We've got a bumper issue for you this week! On Wednesday, St Patrick's Cathedral was floodlit red to mark Red Wednesday, a global initiative of Aid to the Church in Need. During a special prayer vigil at St Patrick's Cathedral, Monsignor Thair Sheikh of Our Lady Guardian of Plants Chaldean Catholic Parish shared his own harrowing experiences of religious persecution in Iraq, before coming here to Melbourne.

This week also saw the introduction of the Religious Discrimination Bill into federal parliament after three years of drafting and consultation. The Australian Catholic Bishops have welcomed the Bill, saying it will provide basic human rights protections for Australians of all faiths (and none), and protect the ability of religious organisations to hire people who share their faith and values.

We also chat with Diocesan Archivist Rachel Naughton, who this year celebrates 25 years of service to the Archdiocese. Speaking with Melbourne Catholic, Rachel reflected on her role as custodian of our Church's oldest artefacts—‘items of great beauty and importance,’ she says—and painted a fascinating picture of the "Catholic story" here in Victoria.

And finally, we meet our five ordinands: Deacons Alexander Chow, Hoang Dinh, Jaycee Napoles, Joseph Nguyen and Samuel Pearson, whose Ordination Mass will take place on Saturday 4 December at St Patrick's Cathedral. The Mass will livestreamed to the Archdiocesan YouTube channel and broadcast to community TV channel C31. Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare for their ordination. 🙏

All this and more below...

Running from ISIS: The story of Monsignor Thair Sheikh
On Wednesday 24 November, Red Wednesday was observed across Australia, an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need. It was an opportunity to raise awareness for persecuted Christians across the world. A prayer vigil was held in Melbourne, with Monsignor Thair Sheikh of Our Lady Guardian of Plants Chaldean Parish delivering the homily. Fr Thair was himself a victim of religious persecution in Iraq and graciously shared his story with Melbourne Catholic.
Catholic bishops welcome Religious Discrimination Bill
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has welcomed the introduction of the Religious Discrimination Bill, which will provide basic human rights protections for Australians of all faiths and none to express their beliefs. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement, has commended the bill, saying it offers ‘a positive expression of religious freedom’ that will be ‘an important progression towards parity with other anti-discrimination laws in Australia’.
Diocesan Archivist celebrates 25 years of service
There is an historical treasure housed within the grounds and across the road from St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne. And it is Rachel Naughton, Archivist and Museum Manager of the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission who has been ‘at the service’ of some of the world’s finest artefacts, all of which help tell the story of the Catholic Church in Victoria.
Answering the call: Melbourne's soon-to-be priests
On Saturday 4 December 2021, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will ordain five new priests for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The ordinations were originally scheduled for September, but due to the extended period of lockdown they were forced to hold off a while longer. Now that life in Melbourne is returning in strides to a “new normal”, it’s time to meet the five ordinands: Deacons Alexander Chow, Hoang Dinh, Jaycee Napoles, Joseph Nguyen and Samuel Pearson.
Advent: The Grace of Waiting
Download Weekly Reflections
Walking gently with others
In the Catholic tradition, the month of November is a special time to remember those who have passed away. It is also a time to acknowledge and give thanks to those who accompany our loved ones as they enter their older years and palliative care. In this story, pastoral care practitioners Helen Treuel and Genevieve Malone share why they feel called to accompany those who enter residential aged care and end-of-life care, describing it as both a blessing and a challenge.
Continue reading: Walking gently with others
Why values matter: Catholic Social Teaching and Australian politics
Last week, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli officially launched Greg Craven's latest work, Shadow of the Cross. The online launch featured a discussion between Archbishop Comensoli and two of the book’s contributors, former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, with moderator Jacinta Collins, Executive Director of the National Catholic Education Commission.
Encountering Jesus: Youth leaders gather for local WYD
Youth representatives from around the Archdiocese gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday 21 November for the annual diocesan celebration of World Youth Day (WYD). To mark the occasion, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli wrote a special letter to the young people of Melbourne, which was distributed at the Mass on Sunday.
New sculpture celebrates the work and legacy of Cabrini
A new 7.4-metre sculpture was recently installed at Cabrini Hospital to celebrate the life and work of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the doctors, nurses and staff who have served the local community for more than 70 years.
‘Us’ not ‘Them’: International Day of People with Disability
Friday 3 December 2021 marks the International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD) and provides an opportunity to celebrate the lives, contributions and achievements of the 4.4 million Australians living with a disability. The day aims to raise awareness and take steps towards a more inclusive and accessible community.
Upcoming events
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...
Naser Moradi's The World Next Door (Opening Night)
Monday 29 November 2021
Brought to you by the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy, The World Next Door is an exhibition of the work of Naser Moradi, an Afghan asylum seeker and self-taught artist, finding hope in the darkest of places.
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 (www.youtube.com/archmelb) and via free-to-air TV on Community Channel C31 (channel 44 on...
Webinar: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
Tuesday 7 December 2021
Organised by the Pastoral Ministry Network and Mission Planners Network of Oceania, this reflective webinar features Sr Kathleen Rushton RSM who will reflect on how we have listened to the cry of our earth and the cry of the poor, and how we can integrate this Gospel mandate to care...
Festive Music for Christmas at St Patrick's Cathedral
Wednesday 15 December 2021
St Patrick's Cathedral and Cathedral Brass present a festive program including works for ten brass, percussion and organ. Musicians include some of Australia’s leading brass exponents who have performed extensively within Australia and internationally, as ensemble and solo artists and as members of Australia’s finest orchestras. A variety of music...
‘The faith is, like Jesus said, it’s like a jewel, no? You have to keep it. To keep it, that means you have to take care of it...’
Monsignor Thair Sheikh
On his experience of religious persecution in Iraq

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