Seeking true human flourishing

This Sunday we’re celebrating the annual Anniversary Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Peter A Comensoli will offer a blessing to couples celebrating milestone anniversaries, including couples who have been married anywhere between five and 60 years. Sunday 22 October is also World Mission Day, so we speak with Fr Trevor Trotter SSC, who is based at the Columban Mission Centre in Essendon and who describes the inspiring work of the Columbans as they seek to share the Good News of Jesus Christ around the globe.

ACRATH is an organisation passionately engaged in the fight against human trafficking. They talk with us about their important mission and about some of the big issues in relation to human trafficking right here in Australia.

This week we also hear from Melbourne Catholic teacher and musician Dennis Alberto about his recent pilgrimage to World Youth Day and his love for sharing his faith through music. His band, M22, which includes some of his students, was recently awarded Australian Artist of the Year as part of the 2023 Christian Media and Arts People’s Choice Music Awards!

The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga is an organisation with an inspiring past and a dynamic, evolving future. We speak with the league’s president Anna Krohn OAM about the creative ways the league is connecting, forming and encouraging women of faith.

This week, we also take a look at Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, which explores the spiritual legacy of the beloved young saint St Thérèse of Lisieux and what she offers us today. Last Sunday, staff and seminarians at Corpus Christi College heard from Lutheran pastor Tom Pietsch, who delivered the third annual Barry Nunn Memorial Oration, arguing that while the challenges facing Church bodies across the West today ‘are potentially greater than the ones that have divided us in the past’, there are also real opportunities for ecumenism.

As the Synod of Bishops enters its third week, we explore Pope Francis’ patristic ‘reading list’ for all delegates; the discussion on how to celebrate Catholics’ shared mission and the gifts of women continues; Bishop Shane Mackinlay of Sandhurst is named as one of seven members elected by the synod to help draft the synthesis report; and other Australian delegates reflect on why patience is necessary as the synod continues its journey.

Lastly, did you know that Australia boasts the largest Maltese diaspora in the world? The President of Malta visited Melbourne this week and toured St Patrick’s Cathedral with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, spending time at the statue of the popular Maltese priest St George Preca.

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

Dennis Alberto, sharing his heart for teaching, music and God
Twelve years ago, Dennis Alberto was just setting out in his teaching career at Penola Catholic College in Broadmeadows, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, where he’d completed his own high school years. Today he is still a religious education and science teacher at the college, but now he is married with two young children, is part of an award-winning musical band, M22, with some of his students, and recently returned from his third World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. He reflects on his recent trip, and explains why he’s still passionate about fostering a love of God and music among his students.
The Catholic Women’s League: connecting women of faith in creative ways
The Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga—an organisation with a rich past and evolving future—continues to respond creatively to the needs and dreams of Catholic women and the broader Catholic community around Victoria and beyond. We speak with the league’s president Anna Krohn OAM about some of the challenges and joys of steering the league through COVID and into an exciting future. ‘Part of our challenge has been: “How do we respond to the needs of women now?”’ she says. ‘And some of the things that we’ve discovered are that women are very hungry for spiritual inspiration [and] formation in their faith.’
Promoting human flourishing: on mission with the Columbans
In his message for World Mission Day 2023, Pope Francis commends those ‘who have come to know the risen Christ in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist, who carry his fire in their heart and his light in their gaze’. He could be describing the Missionary Society of St Columban, which is made up of missionary priests, lay missionaries and lay ‘co-workers’ committed to announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. In the lead-up to World Mission Day this Sunday, we speak with Columban priest Fr Trevor Trotter SSC and Maha Shawky, chief executive officer of the Columban Mission Centre in Essendon, about their far-reaching and inspiring work, and about what it means to be truly missionary.
‘People are not for sale’: ACRATH and the fight to live freely
Human trafficking is a tragic reality, and the numbers of those caught within its web are staggering. ACRATH is an organisation committed to the fight against human trafficking, and their efforts have done serious good on both the educational and legislative fronts. Christine Carolan, ACRATH’s National Executive Officer, shares their inspiring story and explains how ordinary people can get involved.
New challenges, new breakthroughs: Pastor Tom Pietsch on the future of ecumenism
The Lutheran pastor Tom Pietsch recently delivered the third annual Barry Nunn Memorial Oration at Corpus Christi College. In his address, he spoke forthrightly about the challenges facing Church bodies across the West today, arguing they may be ‘greater’ than the challenges of the past. Even so, these challenges also present opportunities to affect ecumenical relations ‘for the better’ in years to come.
St Thérèse of Lisieux ‘more alive than ever’: Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation
On Sunday 15 October, Pope Francis released a new apostolic exhortation, reflecting on the life and spirituality of St Thérèse of Lisieux. In this beautiful document, he says that through Thérèse we can learn that confidence in the Divine mercy ‘leads us to the Love that grants everything.’
President of Malta visits St Patrick’s Cathedral as part of Australia tour
This year marks 75 years since Australia and Malta signed an assisted-migrant-passage agreement that enabled more than 60,000 Maltese immigrants to settle in Australia from the late 1940s to the 1960s. A delegation from Malta—led by His Excellency President George Vella—is currently visiting Australia, which boasts the largest Maltese diaspora in the world. The president attended Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday 14 October and spent time at the statue of St George Preca, Malta’s own saint, located in the Cathedral grounds.
Synod members urge ‘hopeful patience’ as process continues
Written by: Cindy Wooden (CNS), with Melbourne Catholic
As the Catholic Church learns to be more ‘synodal’, to listen to all its members, value their gifts and seek together the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Catholics will need to be patient in awaiting responses to their questions and concerns, said several synod members, including two from Australia. Prof Renee Köhler-Ryan spoke of the way things are slowly emerging through a ‘process of hopeful patience’, and Bishop Anthony Randazzo of Broken Bay appreciated Pope Francis’ broad focus on ‘how we proclaim the Gospel in every single moment of our day, regularly by what we say but always by who we are as a community of Christ’s faithful and disciples of the Lord.’
Synod looks at Catholics’ shared mission and the gifts of women
Written by: Cindy Wooden (CNS)
‘All the baptised are called and have the right to participate in the mission of the Church, all have an irreplaceable contribution to make,’ Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich said on 13 October as the synod assembly began work on the third section, or module, of the working document: ‘Co-responsibility in mission.’ Among other things, the working document asked synod members to reflect on the responsibility of all Catholics for mission, the relationship between liturgy and mission, and how to recognise and promote the dignity and gifts of women in the Church.
The ‘bond of communion’: pope’s reading list for synod delegates
One of the smaller details of the synod that may have gone unnoticed is that Pope Francis gave the delegates a reading list consisting of two patristic theologians: St Irenaeus of Lyon and St Basil the Great. Who are these Church Fathers and what did they say that Pope Francis wanted the delegates to know?
ACU experts work with charity to save women and children in remote Tanzania
Written by: ACU
A remote Tanzanian hospital will receive their first modern anaesthetic and haematology analyser machine thanks to a unique collaboration between Australian Catholic University (ACU) experts and charity organisation A Passionist Heart Foundation (APHF).
Earthquakes compound extreme poverty and hunger in Afghanistan
Written by: Caritas Australia
Since the Taliban forcibly took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the humanitarian crisis in the country has become one of the world’s most severe, with scarce resources coming under even more pressure in the wake of two devastating earthquakes that struck the Herat Province on 7 and 11 October. Caritas Australia is calling for donations to help its partners on the ground respond to the urgent need for emergency shelters, clean water, medical supplies, and food and other essentials.
‘Just as no two people have the same fingerprints or irises, God has a distinct plan for each person. What God calls me to do is different to what he calls another person to do. So I think to be missionary is also to be ourselves.’
Columban priest Fr Trevor Trotter
on what it means to be missionary
Upcoming events
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...
‘A Plenary Council and A Global Synod: What Next for Australian Catholics?’ presented by Very Rev Dr Kevin Lenehan
Thursday 26 October 2023
7.00pm–8.30pm
Will the momentum and recommendations for renewal of the Australian Plenary Council be ‘swamped’ by public attention on the global Synod on Synodality? Can these events bring about Vatican II’s vision and mission for the Church in Australia? Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite...
‘The Eucharistic Hymns of Thomas Aquinas’ presented by Rev Dr Joseph Vnuk OP
Tuesday 24 October 2023
7.30pm–9.00pm
If you are looking for a simplified and appealing version of Thomas Aquinas’ teaching on the Eucharist, why not look at the hymns that he himself wrote, hymns that are still used today? Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to reflect on what...
‘Religious Education for Today: Why and How?’ presented by Dr Rina Madden
Wednesday 25 October 2023
7.00pm–9.00pm
This session explores different ways religious education may respond to the current Australian social context and why it remains an important offering for students in their identity formation. Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to reflect on what it means to be people...
‘The Cry for a New Spirituality’ presented by Rev Assoc Prof John Dupuche
Thursday 26 October 2023
7.30pm–9.00pm
Today’s thirst for spiritual experience is immense. What is the Spirit saying? Explore these remarkable new directions with Fr John Dupuche. Engaging Your Faith is a series of short, online, presentations that invite participants to reflect on what it means to be people of faith in the contemporary world. Experienced...
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...
Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre: collection highlights
Saturday 28 October 2023
10.00am–4.00pm
Visit the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre, a building initially purpose built as a place of providence for women on the grounds purchased by Saint Mary MacKillop in 1901. The museum will have tours every hour from 10am. The last tour is at 3pm. Mary’s Little Lon walking tour starts at...
To be unafraid, to shine, to listen: youth night at Our Lady’s Craigieburn
Saturday 28 October 2023
7.30pm–10.00pm
Our Lady’s Parish Craigieburn is hosting a special youth night focussed on Pope Francis’ WYD Lisbon message: ‘To be unafraid, to shine, to listen.’ Don’t miss this evening of fellowship, praise and worship with beautiful music, keynote speakers and games. Open to all youth 16 years and over, with a...
Fiore Chamber vocal ensemble in concert, St Patrick's Cathedral
Sunday 29 October 2023
3.00pm–4.00pm
One of Australia’s newest vocal consorts visits St Patrick’s Cathedral to sing a program sure to please. Alongside guest pianist Timothy Mallis, Fiore Chamber Vocal Ensemble will present an eclectic mix of British and Hungarian music, including a feast of Benjamin Britten. Dynamically polished and sparkling, Fiore brings the full...
CTC Online Information Session for 2024
Monday 30 October 2023
7.30pm–8.30pm
Catholic Theological College is hosting an online information session about the various study options available for 2024. Whether you want to further your career or your knowledge of the Catholic Faith, CTC has the right path/options for you. Meet course advisers and learn about their wide range of courses and...
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.

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

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