To migrate or to stay

This coming Sunday is World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the theme of which is, ‘Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay‘. It’s an opportunity to honour those who have come to Australia seeking a new life and to tell their stories.

Deacon George Piech Meat is from South Sudan and has recently been appointed Chair of the South Sudanese Youth Justice Advisory Group. He shares with us some of his story and how he hopes to help his local migrant community. We also hear from Fr Nhân Le, who celebrated the silver jubilee of his ordination recently, sharing the gripping story of his escape from communist-occupied Vietnam.

Also this week, our World Youth Day pilgrims gathered for the first time since returning from Portugal for a weekend retreat, where they were reminded that ‘it is your turn to be witnesses.xc The Catholic faithful have been invited to pray for the upcoming synod. The Melbourne Catholic Lawyers’ Association met for their annual dinner. And Catholic agencies continue to collaborate to encourage respectful and informed dialogue in the lead-up to the upcoming referendum.

On Wednesday 27 September, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be honouring Our Lady at St Patrick’s Cathedral with their Stabat Mater concert. We talk with the MSO’s 2023 Composer in Residence about the concert and her new setting for this moving 13th-century Marian hymn.

Finally, as we prepare to celebrate the feast day of St Matthew the apostle this week, we break open the Gospel of Matthew, offering some hints on how to read it, and how it can speak to us today.

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Deacon George Piech Meat, supporting South Sudanese youth
Deacon George Piech Meat is one of three South Sudanese deacons serving his local migrant community. He was recently appointed as Chair of the South Sudanese Youth Justice Advisory Group, where he will be able to work with the government to support and help ‘transform’ the lives of South Sudanese young people. He talks to us about this role, about the joys and challenges of his community, and what he hopes to achieve in this new position.
Fr Nhân Le: a life offered in thanksgiving
Fr Nhân Le recently celebrated his silver jubilee—25 years of priesthood. His life is one offered in thanksgiving to a gracious God, whose patient call remained with Fr Nhân for many years. Having escaped from communist-occupied Vietnam in 1980, Fr Nhân’s story is incredible and harrowing, and he tells how he came to be here today, ‘chasing the kingdom of God’.
Missionaries, sowers and witnesses: WYD pilgrims reunite for retreat
‘Do not be afraid’ was the clarion call issued to World Youth Day pilgrims last weekend (16–17 September), who reunited for the first time since returning from Lisbon last month. Close to 600 young people from Melbourne parishes and schools attended World Youth Day in Lisbon, with pilgrims converging in the Portuguese capital after a series of pre-pilgrimage experiences in Rome, Assisi and the Holy Land.
Faithful invited to pray for the upcoming synod
The Vatican is asking all baptised people, regardless of whether they will be in Rome, to participate in October's assembly of the Synod of Bishops with their prayers. Cardinal Mario Grech, synod secretary-general, has asked the world's bishops ‘to pray for the synod and to urge every Christian community in your particular church, especially monastic communities, toward unanimous and incessant prayer.’ Prayers are available to download.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to honour Our Lady at St Patrick’s Cathedral
On Wednesday 27 September, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be honouring Our Lady at St Patrick’s Cathedral with a concert that also honours the extraordinary legacy of Western and sacred music. The program will feature the world premiere of Mary Finsterer’s musical composition for the ‘Stabat Mater’, a 13th-century Marian hymn. We talk to Mary about her interest in sacred music and just how unique this concert will be.
Life within the reign of heaven: unpacking Matthew’s Gospel
The Gospel according to Matthew may be a first-century text, but it is as relevant to us today as it was back then, precisely because it reveals to us Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who invites us all to live within the reign of God. But how do we read this strange and wonderful gospel? What are some of the central themes that might help us get the most out of it? Dr Rosemary Canavan helps us unpack the Gospel of Matthew.
Catholic lawyers’ association hosts annual dinner
On Thursday 14 September, the Melbourne Catholic Lawyers’ Association (MCLA) held their annual dinner, with special guest speaker Chris Uhlmann, seasoned journalist and former political editor of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Nine News, who spoke ‘In Defence of Western Civilisation’.
As referendum approaches, webinar encourages ‘One Journey, Together’
With less than a month to go before Australians vote in a national referendum to decide whether to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the constitution, people on both sides of the debate are being encouraged to engage in respectful and informed dialogue. At a recent online webinar hosted by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Council (NATSICC) and featuring speakers from a number of leading Catholic organisations, participants were also called to make their decision in light of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
‘The boat was like a leaf in the raging water. The waves were like monsters, ready to swallow us, but every morning brought new life and hope.’
Fr Nhân Le
on surviving the perilous journey by boat as a refugee from Vietnam
Upcoming events
Migrants and Refugee Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 24 September 2023
2.00pm–4.00pm
Celebrate with migrant communities from all over Melbourne on Sunday 24 September at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Rosary will be prayed at 2pm in various languages, and Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli and migrant chaplains of the Archdiocese at 3pm. All most welcome! For further information...
Gangland to Promised Land: John Pridmore Melbourne tour (Mill Park)
Monday 25 September 2023, 7.30pm
– Wednesday 27 September 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...
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...
God and Beer: ‘Becoming Missionary Disciples’ with Archbishop Julian Porteous
Tuesday 3 October 2023
6.30pm–8.30pm
God and Beer is an initiative of the Knights of the Southern Cross, and brings together people of all ages from across the south-east suburbs several times a year. In this talk, Archbishop Julian Porteous will inspire Catholics to be missionary disciples using their ‘head, heart and hands’ to evangelise...
Melbourne Catholic Professionals luncheon
Thursday 5 October 2023
12.00pm–2.00pm
Join us for the third Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) event of the year, where the Hon. Justice Susan Crennan AC KC—former Justice of the High Court of Australia—will join us as guest speaker. MCP creates opportunities for Catholic professional men and women to network and support the life and mission...
An invitation to connect with Aboriginal spirituality
Friday 6 October 2023
10.00am–2.30pm
In the light of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and the upcoming referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria (ACMV) is inviting interested parishioners to spend some time at Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Thornbury, where they will lead a session exploring social justice and Aboriginal spirituality...
Centenary of Consecration of St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill
Sunday 8 October 2023
9.15am–12.15pm
St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill, is celebrating 100 years since its consecration! To commemorate the anniversary, the parish is hosting a series of events: 3 October, 9.15am: School and parish Mass, with special school activities to follow 8 October, 11am: Concelebrated Mass of celebration and thanksgiving, followed by the...
Marriage Anniversary Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 22 October 2023
11.00am–12.00pm
Couples and families are invited to join us as we celebrate our annual Anniversary Mass. Couples who register and are celebrating the following anniversaries—5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th or 40 years and above—will receive a commemorative certificate. Register by Sunday 15 October at trybooking.com/CLKRB. For all enquiries, please...
Proclaim 2023—Inaugural Archdiocesan Gathering
Thursday 16 November 2023, 6.30pm
– Saturday 18 November 2023, 4.00pm
Over three days, the Catholic Leadership Centre will host a vibrant gathering, where sojourners will be inspired, engaged and equipped to go out and proclaim the joy of the Gospel in their local communities. Encounter Jesus through prayer, music and fellowship; hear from inspiring local and international speakers; participate in...

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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