We have got a great round-up for you this week! Starting off, we speak with one of the new vocation promotors in the Archdiocese, Fr Geoff McIlroy, a late-vocation who had abandoned his Catholic faith before allowing the ‘seed of God’s love’ to grow and flourish.

Last weekend, more than 30 parishes were represented at St Patrick's Cathedral for the Rite of Election, where catechumens and candidates publicly declared their desire to know Jesus and join the Catholic Church. Also, if you're still searching for some Lenten practices to help you deepen your experience of Lent, we've put together 15 creative ideas for you to think about.

There are plenty of issues facing us today that challenge us to put our faith into action. In the wake of the unfolding war in Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas (Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine), speaks with Aid to the Church in Need about the unfolding humanitarian crisis and how tragedy is uniting the Ukrainian people. Along with Caritas, Jesuit Mission Australia has also launched the Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

Earlier this week we marked International Women's Day, and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said it's incumbent on the Church to respond to the problems facing women today, especially domestic violence. And Catholic Social Services Australia calls our attention to a newly published report showing that just under 3 million Australians are living in poverty, with young women and women approaching retirement notably worse off than most. Harmony Week is also coming up later this month, and the Professional Standards Unit invites us to use it as an opportunity to reflect on how we engage our diverse cultural communities in the creation of safe parishes.

Coming up soon is one of the rare feast days in Lent – St Joseph's! In anticipation, we take a look at Fr Donald Calloway’s 2020 book, Consecration to St Joseph, to explore what St Joseph has been up to throughout the years, providing unexpected and mysterious blessings on those who ask for his help.

And lastly, a reminder that the final date for submissions to the Synod on Synodality is this Sunday 13 March. Don’t miss out on this chance to take part in a global conversation about the Catholic Church!

‘Faith is a verb’: Fr Geoff McIlroy
Fr Geoff McIlroy is a man with a big heart who is most at home with those on the fringes of society, and on the back of his Harley Davidson. The 59-year-old parish priest of St Macartan’s Parish in Mornington is no stranger to life on the edge, having rebelled against his parents and abandoned his Catholic faith for at least 20 years, before allowing the ‘seed of God’s love’ to grow and flourish.
‘Here is your home’: Rite of Election 2022
On Sunday 6 March, the first Sunday of Lent, hundreds gathered at St Patrick's Cathedral for the celebration of the annual Rite of Election. The Rite is an official step in the journey of those preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) at Easter.
‘We can only defeat evil together,’ Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine says
As the war in Ukraine continues, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, speaks with the international Aid to the Church in Need Foundation (ACN) about the situation in Kiev, the unfolding humanitarian crisis, solidarity among the population and the drama of war.
Jesuit networks rally emergency support for Ukraine
In response to the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, Jesuit Mission Australia has launched a Ukraine Crisis Appeal to support those people who are facing extreme injustice and conflict. The appeal will provide emergency shelter, food and essential items, medical escorts, translation and accompaniment to Ukrainian people in desperate need, made possible thanks to a partnership between Jesuit Mission and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Europe.
Three million Australians, including nearly 750,000 children, living in poverty
Just under 3 million Australians, including nearly 750,000 children, are living in poverty according to a major new report from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre. Ms Monique Earsman, executive director of Catholic Social Services Australia, said that as shocking as the report is, the findings for women are even worse.
Church backs theme for International Women’s Day
The International Women’s Day 2022 theme of equality will be central to an important Church message this year, according to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Delegate for Women. Bishop Michael Morrissey said dioceses, parishes, schools and other Catholic communities regularly find ways to mark International Women’s Day. It is also an invitation to reflection and action.
15 creative Lenten disciplines for you to try
If you’re still looking for something to take up or let go of this Lent, we’ve gathered some ideas to give you a boost. Remember: fasting is only one element of the Lenten journey. It’s important to take a holistic approach to Lent, to help us achieve that 'freedom of heart' the season calls for and that allows us to love God and our neighbours more freely (CCC §2043).
'Where'd you come from, where'd you go?' Stories of St Joe . . .
One of the great benefits of Fr Donald Calloway’s 2020 book, "Consecration to St Joseph", is that it widens our understanding of St Joseph’s place in the Catholic tradition, what has been said about him, and what has been attributed to him. As we prepare to celebrate his feast day on 19 March, we look at a few stories of what the "Terror of Demons" has been up to throughout the world.
Harmony Week 2022: ‘Everyone Belongs’
Harmony Week, running from 21-27 March 2022, celebrates Australia’s exciting and diverse cultural reality. It looks to promote inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. Our vibrant parishes nicely reflect Australia’s cultural diversity and are made up of generations of migrants with a rich tapestry of stories. Harmony Week, as the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) writes, is also an opportune time to reflect on how we reach out and engage with families and children from diverse communities to build culturally safe environments that foster trust and inclusion.
‘If I’d let my head decide, I would never have become a priest; it must come from your heart. That’s when God calls you and that’s when you learn your vocation.’
Fr Geoff McIlroy
On pursuing his vocation to the priesthood
Upcoming Events
Submissions close for Synod on Synodality
Sunday 13 March 2022
(All day event)
Don’t miss out on this chance to take part in a global conversation about the Catholic Church. **The last day of submissions via the online portal is Sunday 13 March 2022. Don’t miss out on this chance to take part in a global conversation about the Catholic Church.** Pope Francis...
Oceania Pastoral Ministry Webinar: Jump Starting Our Communities
Tuesday 15 March 2022
11.00am–12.30pm
Hosted by the Oceania Pastoral Ministry Network, this webinar will explore ways in which communities are bringing God’s mission to life across Oceania. Everyone who seeks continual renewal for 2022 is invited to be part of this webinar and experience some practical examples of what communities are doing and plan...
The Patrick Oration 2022
Thursday 17 March 2022
7.30pm–8.30pm
Join us on the feast of St Patrick, patron saint of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, for the third annual Patrick Oration, to be delivered by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli. This year’s Oration is of special significance as 2022 marks 125 years since the consecration of the iconic St Patrick’s...
Walk with Mary 2022
Sunday 20 March 2022
2.00pm–3.30pm
Join the Combined Societies of Mary and Bishop Tony Ireland at St Patrick's Cathedral for a special Mass, street procession and entrustment to Our Lady. How many times has God shown His power when His Mother has been honoured? Now is our time to be part of history, to be...
Safeguarding Children and Young People @ CAM: Induction Session
Wednesday 23 March 2022
10.30am–12.00pm
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 their understanding of child abuse, responding and reporting child abuse and child-safety related misconduct...
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre open days
Saturday 26 March 2022
10.00am–4.00pm
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre (MMHC) East Melbourne a place of inspiration and vitality, manifests and promotes the spirit and charism of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and the Sisters of Saint Joseph. MMHC provides, through education, hospitality and charitable works, opportunities for all to experience and be challenged by...
Information session for the Permanent Diaconate
Saturday 2 April 2022
10.00am–11.45am
Do you feel called to serve? The Permanent Diaconate is open to single and married men who want to serve God and the Church as ordained ministers. Come and see!
Why We Need a Classical Renewal: Online Conference
Friday 8 April 2022, 9.00am
– Saturday 9 April 2022, 3.00pm
Nations and peoples throughout the world are increasingly anxious about their children’s education. They fear they will be left out of the job market, technology will outpace them, and they won’t get into the colleges and universities that provide a secure future. The more people embrace the latest theories, the...
God and Beer: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Monday 11 April 2022
6.30pm–8.00pm
The Knights of the Southern Cross (Dandenong North) invite you to 'the Nott' for a dose of inspiration, ideas and a hot meal. "God and Beer" draws on the truth, beauty and goodness of the Christian faith in the Catholic tradition. Presented by academic Angela Schumann, this talk will focus...
International Ignatian Ecospiritual Online Conference
Monday 25 April 2022, 5.30pm
– Saturday 30 April 2022, 5.30pm
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the International Ignatian Ecospiritual Conference in 2022 will seek to encourage a deeper “ecological conversion” through a contemplative immersion experience in Nature in different parts of the world that will lead to reconciliation with Creation. Central...
P.S. Before you go . . .
The art of conversation: Tolkien and Lewis
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle offered a great insight into evangelisation recently when he said that we sometimes make things very complicated – ‘Evangelization,’ he said, ‘is a conversation. It is a conversation about Jesus.’ A model example of this kind of conversation is the one between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis on the evening of 19 September 1931.

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

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