Living the infinite mystery

This week, one of the most significant events in recent Church history—the Synod of Bishops, colloquially known as the ‘synod on synodality’—got under way in Rome with Mass in St Peter’s Square.

Sr Bernadette Reis FSP is a Sister with the Daughters of St Paul and works in multimedia with Vatican News. She has been working ‘behind the scenes’ with the synod and talks with us about what this synod is about, what it’s not, and why it matters.

Ahead of the synod, Pope Francis prayed for listening instead of ‘polarisation’, and Fr Ormond Rush has broken down synodality in a video released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Also this week, at the end of its tour of Australia, the relic statue of Don Bosco was farewelled at a special Mass in Brunswick North celebrating 100 years of the Salesians in Australia. A long-awaited parish centre in Ivanhoe has been blessed and opened. We hear about how reading the Old Testament can deepen our knowledge and faith. And parishioners at Holy Trinity Bentleigh East celebrate their cultural diversity at a series of Migrant and Refugee Sunday celebrations.

Finally, Dr Michael Casey of the PM Glynn Institute reveals some of the key findings from the institute’s 2022 survey on hope, trust and belonging in Australian society. The results are ‘surprising’, suggesting that religion may be more ‘enduring’ in Australia than we previously thought.

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

‘A place of grace and communion’: Synod of Bishops opens with Mass
Written by: Justin McLellan (CNS)
Members of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops are not gathered in Rome to implement a ‘plan of reformation’ but to walk together as a Church that discerns God’s will for the present moment, Pope Francis said at the assembly’s opening Mass. With cardinals from across the world at his side, and 25,000 people in attendance, the pope said the primary task of the synod is to ‘refocus our gaze on God, to be a Church that looks mercifully at humanity, a Church that is united and fraternal.’
Living the infinite mystery in our own time: synodality with Sr Bernadette Reis FSP
As the ‘synod on synodality’ kicks off in Rome, we talk with Sr Bernadette Reis FSP, Coordinating Multimedia Editor with Vatican News, about the significance of the synod, what it’s about and what it’s not about. Sr Bernadette has worked ‘behind the scenes’ of the synod since the beginning and offers her insights on the process and purpose of this historic gathering.
‘It’s not majority rules’: Fr Ormond Rush talks synodality
In August, Townsville priest and Associate Professor at ACU Fr Ormond Rush helped unpack the notion of synodality in a video released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. ‘It’s not majority rules,’ he stressed, pointing to four things that can help us better appreciate the idea of synodality in the lead-up to the synod in Rome.
‘A moment of change’: Salesians celebrate 100 years in Australia
It’s been 100 years since a small group of Salesians arrived in Australia. Since then, the order—originally established by St John Bosco—has been a constant presence in parish and school communities across the country. To mark the centenary, the relic statue of Don Bosco has been travelling the country for the last two months and was farewelled at a special Mass celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli on Saturday 30 September at St Margaret Mary Church in Brunswick North.
Dr Michael Casey: religion more ‘enduring’ than previously thought
At a recent clergy workshop, Dr Michael Casey of the PM Glynn Institute gave a talk on the results of their 2022 survey into hope, trust and belonging in Australian society. Among other things, the survey dug deeper into people’s religious affiliation. While our very ‘noisy’ society tends to offer dramatic narratives of religious decline, the survey showed some ‘surprising’ results, suggesting the situation is a lot more complicated. Religion, it turns out, may be more ‘enduring’ than previously thought.
‘Now the real work must begin’: new parish centre opens in Ivanhoe
The long-awaited opening of Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish in Ivanhoe took place on Sunday 1 October, with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli blessing the new church, offices, chapel and presbytery. The event was attended by parishioners past and present and brought to fruition a project almost 20 years in the making. ‘Now the real work must begin,’ reflected Fr Bill Edebohls, ‘and we, as a parish community must take responsibility for how we use this place as a resource for the building up of the kingdom of God within this community of Ivanhoe.’
Before synod retreat, pope prays for listening instead of polarisation
Written by: Justin McLellan (CNS)
On 30 September, the eve of a three-day spiritual retreat for participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis prayed that members of the Church may embrace silence to listen to the voice of God and one another. Seated with the leaders of 12 Christian churches and communities before the San Damiano cross, in front of which St Francis of Assisi said he heard Jesus tell him to ‘rebuild my church’, Pope Francis prayed that ‘the synod be a “kairos” (moment) of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the church from gossip, ideologies and polarisation’.
‘A source of inspiration and a blueprint for the future’: unlocking the Old Testament
Rev Dr Kris Sonek OP, Head of the Department of Biblical Studies at Catholic Theological College (CTC), wants to challenge the way we view the Old Testament. While some might dismiss these ancient texts as violent and outdated, Dr Sonek is keen to help participants in an upcoming ‘Engaging Your Faith’ session to unlock the riches of the Old Testament and to understand that ‘in the hands of intelligent and sensitive readers, it can actually become a source of inspiration and a blueprint for the future.’
Many nations, one community: Holy Trinity Bentleigh East
On Sunday 24 September, the community of Holy Trinity Parish Bentleigh came together in all their multicultural finery for a series of Migrant and Refugee Sunday celebrations at three of the parish’s weekend Masses. It was an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the rich multiethnicity of the parish while enjoying delicious food and strengthening the bonds of friendship within the community.
‘The Church is always being reborn, because the mystery of the Trinity that Jesus revealed is infinite. So, in that sense, the Church is always being born again because we’re trying to understand and live an infinite mystery.’
Sr Bernadette Reis FSP, Coordinating Multimedia Editor with Vatican News
on synodality and the renewal of the Church
Upcoming events
Centenary of Consecration of St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill
Sunday 8 October 2023
9.15am–12.15pm
St John the Baptist, Clifton Hill, is celebrating 100 years since its consecration! To commemorate the anniversary, the parish is hosting a series of events: 3 October, 9.15am: School and parish Mass, with special school activities to follow 8 October, 11am: Concelebrated Mass of celebration and thanksgiving, followed by the...
God and Beer: ‘How to Fix Catholic Education’ with Prof John Haldane
Monday 9 October 2023
6.30pm–8.30pm
Join God and Beer on their second event this month! Prof John Haldane is a ‘rock-star philosopher’ and one of the leading thinkers in the world. A former papal advisor and current chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Prof Haldane splits his time between Baylor University in the USA...
An invitation to connect with Aboriginal spirituality
Friday 13 October 2023
10.00am–2.30pm
In the light of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and the upcoming referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria (ACMV) are inviting interested parishioners to spend some time at Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Thornbury, where they will lead a session exploring social justice and Aboriginal spirituality...
Lutheran–Roman Dialogue: Present and Future Contours
Sunday 15 October 2023
7.30pm–8.30pm
This year’s Barry Nunn Memorial Oration will be presented by Pastor Thomas Pietsch. The Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue is Australia’s longest running dialogue, and runs parallel to similar international dialogues. This lecture will present some of the contours, challenges and opportunities for the dialogue going forward. Pastor Thomas Pietsch is a...
‘The Women in the Gospel of Matthew’ presented by Dr Rosemary Canavan
Monday 16 October 2023
7.00pm–8.30pm
Beginning with the five women included in the genealogy of Jesus, this session will explore Matthew’s inclusion of women in the life and ministry of Jesus and the implications for today. Presented by Dr Rosemary Canavan. Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to...
‘Basic Listening Skills for Pastoral Ministry’ presented by Rev Dr Jake Mudge
Tuesday 17 October 2023
7.30pm–8.30pm
This session outlines the principles of Carl Rogers’ 'person-centered' listening: empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. These are often employed as a basis for training in active/attentive listening. The discussions will cover how these skills might be applied in day-to-day ministry situations. Presented by Rev Dr Jake Mudge, Engaging Your...
‘Reading the Old Testament: Why and How?’ Presented by Rev Dr Kris Sonek OP
Wednesday 18 October 2023
7.30pm–8.30pm
The Old Testament, a major part of the Christian Bible, is often seen as barbaric, irrelevant and difficult to read. In this talk, Rev Dr Kris Sonek OP will present practical tools to help participants understand this part of the Bible better, and show how the biblical message contributes to...
‘Lectio Divina’ presented by Rev Assoc Prof John Dupuche
Thursday 19 October 2023
7.30pm–9.00pm
How do I access the riches of the Word of God spoken to me? How can I dwell in silent and peaceful contemplation? Presented by Rev Assoc Prof John Dupuche, this short course will provide pointers. Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to...
Marriage Anniversary Mass, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Sunday 22 October 2023
11.00am–12.00pm
Couples and families are invited to join us as we celebrate our annual Anniversary Mass. Couples who register and are celebrating the following anniversaries—5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th or 40 years and above—will receive a commemorative certificate. Register by Sunday 15 October at trybooking.com/CLKRB. For all enquiries, please...
Men’s Weekend (facilitated by menALIVE)
Saturday 28 October 2023, 8.00am
– Sunday 29 October 2023, 1.30pm
menALIVE seeks to renew faith in God and encourage men to become an active force of renewal in the Church. During the weekend, the team will share about their lives, the challenges they face, and the hope they have discovered in walking with God. The most powerful part of the...
Proclaim 2023—Inaugural Archdiocesan Gathering
Thursday 16 November 2023, 6.30pm
– Saturday 18 November 2023, 4.00pm
Over three days, the Catholic Leadership Centre will host a vibrant gathering, where sojourners will be inspired, engaged and equipped to go out and proclaim the joy of the Gospel in their local communities. Encounter Jesus through prayer, music and fellowship; hear from inspiring local and international speakers; participate in...
Night of the Witnesses
Wednesday 22 November 2023
7.00pm–8.30pm
Night of the Witnesses is an evening of testimony, prayer, song, adoration and reflection to honour the witness of modern-day Christian martyrs and to stand in solidarity with Christians around the world who are suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. With its origins at Notre Dame and Sacre...

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

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