Basking in hope

Easter is the season of new life and new beginnings, a time to claim God’s amazing promises and to revel in the joy and hope of the resurrection.

David Brown is one of many new Catholics who—through the Rite of Christian Initiation—embarked on the most exciting ‘new beginning’ of all this Easter. Still basking in the peace that surrounded him at his baptism, he shares with us the remarkable story of how God led him to his new life in Christ via an unexpected and eventful World Youth Day pilgrimage.

Also this week, Melbourne’s own Susan Pascoe is awarded an honorary doctorate by ACU, recognising her significant contributions to Catholic education, the community and the Church. In light of the Vatican’s recent declaration Dignitas infinita and Pope Francis’ video prayer message for April, we share the stories of three brave women who, with the support of Caritas Australia, have claimed lives of dignity and hope for themselves and their communities. Ahead of the first-ever World Children’s Day next month, Pope Francis reminds children all over the world that they are ‘precious in God’s eyes’. And we hear how CatholicCare’s Settle Well program helped asylum-seeker Vinith on his journey to new life in Australia.

Finally, we reveal the little-known connection between celebrated Catholic author JRR Tolkien and one of Melbourne’s Catholic newspapers, and explore some of the other insights into Tolkien’s life and faith to be found in a fascinating new biography.

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

Just scratching the surface: a new Melbourne convert shares his story
David Brown was recently baptised during the Easter Vigil at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lilydale. He shares his story, and how an unexpected journey to World Youth Day 2023, through Rome and Assisi, changed his life forever.
Susan Pascoe accepts honorary doctorate from ACU
Prominent Australian governance and Church leader Susan Pascoe AM accepted an honorary doctorate from Australian Catholic University (ACU) at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 15 April. Addressing 207 new ACU graduates, she spoke of the importance of prioritising family, the challenges of making her way as a woman in often male-dominated environments and the importance of being a ‘listening Church’.
Honouring the dignity and courage of women around the world
Both the Vatican’s recent document ‘Dignitas infinita’ and Pope Francis’ video prayer message for April highlight the need to respect the dignity and basic human rights of women. For 60 years, and in many places around the world, Caritas Australia and its partners have been doing just that. We hear the stories of three brave women who, with Caritas’ support, have overcome many obstacles in order to fulfil their potential and help their communities.
Pope Francis ahead of World Children’s Day: ‘be united to Jesus’
On 25 May 2024, the Church around the world will mark its first ever World Children’s Day. In the lead-up, Pope Francis has shared a message for children everywhere, telling them they are ‘precious in God’s eyes’.
The face of Tolkien in Melbourne: faith, hope and the struggle with evil
In 1934, Melbourne’s Catholic newspaper ‘The Advocate’ featured a drawn portrait of JRR Tolkien that appeared nowhere else in the world—until it was featured in a recent biography by Holly Ordway. Focusing on the shape and nature of Tolkien’s Catholic faith throughout his life, Ordway’s biography explores how his experience in the First World War led him to wrestle with the problem of evil, most famously in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
The journey to a new life with CatholicCare’s Settle Well program
At the age of ten, Vinith spent 42 days at sea when his mother made the difficult decision to leave Sri Lanka to offer them a safer and better life in a new country. Now he is on track to graduate from university, supported by CatholicCare Victoria’s Settle Well program, which helps young people like Vinith to improve personal wellbeing and community connectedness, access education support, and find pathways for their career goals.
‘If someone were to ask me how I feel, I’d say at peace. The moment I made that choice, I had this inner peace come across me and it stayed.’
David Brown
on the experience of being baptised at Easter
Upcoming events
Mannix Library Book Sale
Monday 15 April 2024
– Friday 3 May 2024
Calling all bookworms! The Mannix Library Book Sale is back, bigger and better than ever. We have plenty of books just waiting to find new homes. All books $5. Everyone is welcome! So mark your calendars, gather your shopping bags and get ready to unearth some hidden gems.
Six30 Holy Hour at St Patrick’s Cathedral
Thursday 4 April 2024
6.30pm–7.30pm
Join with young Catholics from across the city for a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, music and an opportunity for confession. For more information, email udisciple@cam.org.au or call 9926 5677.
Making time for God: Back to basics (women’s retreat)
Saturday 20 April 2024
10.00am–3.15pm
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga is offering a free, one-day retreat for women at St Mary’s Church in Castlemaine. The day includes Mass, adoration, confession, two spiritual reflections by Fr Dean Mathieson and a Q&A session, and concludes with the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3pm. Lunch...
Fiji Catholic Community of Victoria monthly Mass
Saturday 15 June 2024 6.00pm –7.00pm
Join the Fiji Catholic Community of Victoria for Mass the third Saturday of every month. Mass will be followed by dinner and talanoa in the hall. All welcome! For more information, contact Kolaia Waibuca on 0405 511 185.
Mothers Who Pray for Their Children Australian conference
Saturday 27 April 2024
8.30am–5.30pm
Mothers Who Pray for Their Children will hold their first Australian conference, in Melbourne, at the Catholic Leadership Centre. Immerse yourself in a day-long program, beginning with adoration and Holy Mass. Gather for enlightening talks from local, interstate and international speakers. Listen to the uplifting melodies of acclaimed Catholic musicians...
Compline service and Reconciliation, Newman College
Thursday 2 May 2024
8.30pm–9.30pm
Compline is a peaceful evening ritual, with hymns sung by the Newman College Choir. It offers a serene way to wind down the mind, body and spirit before sleep. With soothing prayers, calming music, and moments of reflection, it provides a break from the hustle and busyness of daily life...
Information session for the permanent diaconate
Saturday 4 May 2024
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! Learn more here and watch Pope Francis’ prayer Intention for deacons.
Symposium: Austin Cooper OMI—priest, scholar and friend
Friday 10 May 2024
10.00am–4.30pm
Catholic Theological College (CTC) is hosting a symposium in honour of Rev Professor Austin Cooper OMI AM (1931–2023), founding Master of CTC, historian, formator and ecumenical friend. The symposium will feature speakers exploring Fr Austin’s various contributions to Christian scholarship and formation, and as spiritual friend to so many. Speakers...
‘Poets and the Faith: James McAuley and Gwen Harwood’, presented by Ken Parker
Tuesday 14 May 2024
6.00pm–7.30pm
St Peter's Eastern Hill is hosting a series of talks about significant poets who have inhabited—or skirted the fringes—of the Anglican and Catholic traditions of Christianity. From Gerard Manley Hopkins to RS Thomas, from Emily Brontë to WH Auden, how did their poetry enrich and challenge their understanding of the...
Fiat 2024—A Weekend of Prayer
Friday 31 May 2024, 6.00pm
– Sunday 2 June 2024, 1.00pm
For the second year running, our local communities of grace across the Archdiocese of Melbourne will unite for a weekend of prayer from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June 2024. The weekend coincides with the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the solemnity of the...
The Seeker of Souls: Understanding God’s intense search for you
Saturday 1 June 2024
9.00am–12.15pm
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga is hosting a women’s retreat with reflections by Fr Trevor Tibbertsma. The retreat is a great opportunity to meet a supportive community of women of faith and includes Mass, adoration, confession, an inspiring talk and a Q&A session. Morning tea will...

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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