News from the Diocese


Catholic Diocese of Wollongong serving the people of God in the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands regions of NSW
  • Triple celebration for one family at this year’s Marriage Anniversaries Mass in Wollongong

    Bishop Peter Ingham’s annual Marriage Anniversaries Mass this Sunday will be a triple celebration for the Weston family with parents, Ron and Alice, celebrating 60years of marriage, while two of their children will be celebrating their 40th (Rhonda and Mark Breeze) and 25th (Leanne and Christopher Wilson) wedding anniversaries.

    The Weston family, along with 78 other couples, have clocked up a staggering 3,583 years of married life: 21 couples are celebrating 25 years of marriage; 16 couples celebrating 40 years of marriage; 24 couples celebrating 50 years of marriage; 15 couples celebrating 60 years of marriage, a further four couples celebrating 61, 62, 64 and 65 years, and one couple celebrating the healthy milestone of 66 years of marriage.

    Alice, who met Ron at a New Year’s Eve dance back in 1952, credits her mother as the greatest role model in her life. Alice said, “My mother mentored my sister and I wonderfully. She had a very strong faith and instilled in us a core belief of having respect for ourselves and others. She paved the way for us in our marriages.”

    Not surprisingly, Rhonda and Leanne credit Alice and Ron as role models for their marriages. Rhonda met Mark at a Young Christian Workers (YCW) youth group at the Wollongong Cathedral over 40 years ago and they attended the first ever pre-marriage course run by CatholicCare (formerly Centacare). Her younger sister, Leanne, met Chris over 25 years ago at an Antioch youth group. Leanne said, “I think that the things we learn from our faith – Christian values such as compassion for others, respect and fairness have been an integral part of shaping our behaviour and have supported us through our marriage.”

    When asked about the secret to staying together, Alice and Ron said, “It is important to be tolerant and accept each other for who we are. Everyone changes. When you marry, you are still growing as a person, so as you develop and change, being patient with each other is important.” Rhonda and Mark cited the importance of laughter and communication. Leanne and Chris agreed, saying, “The secret for us has been spending time talking with each other about the things that we value.”

    And what advice would they give couples starting out on the marriage journey today? Rhonda and Mark had a simple reply, “Don't bail at the first problem!” Leanne and Chris’ advice was particularly pertinent for couples in today’s modern world, “Make sure you put down the technology and spend time doing things together that you value. We work in the Marriage Relationship Team at CatholicCare so we would also recommend you attend a course to spend time together in the busy run-up to your wedding talking about your marriage.”

    During the Mass, Bishop Peter Ingham will invite each couple to renew their marriage vows and each couple will receive a commemorative candle.

    Bishop Ingham said of the annual event, “I love the Marriage Anniversaries Mass. It is an inspirational and powerful witness to the love and faithfulness displayed by these couples, enduring even through the tough times. This is something Pope Francis touched on in his General Audience on 2 April this year when he said, ‘It is true that there are so many difficulties in married life, so many, when there is insufficient work or money, when the children have problems. So much to contend with. And many times the husband and wife become a little fractious and argue between themselves… Yet we must not become saddened by this, this is the human condition. The secret is that love is stronger than the moment when there is arguing, and therefore I always advise spouses: do not let a day when you have argued end without making peace. Always! And to make peace it isn’t necessary to call the United Nations to come to the house and make peace. A little gesture is sufficient, a caress, and then let it be! Until tomorrow! And tomorrow begin again.’”

    Bishop Ingham, while affirming the value of marriage, also expressed his admiration for single parent families and those providing guardianship and foster care for children as well as those married couples unable to have children. Bishop Ingham said, “There are many challenges facing marriages and families today. I am particularly humbled by the sacrifices of love which single parents make for their children, and the generosity of couples and families in the work they do in the wider community.”

    The CatholicCare Marriage and Relationship Education program runs Prepare and Partnership courses for couples getting married. Prepare provides couples with the opportunities to explore what they want out of their relationship, build on strengths and gain awareness of some potential problem areas. Partnership helps couples prepare for marriage and work-through issues before marriage. Both programs cover such topics as expectations of marriage, family of origin, communication, managing conflict, spirituality, sexuality and intimacy. Visit for more information.

    The Marriage Anniversaries Mass will be held this Sunday 21 September at 2.00pm at St John Vianney’s Co-Cathedral, Fairy Meadow (Cabbage Tree Lane). Everyone is warmly invited to attend.

  • Redeem - Daily Advent and Christmas Reflections 2014

    We are delighted to announce that the Diocese of Wollongong is now taking orders for Redeem – Daily Advent and Christmas Reflections 2014 at the low price of $3.00 per copy.

    Continuing the tradition from past years, Redeem contains short daily reflections from the beginning of Advent (30 November 2014) through to the Epiphany (4 January 2015) primarily for personal use, but also appropriate for group use such as parish, Church agency, religious community and school staff/class prayer. Also, many people buy bulk copies of the book for family and friends as an alternative to Christmas cards.

    These spiritually rich, yet accessible, daily reflections have been written by six clergy and religious from the Diocese of Wollongong:

    • Dean Ron Peters Adm (Lumen Christi Catholic Parishes, Wollongong)
    • Fr Bede North Adm MSC (Holy Cross Parish, Helensburgh)
    • Fr Richard Healey (St Paul’s Parish, Camden)
    • Sr Sue Barker SGS (St Michael’s Parish, Nowra)
    • Fr Duane Fernandez (St Michael’s Parish, Nowra)
    • Sr Hilda Scott OSB (Benedictine Abbey, Jamberoo)

    Redeem also features beautiful religious artworks from our rich Catholic history with enlightening “artwork spotlight” descriptions written by Fr Graham Schmitzer PP (Corrimal).

    Redeem costs only $3.00 (Inc GST) plus postage and handling. Order now by downloading an order form below and email/fax/mail to Jennifer Raposio at:

    E orders [AT] dow [DOT] org [DOT] au
    F (02) 4222 2417
    PO Box 1239, Wollongong NSW Australia 2500

    or contact Jennifer directly on (02) 4222 2411 to place a phone order. Delivery of the books is expected from the first week of November onwards.

    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. If you live outside Australia and would like to order Redeem, please contact Jennifer before completing the order form so that we can advise you of the postage and handling costs.

  • National Child Protection Week (7-13 September 2014)

    For over 20 years the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) has been running an annual National Child Protection Week campaign developing multimedia, visual and text resources to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of primary prevention to reduce child abuse and neglect in Australia. 

    The 2014 Child Protection Week campaign stresses the importance of primary prevention to reduce child abuse and neglect in Australia with the theme: “Protecting Children is Everybody’s Business – Play Your Part.”

    As the Catholic Church, we will continue to play our part in creating safe and supportive environments where children are free from harm. Bishop Peter Ingham has asked all parishes, schools and agencies to participate in Child Protection Week by raising awareness of the primary preventative measures available especially for parents to help them listen to and speak with their children in order to help keep them safe from harm.

    NAPCAN has produced a series of excellent brochures for parents/guardians:

    1. NAPCAN Brochure - Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Abuse

    2. NAPCAN Brochure - Listening to Children

    3. NAPCAN Brochure - Listening to Young People

    4. NAPCAN Brochure - 30 Ways to Boost a Child's Confidence

    5. ACMA Brochure - Parents Guide to Online Safety  

    NAPCAN have also produced a number of Child Protection Week Posters that can be downloaded at

    For more information visit

  • 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.
    * Children's Liturgy Ministers are advised to select this workshop for "Saturday - Workshop Round 2 and 3" 

    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.
    ** Children's Liturgy Ministers are advised to select this workshop for "Saturday - Workshop Round 1"

    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.