This weekend, the Church in Melbourne joins the rest of the world in the diocesan launch of the Synod on Synodality. It marks the start of a two-year process of prayerful listening in a journey of communion, participation and mission. This is something not unfamiliar to the Church in Australia, having just concluded the first assembly of the fifth Plenary Council. Melbourne Catholic Susan Pascoe has been in Rome for the global launch of the Synod and in her blog this week provided us with an inside look at the planning and preparation.

We also hear from Fr Gerard Keith, who reflects on the call to stewardship and mission in a time of change. Before his current appointment at Resurrection Parish in Kings Park, Fr Gerard was parish priest in Geelong for 15 years and during that time oversaw the coming together of three parishes into one. He says change can be a time of opportunity and learning. ‘The take-home message for me was that by working together in partnership with goodwill, we can emerge better than before.’

And finally, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Catholic Walking Club of Victoria, which has provided a weekly source of outdoor enjoyment, exploration and enduring friendships for its members. As former club president Peter Naughtin says, 'Members have been able to share their lives and to provide support in the various difficulties.' Their story is a welcome reminder that we walk this journey of faith together!

Towards a Synodal Church
This weekend, the Church in Melbourne joins the rest of the world in the diocesan launch of the Synod on Synodality. It marks the beginning of an intentional process of mutual listening that will span two years and engage the people of God in a journey of communion, participation and mission. As the vademecum (handbook) for the Synod states: 'This rediscovery of the synodal roots of the Church will involve a process of humbly learning together how God is calling us to be as the Church in the third millennium.'
Continue reading: Towards a Synodal Church
Letters from Rome: Global Church looks to Australia
Earlier this year, Melbourne Catholic Susan Pascoe was appointed to one of four commissions supporting the work of the Synod on Synodality. The Synod’s theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”. Susan has been in Rome this past week for the global launch of the Synod and to assist the Secretariat in how to synthesise the responses which will come from 3,000 dioceses around the world.
Fr Gerard Keith embracing change
Diocesan priest Fr Gerard Keith is no stranger to change. Before his current appointment at Resurrection Parish in Kings Park, in Melbourne’s west, he was parish priest in Geelong for 15 years. During that time, he oversaw the coming together of three individual parishes into one – St Michael’s Parish – incorporating the churches of Holy Family Bell Park, Ss Peter and Paul Geelong West Geelong and Holy Spirit, Manifold Heights. It is this experience that has put Fr Gerard in good stead to accept the invitation to discern, discuss and consider change as part of the invitation to "Take the Way of the Gospel".
What does it mean to be Catholic?

In a series of virtual lectures entitled "The Catholic Contribution", Professor John Haldane, one of the world's pre-eminent thinkers in moral philosophy and education, will explore the development of Roman Catholicism and its contribution culturally, historically and philosophically to the understanding of human nature. On Thursday he delivered his introductory lecture and explained what it means to believe in 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic church'. Click the play button above and catch up on the first lecture.

Church’s need for inward and outward-looking focus
The first general assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia has now ended, but the work of discernment, listening and discussion continues. Plenary Member and Master of Catholic Theological College Melbourne Fr Kevin Lenehan says the intervening period between assemblies will help 'generate good recommendations’. He's also hoping for more reflection and discussion on the Church's outward-facing role. 'Because ultimately, I think the Australian public will be asking us “What’s the Church for?”'
Time between assemblies a chance for prayer, maturation
The months between the first and second general assemblies of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia are a time for 'prayer, reflection, maturation and development', according to a concluding statement from the first assembly. The statement, approved by the Council’s members during Saturday’s final plenary session, speaks of a week in which regular prayer and spiritual conversations, encouraging deep listening, 'allowed space for still nascent dreams and visions to come to greater maturity'.
Helping our children to connect safely
The theme for this year's Children’s Week (23-31 October) is ‘Children have the right to choose their friends and safely connect with others’, drawn from Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children’s Week is an opportunity to reflect on how this is expressed in our local communities across the Archdiocese—how we support our children and young people, ensuring that they feel safe and able to grow in their faith.
The Good Pope's bad encyclical?
Earlier this week we celebrated the memorial of Pope St John XXIII. In 1963, he released the encyclical Pacem in terris, which means ‘peace on earth’. The encyclical was lauded by many as the first of its kind as it presented the hope of ‘universal peace’ as something that could be genuinely sought after and laid aside heavy theological language in order to speak simply. This was characteristic of Pope John XXIII. A shift in language was also essential to the work of the Second Vatican Council.
'Participating in a Synod means placing ourselves on the same path as the Word made flesh. It means following in his footsteps, listening to his word along with the words of others.'
Pope Francis
Homily, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Opening of the Synodal Path)
Upcoming events
Christian Faith and World Religions: Online Information Session
Wednesday 20 October 2021
This information session, offered by CTC, is about a learning unit that is designed for all who wish to contribute in a practical way to the multi-faith and multi-cultural society which Australia has become. It is designed specifically for teachers, for those in parishes, in hospitals, in welfare and so...
Leading a Missionary Parish — Signs of Hope with Ron Huntley
Thursday 21 October 2021
Missionary parishes transform lives and yield a growing army of disciples for whom worship and sacraments come to life and whose ministry and service flourishes. Hosted by Ron Huntley, this series of live online talks and interviews explores signs of hope in our Church – globally, nationally and locally. From...
2021 Walter Silvester Memorial Lecture: ‘Truth, Treaty and Transformation’
Tuesday 26 October 2021
The Victorian Government set in train a process towards Treaty, with the passage of the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 and subsequent election of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria. Other states are watching these developments, while the “Uluru Statement from the Heart” is yet to...
2021 Knox Public Lecture: Truth Telling & the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
Thursday 4 November 2021
This year's Knox Public Lecture will be delivered online by Professor Eleanor Bourke, Chair of the Victorian Yoo-rrook Truth-Telling Commission. She will speak on the aims and work of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, the first formal truth-telling process into injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria. The word ‘Yoo-rrook’ comes...

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