News from the Diocese


Catholic Diocese of Wollongong serving the people of God in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW
  • Journey Magazine Spring 2014 Out Now!

    Click the image below to read the Journey Magazine Spring 2014 Edition

  • Family & Children's Ministry Conference - REGISTER NOW!

    How do we share the joy of the Gospel with children and families, either in the classroom or through parish programs and initiatives?

    This two day conference is for teachers, catechists and all those who minister with children and families. It will explore the many and varied ways in which we can enliven our ministry and more effectively share the Good news with children and families.

    Both days will feature input from Dr Aoife McGrath along with a variety of workshop streams highlighting specific ministry areas. The first day (Friday) is aimed more at teachers and catechists who minister to children in the classroom environment.


    Conference Details

    FRIDAY 10 OCTOBER 2014 (9.30am-3.30pm) - Our Lady of Mount Carmel Retreat Centre (247 St Andrews Road, Varroville NSW) Click here for map to venue.

    SATURDAY 11 OCTOBER 2014 (9.30am-3.30pm) - Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (193 St Andrews Road, Varroville NSW) Click here for a map to venue.


    Conference Program (Both Days)

    9:00am - 9:30am          Gather & Welcome

    9:30am - 10:30am      Keynote Address - Dr Aoife McGrath

    10:30am - 10:50am      Morning Tea

    10:50am - 11:10am      Keynote Responses

    11:15am - 12:15pm    Workshops Round 1

    12:20pm - 12:50pm       Lunch

    12:55pm - 2:00pm      Workshops Round 2

    2:05pm - 3:05pm        Workshops Round 3

    3:10pm - 3:30pm           Summary & Close

    Click here to download the program.


    Keynote Speaker - Dr Aoife McGrath

    The keynote addresses for both days will take a closer look at what Pope Francis has called “the art of accompaniment” (Evangelii Gaudium 169-173) and what this means for sharing the Gospel within the context of ministry with families and children.



    Dianne Burn
    Children and young people can and love to meditate. In this workshop we explore Jesus as a teacher of contemplation and how we can invite children into the stillness and silence it offers as a way of assisting them and you in the classroom.

    Michael Mangan
    We all know that children love music! In this interactive session, Michael will share pieces from his extensive repertoire which are ideal for the Religious Education classroom and sure to engage K-6 students.

    Anne Frawley-Mangan
    Join Anne in discovering ways of using drama in the classroom, with a particular focus on the religious imagination. In this fun, non-threatening and interactive workshop you will learn skills and techniques which will confirm that drama and Religious Education are indeed a match made in heaven!

    Meredith Lemos
    Meredith will briefly describe the aims and objectives of the Family Educator Project, share and give practical suggestions on effective initiatives strengthening parish/school/family relationships as opportunities to connect/reconnect parents back to their personal faith and the faith life of the school and parish.

    Paul Mason
    These two sessions uncover the meaning and rationale of celebrating a separate children’s Liturgy of the Word. We overview the celebration, exploring its nature as both proclamation and celebration as well as its ritual structure. We consider the participants and ministers involved and explore some practical issues and suggested resources.

    Michael Mangan & Anne Frawley-Mangan
    Vibrant music is the perfect way to engage children, at their level, in full, conscious and active participation in school and parish liturgical celebrations. Come along ready to sing, move and have fun as Michael & Anne share songs which can help make your celebrations more child friendly.

    Darren McDowell
    Do you have enough resources to assist in initiating children of catechetical age into the life of your community? In this workshop we will explore some of the new resources available to assist RCIC teams in supporting and nurturing children on their journey towards baptism and becoming full members of the faith community.

    Rebecca Miller
    A range of resources that aim to assist parishes to engage and welcome families and build family faith will be presented. A focus of the workshop will be how we can bridge the gap between our parish and school communities. Discussion and questions will be encouraged!

    Sr Sue Barker
    How do we prepare children aged
    3-8 years of age? It is a prime opportunity for some family evangelization? While such children are too young for the RCIC, these families need support, guidance and resources. This workshop presents a process which a member of a Baptism team might use.

    Patricia Mowbray
    Many parishes ask “What can we do for….?” This workshop will assist parishes appreciate that different questions are required. Let’s ask: How is this parish community liberating for all members? How does everyone contribute? How do we build relationships in this community? How can we learn about the experience of people with disability? This workshop will assist you in developing answers to these questions.

    Click here to download keynote and workshop descriptions.



    You can register for a Single Day Pass for $20 ($18.18 for Catholic GST Religious Groups eg, parishes, schools and agencies) or register for the Full Conference for $30 ($27.27 for Catholic GST Religious Groups). Registration includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

    The conference is using the TryBooking online registration system. Payment is by Visa or Mastercard. In addition to the registration fee there is a TryBooking fee of 30 cents per ticket. You will also be asked to select your Workshop preferences during the registration process. If you would prefer to download a paper registration form to complete and mail/fax/email to us, please click here to download the paper registration form. Otherwise, click the below button register online:



    More Information

    If you have any questions, do not hesistate to contact:

    Darren McDowell
    Diocesan Faith Formation Coordinator
    P 02 4222 2463
    F 02 4222 2479
    E cfl [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au



  • Positions Vacant - Youth Ministry Support, Casual Roles

    Our Diocesan Youth Office is seeking young, vibrant staff to work on a casual basis in a team environment assisting with youth ministry in the Diocese of Wollongong. Share your enthusiasm and experience in youth ministry, networking with like-minded people and support key youth ministry initiatives. Relevant experience and training in youth ministry is required and skills in areas such as drama, music, graphic design, event management and administration are preferred. Hours are flexible, from one day a week, and include occasional evening and weekend work. A driver’s licence is required.

    Resumes may be sent to richard [DOT] mcmahon [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au and should include Working with Children Check number, and three referees, including your parish priest. The positions would suit university students studying for an appropriate degree or young people who are already working part-time or casual.

    Applications close on 31 July 2014. For enquiries, and full position description, please contact Richard McMahon on 0437 497 526.

  • INVITATION - Diocesan Assembly on Saturday 6 September 10am - 2pm

    Everyone is invited to attend our upcoming Diocesan Assembly - Saturday 6 September at Mount Carmel Catholic High School, 10am - 2pm.

    The Assembly, hosted by the Diocesan Pastoral Council, will assist you in planning for 2015, especially in the areas of pastoral care for families, young people and the faith formation of people in your communities.

    Our theme is “Working in Communion as Bearers of Christ’s Love” with the purpose of the assembly being:

    - To strengthen the bonds of cooperation between the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Parish Councils, Parishes, Schools and Catholic Agencies;

    - To share learnings, actions and achievements within the current Diocesan Pastoral Plan 2011-2015.

    - To work together in developing directions and strategies across the Diocese in the areas of families, youth and adult faith formation particularly as we prepare the Diocesan Plan for 2015-2017.

    The assembly is being held on: 
    When: Saturday, 6 September 2014
    Time: 10.00am – 2.00pm (includes lunch)
    Where: School Hall, Mount Carmel Catholic High School
    210 Spitfire Drive, Varroville (ample parking is available onsite)

    The day will include input from diocesan staff, along with ample time for participant discussion on developments in each focus area. 

    The Assembly will also be a time for participants to share their own initiatives as we seek to live our call as Bearers of Christ’s Love. Throughout the day there will be opportunity for feedback and sharing of local initiatives.

    For further information please contact Darren McDowell on 4222 2463 or darren [DOT] mcdowell [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au Registration is essential for catering purposes and production of material. 

    To register, please contact Helen Bennett helen [DOT] bennett [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au or 4222 2403 by Wednesday 3 September 2014 to book your place.

  • Spirit Alive Youth Festival with Sr Therese Mills MGL - 12 September

    Don’t miss our Spirit Alive Festival being held on Friday 12 September at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Hall, Varroville featuring Sr Therese Mills MGL.

    Sr Therese Mills MGL is a Missionaries of God’s Love sister who originally hails from far north Queensland, but now lives in Canberra. She is the Vocations Director for the MGL Sisters and is very experienced in and passionate about youth ministry. She regularly takes young people on mission trips to the most remote parts of Australia and Asia-Pacific, as well as speaking at conferences like ACYF and Ignite.

    In addition to Sr Therese, the evening includes dinner ($5 by donation) and music led by youth musicians and singers, and time to connect with other young people from across our Diocese.

    SPEAKER Sr Therese Mills MGL 
    DATE: Friday 12 September 2014, 6.30pm-9.30pm
    AGES: 15 - 25 years
    VENUE: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Hall, Varroville (193 St Andrews Road)

    For more information contact our Youth Office or Richard McMahon at youth [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au


    youth [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au | 4222 2464



  • Bishop Ingham interview with Nick Rheinberger - ABC Illawarra 97.3FM

    On the occasion of Bishop Peter Ingham's 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, ABC Illawarra's Nick Rheinberger sat down with Bishop Ingham for an extended interview covering topics such as Bishop Ingham's reasons for becoming a priest, the difficulties of his priesthood, the recent Royal Commission, his role as Bishop and employer of the Diocese of Wollongong and Bishop Ingham's letter that he received from Pope Francis congratulating him on his 50th anniversary.



  • Bishop Peter Ingham celebrates 50 years as a priest with a letter from Pope Francis

    Bishop Peter Ingham was surprised this week to receive a letter from Pope Francis congratulating him on his upcoming 50th anniversary as a priest this Friday 18 July.

    The letter from Pope Francis, in Latin, conveyed his good wishes and blessing upon Bishop Ingham, the clergy and the people of the Diocese of Wollongong. Pope Francis wrote in the letter, “I send you this letter my venerable brother, because you will celebrate your 50th anniversary of your ordination to the priesthood. I wish to convey my good wishes to you for having consistently exercised the sacred ministry. For this you are to be congratulated… May the blessing be both to you and through you to your Vicars General and the Church community of your diocese. I very lovingly impart my Apostolic Blessing and ask from you prayers for me and my Petrine Ministry.” 

    When asked about the letter from Pope Francis, Bishop Ingham said, “I was honoured and delighted to receive the letter. I was especially touched that he called me his ‘brother’ because he too is a bishop and I lead the local diocese in communion with him leading the Church throughout the world.

    “As my 50th anniversary comes closer, and as I get older, I have been reflecting on my life as a priest a lot more. I have come to appreciate the great honour that has been bestowed on me, firstly to be a priest and then a bishop. Even as a bishop I am fundamentally a priest and shepherd of God’s people just with a larger flock to serve and to bring into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    “I see my calling summed up in the attitude of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas in the New Testament, who ‘put fresh heart into the disciples encouraging them to persevere in the faith.’ (Acts 14:22) Like Pope Francis, I’ve come to appreciate that Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God and I’ve always tried to be a priest with a sense of joy and good humour which can be a contagious way to spread the Gospel.”

    Over thirty students from St Brigid’s Catholic Parish Primary School Gwynneville visited Bishop Ingham on Wednesday morning giving heartfelt speeches as well a gift, cake and cards. The cards contained hundreds of messages from all the students at St Brigid’s including Sophie and Olivia from Year 5 who wrote, “God has been with you for the 50 years of priesthood and may he continue to be with you forever. May you continue to be looked up to and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.”

    Year 3 student, Malachi, wrote, “Congratulations! You must be very tired after all that. Happy 50 years.” Another Year 3 student, Ella, wrote, “I hope you have a special day and you are in my heart. Enjoy your day.”

    Bishop Ingham was ordained into the priesthood on 18 July 1964 at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney by Cardinal Gilroy. In his early ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney he served as Assistant Priest in Rosebery, Newtown, St Marys (near Penrith) and Auburn South. Then followed six years as Private Secretary to Cardinal Freeman and ten years as Secretary of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

    He was nominated a Prelate of Honour (Monsignor) to Pope John Paul II in 1986. In 1990 he returned to parish ministry as Parish Priest of St Charles Ryde. During this time he also took on the duties of membership of the College of Consultors and the Council of Priests.

    He was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in 1993 by Cardinal Clancy and installed as the fourth Bishop of Wollongong on 25 July 2001 where he has been serving ever since.

    The Lumen Christi Catholic Parishes Wollongong, encompassing the parishes of Wollongong, Fairy Meadow and Gwynneville will be celebrating Bishop Ingham’s 50th anniversary at the 10.30am Mass at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Wollongong on Sunday 20 July. All are warmly invited to attend. A special Diocesan Mass to commemorate Bishop Ingham’s anniversary will be celebrated at the Cathedral in September.


  • Liturgy, Ministry, Mission - An Evening with Fr Paul Turner

  • Bishop Peter Ingham - Update on Parishes Working Together

    10 July 2014


    Update on Parishes Working Together

    It is now some time since I last wrote to you about Parishes Working Together. You will remember that at Pentecost last year, following the extensive education and consultation process across the Diocese, I endorsed the recommendations in the Action Plan to proceed with the changes required for the ongoing building of vibrant, sustainable Church communities in our efforts to be bearers of Christ’s love.

    In October 2013, following an update of our parish statistics, A Resource for Parishes Working Together was distributed in all parishes of the Diocese. This forms the basis for planning of proposed clusters of parishes in our Diocese in the years ahead.

    In the Northern Illawarra, a pilot program for a cluster of four parishes has been conducted. Recently, the cluster held a cluster assembly to respond to the Cluster Action Plan developed by the Cluster Planning Committee. Over the last nine months there have been many meetings and I congratulate the parish priests and parishioners of the four parishes for their collaboration and dedication as they plan for the future. I am looking forward to receiving their final Action Plan with recommendations for the cluster. The pilot program has already given us valuable insights into the best way forward and will be a useful tool for the development of other clusters.

    At a diocesan level, the Diocesan Action Plan demanded that we become more strategic in our outlook. To ensure the successful implementation of our Action Plan, key diocesan Councils and Agencies developed a set of strategic directions to address the growth and renewal in our Diocese. Mr William Walker was appointed as Diocesan Executive Officer to assist me in overseeing policy formulation, strategic planning and implementation of the goals of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. He will also assist me, together with the respective directors, in the work of the Diocesan agencies: Catholic Education, CatholicCare and the Catholic Development Fund in fulfilling their governance responsibilities.

    In our Resource for Parishes Working Together, a timeline for recommendations and actions is included. This timeline for renewal and structural change continues to be flexible to reflect the realities of parish life as well as the directions of the various government agencies. You will have heard of the plans to develop a second airport at Badgerys Creek and the planning for rail and road infrastructure to service the airport as well as the communities being developed in South West Sydney. Much of this growth and development is occurring in our Diocese and we are attentive to this changing landscape in our planning.

    Eventually all parishes will be developing their plans for the future but priorities will be established according to the needs of our growing communities and the availability of parish priests to lead and support our faith communities. We are also planning for a greater involvement of lay people to work together with the clergy in the mission of the Church. The staff of the Office of the Bishop will continue to offer support and guidance in all of these endeavours.

    I am most heartened to see the enthusiasm and commitment of our clergy, religious and parishioners in this time of renewal and change. Let us take inspiration from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who is leading us to deeply question what it means to be a Catholic Christian in the twenty-first century in a world where there is much wealth and abundance, yet, at the same time so much suffering and inequity.

    As Pope Francis says:

    "Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities. A proposal of goals without an adequate communal search for the means of achieving them will inevitably prove illusory... The important thing is to not walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters…" (33, EG)

    Let us continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we journey together, confident that it is in the Immaculate Heart of Mary that our Diocese resides.

    Yours sincerely

    Most Rev Peter W Ingham DD


  • Bishop Peter Ingham's Message to the People of the Diocese Regarding the Royal Commission Public Hearing

    My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

    As you are aware, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been conducting public and private hearings throughout Australia since early last year. The Diocese of Wollongong has been called to appear before the Commission, commencing Tuesday, 24 June 2014, and continuing until Friday, 4 July 2014. The hearing will be held at Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney.

    In a media release dated 4 June 2014, the Royal Commission said:

    “It is anticipated that the hearing will look at the relationship between the Diocesan Bishop (and, in his absence, the Diocesan Administrator) and the Holy See (Vatican) in matters concerning preventative and disciplinary action taken in response to allegations of child sexual abuse against John Gerard Nestor.

    “The scope and purpose of the public hearing is to inquire into:

    1.      The response of the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong to allegations of child sexual abuse, and related criminal proceedings, against John Gerard Nestor.

    2.      Any other related matters.”

    As we move into this important time for the Diocese, I renew my heartfelt apology to victims of sexual abuse by Catholic Church personnel. I also apologise to their families and all who have shared their suffering. Victims and their families must receive respect, justice and compassion. I am conscious that the pain of those who have suffered abuse and of their families may be heightened as the Royal Commission moves into this next phase.

    I have been asked to appear before the Royal Commission in person, together with others who have held or hold a role relevant to the matter under consideration. It is my intention and that of others called on behalf of the Diocese, to continue to fully support the work of the Royal Commission.

    The Royal Commission will continue to scrutinise the child protection practices of institutions and, in time, will develop recommendations that will result in greater protection for children throughout Australia. The leadership of the Diocese is committed to continue to be proactive in implementing any safeguarding practices that will ensure the protection of children.

    Any person with a complaint of mistreatment or abuse is strongly urged to come forward to the appropriate authority. If the complaint is of a criminal nature, please notify the police through the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. You are also encouraged to contact the Royal Commission Support Line on 1800 099 340. If you need assistance with this, or if the matter is not of a criminal nature, you can contact the Catholic Church’s Towards Healing Helpline on 1300 369 977 or contact the Diocese on 1800 225 922.

    I am mindful that, even if not directly affected, parishioners, students, parents, clergy, seminarians, religious, staff and volunteers, may be disturbed by what is reported during the public hearings. Should you feel that pastoral support or counselling would be of assistance to you, please contact the Diocese on 1800 225 922 and the appropriate support can be arranged.

    I affirm again the commitment of the Diocese to work with the Royal Commission and I invite all people of the Diocese to join me in prayer that our combined efforts may lead to the greater protection of children and to justice and healing for victims of sexual abuse.


    Bishop Peter W Ingham DD
    Bishop of Wollongong
    4 June 2014

    Download a PDF copy of the message here