Immersed in the Word of God

This week we share stories about the search for truth, beauty and goodness, and the call to share God’s love with others and with a hurting world.

Television reporter, radio broadcaster and preacher Jo Hayes is also a Third Order Benedictine oblate with a passion for lectio divina, and shares how daily immersion in the Word has changed her life. In the lead-up to the 2023 Benedict Conference, we speak with Fr Joseph Fessio SJ, a prominent Catholic publisher who studied under Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). He shares his personal insights into the life, character and enduring legacy of his former mentor and teacher.

Also this week, the Hon Justice Susan Crennan AC KC reflects on her Catholic faith and education at the recent Melbourne Catholic Professionals luncheon. Archbishop Peter A Comensoli blesses a new school building at St Francis de Sales’ Lynbrook, and Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) prepares to open seven new schools as more families choose a Catholic education. In world news, Pope Francis and Jerusalem’s Christian leaders desperately call for peace in the wake of militant attacks on Israel. As the Synod of Bishops continues, synodal spirituality is placed at the forefront of renewal. And in case you missed it, Pope Francis has released a new apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum, a plea for urgent action on caring for our common home.

Finally, Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart spoke at ACU in Melbourne last week about his new book, Becoming Missionary Disciples, reminding those gathered that the desire to share the Gospel with others springs from ‘a heart that has experienced mercy, a heart that has experienced saving grace, a heart that has experienced the power of God in their lives’.

May the mercy, grace and power of God be present in our lives and abroad in our world this week.

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

Jo Hayes, on fire for the Word of God
Jo Hayes is a woman on fire for the Word of God, and with a mission to share with others the riches that deep intimacy with God brings. A television reporter, speech pathologist, preacher and Third Order Benedictine oblate, she was recently in Rome to attending the Fifth World Congress of Benedictine Oblates, where she enjoyed a private audience with Pope Francis.
Fr Joseph Fessio SJ: Ratzinger’s life ‘was a liturgical life’
Fr Joseph Fessio SJ is the founder of Ignatius Press, one of the world’s most prominent and popular Catholic publishers. He was also a doctoral student under Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. In the lead-up to the 2023 Benedict Conference, Fr Fessio speaks with us about his memories of Ratzinger the man and reflects on his enduring legacy.
Becoming missionary disciples: Archbishop Julian Porteous talks about his new book
Recently in Melbourne, Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania gave a number of talks on his new book, ‘Becoming missionary disciples’ (2023). Speaking at ACU last week, he encouraged everyone to see that the only ‘qualification needed to be an evangeliser’ is a heart that has been touched and transformed by Jesus of Nazareth.
The light of justice: Hon Justice Susan Crennan AC KC speaks at MCP luncheon
At the third MCP luncheon of the year, the Hon Justice Susan Crennan AC KC delivered the keynote address, reflecting on her positive experience of Catholic education and how her faith and work in the law have coincided in important ways.
Synodal spirituality is at ‘heart of church’s renewal’, cardinal says
Written by: Justin McLellan (CNS)
All members of the Catholic Church, from bishops to laypeople, must be formed in a ‘synodal spirituality’ that will guide the Church forward, Cardinal Béchara Raï, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, said in his homily during a Divine Liturgy with participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops this week.
7 new schools planned as more families choose Catholic education
Written by: Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS)
Recent school census figures show that demand for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to grow, particularly in Melbourne’s northern and western corridors, where MACS has opened 12 schools since 2018. With seven new schools planned to open in the next three years, MACS Executive Director Dr Edward Simons says that ‘families value the emphasis Catholic schools place on the pastoral care and wellbeing of students, along with our focus on strong partnerships with parents.’
‘War is a defeat’: pope and Jerusalem’s Christian leaders pray for peace
Written by: Cindy Wooden (CNS) and Judith Sudilovsky (OSV News)
‘War is a defeat,’ Pope Francis insisted in his Angelus address on 8 October as he called for prayers for peace in Israel and Palestine. Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem have also united in a call for peace and justice amid unfolding violence, following a surprise attack by Hamas on 7 October in southern Israel, which has left 600 Israelis dead.
Pope pleads for urgent response to climate crisis in ‘Laudate Deum’
Written by: Gina Christian (OSV News) with Melbourne Catholic
Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, ‘Laudate Deum’ (‘Praise God’) is a heartfelt call for urgent practical action on climate change. Based on the premise that ‘when human beings claim to take God’s place, they become their own worst enemies,’ the pope reiterates many key messages of his papacy and invites people of faith ‘to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home and to help make it more beautiful, because that commitment has to do with our personal dignity and highest values.’
‘Be the light of the world’: New building blessed at St Francis de Sales Primary School, Lynbrook
Written by: Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS)
The community at St Francis de Sales Catholic Primary School, Lynbrook, has celebrated the opening of their new multipurpose building with a blessing by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli. Before blessing the community and the new facilities, Archbishop Comensoli told the students that ‘To be the light of the world ... is a very beautiful thing’ and asked them, ‘How can your light shine for those around you?’
‘I want everybody to have an encounter with God. And not just a one-off encounter, but to tap into and stay connected to the elixir of life that is deep, intimate union with God.’
Television reporter and Third Order Benedictine oblate Jo Hayes
on sharing her passion for reading the Scriptures
Upcoming events
Referendum online prayer gathering, Catholic Social Services Victoria
Friday 13 October 2023
Join Catholic Social Services Victoria ahead of the referendum on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples through a Voice for a time of reflection and prayer. This will be an opportunity to pause, and to consider the hopes for our country and for reconciliation more broadly. Prayers...
‘A discussion on Pope John XXIII’s “Peace on Earth”’ by Fr Bruce Duncan, St Dominic’s Parish
Sunday 15 October 2023
Sixty years ago, Pope John XXIII published his important encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth). He sent a copy in English to the then US President, John F Kennedy, and in Russian to Soviet leader, Nikita Khruschev, to help avoid the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly...
Lutheran–Roman Dialogue: Present and Future Contours
Sunday 15 October 2023
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
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
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...
Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Network: online launch
Wednesday 18 October 2023
This is an opportunity for youth and young adult leaders from across the country to gather, pray, celebrate and discern the future of the youth and young adult landscape in the Australia Catholic Church. Leaders will be able to network with other leaders as they launch an exciting new chapter...
‘Reading the Old Testament: Why and How?’ Presented by Rev Dr Kris Sonek OP
Wednesday 18 October 2023
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
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
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 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...
Benedict Conference: Truth, goodness and beauty
Saturday 28 October 2023
(All day event)
This inaugural event will bring together local and international speakers to reflect on the life and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. The conference will build its conversations around the themes of truth, goodness and beauty. Gathering the people of God from all over Melbourne and beyond, it seeks to engage...
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
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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