Unbreakable hope

In an expression of pastoral solidarity with the people of Ukraine, a delegation from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, including Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, recently visited the war-torn country. Annie Carrett, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, was also part of the delegation. She reflects on their moving encounters with Ukrainians from all walks of life—people who continue to demonstrate persistent hope and courageous love amid the devastation and trauma of war.

Today, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference also launch their annual Social Justice Statement, Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, which calls the Church in Australia to ‘lead the way’ in the pursuit of reconciliation, and to ground ‘our attitudes and actions towards First Nations peoples ... in justice, love and humility’.

In other stories this week, we hear from Fr John Healy and his team at Holy Trinity Parish in the western suburbs about their journey of mission renewal, and how discerning what not to do is sometimes as important as discerning what to do; Homelessness Week sparks a national conversation on the housing crisis; Fr Michael Shadbolt, previously the Archdiocese’s official exorcist, shares why prayer and the sacraments remain our greatest defence against evil; in an inspiring story of resilience, a special graduation was recently held for Jade McAlear following a terrible car accident; and in the final of Catholic Social Services Victoria’s recent series of conversations on the Voice to Parliament, three Aboriginal elders speak of their hope and concerns ahead of the upcoming referendum.

Finally, Professor Clare Johnson of the ACU Centre for Liturgy joins us to explore movement in the liturgy, looking at what we do, how we do it and why it matters.

For more, visit the Melbourne Catholic news and stories page or follow us on Facebook.

‘Our friends are our hope’: reflections on a three-day visit to Ukraine
Written by: Annie Carrett
A delegation from Australia of bishops, priests and laity recently visited war-engulfed Ukraine in an extension of pastoral fraternity and humanitarian solidarity. Annie Carrett, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, was among the delegation, along with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli. She reflects on ‘a journey that unfolded not just in kilometres but in understanding’, and on the resilient hope that they encountered in the midst of trauma and tragedy.
Bishops’ statement calls for ‘new engagement’ with First Nations peoples
Written by: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)
Australia’s Catholic bishops have called on the nation to seek ‘a new engagement’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their annual Social Justice Statement, launched today, which calls on all Australians to listen with deep respect and learn from First Nations peoples, so that the whole nation might be strengthened.
Holy Trinity, a parish of prayer, welcome and hospitality
Holy Trinity Parish in the western suburbs of Melbourne is a thriving, multicultural faith community. Spread across three Mass centres, the parish also includes eight schools and five aged-care facilities. As the area and population continue to expand, parish priest Fr John Healy and his leadership and mission teams are working closely with parishioners in a spirit of prayer, welcome and hospitality to revitalise the mission of the parish and help people rediscover Jesus.
Moving through the liturgy: why what we do matters
Catholic liturgy is rich with expressive, symbolic movement, so that even the smallest physical gesture can carry deep meaning. Professor Clare Johnson of the ACU Centre for Liturgy helps us explore the symbolic significance of how we move through the liturgy, and explains why relearning the language of symbols is one of the great challenges of our times.
Homelessness Week sparks national conversation on housing crisis
Written by: Catholic Social Services Victoria
Homelessness Week 2023—recently observed from 7 to 13 August—brought critical attention to Australia’s housing crisis and its far-reaching implications. As the national conversation intensifies around housing supply, CSSV has released a discussion paper, ‘Housing as Homes’, encouraging more effective use of existing housing stock, while emphasising the importance of robust social and community support systems in meeting the needs of individuals.
Fr Michael Shadbolt: exorcism is ‘the power of Jesus’
On Monday 14 August, at the regular ‘God and Beer’ event hosted by the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria, Fr Michael Shadbolt reflected on his 12 years of service as the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s official exorcist. He shared some stories of that time, discussed depictions of exorcism in popular films and encouraged Catholics to commit their lives radically to Jesus, Lord and King of the universe.
Upcoming referendum aims to unite not divide Australia
In the final of a three-part series of webinars hosted by Catholic Social Services Victoria and Catholic Social Services Australia, three Aboriginal elders—Uncle Ron Briggs, Cr Anne Dennis and Esmai Manahan—reflected on their experiences, and on their hopes and concerns for the Voice referendum in 2023.
ACU holds special graduation for inspiring student
Written by: ACU
ACU graduate Jade McAlear was in a coma following a horrific car accident when her distraught parents Karen and Zac received her degree on her behalf last year. But now the inspiring 24-year-old has accepted her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy award herself in a special graduation ceremony organised by ACU’s School of Allied Health and the Jim-baa-yer Indigenous Higher Education Unit.
‘When I hold up the Lamb of God today, I hold it up like never before.’
Greek Ukrainian Catholic priest Fr Vitaliy Kolesnyk
on how the unfathomable trauma of war has changed his own faith and prayer life
Upcoming events
Benedict Conference: Truth, goodness and beauty
Saturday 28 October 2023
(All day event)
This inaugural event will bring together local and international speakers to reflect on the life and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. The conference will build its conversations around the themes of truth, goodness and beauty. Gathering the people of God from all over Melbourne and beyond, it seeks to engage...
‘Sing Joyfully’: The Australian Boys Choir in concert
Sunday 20 August 2023
3.00pm–4.30pm
On Sunday 20 August from 3pm to 4.30pm, the Australian Boys Choir, accompanied by the outstanding adult voices of the Vocal Consort, will perform a series of choral classics at St Patrick’s Cathedral. From Bach’s sparkling motet ‘Lobet den Herrn’ to works by Byrd, Michael Haydn, Mendelssohn and Australia’s own...
Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga Annual Dinner
Tuesday 22 August 2023
6.30pm–10.30pm
All are welcome to attend the Annual Dinner of the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga Inc. Guest speaker Fiona Power, Curator or the Mary Glowrey Museum, will speak on ‘Fr William Lockington SJ: Know yourself and the heritage that is yours’. William Lockington (1871–1948) was a prominent...
‘Holiness and Humanity—the life of St John Henry Newman’ with Fr Roderick Strange
Thursday 24 August 2023
5.00pm–7.00pm
Newman College is pleased to host a public lecture by Fr Roderick Strange: ‘Holiness and Humanity—the life of St John Henry Newman.’ Fr Roderick Strange is an international expert on the life and works of Cardinal John Henry Newman. He has been Catholic Chaplain at the University of Oxford and...
Grand organ recital featuring Thomas Trotter, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Friday 25 August 2023
6.00pm–7.00pm
One of Britain’s most widely admired musicians and concert organists, Thomas Trotter, will visit our beautiful and inspiring St Patrick’s Cathedral in August with a recital program sure to please. Trotter has performed at more than 800 concerts in his international career, with recent tours to Europe, China and Australia...
Gangland to Promised Land: John Pridmore Melbourne tour (Caroline Springs)
Monday 28 August 2023, 7.30pm
– Wednesday 30 August 2023, 8.30pm
John Pridmore was a serious face in London’s East End, living the ‘high life’ until he found himself nearly killing a man. What happened next can only be called extraordinary. Don’t miss his incredible conversion story when he visits Melbourne in August and September. John has spoken to millions around...
The Archbishop’s Dinner: an initiative of the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria
Friday 1 September 2023
7.00pm–9.00pm
Join the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria to celebrate the 23rd annual Archbishop’s Dinner. The dinner is held each year to raise funds for the Priests Support and Education Fund. This fund was established by the Knights of the Southern Cross to assist in the funding and education of...
Eucharist and visit of relic statue of St John Bosco, St Margaret Mary’s Church
Saturday 30 September 2023
11.00am–12.00pm
As part of the centenary celebrations of the arrival of the Salesians on Australian soil, a relic statue of St John Bosco is touring Salesian communities and works in Australia. The relic casket arrived in Melbourne in late June and the schedule for the tour can be found here. The...

To learn more about upcoming events and opportunities, visit the Melbourne Catholic events page.

This newsletter is published by the Communications Office
of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

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