We know there's been an absence in your inbox. Maybe there's even a touch of sadness that your weekly dose of Melbourne Catholic took a Christmas break with the rest of us. Well, fear not! We are back and gearing up for an excellent year ahead, with more stories and formative content for you to read and share. We're excited and it's a privilege to have you along for the journey.

In the wake of the volcanic eruption in Tonga, we spoke with the chaplain to Melbourne's Tongan Catholic community about the disaster and how Melburnians can support the recovery efforts. We also hear from Sr Brigid Arthur CSB and other religious leaders who spoke at the recent launch of the #SetThemFree campaign, advocating the release of refugees and asylum seekers still being held in detention.

This Sunday 6 February is Word of God Sunday, and we have a bunch of different resources to help refamiliarise yourself with the Word that is 'alive and active' (Hebrews 4:12). Melbourne's Emporium is also doing something totally unique by hosting 34 massive projections of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes. Obviously it doesn't match the feeling of entering the Sistine Chapel itself, but it does a mighty job of introducing us to some of the world's most revered artistic masterpieces. Speaking of enduring artistry, this year marks the 170th anniversary of the casting of the bells at St Patrick's Cathedral, which remains one of the only surviving sets from the Murphy foundry in Dublin.

Finally, Friday 4 February is the third anniversary of Pope Francis' historic signing of the Abu Dhabi peace declaration with the Grand Imam of Al-Alzar. We take a look at what the document is, what it says, and why it matters.

All these stories and upcoming events below...

Celebrating Word of God Sunday (6 February)
This weekend, the Church in Australia will celebrate Word of God Sunday, which was instituted by Pope Francis in 2019 in his apostolic letter, Aperuit Illis. The letter encouraged the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God. A number of resources have been developed to help individuals, families, parishes, schools and other ministries commemorate Word of God Sunday.
Local Tongan community gathers following devastating tsunami
It's been two weeks since the underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai in the Kingdom of Tonga erupted violently, generating a tsunami that sent ripples around the Pacific and engulfed the capital in ashfall. Chaplain to the Tongan Catholic Community of Melbourne, Deacon Poukesi Vakauta, recently shared the concerns he and many others hold for their loved ones back home, many of whom remain without access to power, clean water and communication with the outside world.
Melbourne’s legal profession gather for annual Red Mass
Members of Melbourne’s legal profession gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday 31 January for the annual Red Mass to mark the official opening of the legal year. About 100 legal representatives were present at the annual Red Mass celebration including judges of the High, Federal, Supreme, County and Magistrate’s Court, Queens Counsel, solicitors, and barristers from metropolitan and suburban legal firms.
170 years of St Patrick’s bells
On the last Saturday of January, members of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers (ANZAB) climbed the narrow stairs of St Patrick’s Cathedral’s south tower to play almost an hour of synchronised bell ringing. The occasion marked the 170th anniversary of the casting of the bells by the Murphy foundry, which is believed to be one of the last remaining sets still in operation.
Religious leaders launch campaign to end indefinite detention
The message is clear. Set them free! Religious leaders from across the faiths are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese to release refugees and asylum seekers that are still being held in detention. The campaign follows international attention given to Australia’s detained refugees and asylum seekers after Serbian tennis star, Novak Djokovic was detained in the Park Hotel in Melbourne’s central business district after his visa to enter Australia was cancelled.
Sacred art comes to town
Melbourne's Emporium recently opened its doors to a new exhibition: projections of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings. On display until 20 March 2022, the exhibition has already delighted audiences around the world, with its photographic reproduction of Michelangelo's incredible frescoes across 34 panels, giving viewers the opportunity to see them up close in a way totally unique in history.
Continue reading: Sacred art comes to town
Peace and solidarity: The meaning of Abu Dhabi
Friday 4 February 2022 marks the third anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. This declaration is a joint statement signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Alzar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, urging believers and non-believers around the world to work for a more fraternal world of peace, justice, goodness, and brotherhood. The document was hailed as a historic milestone in the relations between Christianity and Islam and marked the first time a pontiff stepped foot in the Arabian peninsula.
‘I had not heard from them or their families… or my aunties and uncles and cousins. Thank God they are OK.’
Deacon Poukesi Vakauta
Chaplain to the Tongan Catholic Community
Upcoming Events
Six30 Holy Hour
Thursday 30 May 2024 6.30pm –7.30pm
For more than 20 years, young people from all over Melbourne have gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday evenings for an hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. We invite all young adults to join us for this weekly evening of prayer.
Word of God Sunday
Sunday 6 February 2022
(All day event)
This weekend, the Church in Australia will celebrate Word of God Sunday, which was instituted by Pope Francis in 2019 in his apostolic letter, Aperuit Illis. The letter encouraged the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God. While many countries celebrate the occasion on the Third Sunday in...
Physician heal thyself…? Caring for the carers in Catholic health
Friday 11 February 2022
12.00pm–1.00pm
On this year's World Day of the Sick, ACU is bringing together international experts and thought leaders to discuss some of the emerging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health care workforce: burn-out, fatigue and withdrawal. Looking beyond the diagnosis, the panel will explore what solutions are possible and...
Chaplaincy Appeal Sunday
Sunday 13 February 2022
(All day event)
This February, CatholicCare Victoria is launching their 2022 Chaplaincy Appeal. Catholic Chaplains provide a compassionate presence and spiritual care to thousands of Victorians. This Chaplaincy Sunday (13 February), we need your support to ensure our Chaplains can continue their mission. Your support and generosity will enable our chaplainsto continue to...
Safeguarding Children and Young People @ CAM: Induction Session
Tuesday 22 February 2022
10.30am–12.00pm
**This session is now fully booked. Please click here to view the next session.** Hosted by the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), this interactive induction session is designed to introduce newly appointed clergy, staff and members of a safeguarding committee. It is designed for newly appointed persons within CAM to develop...
The Story Continues: An Introduction to Church History
Monday 28 February 2022
7.30pm–8.30pm
“The Story Continues” will offer an overview of the whole history of the Church, in all its lights and shadows. This unit will continue the story of God’s “salvation history” begun in the Scriptures, going beyond Pentecost to see what God has continued to do through his Son in the...
Online forum: Implementing Laudato Si'
Tuesday 8 March 2022
7.30pm–8.30pm
This online forum will consider models and resources available to parishes for implementing the Laudato Si’ message. Three excellent speakers, Genevieve Mougey (Washington DC Archdiocese, USA), Kerry Stone (Catholic Earthcare parish coordinator) and Jacqui Remond (Vatican Ecology Taskforce) will lead us on this topic. The forum will be presented by...
P.S. Before you go...
Blessings for the year ahead
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has recorded a brief message for parishes, families and clergy as the year swings into gear. "I just want to assure you of my prayer and support as we enter into 2022 ... that this year might be one of coming together in prayer, in discernment, and consultation." He also mentions two key Archdiocesan anniversaries taking place this year.

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

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