This week's collection of stories includes interviews with Michelle Goh rsm and Danielle Fairthorne, two of Melbourne's Plenary Council members, who are gearing up for the first Assembly in October. Also featured is a look at the Legion of Mary which this year marks its 100th anniversary. Fr Nathan Rawlins provides a brief history of the lay apostolate and how, despite the pandemic, it continues to bear fruit around the world including here in Melbourne. This weekend also marks 20 years since the tragedy of 9/11. Melbourne Catholic Joe Doolan was present that day in New York and shares how amidst the terror, it was an experience of the Eucharist in the weeks that followed that gave him a renewed sense of hope.

We are also celebrating Safeguarding Sunday (formerly Child Protection Sunday) this weekend, as a way of acknowledging the immense damage to children and adults at risk by clergy, religious and lay people within Catholic contexts. It also reminds us of our commitment to creating and maintaining safe environments for all people.

We've also included in this edition some online events that you or someone you know may wish to attend. One event that was due to take place this weekend but has since been postponed is the Ordination Mass of Deacons Alex Chow, Hoang Dinh, Joseph Nguyen, Jaycee Napoles and Samuel Pearson. A new date will be set once further restrictions can be lifted. In the meantime, let's continue to keep them in our prayers as well as all those who continue to be affected by this pandemic.

And finally, while our friends in regional Victoria can thankfully enjoy some further freedoms, just a reminder for those in Metropolitan Melbourne that if your parish is unable to stream Mass online, you're welcome to join the daily livestream from St Patrick's Cathedral, and the Sunday 11am Mass which is also broadcast to free-to-air TV community channel C31 (channel 44 on digital TV).

Remembering 9/11: Burdens, cares and a journey renewed
This weekend marks 20 years since the world watched in horror as multiple terrorist attacks took place in the United States of America on 11 September. For Melbourne Catholic Joe Doolan, who was living in New York at the time with his wife, he remembers the day vividly and their frantic rush to reassure those back home of their safety. But, Joe says, what has remained with him the most is the Eucharistic celebration that took place a few weeks later at St Patrick's Cathedral, New York.
Resources for Safeguarding Sunday
Safeguarding Sunday seeks to acknowledge the immense damage caused by the sexual abuse of children and adults at risk, including by priests, religious and lay people within Catholic contexts. A series of resources have been created to support local recognition, including within liturgical celebrations and ongoing parish programs.
Danielle Fairthorne, Plenary member: 'Let the Spirit emerge'
Danielle Faithorne is a wife, mother and Religious Education teacher. She has been active in her Catholic faith ‘since baptism’. She was ‘born Catholic, raised Catholic, went to Catholic high school, was involved in a couple of ministries in high school and then started helping run youth groups’ in her local parish during University. Now, at 33, having worked as a teacher in Melbourne for 7.5 years, and now back in Sydney, she is one of 17 members representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne at the upcoming Plenary Council Assembly.
Michelle Goh RSM, bringing a different perspective to the Plenary Council
Michelle Goh, a Sister of Mercy and full-time dermatologist, is one of the 17 members representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne at the upcoming Plenary Council Assembly. The Assembly will be taking place online, which Michelle acknowledges is not ideal but 'is the best we can do in these challenging times'. As the first Assembly approaches so too does the need for prayer, listening and dialogue, something which Michelle has kept close to her heart during this process.
The Challenges of the Plenary
As the Church in Australia approaches an historic moment, Nigel Zimmermann opines in this first of three reflections that we all need to reflect seriously on what's working in the Church, what's not, and where the Holy Spirit might be calling us.
Celebrating 100 years of the Legion of Mary
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first meeting of the Legion of Mary. On 7 September 1921, a group of young adults (including the now Servant of God Frank Duff) and their local priest met to discern how best to live out their baptismal call in the midst of difficult times in Dublin, Ireland. In this piece for Melbourne Catholic, Fr Nathan Rawlins traces the history of the Legion of Mary and its ongoing impact around the world, including right here in Melbourne.
2021 Eucharistic Congress Begins
The 52nd International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) kicked off last Sunday (5 September) in Hungary’s capital, Budapest. Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Cardinal Péter Erdő, described this year’s event as being a ‘sign of hope’: ‘an opportunity to recall the Christian roots of Europe and the ancient unity between the Churches of East and West.’ This year, however, also marks the year in which the Congress is not as internationally open as it used to be. Pope Francis will celebrate the closing Mass of the Congress this Sunday.
'I really feel this pull to what Pope Francis calls the “periphery of society” and trying to get back to those roots of Jesus who reached out to those people’
Danielle Fairthorne
Plenary Member
Stories you might have missed
Is social justice optional?
In recent years there has been a renewed tendency towards questioning the Church’s emphasis on social justice. Some ponder how and what solving ecological crises has to do with getting to heaven. But there is a deep relationship between the practice of justice, love, and what it means to be...
Continue reading: Is social justice optional?
Cameron Balcombe, an inspiration for young Aboriginal Catholics
Cameron Balcombe, 25, is a proud Aboriginal Catholic man who has dedicated his life to working within and serving the broader Indigenous community. He is passionate about his Catholic faith and Indigenous culture and heritage, and in sharing with others how they can be held together in a beautiful and...
Seamstress Stella’s joy of giving
For nearly 49 years, Stella Maurici and her husband Sam have been active members of St Monica’s Catholic Parish in Moonee Ponds, in Melbourne’s inner north. The parish holds a special place in their hearts given it is home to three generations of the Maurici family, including their four children...
The good news you need
Was Jesus a historical figure? And is he alive and at work in people’s hearts today? These are just some of the questions people bring to the enigma of Jesus of Nazareth, and that Greg Sheridan seeks to address in his latest book, Christians: The Urgent Case for Jesus in...
Continue reading: The good news you need
Applications open for Study and Mentoring (SAM) program for women
REMINDER: Applications for the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Study and Mentoring (SAM) Program close 30 September. The program offers financial assistance for women undertaking tertiary studies at a recognised theological institution, and includes opportunities for spiritual direction, mentoring and dialogue with like-minded women
'I hope that we are making a difference in moving the Church in a way where we have people participating in a more inclusive way ... a Church that is strong in its apostolic mission'
Michelle Goh rsm
Plenary Member
Upcoming (online) events
The greatest story ever told: An introduction to Scripture
Monday 13 September 2021, 7.00pm
– Tuesday 14 September 2021, 9.00pm
Organised by Anima Education and presented by David Schutz, this series seeks to introduce you to Scriptures, what kind of writings they are, how they came to us, and how the Church reads them. As a collection of books by many authors from many centuries, the Bible contains many different...
Exploring a Theological Framework of Christian Spirituality for Today by Dr Rina Madden
Tuesday 14 September 2021
Engaging Your Faith is a series of online short sessions by Catholic Theological College. They offer an opportunity to explore your faith through a variety of topics including: Meditation and Compassion, The Bible as the Great War Story to End All War Stories, Can a Scientist Believe in God?Exploring a...
Lydia: Open-Hearted to Mission by Dr Rosemary Canavan
Wednesday 15 September 2021
Engaging Your Faith is a series of online short sessions by Catholic Theological College. They offer an opportunity to explore your faith through a variety of topics including: Meditation and Compassion, The Bible as the Great War Story to End All War Stories, Can a Scientist Believe in God?Lydia: Open-Hearted...
Pandemic, Prayer & Positivity
Thursday 16 September 2021
The Australian Intercultural Society (AIS) is hosting an online panel discussion on how to find the strength to get through this pandemic. Featuring Archbishop Peter A Comensoli and Associate Professor Salih Yucel (Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilization, Charles Sturt University), and moderated by Makiz Ansari (RV Coordinator, Amity College)...
Reasons for Hope in a Disrupted Church
Thursday 23 September 2021
Hosted by the Arete Centre for Missionary Leadership, this virtual session features Archbishop Peter A Comensoli as well as Fr Chris Ryan MGL (Director, Arete Centre) and Daniel Ang (Director, Sydney Centre of Evangelisation). The panel discussion and Q&A session is open to all but registrations are essential.

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