This week is Reconciliation Week, an invitation to be brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation for the benefit of all Australians. In a show of support, religious leaders from around the country recently gathered to call for bipartisan action to hold a referendum on a First Nations voice. Melbourne Catholic Sherry Balcombe attended the event and shared why she believes Australia is ‘growing up’ and is hopeful that ‘the nation's tapestry is starting to change’.

Speaking of the nation's changing tapestry, this week we hear about how Cambodian and Lao Catholics have made Melbourne their home, including Maria Vong, who left Cambodia with her family in the mid-eighties and feels blessed by the hospitality they received. ‘We were the lucky ones,’ she reflects.

We also begin a new series looking at the ‘moments of grace’ that have broken through the ordinariness of life, small and often forgotten by the rest of the world. This week, we glimpse the story of Melburnian Killarney Kate, whose voice was so beautiful it literally stopped people in their tracks.

And here's a date for your diaries: the weekend of 25-26 June marks the 175th anniversary of the Diocese of Melbourne! Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will celebrate a special 11am Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, with specially-commissioned music by local Indigenous artists and the various migrant communities that now call Melbourne home.

This week we also continue our look at Our Lady around the world. We focus on one story of particular interest, Africa's only Vatican-approved Marian apparition: Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda. Thirteen years before the Rwandan genocide, Our Lady appeared to three young schoolgirls with a surprising message.

And lastly, some long-lost spiritual exercises of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) were recently discovered and this year published in English for the first time by the Theology of the Body Institute. They formed part of a retreat Wojtyla gave to artists in 1962 on ‘The Gospel and Art’, and are very relevant to our own time. Speaking of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli recently approved the rental of a new formation house called the “JPII House of Communion, Formation and Mission” for students of the University of Melbourne and RMIT.

‘A moment in history’: Sherry Balcombe reflects on the First Nations voice to Parliament
Religious leaders from around Australia recently gathered to sign a joint resolution that calls for bipartisan action to hold a referendum on a First Nations voice. Sherry Balcombe, manager of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria, attended the event and described it as an incredible and hope-filled moment.
Uluru statement offers gift of grace to our nation
On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reflects on the invitation to form a united and ­respectful Australia that should ‘challenge and inspire us, and at the same time touch upon our ­national conscience.’
The gift of hospitality: Cambodian and Lao Catholics in Melbourne
As part of our series celebrating immigrant communities in our Archdiocese through the years, we hear the story of how Cambodian and Lao Catholics have found their way to Melbourne, the challenges they have faced, and the ways their presence has enriched the life of the local Church.
‘Killarney Kate’: Stopping them in their tracks
This month, as we approach the 175th anniversary of the Diocese of Melbourne, we launch a new series highlighting some of the countless 'moments of grace' in the lives of Melbourne Catholics through the years. We will meet well-known Church figures, as well as some more ordinary or even unlikely ‘heroes of the faith’—people like ‘Killarney Kate’.
Our Lady around the world (Part 4): Rwanda
The village of Kibeho, a place that would suffer two awful massacres during the Rwandan genocide, was also the site of Africa's only Vatican-approved Marian apparition. Our Lady appeared to three schoolgirls, asking for faith and for the hearts of their people to be quelled by love if they wanted to avoid the carnage of war.
God is Beauty: St John Paul II’s lost reflections rediscovered
For the first time English, a spiritual retreat given to artists by Karol Wojtyla in 1962 has been published in English by the Theology of the Body Institute. Titled God is Beauty: A Retreat on the Gospel and Art, Wojtyla's reflections focus upon the nature of God as Beauty, and the relationship between this Beauty and the art we create.
Campus ministry announces new JPII House of formation
On Wednesday 25 May, Fr Nicholas Pearce, Senior Chaplain for Youth, Young Adults and Campus ministry in the Archdiocese, made an exciting announcement: Archbishop Comensoli has approved the rental of a formation house for students of Melbourne University and RMIT, called the JP-II House of Communion, Formation and Mission.
3 quotes on the significance of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost Sunday celebrates and commemorates the gift given to the Church in the Holy Spirit. Here are three quotes that offer profound insight into this gift and mystery.
‘‘We’ve never seen anything like this before. The feeling in the air was really hopeful.’
Sherry Balcombe
On religious leaders coming together to call for bipartisan action to hold a referendum on a First Nations voice
Upcoming Events
Pentecost Seminar: Come, Holy Spirit!
Saturday 4 June 2022
9.30am–12.30pm
Anima Education invites you to this morning seminar to prepare for the feast of Pentecost. We will look at the Holy Spirit in Scripture, the Holy Spirit in Tradition and see what the saints had to say about prayers to the Holy Spirit. The Seminar aims to answer your questions...
Ablaze Pentecost @ St Catherine's Caroline Springs
Sunday 5 June 2022
10.30am–2.30pm
St Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish in Caroline Springs invites the community to Ablaze Pentecost, a day of prayer, food and fellowship. The day will include Mass followed by lunch, adoration of the Blessed Sacraments and a prayer rally (with confession and prayer teams available during this time). Join the...
Xavier Social Justice Network Dinner to support Jesuit Refugee Service
Thursday 9 June 2022
6.30pm–10.30pm
The Xavier Social Justice Network invites the community to the 2022 Xavier Social Justice Network Dinner in support of Jesuit Refugee Service. Speakers for the evening include international journalist Ben Doherty and a lawyer and associate of the County Court Sahema Saberi, with the evening moderated by Chris Runciman (Old...
St Patrick's Cathedral Concert featuring David Drury
Friday 10 June 2022
6.00pm–7.00pm
With an international reputation both as an organist and an improviser, David Drury presents an exciting program of organ music at St Patrick's Cathedral. He intersperses the program with three colourful and masterful improvisations, using the full resources of St Patrick's Cathedral grand organ. Program: Suite Breve (Grand Jeux, Cantilene)...
God and Beer Presents: Passing on the Faith to Our Families (with Dr Andy Mullins)
Tuesday 14 June 2022
6.30pm–8.30pm
An initiative of the Knights of the Southern Cross, God and Beer brings together people of all ages from across the south-east suburbs several times a year. The Catholic Christian faith has been passed from generation to generation for nearly 2000 years but suddenly, in the modern west, it seems...
Celebrating 50 Years of CTC: ‘How Do We Know Christ Now?’
Friday 17 June 2022
9.30am–12.30pm
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Catholic Theological College (CTC) is offering a free online conference focussed on the critical question: ‘How do we know Christ now?’. Explore how we know the same Christ more authentically and powerfully today through a special keynote presentation and workshops led by the CTC staff...
The Knights of the Southern Cross Second-hand Book Fair!
Saturday 18 June 2022, 10.00am
– Sunday 19 June 2022, 4.00pm
The Knights of the Southern Cross are running a second-hand book fair. Come along, find a bargain and support the charitable work of the Knights! There will also be DVDs, LP/Records, video games, board games and more. Donations welcome! If you have good books, records, games, DVDs, etc. you would...
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre open days
Saturday 18 June 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...
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Workshop with Fr Elio Capra sdb
Saturday 18 June 2022
10.00am–3.30pm
Is your RCIA making disciples of your catechumens and candidates? After two years of pandemic, is it time for your parish RCIA practice to be reenergised and refreshed? Does your parish have a missionary culture of accompanying catechumens and candidates? Clergy, all parish RCIA team coordinators and members—emerging and experienced—and...
Anima Education Presents: An Introduction to Theology
Monday 20 June 2022
7.00pm–9.00pm
This online series will look at not only what Catholics believe, but how it is that they got there. How did Catholics get from hints at the plurality of God in the Scriptures to the doctrine of the Trinity? How did the early Church first work out the knotty question...
Celebrating 175 Years of the Diocese of Melbourne
Sunday 26 June 2022
11.00am–12.00pm
This year marks 175 years since the erection of the Diocese of Melbourne! Come and celebrate at a special Diocesan Mass with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, with specially commissioned music from our local Indigenous brothers and sisters and the various migrant communities who have made the local Church of Melbourne...
The Outsider Pope: Where is Francis Leading Our Church?
Monday 11 July 2022
5.00pm–6.30pm
This latest Helder Camara lecture will feature The Tablet’s Vatican correspondent Christopher Lamb. Founded in 1840, the weekly journal is a hugely influential voice amongst the 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide. Joining in 2009 from the Daily Telegraph, Christopher Lamb also appears regularly on TV news around the world. In his...
NCEC Conference: The Future is Listening (Save the Date)
Sunday 4 September 2022, 10.00am
– Wednesday 7 September 2022, 5.00pm
The 2022 National Catholic Education Conference is taking place this September, and a limited number of Super Early Bird registrations are now available. The National Catholic Education Commission hosts a conference every four or five years in a major Australian city. Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) is proud to host...
P.S. Before you go . . .
Pope Francis announces 21 new cardinals
On Sunday 29 May, Pope Francis announced that he will create 21 new cardinals this August. This will be the eighth time the pontiff has held a consistory to create cardinals, and they reflect his continuing move to have the college reflect the global face of the Church.

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

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