of significant experiences. Our baptism incorporates us into a life in Christ, but it is only the beginning. Each baptised person is called to embark on mission with Jesus, helping to bring healing and restoration to a hurting world. The call God places on our lives is personal and unique, and each of us is needed and necessary in building up the kingdom.
Breathing with both lungs again
One of many unknown saints in the liturgical calendar is St Josaphat of Polotsk whose memorial falls on 12 November. He is, in no uncertain terms, a martyr in the cause of Christian unity. Born in the mid-1580s, Josaphat would become a bridge between the worlds of East and West. Interestingly enough, one of the strategies he used in uniting and bringing the Church back to life was through synods.
'The role or importance of faith in a faith-based organisation cannot be relegated to a bureaucrat or a secular court. This is another sad example of people of faith and the freedom of religious organisations being unfairly targeted.'
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
On the proposed Equal Opportunity (Religious Exceptions) Amendment Bill 2021
Upcoming events
Care for Our Common Home: A forum for parishes
Tuesday 16 November 2021
Organised by the parishes of Our Lady of the Assumption, Cheltenham, and St Agnes', Highett, together with the Justice and Peace Group of St Dominic's Parish in Camberwell, this online forum invites participants to: reflect on the message of Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato si', and developments since its release; share...
Public lecture: "How Do We Know What We Don't Know?" by Bishop Michael McKenna
Wednesday 17 November 2021
In 2021 the National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) is celebrating 25 years of service to the Church. To mark the occasion, this free online lecture will look at how research and analyses undertaken by the NCPR have informed the planning for parish, school and other ministry developments, and have...
Virtual Open Day: Getting Started in Theology
Wednesday 17 November 2021
Whether you are interested in learning more about your faith, have a desire to study and research, wish to pursue a career in ministry or pastoral areas, or need to gain qualifications to assist your current teaching or ministry position, you will find something at Catholic Theological College (CTC) to...
Book launch: Shadow of the Cross
Thursday 18 November 2021
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli invites you to the launch of Greg Craven’s latest book, in which he argues that Catholic social teaching remains an important resource for addressing the challenges of Australian politics. The launch features former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott. In Shadow of the Cross, Craven's...
Introduction to the Synod on Synodality for Parish Leaders
Tuesday 23 November 2021
In dioceses around the world, a period of local consultation has begun as part of a two-year process culminating in the Synod of Bishops gathering in Rome in October 2023. The Church in Melbourne join the rest of the world in embarking on an intentional process of mutual listening that...
Virtual Open Day: Pastoral and Spiritual Practice
Tuesday 23 November 2021
Catholic Theological College (CTC) invites you to join this free online information session to explore courses and pathways for study in pastoral and spiritual practice. Courses are designed for those working in parishes, schools, chaplaincy, hospitals, prisons and social services. This includes: Pastoral Practice Pastoral Studies and OutreachLeadership for a...
Consultation for National Youth Ministry Network
Thursday 25 November 2021
Representatives of Australian Catholic youth and young adult ministries are invited to take part in a consultation to explore the establishment of a new national network. Hosted by the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry (BCELM), with the Australian network of diocesan youth ministry coordinators (ANDYMC), this online consultation...
Holding the Light - An Ecumenical Service
Sunday 28 November 2021
Now in its sixth year, the ecumenical service is invitational and held in a spirit of welcome. While it is held within the Christian tradition, it is open to anyone who might wish to join together and take part in a ritual and is a time for anyone to engage...
Ordination Mass at Patrick's Cathedral
Saturday 4 December 2021
Join us for the Ordination Mass of transitional deacons Alexander Chow, Hoang Dinh, Jaycee Napoles, Joseph Nguyen and Samuel Pearson at St Patrick's Cathedral on Saturday 4 December. The Mass will be broadcast live on our YouTube channel ( and via free-to-air TV on Community Channel C31 (channel 44 on...

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