A symbol of welcome

In 1986, when Pope John Paul II spoke to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Alice Springs, he said that ‘the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.’

At the beginning of NAIDOC Week, the Aboriginal Catholic community of Victoria presented the Church in Melbourne with a new message stick—a living symbol of welcome and a gesture of friendship and hospitality. We take a close look at the design of the new message stick and what it means.

With great sadness, we also mark the passing this week of Rev Professor Austin Cooper OMI AM, a man whose long and distinguished academic career, deep prayerfulness and pastoral sensitivity helped to form countless students in the spiritual traditions of the Catholic faith.

We hear about the Australian tour of the relic statue of St John Bosco as part of the centenary celebrations of the Salesians’ arrival in Australia; Sr Marian McClelland SSS, the last remaining Servants of the Blessed Sacrament sister in Australia, talks to us about her call to ‘be present to God and others’; some recent converts to Catholicism at Our Lady’s parish Craigieburn and Roxburgh share their stories; and we hear about an upcoming workshop on building vibrant and vital parishes.

In this week’s instalment of our series on WYD destinations, we provide a glimpse of some of the fascinating and inspiring sites that pilgrims will be visiting as they travel ‘the Italian way’ to World Youth Day.

And finally, as winter sets in, we offer some reading suggestions to warm the mind, heart and soul.

For more, visit the Melbourne Catholic news and stories page or follow us on Facebook.

New message stick presented to St Patrick’s Cathedral at start of NAIDOC Week
Last Sunday, Catholics came together across the country to mark Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, including at St Patrick’s Cathedral, where a new message stick was presented by the Aboriginal Catholic community of Victoria.
Relic statue of St John Bosco to tour Australia for Salesians’ centenary
Written by: Salesians of Don Bosco
The relic statue of St John Bosco, better known as Don Bosco, will be touring Australia as part of the celebrations of the centenary of the arrival of the Salesians on Australian soil.
‘A passion for the mission of Christ’: remembering Rev Professor Austin Cooper OMI AM
As we mark the recent passing of Rev Professor Austin Cooper OMI AM, we remember a man whose deep spirituality, pastoral sensitivity, and long and distinguished academic career helped to form so many in the spiritual traditions of the Catholic faith.
Sr Marian McClelland SSS, a woman of presence and love
Sr Marian McClelland SSS was 16 years old when she first felt a deep call ‘to be with’ Jesus. Now, as the last remaining Servants of the Blessed Sacrament sister in Australia, she shares with us her call to ‘be present to God and others’, and the blessings of being able to do ‘what she loves’.
Converts tell their RCIA stories: Our Lady’s Parish Craigieburn and Roxburgh
Eight people came through the RCIA program at Our Lady’s parish in Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park to be received into the Catholic Church at the 2023 Easter Vigil. We speak to Our Lady’s RCIA coordinator and hear the converts’ own powerful stories about the journey they’ve been on and how enriching the RCIA journey can be.
Leading Missionary Parishes: a workshop exploring vital and vibrant parishes
Written by: Proclaim: Office for Mission Renewal
At a workshop day later this month for Parish clergy and leadership teams, international parish leadership coach Ron Huntley will be joined by Fr Chris Ryan MGL and Cath Garner to help participants reflect on the challenges and opportunities faced by parishes as they seek to reframe and renew their mission.
WYD Destinations: The Italian Way
As it winds its way to Lisbon, the 'Italian Way' pilgrimage route will offer some of Melbourne's World Youth Day pilgrims the opportunity to walk the streets of Rome and explore the inspiring town of Assisi, where the great saints Francis and Clare experienced their conversions. Today we take a look at some of the incredible places they will visit along the way.
Words that warm us: a winter reading list
Winter is a great time to cosy up with a good book—especially one with a bit of weight and substance to it, or maybe even a bit of magic. From fiction and story-telling to spirituality and art, we suggest some books that might help you make it through this cold, cold winter season.
‘How do we give people a sense of mystery, a sense of the divine, a sense of the loving providence of God in a world which really doesn’t want to hear about God?’
The late Rev Professor Austin Cooper OMI AM
on the ‘great pastoral challenge’ that informed his life’s work
Upcoming events
2023 NAIDOC Mass at St Francis’ Church
Sunday 9 July 2023
11.00am–12.00pm
Join the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) and Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for Victoria (ACMV) in a Mass to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. After Mass, there will be time for a light snack, tea and coffee in the pastoral rooms. Image credit: John Dunn, Stations...
Celebrity organ recital featuring Roger Sayer, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Friday 14 July 2023
6.00pm–7.00pm
Award-winning organist and former Director of Music at London’s Temple Church, Roger Sayer will visit St Patrick’s Cathedral in July to present a grand organ recital. Sayer is at the forefront of British choral and organ music, known also for his performance as organ soloist for Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score...
Leading Missionary Renewal: Vital and Vibrant Parishes
Saturday 15 July 2023
10.00am–3.00pm
An enriching day of prayer, music, inspiring talks and team workshop activities for clergy and lay leaders. An opportunity to:explore parish renewal in light of Take the Way of the Gospel, covering key topics to envision, enthuse and equipidentify the needs and next steps for your local circumstances hear...
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: workshop day
Saturday 22 July 2023
10.00am–3.30pm
An in-person seminar to explore reasons and ways to place the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) at the heart of parish renewal. Clergy, RCIA teams and interested parishioners are warmly invited to attend. Rev. Dr Elio Capra is a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He is...
Chorus Ecclesiae presents Byrd’s ‘Gradualia’ at Newman College
Saturday 15 July 2023
2.30am–4.30am
In honour of the 400th anniversary of William Byrd’s death this year and his significant contributions to liturgical music, Chorus Ecclesiae proudly presents a performance of a selection of four-part motets from his Gradualia at Newman College’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit. William Byrd’s Gradualia is one of the most...
CSS webinar: ‘First Nations Voices’
Thursday 27 July 2023
4.00pm–5.00pm
Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV), in conjunction with Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), is pleased to invite you to join for a series of webinars to learn more about the upcoming referendum on Constitutional Recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Voice to Parliament. The webinars will...
Melbourne Catholic Professionals luncheon
Thursday 17 August 2023
12.00pm–2.00pm
Join us for the second Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) event of the year! MCP creates opportunities for Catholic professional men and women to network and support the life and mission of the Church in Melbourne. Through its program of luncheon events—hosted by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli—MCP draws people together from...
The Archbishop’s Dinner: an initiative of the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria
Friday 1 September 2023
7.00pm–9.00pm
Join the Knights of the Southern Cross Victoria to celebrate the 23rd annual Archbishop’s Dinner. The dinner is held each year to raise funds for the Priests Support and Education Fund. This fund was established by the Knights of the Southern Cross to assist in the funding and education of...

To learn more about upcoming events and opportunities, visit the Melbourne Catholic events page.

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

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