In his Patrick Oration this year, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli reflected on the presence of young people in the Church, saying, ‘On any given day, you may be quietly surprised just how many are engaging earnestly and fruitfully with their faith.’ A clear example of this engagement has been the enthusiastic response to Melbourne’s World Youth Day pilgrimage to Lisbon in August. The numbers are in: those journeying from Melbourne to Lisbon will be part of our largest overseas WYD pilgrimage ever.

In sadder news, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli has paid tribute to the late Fr Bob McGuire—‘fierce friend of the downhearted, the broken and the lost throughout his whole life’—who died this morning.

We also hear the fascinating stories of two men whose experiences of God’s faithfulness through the ups and downs of life have uniquely formed them for ordained ministry.

Fr Wiesław ‘Tony’ Słowik SJ—chaplain to the Polish community here in Melbourne—looks back over 50 years of priestly ministry, recalling the memorable day at St Ignatius Church in Richmond when he was ordained by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II—a man he came to regard as a father figure.

Deacon Hoa Tran, on the other hand, is just starting out on his journey as a permanent deacon after being ordained at St Patrick’s Cathedral in March. Having escaped to Australia from Communist Vietnam as a young man, he has lived a rich and eventful life, and embarks on this next phase of his journey with a sense of hope forged through adversity and joy.

In other news, a couple of newly released documents shed light on the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives to be found among the people of God in Australia and our region. Produced by the National Centre for Pastoral Research and based on recent census data, the Social Profile of the Catholic Community in Australia provides extensive demographic information on Australian Catholics. And in the recently published Oceania response to the Synod of Bishops document Enlarge the Space of your Tent, the bishops of Oceania have shared their ‘prayerful and considered thoughts’ on what they have heard from their people through the synodal process.

Finally, we hear about the Nourish and Flourish program recently launched by St Anthony of Padua Primary School and CatholicCatholic Victoria, which through its breakfast club and other initiatives is helping to build thriving communities, especially among disadvantaged families in Melton South.

As we continue to celebrate the dawning of new life and hope this Easter season, may we rediscover the youthfulness of the risen Christ in our own lives.

Excitement builds for Melbourne’s largest ever WYD pilgrimage overseas
Written by: Proclaim: Office for Mission Renewal
Excitement is building as the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne prepares to embark on its largest ever pilgrimage to a World Youth Day overseas. More than 500 young people from Melbourne will go on pilgrimage with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli to Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day in August this year—a life-changing opportunity for them to encounter Christ, deepen their faith and celebrate with a million other young Catholics from around the globe.
Vale Fr Bob Maguire
Written by: Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
In response to the sad news today of the death of Fr Bob Maguire, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli paid tribute to Fr Bob for his many faithful years of service as a priest of the Catholic Church in Melbourne, noting his 'great love for Jesus—who also lived with the outcast and the unloved'—and describing him as 'a fierce friend of the downhearted, the broken and the lost throughout his whole life'.
Continue reading: Vale Fr Bob Maguire
Ordained by JPII: the story of Melbourne’s Fr Wiesław ‘Tony’ Słowik SJ
Written by: Christian Bergmann
Fr Wiesław ‘Tony’ Słowik SJ is chaplain to the Polish community here in Melbourne. Just over 50 years ago, at St Ignatius Church in Richmond, he was ordained by none other than Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, a man who, five years later, would become known worldwide as Pope John Paul II. Fr Słowik shares some of his fascinating story, including his relationship with the great Polish saint.
Deacon Hoa Tran, finding hope in new ways
Written by: Fiona Basile
Hoa Tran is one of the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s newest permanent deacons, having been ordained by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 11 March. His story is one of inspiration and courage. Having escaped Communist-led Vietnam by boat as a young man, and endured the death of his wife from cancer, he shows us that even late in life, and having suffered personal hardship, we are called by God to hope, love and serve in new and life-giving ways.
Oceania bishops publish response to Synod of Bishops document
Written by: Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania
As part of their the quadrennial assembly in Fiji, the bishops of Oceania responded to the Synod’s Working Document for the Continental Stage, titled Enlarge the Space of Your Tent. That response has now been published. In it, the bishops say their people’s reflections for the global Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church left them feeling ‘peace and joy’, but also called them to be prophetic and ready to ‘model ourselves on the love we proclaim’.
New report reveals makeup of Australian Catholic population
Written by: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC)
A new National Centre for Pastoral Research report published today provides a comprehensive snapshot of the millions of people who identified as Catholic in the 2021 Australia Census. The Social Profile of the Catholic Community in Australia is the latest in a series of reports published following each national Census, providing extensive demographic information on Australian Catholics.
Nourish and Flourish program launches in Melton South
Written by: CatholicCare Victoria
On Tuesday 28 March, CatholicCare Victoria and St Anthony of Padua Primary School launched the Nourish and Flourish program, which offers three wellbeing programs, including a breakfast club. Providing all students with a free meal in the morning, the club offers opportunities for social connection and supports mental and physical development, helping to build thriving communities and disrupt disadvantage for local families in Melton South.
‘The ability to be close, to feel the closeness of love, I think that’s the most joyful thing. If I was a priest in Poland, I would be limited in many ways … Here I was free to answer to people’s needs in different ways without any problems.’
Fr Wiesław ‘Tony’ Słowik SJ
reflecting on the opportunities Australia has given him to serve the people of God
Upcoming events
St Patrick’s Cathedral concert: Johann Vexo—Choir Organist at Notre-Dame, Paris
Friday 21 April 2023
6.00pm–7.00pm
Join us at St Patrick’s Cathedral for the next concert in our 2023 Concert Series: a recital by acclaimed international organist Johann Vexo, the Choir Organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris. Taking full advantage of our impressive cathedral organ, this performance will include masterworks by Bach, Franck, Vierne, Messiaen and Duruflé...
menALIVE Men’s Weekend
Saturday 29 April 2023
– Sunday 30 April 2023
When was the last time you felt fully alive? Hosted by the Brunswick-Moreland Catholic Community, the menALIVE Men’s Weekend is an opportunity for men to explore what makes them feel fully alive. During the weekend, the menALIVE team will share about their lives, the challenges they face and the hope...
Melbourne Catholic Professionals Luncheon
Wednesday 3 May 2023
12.00pm–2.00pm
Join us for the first Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) event of the year! MCP creates opportunities for Catholic professional men and women to network and support the life and mission of the Church in Melbourne. Through its program of luncheon events—hosted by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli—MCP draws people together from...
St Vincent’s College Bendigo Reunion
Sunday 21 May 2023
(All day event)
Past students of St Vincent’s College Bendigo and their partners are invited to attend the 65th Anniversary and Sports Hall of Fame Dinner, followed by Mass and BBQ at Catherine McAuley College. For all enquiries and booking details, email timothycoates@gmail.com or call Tim Coates on 0407 403 574.

For more events, visit our website.

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

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