Holy Spirit in this land

As the Catholic faithful gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, the words of a traditional Aboriginal hymn rang out at the end of Mass: ‘Holy Spirit in this land, reach out and touch us when you can.’ This week, we share stories of lives touched by the Holy Spirit, who leads us out on new paths to bring us home to God.

As we continue our celebrations of NAIDOC Week, Louise Luu shares her powerful story of growing up as the child of an Aboriginal mother and Vietnamese father, and of her journey to the Catholic faith and a deeper appreciation of her Aboriginal heritage. This year she joined Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria as its new engagement officer, saying ‘I truly believe the Holy Spirit led me here.’

We also hear about the beautiful opportunity for encounter that opened up recently when an aged-care home in Melton South invited Archbishop Peter A Comensoli to visit residents, pray with them, give Holy Communion and offer the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

And the Missionary Sisters of Service were joined by many of their friends and supporters on Sunday at St Thomas the Apostle Parish in Blackburn to celebrate 80 years of going out into the highways and byways, led by the Spirit into the remote corners of our vast land to bring God’s love to those who need it most.

 ‘The most beautiful outcomes’: Louise Luu on embracing her Catholicism and her Aboriginality
Recounting the story of her upbringing as the child of an Aboriginal mother and Vietnamese father, and of her journey to the Catholic faith and a deeper appreciation of her Aboriginal heritage, Louise Luu acknowledges that the history of Aboriginal people is ‘not always a lovely story’. But even in the most traumatic experiences, she says, sometimes ‘you can find the most beautiful outcomes’.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday: ‘The Spirit of God has been with us’
On 7 July, at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli celebrated Mass for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday. In the packed Cathedral, the faithful of Melbourne, who come from many different parts of the world, gathered as one community to honour and celebrate the rich cultural heritage and contributions of First Nations peoples to our Church.
Archbishop’s visit touches hearts at Melton South aged care home
On 22 June, the Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, paid a memorable visit to residents and staff at Estia Health’s Melton South home, accompanied by Fr Alex Balingit Clemente RCJ from St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Melton South. The visit, to anoint and give Holy Communion to the home’s Catholic residents, was a precious opportunity for encounter, and one that brought immense joy and spiritual comfort to many of the residents.
Missionary Sisters of Service celebrate 80 years of going into the highways and byways
The Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) celebrated the 80th anniversary of their foundation this week, with many of the Melbourne-based sisters joining the community of St Thomas the Apostle Parish in Blackburn on Sunday 7 July, along with family and friends, members of the MSS Stewardship Council, staff and board members of their mission entity, Highways and Byways: Healing the Land, Healing Ourselves, Together, and staff from Emerging Futures Collaborative Limited.
Do not be afraid to seek God where life is degraded, discarded, Pope says
God is present in the ‘dark corners’ of local communities and in people’s lives, Pope Francis said. ‘His presence reveals itself precisely in the faces marked by suffering and where degradation seems to triumph,’ the Pope said in his homily at Mass in the northern Italian city of Trieste on 7 July.
Sacred art project aims to revive the ‘language of the image’ in communicating the faith
For centuries, sacred art has communicated the faith, and in 2022, Dariusz Karlowicz, program director of the St John Paul II Institute of Culture at the Angelicum in Rome, and president of the St Nicholas Foundation based in Warsaw, was among those who launched the ‘Let’s Paint Catholicism Again’ project through the St John Paul II Institute of Culture and the St Nicholas Foundation. ‘It is a project aiming at a revival of sacred art,’ he says.
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem condemns attack on Catholic school
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a strong condemnation after the Israeli military targeted a Catholic school in Gaza killing four people, including a senior Hamas official. Holy Family School, a property of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, was a place of refuge for hundreds of civilians whose homes were destroyed. The attack comes as a newly published report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) indicates that 96 per cent of Gaza’s population face high levels of acute food insecurity.
Australians to walk in the footsteps of St Ignatius for the people of Myanmar
Thousands of Australians—including participants from a number of prominent Australian Jesuit schools and parishes—will walk in solidarity with the people of Myanmar this St Ignatius Day, 31 July, by taking part in One Foot Raised. The initiative challenges participants to walk and raise awareness and much-needed funds for Jesuit Mission’s life-giving work in Myanmar and communities in crisis.
Around our schools: two new learning centres honour First Nations heritage
In the lead-up to NAIDOC week (7–14 July), two Melbourne Catholic schools celebrated the opening and blessing of new learning centres named in honour of an inspiring Indigenous woman and Victoria’s First Nations heritage. At Penola Catholic College, Broadmeadows, the Annie Brice Building honours a powerful story of determination and courage to inspire current and future students, and at Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hughesdale, the Wominjeka Centre takes inspiration from the Woiwurrung word for ‘welcome’.
‘I’ve experienced these things. They aren’t always rosy and nice, but that is okay, because that’s all a part of my story and I’m actually really proud of who I am now.’
Louise Luu
on finding healing and a renewed sense of pride in being Aboriginal
Upcoming events
2024 NAIDOC Mass at St Francis’ Church
Sunday 14 July 2024
Join the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria (ACMV) in a Mass to mark the end of NAIDOC Week (7–14 July) and to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Banner image: Urapun Muy (detail) by Deb Belyea of the Samuawgadhalgal Cassowary Clan ...
God and Beer: ‘The Armour of God’ with Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Monday 15 July 2024
At the next God and Beer, we will hear from Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, who is visiting from the USA and will speak on prayer and the armour of God. Prayer is the foundation of the spiritual life, but for many people it is a struggle. Deacon Harold will explore the ...
‘Perform for Peace’: a fundraiser for victims of war presented by the Academy of Mary Immaculate
Thursday 18 July 2024
The Senior Student Leadership Team at the Academy of Mary Immaculate are excited to announce they will be hosting a fundraising night entitled 'Perform for Peace' to raise funds for victims of war. Proceeds will be donated to Caritas. The night will include student ensemble performances such as singing, African ...
Open House Melbourne: Catholic Theological College
Saturday 27 July 2024
Catholic Theological College will open for self-guided tours as part of the popular Open House Melbourne weekend. The striking bluestone building—designed by celebrated 19th-century Catholic architect William Wardell, who also designed St Patrick’s Cathedral—previously housed Catholic secondary schools Parade College (1871–1967) and Cathedral College (1968–94). Award-winning architect Gregory Burgess’ 199 ...
Service of Compline, Newman College
Thursday 1 August 2024
With hymns sung by the Newman College Choir, Compline offers a serene way to wind down the mind, body and spirit before sleep. Soothing prayers, calming music and moments of reflection provide a welcome break from the hustle and busyness of daily life. Newman College is a co-educational Catholic residential ...
Newman College Open Day
Sunday 18 August 2024
Save the date and visit Newman College and the University of Melbourne during Open Day on Sunday 18 August 2024. Newman College has a unique community spirit to explore and offers a supportive environment that will help you make lifelong friends, build lasting connections, further your academic pursuits, and experience ...
Cathedral grand organ recital featuring Christopher Cook
Sunday 11 August 2024
St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne is proud to open its doors to the community and offer an experience of the sacred through uplifting music from some of Australia’s most talented musicians. Christopher Cook studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, graduating in piano and organ performance, and has performed in most ...
Dr Myriam Wijlens on ‘The prophetic voice of the laity in the renewal of the Church’
Wednesday 14 August 2024
The next speaker in the Helder Camara lecture series is internationally recognised Dutch theologian, ecumenist and consultor to several Vatican bodies Dr Myriam Wijlens. She will speak on ‘The prophetic voice of the laity in the renewal of the Catholic Church.’ Myriam’s work focuses on reform of Church structures and ...
Melbourne Catholic Professionals luncheon: Prof Helen Alvare
Thursday 15 August 2024
Join us for the third Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) event for 2024, where Prof Helen Alvaré, international author and Catholic scholar, will join us as guest speaker. Prof Alvaré is the Robert A Levy Endowed Chair in Law and Liberty at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. She publishes ...
Australian Catholic Communications Congress, Sydney
Wednesday 28 August 2024, 9.00am
– Friday 30 August 2024, 12.15pm
The Australian Catholic Communications Congress will be held in Sydney from 28 to 30 August. This three-day event will be held at the Miller Hotel, North Sydney, with the theme ‘Missionary message for the modern world’. The congress is for all Catholics who are interested in improving their media and ...

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

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