News from the Diocese

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Catholic Diocese of Wollongong serving the people of God in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW
  • Pope Francis appoints leading Wollongong welfare worker to Vatican child protection commission

    Pope Francis has appointed Kathleen McCormack, the founding director of CatholicCare in the NSW city of Wollongong, to the Vatican's child protection body.

    Ms McCormack is among eight new members of the commission, led by American cardinal Sean O'Malley, to advise him on safeguarding children from sexual abuse. The appointments were announced overnight in Rome.

    The 17-member Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was announced by the Pope in December 2013. It now consists of eight women and nine men, both the clerical and lay, with new members coming from Australia, Britain, Colombia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, United States and Zambia. It includes two survivors of child sexually abused within the Church.

    Mr Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, said Kathleen McCormack will be a tireless, passionate and committed representative for people sexually abused in the Church in Australia and around the world.

    “This appointment is an important recognition of Kathleen’s life work spent in the services of children and other vulnerable people,” he said.

    “It is also recognition of the work being undertaken in Australia to address the crisis of child sexual abuse.”

    Ms McCormack said she is honoured to be appointed to the Commission and is ready to take up the challenge.

    “This Commission is about best practice in the future, not just for the children in our Church, but for the children of our world. It’s about the Church wanting to lead in the safety of children,” Ms McCormack said.

    “We’ve been through a lot in Australia, and although we have many policies and procedures in place, we still need to do much better. I believe the wisdom we will gain from the Royal Commission in Australia will be invaluable to the Pope’s Commission.

    “I give this commitment to abuse survivors in Australia: when I take my seat on this Commission the only interests I serve will be theirs and the only outcomes I will endorse will deliver abuse survivors justice and compassion.”

    Peter Ingham, Bishop of Wollongong, said he welcomed the Pope’s appointment. “This appointment brings great honour to Kath and, indeed, to the Diocese of Wollongong. It is well deserved. Kath brings much knowledge and expertise to the area of child protection and more importantly, great dedication and commitment,” he said.

    Kathleen McCormack  AM

    Kathleen McCormack AM (Australia) was Director of Welfare of CatholicCare in the Diocese of Wollongong for 29 years. Kathleen was the first employee, developing the agency into a quality assured provider of social services with staff and volunteers numbering over 300 and a turnover of $14 million.

     

    Kathleen is a social welfare worker, with a Masters of Management from the University of Technology, Sydney. During her time as Director of CatholicCare, Kathleen worked extensively and held leadership roles in Family Services, Child Protection, Out Of Home Care and Ageing and Disability Services.

    She has been involved in successful lobbying campaigns to Federal and State Government and has played an integral role in the development of Child Protection protocols and Professional Standards in NSW.

    Kathleen has provided support to victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Wollongong. In the mid 1990's she initiated a series of international speakers to visit Australia on the importance of a 'Culture of Safety'. 

    She is a strong advocate for training and professional development of religious and diocesan personnel on child protection, particularly screening and selection protocols, monitoring and supervision systems, policy development for the prevention of abuse and best practices to protect the most vulnerable.

    Kathleen has actively assisted in the establishment of church and community-based organisations, boards and committees. She was a pioneer in establishing peak bodies such as Catholic Welfare Australia (now Catholic Social Services Australia) and co-founded Centacare (now CatholicCare). 

    She has represented the Diocese on committees such as the National Catholic Association of Family Agencies, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission, NSW Catholic Social Welfare Committee and the Australian Catholic University.

    Kathleen received a Member of the Order of Australia as part of the 2007 Australia Day honours list. Upon her retirement in April 2014, Kathleen was awarded a Papal Honour by Pope Francis as a Dame in the Order of St Gregory the Great.

  • Sympathy and prayers extended to all affected by Sydney siege

    The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Archbishop Denis Hart, extends the deepest sympathy and prayers of the Catholic Church in Australia to all people affected by the siege in Martin Place, Sydney.
     
    ‘We pray for all who were held hostage during the siege, especially those who tragically lost their lives. May the surviving hostages quickly heal and find new peace in their lives.’
     
    ‘We unite in prayer in support of the families and friends who are today grieving the loss of their loved ones. We thank and pray for the men and women of the police and emergency services who selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way during this tragic event to save the lives of fellow Australians.’
     
    ‘We also thank and pray for medical staff and community leaders who gave so willingly, patiently and courageously to manage the siege and bring it to the best possible conclusion.’
     
    Archbishop Hart expresses his faith that all Australians will be as one in condemning this tragic event, and that they will join together as people of goodwill to support each other.  
     
    ‘As we prepare to celebrate the joy of Christmas, let us pursue enduring peace and understanding. Affected as we are by such awful loss and hurt to our fellow Australians, let us reach out with the power of love to bring peace, healing and goodwill to all.’ 

  • Christmas Mass and Reconciliation Times 2014

  • Your Opportunity to question the Church's Royal Commission Spokesperson

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been engaged in its work for almost two years now and Bishop Peter Ingham has invited Mr Francis Sullivan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) to visit the Diocese again.

    The TJHC was established at the commencement of the Royal Commission to:

    • Speak for the Church in matters related to the Commission and child sexual abuse;
    • Coordinate the Church’s legal representation at the Commission;
    • Identify systemic institutional failures that have impeded the protection of children; and
    • Indicate to the Commission the procedures that have been put in place over the past 20 years.

    Francis Sullivan will address three main questions:

    • What are the major learnings from the Royal Commission to date?
    • As a Church and as a Diocese – what should we be doing NOW to respond to these learnings in a robust manner?
    • What are the learnings from the Wollongong case which went before the Commission?

    There will also be opportunity for questions from the audience.

    WHEN: Thursday 11 December 2014, 7.30pm – 9.00pm
    WHERE: Xavier Centre 38 Harbour Street, Wollongong (next to Cathedral)
    WH0: All parishioners in the Diocese
    RSVP: 5 December 2014 (for catering)
    CONTACT: jennifer [DOT] raposio [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au | 02 4222 2411
    COST: free (includes light supper)

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD POSTER

  • Way of Light - Relic of St Teresa of Ávila to visit the Diocese in December

    A relic of St Teresa of Ávila (her pilgrim staff)  is on a worldwide pilgrimage which began in Ávila on her feast day, 15 October, 2014.  The first country visited was Brazil, followed by many countries of Latin America.  It will finally return home to Ávila for her 500th birthday, 28 March 2015.  

    Teresa's pilgrim staff will be visiting Australia on 18 December 2014 with a series of events at the Mount Carmel precinct in Varroville NSW.

    St Teresa's walking staff is a wonderful symbol of her life.  She had three gifts of grace: The Lord gifted her with with mystical experience; then gave her the gift of understanding; and,  thirdly the gift of finding the words and images to express her understanding in her books.  

    Her spiritual teaching is in some ways a support for our own spiritual journey.  So we will celebrate with her walking staff by moments of prayer and reflection and then walking meditatively through our land.

    Highlights of the day's events will include an Aboriginal welcome to country before meeting the students of Mount Carmel Catholic High School on the morning they receive their HSC results. We will then walk through the fields and paddocks from the High School to the Carmel of Mary and Joseph Convent visiting on the way Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Parish and the Mount Carmel Retreat Centre and Carmelite Priory.

    Everyone is invited to join the pilgrimage especially our youth and young adults.

    The pilgrimage will conclude with Mass at 11.30am in the Convent Chapel followed by a time of reflection before a light lunch.  It will be a fiesta, Aussie style!

    For further information:

    www.teresa500.org.au
    or Fr Greg Burke, OCD
    Mount Carmel Priory
    247 St Andrews Rd
    Varroville NSW 2566
    T (02) 8795 3457 | M 0421 158 067

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE POSTER/PROGRAM

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MORE INFORMATION ON TERESA PILGRIMAGE IN VARROVILLE

  • Full Time Position Available – Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator

    The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong is seeking applications from suitably qualified and motivated persons for the position of Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Diocese. The position is located in Wollongong and requires the ability to travel around the Diocese.

    Applicants should have a proven ability in providing support for and development of a youth ministry integrated into the life of parish and school communities. They should demonstrate a commitment to the mission of the Catholic Church. It is essential that applicants possess experience in Church ministry and some tertiary qualifications relevant to the position are preferable.

    The position is full-time with some work required at nights and over weekends. The successful applicant will be required to undergo criminal and child protection checks. Applications need to be submitted by close of business on Friday 5 December 2014. For a copy of the position description, please contact Richard McMahon on (02) 4222 2464 or 0437 497 526 or richard [DOT] mcmahon [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au.

  • ORDER NOW! Wisdom from the Abbey with Sr Hilda Scott OSB | DOUBLE CD

    We are delighted to announce the release, in time for Christmas, of Sr Hilda Scott’s new Double-CD “Wisdom from the Abbey” containing 46 audio reflections perfect for personal use and for parish/school/group/staff prayer and reflections.

    Anyone who has heard Sr Hilda speak will testify to her gift of using every-day stories to bring the listener into the loving presence of God in a simple yet powerful way.

    These short audio reflections (ranging from 1:22 to 3:55 minutes each) by Sr Hilda were originally aired throughout Australia on “The Journey” Catholic Radio Show in 2013/2014 (www.radio.dow.org.au) produced weekly by the Catholic Diocese of Wollongong.

    Sr Hilda’s weekly reflections have became so popular among radio listeners that the Jamberoo Abbey and Catholic Diocese of Wollongong have decided to release the reflections as a physical Double-CD available to purchase through the Abbey or to download on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon MP3, CD Baby and a number of other digital download stores.

    Wisdom from the Abbey is a rich resource that can be listened to over and over again with fresh new insights on every listening.

    ABOUT SR HILDA SCOTT OSB

    Sr Hilda is the Vocations Director for the enclosed Benedictine Abbey at Jamberoo. She became known to wider Australia through the ABC TV documentary, The Abbey, in which five Australian women were invited to live a monastic life for 33 days and nights.

    Apart from her work as Vocations Director, she also engages in spiritual direction, retreat giving, talks and formation work with the newer members of the community, not to mention the “nitty-gritty” everyday happenings of kitchen, garden and housekeeping, all within a life of prayer for the world.

    Wisdom from the Abbey Double CD costs only $15.00 (Inc GST) plus postage and handling. Order now by downloading an order form below and email/fax/mail to Sr Hannah Massy-Greene OSB at The Abbey at:

    E abbeybookscraft [AT] bigpond [DOT] com
    AbbeyGifts [AT] AbbeyCraftsandBooks [DOT] com [DOT] auF (02) 4236 0041

    695 Jamberoo Mountain Road, Jamberoo NSW 2533

    or contact Sr Hannah directly on (02) 4236 1192 to place a phone order. 

     

  • Full Time Position Available – Diocesan Communications Officer – Graphic Design

     

    This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced Graphic Designer looking to push themselves beyond their creative limit.

    The Diocesan Communications Officer – Graphic Design role is a full-time position commencing January 2015. The purpose of the role is to assist Bishop Peter Ingham and the Diocesan Communications Team in its support of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan by communicating its mission of evangelisation, particularly in the area of new evangelisation.

    The role serves and supports the Office of the Bishop and parishes as well as providing some services to other agencies and organisations in the Diocese. Although the role has a predominantly graphic design focus, it is broader in scope and requires a dynamic applicant who is looking for a challenge and a willingness to broaden their skill base and knowledge within communications. The role has the following main areas of focus:

    1. Providing creative direction and graphic design support for all print and digital diocesan publications, events, websites, branding and collateral
    2. Assisting with the development and management of a new diocesan website and parish website project
    3. Providing audio, photography and videography support services
    4. Assisting with the management of social media content
    5. Assisting with the development of a communications strategy

    To apply for this exciting opportunity, download the full position description and send your application to Mary Hiscox at mary [DOT] hiscox [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au by COB Friday 5 December 2014. Applications must specify residency or work visa status, include a CV/Portfolio and a cover letter which addresses the Selection Criteria. For further information contact the Diocesan Communications Coordinator, Daniel Hopper on 4222 2461 or daniel [DOT] hopper [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au.

  • Bishop Peter Ingham takes up Pope Francis’ call in South West Sydney as new evangelising ministry is announced

    Taking inspiration from Pope Francis’ call for the Catholic Church to reach out in new and radical ways, Bishop Peter Ingham has announced a bold initiative in South West Sydney (part of the Diocese of Wollongong), to reach out to those in the community who are disconnected from church and faith, with a particular focus on Catholics who have stopped attending Church.

    Over recent months, Bishop Ingham has been negotiating with Mr Bruce Downes from The Catholic Guy Impact Communities (TCGIC) to establish an evangelising initiative in South West Sydney to engage adults, young people and children who are disconnected from the Church, in a style that is vibrant and contemporary, including weekly prayer and worship events as well as formation and hospitality that aims to make faith relevant to everyday life and draw people into their parish communities. It will also include such activities as kids’ holiday programs, youth events and outreach to school communities.

    Bishop Ingham said, “This is an exciting venture for us. Pope Francis is fast becoming a hero of mine. He is challenging us to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way’ and he has implored us to be bold and creative in the task of rethinking the style and methods of evangelisation in our communities.

    “And while The Catholic Guy Impact Communities will not replace a parish community, especially its sacramental life, it is indeed revolutionary within the Catholic Church as a model for outreach and reengagement that aims to draw people into life with Jesus Christ and his Church. My hope is that it will be the first of many such initiatives in dioceses throughout Australia and the rest of the Catholic world.”

    Mr Downes is known throughout Australia as “The Catholic Guy” thanks to his widely successful television program that screens multiple times weekly on the Australian Christian Channel on the Foxtel network. Mr Downes established TCGIC to reach out to those who do not connect with the Church, to present the Church and the Gospel in ways that are relatable to today’s world.

    Whilst having been offered invitations to establish this ministry in a number of key dioceses in Australia, Mr Downes has recognised the great missionary potential of establishing TCGIC in South West Sydney, the growth centre of Australia. Mr Downes said, “It has already been an amazing journey so far with Bishop Ingham in the way everything has fallen into place. It’s only the beginning and we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are a group of people who are passionate about finding ways to reach others and proclaim God so that their lives would be changed by God’s personal love for them. Many people who attend our events are still on their individual faith journeys back to regular church attendance.”

    Bishop Ingham and Mr Downes approached the Board of the Campbelltown Catholic Club to partner with them in supporting the initiative for a period of three years and they responded with enthusiasm and generosity, including financial support and use of the Catholic Club venue. Chairman of the Catholic Club, Mr David Olsson said, “The Club is pleased to sponsor such an exciting and innovative initiative. We welcome the Catholic Guy and his team and look forward to a successful and rewarding engagement with the community.”

    TCGIC is on schedule to commence its ministry in the Diocese of Wollongong on 8 March 2015.

    For more information contact The Catholic Guy Ministries on 1300 734 880 or email info [AT] thecatholicguy [DOT] com

  • CatholicCare wins National Award

     

    The Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) Annual Awards were presented on Tuesday October 21 at Parliament House, Canberra, with CatholicCare awarded one of the major prizes.

    My Kids and Me won the Norma Parker Award for the Most Innovative Program.

    My Kids and Me is a unique seven–week program, developed and delivered by CatholicCare Sydney and CatholicCare Wollongong, offering therapeutic and educational assistance to parents whose children have been removed and placed in out-of-home care. It aims to improve parents’ relationships with their children, their children’s carers and relevant government and other workers.

    Parents whose children are in foster care are frequently advised to go to parenting courses. According to Michael Austin, Director of CatholicCare Wollongong, such courses are not tailored to the particular needs of these parents.

    "Generally speaking, parenting courses are designed to assist parents gain new practical
    skills and then they are encouraged to go home and practice any new strategies they have learnt with their kids", he said. 

    "These courses are not suitable for parents who have had their children removed from their care. So we designed this program to give participants an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and make positive changes in their lives", he continued.

    The group allows parents to share, in a non-judgemental setting, the experience of having their child removed, understand the possible reasons why they were removed, and to come to terms with the real possibly that restoration may not be an option.

    Judges for the award commented that My Kids and Me is addressing a very significant need in the community because "not only does it work with the parents to acknowledge the loss of this particular child, but it assists them in recognising changes that may need to be made in their parenting of future children".

    The CSSA Awards are held each year, and exist to recognise and promote the work of
    CSSA member organisations and of individuals working in the broader social services
    sector.