News from the Diocese


Catholic Diocese of Wollongong serving the people of God in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW
  • EMMANUEL - Advent and Christmas Reflections 2016 | ORDER NOW


    We are delighted to announce that we are now taking orders for Emmanuel – Daily Advent and Christmas Reflections 2016 starting from only $2.73 a copy!

    Continuing the tradition from past years, Emmanuel is a 72 page pocket-size book containing short daily reflections from the beginning of Advent (27 November 2016) through to the Baptism of the Lord (9 January 2017) primarily for personal use, but also appropriate for group use such as parish, Church agency, religious community and school staff/class prayer.

    These spiritually rich, yet accessible, daily reflections have been written by twelve contributors from the Diocese of Wollongong:

    • Sr Eileen Brown SGS (Good Samaritan Sisters, Wollongong)
    • Mr Ken Bryant (Head of Catholic Life, Education and Mission Services, Catholic Education, Diocese of Wollongong)
    • Fr David Catterall PP (Parish Priest, St Mary MacKillop Parish Oran Park)
    • Fr Sean Cullen PP (Parish Priest, St Thomas Aquinas Parish Bowral and St Michael's Parish Mittagong)
    • Fr Leo Duck (Priest in Residence, Holy Spirit Church Vincentia)
    • Mr Peter Gilmore (Faith Education Officer, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Diocese of Wollongong)
    • Fr Shane Kelleher OCD PP (Parish Priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Varroville)
    • Mrs Suzanne Marden (Team Leader for Staff Spiritual Formation, Catholic Education, Diocese of Wollongong)
    • Miss Trish McCarthy (Faith Education Officer, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Diocese of Wollongong)
    • Fr Christopher G Sarkis PP (Parish Priest, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish Rosemeadow)
    • Sr Hilda Scott OSB (Benedictine Abbey Jamberoo)
    • Fr Graham Schmitzer PP (Parish Priest, Immaculate Conception Parish Unanderra)

    Emmanuel also features beautiful religious artworks from the Masters such as Duccio, Caravaggio and Fra Angelico with enlightening “artwork spotlight” descriptions written by Fr Graham Schmitzer PP.

    View a sample of the book

    Many customers buy bulk copies of the book for family and friends as an alternative to Christmas cards. We have included a page in the book for you to write your Christmas gift message.

    If you have any questions, please contact us on (02) 4222 2400 or email us at orders [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au

    Delivery is expected to begin in the first week of November.

    Please note, if you live in the Diocese of Wollongong, please check with your parish, school, agency or religious order before ordering as they may be ordering copies on your behalf.

  • Stand Up and be Counted - Mark your Religion on the 2016 Census

    Faith is not in decline around the world. Religious affiliation is growing and faith remains a vital part of the life, culture, thinking and behaviour of individuals in Australia, positively impacting society and culture in many and varied ways.

    In our multi-faith and multicultural country, religious freedom is an essential basic human right. People of faith and the organisations that have grown out of our faith traditions make a massive contribution to things such as education, healthcare, aged care and an array of social services in our nation.

    It is important that people of faith – those who are regularly connected to organised religion, and those who simply regard themselves as believers – mark the faith they identify with when participating in the National Census. 

    Saying “yes” to your belief matters because it:

    1. Allows people of faith, their religious leaders and government representatives to credibly and confidently contribute to the public discourse on a variety of issues such as the economy, education, healthcare and social services.
    2. Helps to underline the importance of freedom of belief in Australia and also enables leaders to understand the proportional breakdown of beliefs so as to best nurture interfaith harmony that is a feature of our multicultural nation.
    3. Provides decision makers with vital information for effectively planningfor the future of our nation such as the location of places of worship and the many ‘good works’ done by people of faith across religious traditions.
    4. Provides a snapshot of who we are, including what we value and what drives us. For so many Australians, their values and reasons for the way they act stem from their religious beliefs.
    5. Can be used as a future determinant of the allocation of roles and government resourcing and co-funding with faith groups who make a massive contribution to society in education, healthcare and social services.

    Stand up and be counted when you participate in the Census this Tuesday 9 August 2016.


  • Mass for Peace at St Francis Xavier Cathedral - 10:30am Sunday 31 July


    At 10:30am on Sunday 31 July 2016 at Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral Wollongong (36 Harbour Street) Fr Ron Peters will celebrate Mass specifically for the intention of  world peace. There has been so much sadness of late and the most recent act of horror committed in France in the church of Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray with the murder of the elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel, brings to our attention again the need we have to pray for peace. All people are most welcome to participate in this Mass.

    On Wednesday 3 August at the 12:10pm Mass at the Cathedral, the Mass will again be offered for this special intention. Fr Ron has asked members of the five schools – Holy Spirit College, St Mary Star of the Sea College, Edmund Rice College, St Brigids Catholic Parish Primary School and Good Samaritan Catholic Parish Primary School – to take charge of the various ministries within that Mass. Everyone is encouraged to come along to pray for the gift of peace. You are all most welcome.


    Message from Bishop Peter Ingham

    It is in moments of terrible evil, such as the murder of my brother priest in France, that we are challenged as a civilisation to choose what kind of people we want to be. Hate for hate will not produce love, violence for violence will not produce peace, nor anger for anger produce self-control.

    So today I echo the response of my brother, Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen, who has left us at World Youth Day in Kraków to join his Archdiocese in mourning:

    “The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men. I leave here hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the true ones. I ask them not to give in to the violence and become apostles of the civilisation of love.”

    I invite all people of good will to pray with me for Fr Jacques, his family and the parishioners at St Étienne-du-Rouvray. I also pray for his executioners and join in the cry of our Lord during his Passion, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

    Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, Pray for us. +P.I.

  • Catholic Faith & Life Formation Calendar | July to November 2016
  • A Vote for the Voiceless: A statement by the Catholic Bishops of Australia on the election


    Australia’s Catholic bishops have called for the voices of the thrown-away people to be heard in the long federal election campaign. The bishops today issued a statement on the 2016 Federal Election, addressed to Catholics and all people of goodwill.

    “During the long election campaign there will be much talk about the economy and the need for good economic management at a time of some uncertainty”, the Bishops said. “Both sides of politics will state their economic credentials in a bid to win power.

    “The economy of course is important and there does need to be sound management. But, as Pope Francis has pointed out, there is also a danger that the economy can become a kind of false god to which even human beings have to be sacrificed.

    “This leads to what the Pope has called the throwaway culture - a culture of over-consumption where all kinds of things are thrown away, wasted, even human beings.

    “That is why we bishops want to speak a word as part of this campaign - not in order to push an ideological line or simply to defend the Church's interests but to give a voice to the voiceless and make their faces seen, however briefly in a statement such as this.

    “But it is not just individual people who are thrown away. The same can happen to the environment, both social and natural. At the heart of a healthy social environment there is marriage and the family.

    “The fact is that economic decisions have been less and less favourable to families in recent years; and it may be that political decisions in the future will undermine further the dignity and uniqueness of marriage as a lifelong union of man and woman. Support for marriage and the family does not look like a big vote-winner, so that even the most basic human institution, upon which the health of a society depends, can become part of the throwaway culture or at best an optional extra.

    “Pope Francis has said that the earth too cries out for justice at this time. The natural environment - the land we live on, the air we breathe, the water we drink - even this can become voiceless, so that the earth's cry for justice can go unheard. Now is the time to act, so that the natural environment is able to meet human needs rather than be sacrificed to the god of the economy.”

    You can find the full statement, including the bishops’ list of some of the people discarded in our throwaway culture, at

    The bishops of Australia have traditionally published an election statement.


    A Prayer for the Election

    Holy God, at the dawn of time you fashioned the world and set it on its course. In the fullness of time your Son took flesh and sowed the seeds of a new order, and day by day your Spirit works to bring to birth your realm of mercy, justice and peace.

    We give you thanks for Australia, the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. In this Spirit we pray for our land and all its people as the nation prepares to elect a new Federal Parliament.

    We pray for the women and men who have offered themselves as candidates for public office. May those who are elected set their hearts always on honourable service and the common good.

    We pray for the citizens of this much-blessed country, that they may take up their responsibility to vote with wisdom and freedom, and choose what is best for the whole community.

    Loving God, to listen to your Son is to be moved to speak up for the unseen and unheard. Give us hearts to heed your Word and mouths to declare your truth. We pray that throughout this election campaign Christian communities will be a voice for the voiceless.

    We especially remember refugees and asylum seekers, indigenous peoples, survivors of sexual abuse, those who suffer family violence, those in the womb, the elderly, those suffering mental illness, those suffering addiction, those entrapped in new forms of slavery and the desperately poor beyond our shores.

    We hold before you the whole of our world, both social and natural. We pray for a healthy society in which marriage and family life is respected and supported. We pray for the earth our home – the land on which we dwell, the air we breathe, the water we drink – that creation’s cry for healing and care is heard.

    Bless all who are elected to serve the nation; may the wisdom and courage of the Holy Spirit guide them to govern for the good of all.

    We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

  • Bishop Peter ordains Fr Michael Dyer to the priesthood in a moving ordination


    St Francis Xavier Cathedral Wollongong was packed to the rafters on Saturday (23 April) as Bishop Peter Ingham ordained Fr Michael Dyer to the priesthood in a truly emotional and moving ordination in front of over 500 clergy, religious, family and friends. 

    Prior to being ordained a deacon, Fr Michael was a Christian Brother, teaching in secondary schools and adult faith formation programs for young and older students. Bishop Ingham said, “Ordinations always make me feel like a proud parent welcoming a new member to the family. I am delighted to see Michael realise his dream of becoming a priest. It is always a long road with what can be a life-time of training and formation, so this weekend will be special.

    “We have another two young men in the Seminary preparing to be priests, and along with me, I know they will be sharing my excitement this weekend and this will provide inspiration for their journey.”

    Of his ordination, Fr Michael said, “Today I take another evolutionary step in my earthly journey. I thank Bishop Peter Ingham, the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Wollongong. I also thank my loving family, friends and colleagues for encouraging me to trust that, ‘Life itself is a pilgrimage and the human being is a pilgrim travelling along the road, making their way to the desired destination.’

    “Thankfully, given my various formation experiences in Australia and abroad, I feel well-equipped to follow Jesus’ invitation to ‘put out into the deep’ and embrace my priestly mission and ministry.”

    Check out photos of the day at the following link:

  • Easter Mass and Ceremony Times 2016


  • Parishioners at Ruse in mourning as beloved parish priest, Fr Tony Daly, passes away

    Bishop Peter Ingham yesterday announced the sad news of the death of Fr Anthony ‘Tony’ Daly, parish priest of St Thomas More Catholic Parish, Ruse, following a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

    In a statement to clergy, Bishop Ingham said, “Our brother priest, Fr Anthony Daly, passed peacefully to eternal life this morning (Monday 29 February 2016) at 8.00am. I saw Fr Tony last night at Bowral Private Hospital, together with two of his sisters. At the weekend, I met with the people of the parish, where there is a lot of grief at the loss of their much-loved parish priest. We offer our sympathy to Fr Tony’s family, his close friends among the clergy, and to all who knew and loved him. May he rest in the Lord’s peace and enjoy the reward of his goodness.”

    Bishop Ingham expressed gratitude to the parishioners of St Thomas More, especially long-serving parish secretary and friend of Fr Tony, Mrs Carmel Munro, as well as Diocesan Clergy Care Coordinator, Mrs Sue Daniels, and all those that cared for Fr Tony at Bowral Private Hospital. Bishop Ingham said, “May their works of service be richly blessed.”

    Prior to joining the priesthood, Fr Tony was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society (SVdP) for thirty-four years and held office as Regional President (Southern Highlands) and Training and Formation Officer with the Wollongong Diocesan Council, as well as being a member of the NSW/ACT State Council Training Committee.

    Fr Tony was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ingham on 27 February 2003 at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Wollongong. Fr Tony served as Assistant Priest at All Saints Parish, Shellharbour City (2003-2007) and Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Rosemeadow (2007). In 2005, Fr Tony was appointed as SVdP Spiritual Advisor and the Diocesan Chaplain to Aboriginal Catholic Ministry. In 2007 Fr Tony was appointed Administrator of St Thomas More Parish, Ruse, and then in 2008 he was appointed Parish Priest, a role in which he continued to serve until his passing.

    The Funeral Rites will be celebrated at St Thomas More Catholic Church (43 Acacia Avenue, Ruse) as follows:

    7.30pm, Wednesday 2 March 2016

    1.00pm, Thursday 3 March 2016

    Following the funeral, Fr Daly’s body will be taken to the Crematorium at the South Chapel, Forest Lawn Cemetery and Crematorium, Leppington.  To fulfil the wishes of Fr Tony, his ashes will later be taken to Broken Hill to be interred with his family.

  • Bishop Peter Ingham's Lenten Message 2016 - "Am I a Spiritual Person?"
  • Bishop Peter Ingham's Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy


    As your Bishop, I want to alert you to the good news that our beloved Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, from the celebration of Mary’s Immaculate Conception on 8 December 2015 until the celebration of Christ the King on 20 November 2016.

    Pope Francis wants us to focus on Jesus’ words, “Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful,” (Lk 6:36) and from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” (Mt 5:7) In the Bible, “mercy” is a key word to describe how God deals with you and me. Pope Francis is asking of us a key question: “Have we long since forgotten how to show the way of mercy and how to live the way of mercy?”

    Pardoning those who offend us is the clearest expression of merciful love, says the Pope, because pardon is the instrument put into our fragile hands to gain peace of heart. To let go of bitterness, resentment, anger, violence and revenge, are necessary conditions if we are to have peace and joy in our lives and bring joy to others.

    It is ‘spot on’ for the Pope to remind us that the practice of mercy is diminishing in our wider culture. Look at the merciless actions and senseless violence on our streets, which can make it risky to be out alone at night. Yet, the Pope tells us that without our witnessing to God’s mercy in the way we think and the way we behave, life loses its sparkle and it can become like living in a barren desert.

    Francis our Pope reminds us that Jesus is the face of the Heavenly Father’s Mercy – God’s merciful attitude is living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth.


    Pope Francis wants us to focus on what matters most – our relationships – because life is about relationships: our personal relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; our relationships with each other – those nearest and dearest in our families; people in our parishes; in our workplaces; in our schools; in our social, leisure and sporting activities; our relationship with people who are poor and in need as well as our relationship with our common home, the natural world around us. “Everything is connected” says the Pope. “Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere

    love for our fellow human beings and to an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” (Laudato Si, 91) “When we can see God reflected in all that exists,” says Pope Francis, “our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship God in union with them.” (Laudato Si, 87)

    Jubilee Tradition

    You may well remember Pope St John Paul II proclaimed the Great Jubilee of our Saviour’s Birth in the Year 2000. The Jubilee tradition of God’s chosen people (Leviticus 25- 27) marked each 50th year as a rare and important time to stop and reflect on God’s love and care, so as to respond by forgiving debts, releasing prisoners and letting the land lie fallow to regenerate. Jubilee meant a time of reconciliation, hope, justice and peace. The Church has embraced the Jubilee tradition since the 13th Century. In addition to this, Popes have also called Extraordinary Jubilees – Pope Paul VI in 1967 to mark the 19th Centenary of the Martyrdom of Ss Peter & Paul and Pope St John Paul II in 1983 called a Jubilee of Redemption.

    This Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, about to commence on 8 December, has been called because our Pope wants us, the Church, in all our witness, our preaching and teaching and our pastoral work, to be taking our lead from the merciful heart of God. If we are to be credible to people who don’t believe or to those who have given up on religion, especially due to the scandals and merciless acts of those who were called to be ministers of mercy, we, at all levels of the Church, have to show mercy and compassion. If all we do is condemn the evident evils in our society, we can seem to be out of touch with people who are really struggling because they are broken by suffering the tragedies life can bring. Rather, the Pope wants us to focus on how merciful the Gospels show Jesus was with sinners, with the sick, with people with disabilities, with those in need who were often on the margins of society. “Consequently, wherever the Church is present, the Mercy of the Father must be evident – in our parishes, communities, associations and movements In a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” (Misericordiae Vultus, 12) How can we make this a reality in our parishes, schools and communities?

    The Sacrament of Reconciliation

    In the focus on mercy, you and I realise we need to be open to God’s mercy ourselves. St Paul reminds us that, “It is by Grace, you have been saved, not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God.” (Eph 2:4-8). It can be a shock for us, as modern, sophisticated, self-reliant people, to comprehend the stark reality that, no matter how good we may think we are, we are always in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness because of our human weakness and our often poor self-interested moral compass. Even though we find it hard to admit, we are all truly needy and broken human beings depending on God’s mercy to be saved, redeemed, forgiven and made holy. Such lack of awareness possibly explains why so few people these days approach the Sacrament of forgiveness. “Everyone, sooner or later,” says the Pope, “will be subject to God’s judgement, from which no-one can escape.”

    During this Year of Mercy, the Pope wants us to “place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the centre once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace.” The Pope went on to say, “I will never tire of insisting that clergy in the confessional, themselves be authentic signs of the Father’s mercy!” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17) In the spirit of the Pope’s invitation for dioceses to appoint specific priests to be Missionaries of Mercy, I am inviting all the priests of our Diocese to be missionaries of mercy and to make themselves more available to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Lent 2016

    The Pope wants Lent 2016 to be a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy. On the Friday and Saturday (4-5 March 2016), before the 4th Sunday of Lent, he wants “24 hours for the Lord” to be celebrated as intense prayer throughout the Church with Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, personal devotion and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Pilgrims Through the Holy Door

    The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in this Holy Year because our life is a pilgrimage as we make our way to our final destination – to be with God forever. So to reach the Holy Door in Rome, or at our own St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong, or at designated places of pilgrimage in our Diocese:

    • Immaculate Conception Parish Unanderra

    • Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy Penrose Park

    • The Benedictine Abbey Jamberoo

    • The Carmel of Mary and Joseph Convent Varroville

    • Bethlehem Monastery Campbelltown

    • St Paul’s Parish Camden

    • St John the Evangelist Parish Campbelltown

    • St Michael’s Parish Nowra

    We cross the threshold of the Holy Door as a sign we are seeking the grace to embrace God’s Mercy and to dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as our Heavenly Father is with us.

    A special Holy Year Indulgence will be available to free us from every residue left by the conflicting consequences of our sins on how we think and act, so that we may be strengthened as disciples of the Lord.

    I commend this Holy Year to your prayer and consideration and acceptance, because as Pope Francis says , “God’s mercy is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people approach it.” (Misericordiae Vultus, 25)

    I pray that, as the year unfolds, it will touch our hearts so that we can re-evaluate how we practise the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (see below), as practical evidence that we are open to receive mercy so that we will become merciful like our heavenly Father. Where will the “oases of mercy” be in our personal lives, our parishes, schools and communities?

    After announcing the Jubilee Year in March this year, the Pope said, “I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee, the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy so that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.” (Homily, 13 March 2015).

    Yours in Christ,


    Most Rev Peter W Ingham DD
    Bishop of Wollongong