On Tuesday 22 November, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne launched the Melbourne Catholic Professionals (MCP) network at a well-attended luncheon at the Park Hyatt—an opportunity for business and professional leaders to gather in an atmosphere of fellowship and faith.

The aims of the MCP are to provide a platform for people to actively participate in the life and mission of the Church and to encounter other like-minded people, build professional relationships, form new friendships and be encouraged to live out their Catholic faith and values.

Catholic professional networks such as MCP are a growing movement, and Melbourne now joins the ranks of several other archdioceses around the world who have launched similar initiatives. David Powick, Director of Development and Philanthropy at the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, points out that Catholics are achieving extraordinary success across a variety of sectors: ‘The MCP network brings Catholics into contact with the Archbishop and other professional leaders. These opportunities for testimony and witness play important roles in inspiring others to live out their Christian faith in the workplace.’

A particular attraction of these gatherings is the opportunity to hear from local and international speakers on the role that their Catholic faith has played in shaping their personal and professional lives. Inaugural keynote speaker Mr Allan Myers AC KC addressed the November gathering of around 240 people, describing his early life experiences growing up in a devoutly Catholic family and offering further reflections on what it means to be Catholic in Australia today. Mr Myers’ address conveyed the richness and diversity of his experiences across a professional lifetime.

Now a King's Counsel and a practising barrister, as well as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Mr Myers grew up in a hard-working but humble family, both parents having left school at a very young age. He fondly remembered his father as a living witness of his Catholic faith: ‘My Dad was a very devoted man […] He was working hard all the time [...] I hoped to be as useful a citizen, and as good and loyal a Catholic Christian, as my father and my mother’, he said.

Mr Myers also spoke of the changes brought about in more recent years by Australia’s widespread economic prosperity, the explosion of scientific knowledge and the availability of higher education, which have allowed for ‘new forms of social relationships to be formed outside of the constraints of earlier times.’ Some of these events, Mr Myers said, have posed a challenge to the institutional form of the Catholic Church:

The Gospel values, the Christian message of love, the unique value of the person that is not challenged by the advance of scientific knowledge [point to] a Catholic Christian religion that is the way and the path to a life of fulfilment. One can and should participate in public life as a Catholic Christian asserting the values to which one aspires to faithfully adhere. Say, ‘I am a Catholic. This is what we believe.‘ Get into the public square as an acknowledged Catholic, expressing opinions based on Gospel teaching and values. Be not afraid.’

At the conclusion of his address, Mr Myers referred to the early days of Pope Francis’ pontificate and discussed the meaning of an ‘authentic faith’. In Evangelii Gaudium, Mr Myers noted, Pope Francis wrote that an authentic faith ‘always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses.’ Speaking to this dichotomy, Mr Myers alluded to what we have in common as Catholic Christians—that which binds us together as the Body of Christ—and advocated for ‘a Church that truly is a light on the hill for all humanity.’

A MCP membership program will be announced in January, which will include attendance to three lunches in 2023. For further information, please contact events@cam.org.au.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is grateful for the generous sponsorship of Morgan Stanley—the chief financial advising body for the Archdiocese.

All photos by Casamento Photography.