Today is the first day out of "lockdown life" for Melburnians and while some restrictions remain, it is with a deep sigh of relief that we can now look forward to reuniting with loved ones and regaining some sense of normality in the weeks and months ahead.

As Fr Michael Gallacher from St Roch's Glen Iris, shared, ‘We can finally begin to gather in our church for prayer and worship again.’ St Roch's is one of many parishes across the Archdiocese that will be opening their doors this weekend for parishioners who are able to gather. Other parishes have opted for a more gradual return to worship over the coming weeks, with some focussing on filling the backlog of baptisms, funerals and weddings that have inevitably built up over time!

Also this week we hear from Tricia Norman, who is part of the parish leadership team at the parish of Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park. Tricia shares the joys and challenges of having to navigate the three parish partnerships over the last 10 years. ‘It’s never been about becoming a super parish and losing the local parish identity,’ Tricia said. ‘It’s about respect for our history, continuing to care and support members of our community and a desire to work together for mission.’

And finally, we head to Springvale Botanical Cemetery in Melbourne’s south-east, where an outdoor memorial space has been created in time for All Souls’ Day (2 November). Fr Aurelio Fragapane recently blessed the cross which features at the memorial site and said, ‘For the Christian community, this space of prayer will become a sacred space for them to remember their loved ones and find strength for their own journey of faith.’

Ps. Good news! The Ordination Mass of Deacons Alex Chow, Hoang Dinh, Joseph Nguyen, Jaycee Napoles and Samuel Pearson will take place on Saturday 4 December. Stay tuned for more details! 🙏

Churches reopen in Melbourne
As of Friday 22 October, Melburnians can enjoy greater freedoms as the city finally emerges from its sixth lockdown. What started as a snap lockdown went on to last almost three months and earned Victorians the unenvied distinction of having lived through the longest cumulative lockdown in the world. For many, the next few weeks will include long-awaited reunions with loved ones, a return to community sport and the first restaurant meal or drink at the pub. For people of faith, it will be the first time in months that they can physically visit their local parish and participate in the sacraments.
Tricia Norman: Listening and building trust is key
Tricia Norman is the Senior Pastoral Associate across the three partnered parishes of Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Reflecting on how the parishes came together, Tricia said it's a process that evolved over time and that listening and dialogue with parishioners is key. ‘In our local church in Melbourne, Archbishop Comensoli has invited us to engage with [Take] the Way of the Gospel and be involved in renewal of our local faith communities as local missions. It’s about a conversation within our own communities about where do we see our future? What opportunities do you want to see as an outward-looking Church?’
Chris Ryan MGL: Parish as a community of communities
Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Proclaim Office hosted a conversation on Leading a Missionary Parish with guest speakers Ron Huntley, a Canadian-based speaker and author whose passion is for parish renewal, and Fr Chris Ryan MGL who spent many years in Melbourne and is currently parish priest of St Declan’s, Penshurst, NSW. Their conversation is part of a series of live online talks and interviews exploring signs of hope in the Church and how parishes with an intentional missionary focus can successfully reach their 21st century neighbourhoods with God’s transforming love.
Outdoor reflection space created for All Souls' Day
On 2 November, Catholics throughout the world commemorate All Souls' Day, a special time to honour, remember and pray for loved ones who have died, and which continues throughout the month. To mark this time, an outdoor reflective space has been created at Springvale Botanical Cemetery in Melbourne’s south-east, which provides the opportunity to pray for departed loved ones, a COVID-safe manner.
John Haldane: Our identities are shallow and weaponised
In collaboration with Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS), the Archdiocese of Melbourne has hosted a virtual lecture series by Professor John Haldane, one of the most prominent Catholic philosophers in the world today. The Catholic Contribution explores the nature of Catholic identity and what it is that Catholicism has contributed to the world as we know it.
The genius of Pope John Paul II
It’s hard to put into words the significance of Pope John Paul II, whose memorial we celebrate on 22 October. He was a breath of fresh air for the Church: a poet and playwright; a priest who resisted Communist occupation of his native land and helped bring about the end of European Communism as they knew it; someone who travelled to the farthest reaches of the earth in order to connect with the disconnected in the Church; not to mention being a man of philosophical and theological genius.
St Thérèse and the God who wants us
The Carmelite Monastery in Melbourne has been the National Shrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux since 1929 when the Sisters officially moved from Sydney. Sr Maria Hughes has been with the monastery since 1964 and is arguably St Thérèse’s biggest fan. She was gracious enough to take the time to discuss the significance of St Thérèse and what it is she can offer people living in the modern world.
‘Our evolving parish partnerships constantly ask us to listen to where the Gospel is calling us and to assist to bring that to life in our parishes.’
Tricia Norman
On navigating parish partnerships
Upcoming events
2021 Walter Silvester Memorial Lecture: ‘Truth, Treaty and Transformation’
Tuesday 26 October 2021
The Victorian Government set in train a process towards Treaty, with the passage of the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 and subsequent election of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria. Other states are watching these developments, while the “Uluru Statement from the Heart” is yet to...
Meet Sophia: The Feminine Face of God
Wednesday 27 October 2021
Professor Mary Coloe's commentary on John’s Gospel reveals the strong presence of Wisdom/Sophia permeating the text. The description of The Word (logos) present with God at the dawn of creation then coming to tabernacle on earth in the flesh of Jesus (1:14), echoes the journey of Wisdom described in Proverbs...
From Vatican II to Fratelli Tutti: Catholicism Encountering the World
Friday 29 October 2021, 8.00am
– Saturday 30 October 2021, 9.00am
This online conversation will explore how Fratelli Tutti—as an expression of Vatican II’s call to renewal—illumines contexts and methods for deepening genuine dialogue within an increasingly fractured church and world. Guest speakers Amanda C. Osheim, Richard R. Gaillardetz and Ormond Rush have produced three ten-minute video presentations, which participants will...
2021 Knox Public Lecture: Truth Telling & the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
Thursday 4 November 2021
This year's Knox Public Lecture will be delivered online by Professor Eleanor Bourke, Chair of the Victorian Yoo-rrook Truth-Telling Commission. She will speak on the aims and work of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, the first formal truth-telling process into injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria. The word ‘Yoo-rrook’ comes...
Virtual Information Session: Study at YTU
Wednesday 10 November 2021
Yarra Theological Union (YTU) is hosting an online information session. YTU was originally founded in 1971 by the Carmelites, the Franciscans, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Passionists. Over the years other orders joined: the Redemptorists (Australian and New Zealand Provinces), Pallottines, Dominicans, Divine Word Missionaries, the Discalced...

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