Catholic Voice December 2019

ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA AND GOULBURN FREE | No. 360 | December 2019 | Circulation 19,000

Christmas Wishing all our readers a Christ-filled Christmas


Edition INTHIS

Archbishop’s Message Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Awakening to Christmas and the Plenary Council

Discovering a lifelong love of learning


I have observed some theologians use the word AWAKENING when they refer to the encounter of biblical figures with the new life experienced in the Risen Jesus. For example, there are the Emmaus disciples (“And their eyes were opened and they recog- nised him” Luke 24/31) and Mary Magdalen (“Rabbuni !” John 20/17). Even the Pentecost experience of the early Church moved them from fear and awakened them to faith (“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” Acts 2/4). The Advent liturgical season prepares us for the great Solemnity of Christmas. It is a time of awakening too. Indeed, we celebrate “the Word became flesh and He

Some parishes are show- ing leadership in organising small groups to ponder upon the six national themes for discernment. These themes need to be consid- ered individually. There is time for reflection, sharing on scripture, discerning nationally and locally, and giving thanks. Brief out- comes of these discernment groups are compiled and then sent to the appropriate Discernment and Writing Group via the plenary council webpage. Let us all make these groups a real Advent/ Christmas Season priority for our parishes and com- munities. Let us carefully discern the key question: “How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church?” As Mary, St Joseph, the shepherds and the people of

Making Wanniassa a vibrant parish


The joy of a child’s Christmas

13 19 10 8

Christmas - a time for reflection

astonished at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2/19). It is during this high liturgical season that Australian Catholics are also engaging in the second phase of the Plenary Council of Australia – Let’s listen and discern. My prayer is that our fulsome involvement as a diocese in this second phase with be an awakening in faith for all of us too. I encourage strongly that our parishes and communities become directly involved in these discussions. Indeed, it is a wonderful way of bringing together both our awaken- ing to Christ born afresh in us all and our awakening to what Jesus is doing in our midst in our ancient but new land.

The Amazing Race

lived among us” (John 1/14). This the Mystery of our Faith that is absolutely central to all our hopes and joys. We need every day of Advent to prepare for Christmas. The Christmas liturgical season then helps us to savour its incredible beauty and Eucharistic nourishment for our Christian lives. The lowly shepherds become the first Christian evangelisers. It is a twofold saving awakening. There is the impulse to “go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us” (Luke 2/15). Then there is the telling to others of Jesus, our Emmanuel - Mary’s child. Their testimony was convinc- ing: “everyone who heard it was SUNDAY, 1 Jesus Youth UAE Jubilee Conference, Dubai -WENESDAY, 4 THURSDAY, 5 9.00am Council of Priests/Trustees & Consultors Meeting, Arch- bishop’s House 5.30pm ACU, ACT Chapter Meeting, Canberra FRIDAY, 6 7.00pm Ordina- tion to the Diaconate – Cameron Smith MGL, St Christopher’s Cathedral SUNDAY, 8 Australian Catho- lic Youth Festival, Perth -WENESDAY, 11

Bethlehem “treasured all these things and pondered them”(Luke2/19), may we all do the same. Australians are often seen as very practical and functional in their discernment. This is something good. However, without this transcendent dimension focussed on the Child Jesus within us and animating this discernment, then the awakening to the Holy Spirit is eclipsed. I pray that this Advent and Christmas season be a real blessing for you, your family and loved ones, and all in our troubled world. Happy Christmas and New Year 2020!

2019 Christmas Mass times

Archbishop’s Diary - December 2019

EDITORIALTEAM: ADVERTISING: Kylie Bereza, ADDRESS: GPO Box 3089 Canberra ACT 2601 DEADLINE: Editorial and advertising 15th of the month before publication. Catholic Voice is published by the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn and printed by Capital Fine Print, Fyshwick. It is a member of the Australasian Catholic Press Association and

THURSDAY, 12 9.30am Arch- bishops Office for Evangelisa- tion Staff Advent Reflection, Haydon Hall, St Christopher’s Pastoral Centre, Forrest 7.30pm Carols Service, St Christopher’s Cathedral FRIDAY, 13 7.30am Mass, St Christopher’s Cathedral SUNDAY, 15 11.00am Mass, St Christopher’s Cathedral TUESDAY, 17 11.00am Austra- lian Multicultural Foundation Board Meeting, Melbourne

WEDNESDAY, 18 12.15pm Mass, St Christopher’s Cathedral SUNDAY, 22 12.30pm African Community Mass, St Peter Chanel's, Yarralumla WEDNESDAY, 25 12.00am Midnight Mass, St Christo- pher’s Cathedral 11.00am Mass, St Christo- pher’s Cathedral 12.30pm Clergy Christmas Lunch, Archbishop’s House

the Australasian Religious Press Association. Every month 19,000 copies are distributed. Print Post Publication No.100008082.

Cover picture: Children from the Holy Trinity Early Learning Centre in Curtin. From L-R: Frankie Spear,Thomas Busby, Felicity Gribble, Oliver McEwan and Grace Basedow


Farmers facing tough choices this Christmas By Catherine Sheehan

inspired the author, Kevin Lawlor who with his scholarship in Church history and theology coupled with his generous con- tribution of time, has given this gift to the Church and broader community. • Philomena Billington was Director of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Sandhurst. The book is avail- able from the Catholic Bookshop in Manuka or philomenabillington@ Kevin Lawlor (2019) FROM GANMAIN TO ROME & BACK - Reflec- tions on the Life & Priestly Ministry of Archbishop Francis Carroll DD DCL there are people who care gives substance to the Drought Relief Program.” Mr Van Wyk said Vinnies wanted to look after farmers over Christmas who are facing tough choices between paying school fees, registering their work vehicles or buying fodder for cattle. “It is impossible for the gov- ernment, for us, and all the other organisations to put any farmer in a position where they would be if there was no drought,” he said. “So we’re helping just to tide them over so they don’t lose hope. “We have information days where we will invite farmers to come and access support. We arrange a bit of music and entertainment to get them off the farm, because isolation is a big problem.” Mr Van Wyk said Aussie farmers were always thinking of others in need. “That’s the stature of our farmers, and it goes to the core and the values of the farmers we have in Australia.” Vinnies has streamlined its grant application process and an online form can be completed on the Vinnies website. People are also welcome to visit the West Wyalong Conference. The online grant application form can be found at: www.

Archbishop Emeritus Francis Carroll has been a Bishop for more than 50 years which is an extraordinarily long time to lead in our Australian Church. He led two Dioceses and was also President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The theme of leadership is reflected strongly in a new book about the Archbishop, or Fr Francis as he prefers to be known. His leadership and contribution to Catholic education through his role as the inaugural Chair of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) until his retirement is unparalleled and is also a strong theme in the book. The author, Dr Kevin Lawlor has curated the reflections of Fr Francis with skill, deep respect The Australian Catholic Bishops’ call for a National Prayer Campaign for Drought last month was testament to the ongoing severity of the lack of rain in parts of our beautiful but harsh country. Their call turned hearts and minds to people suffering in drought-affected areas as we enter the Christmas season. While the situation remains dire, according to CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society ACT, Barnie Van Wyk, there are many people and organisations like Vinnies working hard to sup- port those doing it tough this Christmas. Vinnies volunteers are prepar- ing Christmas hampers and gifts for children. And while they will not be able to provide a hamper to everyone in need, they hope that those people they can reach enjoy a hearty meal this Christmas. “We want to share hampers so families can have a decent Christmas meal and gifts for the kids, otherwise for many it’s going to be a bare situation,” Mr Van Wyk said. Since their outreach to those suffering in drought areas began in December 2018, Vinnies have distributed about $450,000 to 170 families through their West Wyalong Conference. Ruth O’Reilly, a volunteer with the Conference, said she was humbled by a lady who came into By Philomena Billington

Vinnies volunteers (L-R) Mirei Churton,Therese Canty and Gwen Goon prepare Christmas hampers.

their office seeking assistance. “She was very concerned about her financial position as she had to buy large amounts of fod- der for her stock,” Ms O’Reilly said. “She gave me quite a large electricity account and asked if Vinnies could help.” Ms O’Reilly said the woman

was overwhelmed when she told her they could assist through their Drought Relief Program. They transferred $2000 into her bank account and gave $1000 in vouch- ers to pay for fodder. “Plus we were able to consid- erably reduce the electricity bill,” Ms O’Reilly added. “She was so

grateful. She wrapped her arms around me and didn’t want to let me go. “I’m an ex-farmer’s wife so I could relate to her situation, having lived through droughts in the 1980s and 90s. “Even though the lady needed the financial help, the reality that

Call Vinnies Helpline on 1300 Vinnies or 1300 846 643 Fr Francis - a man of the people

and knowledge. He has highlighted the voice of Fr Francis as he reflects on the Early Years through to his Legacy, which was penned by a variety of people. Fr Francis’ own words in the Preface entitled ‘Nova et Vetera’, his episcopal motto, set the tone for the book. His reflections reveal the person of Frank Car- roll – son, brother, priest, bishop, friend and man of the people. His family is at the heart of who he is and the Carrolls of Ganmain are legendary not only in their local district but well beyond – well-chosen photos reveal this. The story is presented in a very accessible form with well

to the present are both informative and reveal the breadth and complexity of the times which Fr Francis navigated in his leadership. His insight and wisdom were sought by politicians, leaders of other faith traditions and the broader community. This is a timely book, not only to capture the wisdom of Fr Francis in his reflections but to inform us as a Church. His abiding commitment to a Church of the Baptised is prevalent throughout the reflections and his pastoral leadership is instructive

annotated endnotes revealing the variety and breadth of sources, including extensive interviews with Fr Francis. The historical background to the times prior to the Second Vatican Council

during this time of discernment as the Church prepares for the Plenary Council. The admiration and apprecia- tion of the legacy of Fr Francis


Discovering a lifelon

Since 2015, the Augustine Academy has educated about 100 young people from home schooling families as well as those who have opted out of the mainstream school system. With its mix of theology, philosophy and literature combined with drama, logic and other pursuits such as carpentry and breeding farm animals, the small Catholic learning institute promises an authentic and complete education. Here, we learn more about the Augustine Academy from one of its founders, a student and a parent. From 2020, the Academy will move to Tumut in the Archdiocese. Augustine Academy exists to offer young people the op- portunity to grow in their faith, form meaningful friendships, develop foundational life skills and discover a lifelong love for learning. In 2015, I was inspired to start the Academy in response to the growing need for alternative modes of education for young people, in particular home schoolers who required qualifica- tions for tertiary studies, or high school students who were not flourishing in the standard school system. The pedagogy of Augustine was largely influenced by my own experience of home schooling, where I learnt that education was not just something to be gotten over and done with, but rather a thrilling and life-long pursuit of the truth. After graduating from Acts2 College of Mission and Evangelization in Perth, I went on to study a liberal arts degree at Campion College in Sydney. I continued my studies in the humanities at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Canada. All of these experiences of small Catholic learning institutes were incredibly positive and helped in forming Augustine Academy’s philosophy of learn- ing. The integrated approach to studying the humanities was one that I recognised as particularly advantageous in offering an au- thentic education that broadened one’s mind and critical thinking skills. In recognising the degree to which my undergraduate stud- ies had benefited my personal development, I felt a great zeal to go into education. With By Ben McCabe

“ I made a

Augustine Academy students prepare for an early morning jog through the beautiful scenery near the campus.

students and staff coming to together to pray. In 2020 Augustine Academy will move to a beautiful new campus just out of Tumut. Students can study theology, philosophy, history, literature, grammar, logic, rhetoric, debat- ing, drama and agriculture. Upo graduating they receive a nation- ally accredited Certificate IV in Liberal Arts which provides a pathway to university. Each of the four terms are five weeks in length, and students board on campus during that time. Ben McCabe is a co-founder of the Academy and lectures in literature and theology. response that it was my calling to start such a school. Further information may be found at: Or by contacting Ben McCabe: Mobile: 0450 729 077 Email: benmccabe@augustine- complaint to God that I did not know any schools like this where I could teach, and I received the simple and indubitable

L - R: Monica Van Gend, history lecturer; Robert Van Gend, philosophy lecturer and Academy co-founder; Hugh Beresford, music and agriculture teacher; Ben McCabe, Academy Director and literature, theology and agriculture lecturer; Eliza Fulton, logic and theology lecturer; Samuel Willmot, science lecturer and tutor, Levi Bak.

this view in mind I completed a Masters in English Literature at the University of Sydney and began tutoring there. The experi- ence was a positive one, but the limitations of the curriculum did not allow me the freedom to pursue the vision I had for a holistic education. I felt strongly that it was my vocation to teach students a way that was both rigorous and balanced. Young people have a greater capacity for engaging in deep philosophical studies than they are usually given credit for in standard schooling. It was my opinion that there was also a material benefit in allowing students the opportunity

to engage in lived experiences; that an authentically holistic education should not just integrate the academic subjects, but outdoor activities also which engage the whole person. Such activities as bush walks, canoe- ing, horse riding, working in the garden, carpentry, songs around the fire, drama, breeding farm animals, milking a cow etc, all contribute, in a substantive way, to a person’s experiential knowledge of the world, and consequently to a more complete education. I made a complaint to God that I did not know any schools like this where I could teach, and I received the simple and

indubitable response that it was my calling to start such a school. In the past four years, the unique ethos of the school has continued to attract an ever- increasing number of students from all over Australia, as well as lecturers from overseas. A typical day at Augustine Academy will be a balance of lectures, tutorials, an outdoor activity (such as making mud bricks for the chapel), a sport- ing game, in the evening once a week students have a talent night where they might play an instrument, dance, recite a poem of their own or act out a skit, and each evening concludes with


love of learning An education in Aristotle, animal husbandry and 5.30am starts

indoors on the couch, many stu- dents loved being outdoors and learning to build, plant and practice animal husbandry. Our learning traced the evolu- tion of Western Culture from its birthplace in Ancient Greece and Rome with its great thinkers and fable writers to the Medieval period and the spread of Christianity, Viking raids, Crusades and the Scholastic attempt to reconcile faith with reason in the West while Islamic and Jewish philosophy was prospering in the East. In the second semester we moved on to the Renaissance, Humanism, the Protestant Reformation, French Revolution, Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution up to the Industrial Revolution, the World Wars and the rise and fall of Communism. Studying the liberal arts enables students to understand how Western Culture arrived at its pre- sent state and review for themselves whether its foundations and values are based in truth or fabrications. It also teaches profound lessons on

the Christian faith, morality and the human condition and encourages students to pursue truth, goodness and beauty rather than high marks alone. Whether alumni continue with the liberal arts or pursue other study, the friends made and the les- sons learned at Augustine Academy in critical thinking, how to express opinions, research and writing skills and knowledge of God can be car- ried into every endeavour and into our personal lives. My year at the Academy has been one of the most enjoyable and fruitful of my life. I cannot wait to see the Academy continue to grow and produce future genera- tions of wiser scholars, farmers, dancers, mechanics, chefs and most importantly Christians. Elizabeth Doyle, 17, is a parishioner of St Paul’s Chapel, Royal Military College, Duntroon. She will continue her liberal arts studies at Campion College in NSW next year.

By Elizabeth Doyle

Though many students may dread waking at 7:30am for the start of a new school week, for me, rising at 5.30am for a three-hour train trip every Monday couldn’t dampen my delight at attending the Augustine Academy. Over the past year I have had the joy of studying the history, phi- losophy, literature and theology of Western Culture along with playing weekly soccer games, learning to swing dance and hiking at the beau- tiful rural campus coupled with drama, swimming and watching individuals more talented than myself perform in our weekly talent nights. Our group of 21 students devel- oped a close bond as we delved into the works of Aristotle, Augustine, Homer, Chaucer, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Dante, Machiavelli, Marx, Victor Hugo, much of C.S.Lewis and John Paul II to name a few. Students could also take Agriculture classes as an elective. While I preferred to stay

2019 Augustine students Elizabeth Doyle and Miriam Suttie

A love for the classics

By Sandy Wyndham

When my two older children completed their home schooling, my youngest daughter Asha, who was 16, was unsure what the 2019 school year would hold. When a friend told me about Augustine Academy, we thought it could be something that Asha might benefit from. Having some background in classical Christian home schooling and hearing about the opportunities that Asha would have, we were excited for her. Living in Western Australia we knew this would mean long stretches of time without seeing her. Each term was five to six weeks. We prayed and agreed that if this was the path for Asha then doors would open and shut accordingly. By February this year we had not heard back from the other field of study that interested her. We took that as a sign, along with the growing excitement and peace in our hearts that this was the way. Asha and I are very close. I love her dearly but I also knew in my heart that she was meant to be at the Academy. So I never worried. I had peace.

Sandy Wyndham with her daughter Asha.

personal to her. In the past when people asked me about classical home school education, I would describe it as an opportunity to understand one's own culture as it has formed over the years. A bit like climbing up a tree gives one a perspective of which way to go. I believe a Liberal Arts education allows a person to join 'The Great Conversation', to find a voice and be able to express and understand their own cultural roots. I can only recommend the Augustine Academy as an enriching and life changing opportunity.

During 2019 Asha has thrived. I would say she has had an opportunity to see what she is capable of academically. She hadn't realised how much she loved the classics. Socially it has been a won- derful opportunity as she has forged great friendships and navigated residential living with diplomacy and skill and much love. Spiritually Asha has benefit- ted from the great example of the leaders and mentors at the Academy. She enjoys Mass and has a new depth and apprecia- tion for her faith which is


A desperate urge to pitch a tent By Geoff Orchison

The priest

has just delivered one of the best homilies you have heard in a long time; it re-

The relationship between a Catholic school and parish was the topic for a discussion last year between myself, two teachers Luke Maher and Beth Doherty and Nathan Galea from Catholic Education. We chatted about sacramen- tal programs and determined that Confirmation, often dubbed the ‘sacrament of graduation’, was the real challenge. We spoke about Youth Ministry and from there a primary CSYMA (Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia) began to take shape. Our school principals at Aranda and Page were enthusiastic as was the South Belconnen Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) which was keen to engage more with young people. When the Parish Finance Committee (PFC) dis- covered there was a shared cost between parish, schools and ally hits home. Summed up a few thoughts you have had; answered a couple of niggling questions; posed a personal challenge. What a homily. What’s more, he confidently strolled around the sanctuary, didn’t use notes and scarcely missed a beat in the full 10 minutes. Now that’s why I come every week, you think to yourself. The problem is that it’s not in your parish church and it’s not your parish priest. It’s not in your city and, as in our case recently, it’s not even in your country. To make matters worse, or better, depending on how you’re coping, it happens the next Sunday in another city, another parish. And if that’s not enough, the music ministry is smooth, sparklingly alive, professional. The congregation responds well. People around you are engaged, singing. If only, you think… Its beauty brought tears to my eyes and a certain internal By Fr Simon Falk

Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral Los Angeles. The Cathedral seats 3000 and was built in 2002.

confusion. Afterwards I was moved to do something unusual, for me, and that was to approach the music makers and praise them for their contribution, their skill, their passionate involvement, their obvious love for what they do. They were delighted. I explained to them that in our small country parish a long, long way away, we get by in our own more simple way each Sunday. One of them asked, “Why did you choose St Finbar’s this Sunday?” I had picked it off a map, and the fact it had Mass in English at a time we could attend. We had nearly gone

somewhere else.

it is probably ‘no’.

Most of the youth ministers in our Archdiocese are full- time university students and only available in the parish two to three days a week. We don’t want them to burnout and need to be flexible to help them develop a healthy, balanced life. As many people are aware, the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse addressed governance in the Church and noted that the culture of the Church, at times, was not helpful for employees. If we treat our youth ministers well and allow them to have a balanced life, this is a positive response to a Christian vision and addresses some of the outcomes of that Royal Commission. Fr Simon C.J. Falk is par- ish priest at South Belconnen Parish. to try not to grind my teeth at the idiosyncrasies of my own or anyone else’s parish when I attend Mass. And, perhaps, more importantly to seek to enjoy and find meaning in the points of difference we have, rather than pick out the bits that annoy or frustrate me. It means I will have to try to appreciate more what I have. That doesn’t mean that, next time I visit Los Angeles, I won’t be going back to St Finbar’s. Geoff Orchison was the Editor of the Catholic Voice from 1994 to 2014

Perhaps it was then that it struck me. I could decide it was just pure luck, inspired choice on my part, or gift from God. I felt it was the last one. It was gift. Amazing, uplifting, inspiring, touching, wonderful gift, and I had a desperate urge to pitch a tent and stay rather than get on a plane and fly home. The default response for me has generally been to grouch about the fact that our music isn’t as good, our priests don’t preach as well, our parishes aren’t as alive. Wouldn’t it be great if we were just better at it? The answer could be ‘yes’. But

Our own communities are usually life-giving, imperfect, sometimes annoying, occasion- ally disappointing, but life-giving. Importantly, they are ours, where we can choose to contribute in our own way. From time to time we have an experience elsewhere that is so uplifting that we wish we could experience it regularly. We descend into comparison when we would do better to look up and rejoice and say ‘thanks’ to a God who would be smiling and rejoicing that we had seen the point. My late-year resolution is

Youth Ministers bolster parish life

L-R: Sarah Larkin, Fr Simon Falk, Claire Tagliapietra, Luke Maher.

the Archdiocese, they too were enthusiastic. So we moved to employ a youth minister. I had read that it is good to give your youth ministry a public face in the parish and include them at Mass and on

the PPC. So on the weekend of the month when our youth group meet, our youth ministers Claire Tagliapietra and Sarah Larkin talk to the congregation at the end of Mass and encourage people to

be involved.

Everyone in the parish is familiar with and enthusiastic about our youth ministry which has fostered more engagement across the whole community. That is so pleasing to see.



One of more than 50 parishes across our Archdiocese, St An- thony’s at Wanniassa is on a quest to become a vibrant parish. A lot has been done, and there is a lot still to do, with Parish Priest Fr Tony Percy instigating a four-week parish consultation called “Where Are We?” Parishioners have been pondering: • What are we doing well?

parishioners: “We all contribute in marvellous and many ways to our parish and this is an opportunity for us to reflect. We would like to be a vibrant parish, reaching out to others with the Good News of Jesus.” Developing and deepening spirituality is one important focus for the parish, which is also looking at music ministry, building commu- nity and engaging more with young people. Parishioners will share views at gatherings on December 6 and 7. Here, three St Anthony’s parish- ioners share with the Catholic Voice their thoughts on parish life.

Yvonne de Wit - 50, Audiologist, single

Sid Mattappallil Jose - 33, Accountant, married with three children On parish life: “I enjoy building relationships with like-minded Catholics and being inspired and challenged by the homilies. Sometimes you meet people who provide a sense of pastoral care and that has a huge impact. I know at Kambah parish my kids enjoy the cakes “Trying to listen to the homily or find a quiet moment to reflect is almost impossible with little kids. Not many parishes cater for kids and I find some parishes are not so welcoming to families as the kids can be noisy and distracting. Sometimes I feel you are being judged on your parenting if your kids are not following the Mass like an adult would.” Your ‘must-haves’ in parish life? “It would be great to have kids activities or even childcare so young couples could serve. Good music is important and inspiring homilies from priests who love what they do. We need • What are we doing not so well? • What would you like the parish to do for you? • What would you like to do for the parish and others? Fr Tony, the Vicar-General who became PP in August, has told and biscuits after Mass.” What is challenging?

On parish life: “Parish life for me is participat- ing in activities. I help with the music at our 5pm Mass. St Anthony’s is going through a time of renewal which is always worthwhile but there has long been a great sense of community in the parish. I recently went to the Parish Dinner for the first time. It has been going for 16 years and it was a wonderful evening. We have a weekly coffee group, helping hands group and casual morning teas.” What do you find challeng- ing? “A faith community is like an extension of a family in that everyone needs to contribute in some way. People do not realise they have something to contribute or they hesitate to step forward. I can relate to that. But we are a faith family and everyone should feel welcome and encouraged to contribute.” Your ‘must-haves’ in parish life? “Daily Mass because it puts the focus on why we come together, plus other opportuni- ties to pray individually and as a community which are crucial to the lifeblood of a parish.” How has parish life changed? “Daily Mass and devotions were an essential part of my growing up. The desire to interact with a vibrant faith community stemmed from our extended-family gatherings where the practice of our Catholic faith was encouraged. I realise that is atypical. It was a privileged background. Our faith was and is deeply woven into all aspects of our life.” What can we learn from bigger evangelical churches? “How fundamental the sacraments are in the Catholic Church. The reason we come together is the Eucharist but sometimes people do not understand that and find Mass a chore. It is so important that we are educated about our faith. People live their faith on auto pilot and forget why we do things.

to be a welcoming and evangelis- ing community and offer genuine pastoral care. I often wonder how many Catholics would go to mass if it was not obligatory. Our parish encounters should be like mini-retreats every time you are there.” How has parish life changed? “I grew up in India and parish life in India is different. The cul- ture is more communal so many people are involved. As a child, fellowship was important to me. Mass was a place to be with my friends. While I mostly believed in God, we had to attend Mass so the experience was not always deep. Now my parish experience is focused on the spiritual and fellowship aspects.” What can we learn from bigger evangelical churches? “Churches like Hillsong have ministers passionate about what they do. Some of our parishes have dynamic priests who work hard to engage the community. The evangelical churches seem to invest more in making each person feel welcome and important. They also make a sig- nificant financial investment into music and ambience. They put a lot of effort into teaching the What do you find challenging? “Inertia, in the sense of getting anything new off the ground, but that is improving. The lack of young people, the 40-somethings and young families, that’s also a concern. There are fewer volunteers to get things done. “Regular Masses and Reconcilia- tion, plus a Parish Pastoral Coun- cil and a Finance Council. There must be regular adult and youth formation along with spirituality and prayer groups, community activities, outreach activities and inter-church activities. Good music, preaching and community is important. I would like to see Your ‘must-haves’ in parish life?

Sid and wife Anne with two of their three children, Josephine and Eleena.

Gospel to kids and people seem driven to learn. They also have midweek Bible studies, outreach activities and house visits that keep people close-knit. Taking someone to Hillsong there is a more emphasis on parish-based evangelisation, interfaith initia- tives and consultative processes involving women in all decisions. “Evangelisation is our core responsibility, but does not seem to be a core compe- tency. I would like to see much more emphasis on parish-based evangelisation, ecumenism and interfaith initiatives. I would also like to see more support from the Archdiocese for this.” How has your experience of parish life changed? “It has become much more self-directed. When I was young the priest made home visits and you waited for his instructions. Now you need to be suggesting

sense of awe. Bringing that same person to Mass is different so we need other platforms such as youth groups and young couple groups where relationships can be established. things and implementing them. There seems less community engagement now. This has to be fostered. What can we learn from bigger evangelical churches? “We need to work harder at being a loving and supportive Christian community. We need good music, preaching and com- munity that makes sense to 21st Century Catholics. Through the Plenary Council we need to up- date liturgy and the language we use, governance and transparency in decisions, the involvement of laity, especially women and a stronger evangelisation effort.”

Bruce Ryan – Retired, married with five children On parish life: I enjoy the community aspects, Mass and the Sacraments and the spirituality.


Christmas parcels from childless Auntie Fran, a new doll’s crib made from a wooden fruit box and Cherry Cheer and Splash Cola. Here, our priests and nuns unlock precious memories of their childhood Christmases. The joy of a child’s Christmas

Noelene Quinane rsj - NSW Regional Leadership Team, Sisters of Saint Joseph In our family of four children Christmas was all about love: family love and God love. Yes it was about presents, gifts given as a sign of love. I recall a beautiful doll’s crib; only much later did I realise it was made from a wooden fruit box, planed and painted blue. The ‘mattress’, frills and coverings were secretly stitched in the dark of night when we children were asleep. The result was a delight. Christmas was feeling the unconditional love of parents and family and a time for special ‘lessons’: how to give to others in need while upholding each one’s dignity, how to share and realise that, amazingly, it’s not all about you. In our family Christmas was also a time for seeking forgiveness and healing and appreciating that we already possessed the best gifts of all – faith, family and service.

Noelene Quinane (centre front) at four years of age 1949.

Sarah-Jane Hollitt - Missionaries of God’s Love Sisters We stayed at our grandpar- ents’ house and would have a barbecue at the park on Christmas Eve. There would be carols and we would tour houses decorated in Christmas lights in the back of a fire truck. Grandpa loved decorating his house with Christmas lights, many of which he created himself. It was a family event putting them up and taking them down again. One of my favourite traditions was a grandchild placing baby Jesus in the nativity set before bed. Such an honour when it was my turn!

Mgr John Woods with his sister Sharon who is sitting in his Christmas present - a new red pedal car.

Mgr John Woods - Transfiguration Parish, North Woden As a child Christmas was about Jesus being born and receiv- ing gifts. I knew Christmas was near when gifts arrived in a big parcel from childless Auntie Fran and Uncle Vin in New Zealand. Then there were Christmas cards from all over with beautiful depictions of the nativity scene. For a time they prompted me to start collecting stamps. On Christmas Eve a bottle of beer was left out for Santa. The occasional Christmas tree had been decorated minus the bright lights of today. Christmas morning saw presents opened before my family headed off to Mass where for some years I served as an altar boy. I enjoyed the crowds and the good will of those mornings, especially the carols. Christmas lunch was a roast with all the trimmings and pud- ding eaten in anticipation of finding the coins Mum had placed in it. In the afternoon I would sometimes venture out to see what mates had received for Christmas. The first bike I ever rode was the shiny crimson ‘Speedwell’ Christmas present of Chris Duffy. Lucky Chris! But early on, Mum and Dad had impressed on me that the greatest gift of Christmas was God being born like each of us. The push-pull of matters immediate and alluring and the deeper and more enduring religious narrative continues. Fr Mark Croker - Holy Spirit Parish, Gungahlin Some of the best Christmas memories came in the lead up; building the crib, sorting a suitable pine tree and decorating the house. The kitchen wafted with the cooking of the Christmas cake and pudding. On Christmas Eve the ham arrived from the butcher and the mixed drinks were sought from Searls Cordials; how good was the Cherry Cheer and Splash Cola? For many a year, Christmas Mass was celebrated in the quaint Golspie Church. Mum organised the choir of about 15 children all farm-made! We were keen to see what Santa had left in our pillowcases but Mass was the priority so we were all dressed and ready. For many years our home hosted neighbours for morning tea. You can imagine the children’s noise and excitement as each showed off how generous Santa was! When I see what other children don’t have today as my family and friends had, I deeply appreciate our

Christmas morning was presents and Mass with the rest of the day spent around the table eating, playing games and talking. It was typical Australian

Christmas food; roast turkey, ham, prawns, crab, salads, pud- ding with brandy custard and icecream, honey biscuits and Grandma’s home baked treats. Fr Adrian Chan - Mary Help of Christians, Pearce You knew Christmas was near when the stores played carols. Even now, hearing carols brings back magical feelings of the wonder of the birth of the Christ child. Writing Christmas cards to family and friends was excit- ing for it meant buying cards, putting a stamp on each and sending them off. It was great to send blessings in the mail. We attended Midnight Mass and visited the lovely Christmas crib to make a fuss over the baby Jesus. Lunch was light was always a fixture but with a twist, stuffed with chestnuts and sticky rice! It was a time of peace, childhood loveliness and family togetherness. ahead of a heavy potluck Christmas dinner. Turkey


Christmas in our family Christmas is a special time for families. Here, four families share with the Catholic Voice how they celebrate Christmas and create a trove of memories for their children.

Christina Garufi - St Augustine’s, Yass

Alison Kellyn - St Augustine’s, Yass

We love setting up the Na- tivity and Christmas tree and Advent Wreath as we journey to Christmas Night or Noche Buena as we call it. Mum finds a hiding place for baby Jesus and covers him so he doesn’t get cold as he awaits his birth. We have daily reflections and sing “Villancicos” or carols as we light the candles on the Advent wreath. We

also journey with Mary as we move a statue of a pregnant Our Lady called “Our Lady of Sweet Waiting” around our loungeroom. Nine days before Christmas we gather as an extended family to pray, sing and say “la Novena”. On Christmas Eve we go to Mass, have a special meal, exchange gifts and party into the early hours.

Michael prepares a Nativ- ity scene in one of our front windows so it can be seen from the street. We hope that people who see the blow up Santas around the corner will also see our lit star on our roof and Nativity. Our intellectually impaired son loves the setting up as he knows the baby Jesus will soon be coming. His acceptance and simplicity is a gift. We belong to the Neocat- echumenal Way and Advent is a big joyful time. We begin both Advent and Lent with 6am morning prayer at the Parish. Receiving material gifts is a more joy filled experience when its significance lies in a God who came as a helpless baby. Leading to Christmas Eve we will experience a live Nativity with real camels, wise men and the Holy Family. The beauty of the Cathedral choir at Midnight Mass lifts my soul and it is wonderful to see people’s joy. But before this we need to receive the baby Jesus and place Him in His manger. We prepare a beautiful meal for Christmas Eve. Champagne We have now settled into a reasonably well-oiled Christ- mas routine that allows my children, those with partners and those with young children, a sense of building family Christmas traditions that work for them. Our celebrations start with “Nibling Christmas” (our Since my divorce 10 years ago, there have been many challenges and emotionally charged moments, negotiating how Christmas should work.

collective noun for nieces and nephews) where my children, partners and grandchildren gather at my house to share gifts and a meal. While there is a tradition of Christmas Vigil Mass, some (in freedom) choose not to come along. The fierce but friendly, themed Christmas wrapping competi- tion between siblings is a highlight every year. Our next celebration is with my extended family. The loud, rambunctious and often

hilarious sit-down-hot-Christ- mas-lunch is open to anyone and includes backyard cricket as well as family singalong after the Kelly Santa has distributed gifts. A new tradition on Christ- mas Eve, introduced a couple of years ago by my daughter’s Austrian boyfriend, is ringing a little bell heralding the Christ Child and singing Silent Night Holy Night in the dark with the Christmas tree emblazoned with sparklers.

Michael & Stephanie Claessens - St Joseph’s, O’Connor

Anna and Keith Linard - Holy Rosary, Watson As a Shire Engineer, I regu- larly took calls to fix potholes and for other problems needing attention. One Christmas, my wife and I bumped into a woman who had raised more than 20 issues in three months. Anna and I learned she was a widow. Her only son was in Perth and she would be spend- ing Christmas alone. We invited her to spend Christmas with our family and over lunch the dis- cussion turned to religion. We spoke about our involvement with the Focolare Movement and she sought books about our spirituality. Over the ensuing months, once a week she would bicycle 4km to our house for a chat and to get books from our theol- ogy “library”. She returned to her church after many years absence, finding a community.

That Christmas we helped bring Christ back into the life of a woman who was no longer lonely. When our children were young, after Christmas Eve Mass we would meet at a sibling’s home for supper and to exchange gifts. We ran monthly Focolare children’s groups at our home with about 20 kids and, each Christmas, we had backyard carols and the kids would put on Christmas plays. On Christmas morning after Mass, we would go to Keith’s parents and his father would distribute presents amid joyful chaos. Elderly single and widowed aunts would be guests of honour at Christmas lunch. Now we host a BBQ on Christmas evening and in the lead up to Christmas the grandchildren delight in deco- rating our house. We get them to set up several nativity scenes so they understand the true meaning of Christmas joy.

and other special drinks are opened and celebrations begin. We enjoy roast lamb (lamb cutlets at our house) with warm baby potato salad in egg mayonnaise and Greek salad. As darkness falls, we take lit sparklers to locate Jesus in the garden, which our youngest son in particular loves. Once found, we return to dessert. On Christmas Day we wake to coffee, croissants and presents. We share Christmas

lunch with people who do not have family in Canberra and include breaks between courses to share water pistol or balloon fight (hot days), street cricket or a walk to the beautiful inlet on the Murrumbidgee. My most memorable Christmases were when our son Sebastian left hospital after six months and the years my Mum spent with us before she passed away.

So this is Christmas and what have you done? Christmas is a time for reflection, so the Catholic Voice asked nine prominent Catholics to share their thoughts on 2019

Helen Delahunty, Archdiocesan Financial Administrator Highlight of 2019 I love the preparation for Christmas and the end of the year celebrations. We truly have plenty to celebrate in this country. A professional achievement 2019 saw a lot of change in the office – retirements, new babies, resignations - but the highlight was the amount of work done each and every day to support our Archdiocese in getting the essential work done. Our staff are so diligent and loyal and we touch many people in our work. A personal achievement I have had a year of deciding that I needed to be lighter – so I have lost weight – and I feel on top of the world! A low point I can’t really think of a low point – am I wearing rose coloured glasses? I hope I do, as every day has its chal- lenges, but they are more than matched by our achievements. Something I have learned I am constantly learning, and this year I learned that time is your enemy. It goes so much faster than I anticipate, and so trying to outrun the calendar is my major focus. Sometimes it works – other times not so much. changes we are seeing in our environ- ment affects me. I grew up on a farm, where Dad talked about the weather every single day. It still is a big part of my daily life, and it is distressing to think we are in a new normal in terms of weather changes. How I approach 2020 2020 is a new year, an exciting year to anticipate. Although we can’t be sure what will come our way, we will continue to work hard, that much is certain. A news event that affected me The general lack of rain and the

Chiara Catanzariti, Youth Min- ister St Clare’s College and St Benedict’s Parish Narrabundah Highlight of 2019 Attending World Youth Day in Panama was a highlight. What struck me was the strong bonds formed as an archdi- ocesan group and sharing how we are all pursuing God in our daily lives. A low point Working out the balance of uni, work, friends and family. In the busyness of life we must keep up prayer and our relationship with God as this gives us clarity, hope and encouragement in the chaos we can face. A professional achievement Being a Youth Minister at St Clare’s College has been a joy and privilege. Our Youth Ministry team comprises year 10-12 students who are so on fire with their faith and wanting to go deeper with Christ. A personal achievement Graduating with my Bachelor of Com- merce. Something I have learned That we are called to become Saints, that God is relentless in pursuing us and there is so much to uncover in the Mass. A news event that affected me The Pew Research Center found that only one-third of American Catholics believe that in the Mass the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus. Unfailingly our Lord makes himself fully present to us in the Eucharist to be fully in union with me. How I approach 2020 To go deeper in my faith and relation- ship with God and uncover more who I have been created to be.

Barnie van Wyk, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/ Goulburn Highlight of 2019 Annette and I celebrated our 25-year wedding anniversary with a fantastic holiday. And St Vincent de Paul Soci- ety Canberra/ Goulburn had the best CEO Sleepout ever. A low point Witnessing the destructive impact of the drought on families. The Govern- ment asked Vinnies to help in provid- ing $3,000 cash payments to farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers/con- tractors in 122 drought-affected areas. A professional achievement Honoring my parents by reflecting on their wisdom and lifelong commitment A personal goal was to keep my fitness levels up amid a gruelling schedule. I am happy to tick the box and managed to shed a couple of kilos as well - all prepared for Christmas dinner. Something I have learned Recently in a meeting a colleague seemed distracted. When I learned the reason I realized I should always be mindful that I have no idea what has happened in someone’s life in the 10 minutes before I meet them. A news event that affected me I recently saw a documentary on poverty in third world countries and how countries in pursuit of wealth and resources are impacting on the envi- ronment, community and humanity. Is that the legacy we want to leave? How I approach 2020 How often do we arrive at our work- place with a smile? It is an amazing ‘thing’ and extremely contagious. I will be smiling more and wish to use the opportunity to pray for a safe and blessed Christmas for all. to community and people. A personal achievement

Sr Maureen McDermott, RSJ Pastoral Associate, Ardlethan/ Ariah Park, Temora Mission Highlight of 2019 The way people responded to those in need. We have witnessed many forms of devastation but outweigh- ing that has been the generosity, goodness and encouragement of others. In this year of drought, the resilience of the people has touched my heart. A low point Watching SBS news and feeling the pain, suffering and heartache of so many people, especially children, living in poverty, war and violence. A professional achievement Ministry with the communities of Ardlethan and Ariah Park. These wonderful people are ever ready to help, share and come together. They gather to celebrate, grieve and build up their communities in whatever way is best. A personal achievement Endeavoring to live a more bal- anced, healthy, contented, spiritual and fulfilling life. In doing so, I find myself more present to people with whom I minister, my community, That whatever happens, nothing can destroy the conviction that God is present and can be discovered and experienced anew in the nitty gritty of our lives and personal experienc- es. A news event that affected me The fire in the Notre Dame Ca- thedral. With this occurring in Holy Week the images of a charred cross still standing amid the smoky remains reminded me that Hope will prevail, that new life will emerge, not only for the cathedral but for all. How I approach 2020 With renewed serenity and trust, not only because of God’s graciousness towards me but with the inner assur- ance that all will be well. The love of God will envelop me. family, friends and myself. Something I have learned

Sr Colleen Howe, Parish Pastoral Associate St Thomas Aquinas Parish Charnwood Highlight of 2019 In December last year our parish priest Fr Neville became ill and un- able to continue to celebrate Mass or participate fully in parish life. What were we to do? Our parishioners have always been encouraged to ‘take the lead’ and this continued. With our well-planned calendar, ministry coordinators and being a community of faith-filled people, we met the challenge with confidence and generosity. Happily for us at that time Alex Osborne was appointed to our parish as Deacon. This was rather a unique experi- ence. The Osborne family have been members of our parish forever. Alex was Father Drinkwater’s altar server and now all these years later he was to help in a way that even Alex did not expect. With his help and the availability of the retired priests we didn’t miss a beat. Something I have learned Fr Drinkwater’s illness and decisions about his future and the parish were concerns. We welcomed Fr Andrew Lotton in July and he lightened our load and lifted our spirits until our new PP arrived in September. Al- ready Fr Tom Thornton has brought life and laughter into our lives. How I approach 2020 My time at St Thomas Aquinas Parish draws to a close. I have enjoyed being a part of the faith-filled, caring and generous community and carry only good memories. I been deeply enriched by my experience.

Anne Kirwin, CEO CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn Highlight of 2019 The successful launch of the Hous- ing First pilot in Canberra with the goal of providing a solution to rough sleeping and homelessness in Can- berra. It is a partnership with the ACT Government and St Vincent de Paul. A low point We are hearing more about ‘the deserving poor’ in the media and we must fight against this mentality that some people in our community are undeserving. Housing, health ser- vices, care and inclusion are human rights for everyone. A professional achievement I survived the CEO Sleepout for St Vincent de Paul at -4 degrees - never again! A personal achievement My mighty Canberra Raiders made the Grand Final and I supported them with my family – loved the Viking Clap! Something I have learned I am still learning to be patient. A news event that affected me The ongoing tension in Hong Kong is concerning as I have family living there. How I approach 2020 With excitement. There is so much happening in social services and housing. It is a great time to be with CatholicCare.

Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker/CEO  Clonakilla Wines Highlight of 2019 The Light to the Nations Easter pilgrimage run by my community, Disciples of Jesus. We had over 1000 people, mostly young people and fam- ilies with kids. We celebrated the full Easter Triduum in a huge tent, from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday. A low point A frost on the morning of October 9 did significant damage to the vines in the lower parts of the Clonakilla vineyard, reducing our expected crop significantly. Add that to the effects of severe drought and it has been a tough year on the farm. A professional achievement The Clonakilla 2018 Shiraz Viognier made it into the James Suckling Top 100 which is a great accolade. James Suckling is an influential international wine critic and he and his team tasted over 25,000 wines around the world. We came in at number 11, the highest placed of the five Australian wines on the list. A personal achievement Preaching on Easter Sunday morning at Light to the Nations. My theme was the risen Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit into the disciples when he appeared to them in the upper room (John 20.22). I love preaching. Something I have learned Not to be self-righteous and/or judgmental of others. I came to the very simple realization that the devil is trying to throw all of us off the path all the time. St Teresa of Avila insisted that humility was the beginning of ev- erything as far as real spiritual growth is concerned. A news event that affected me The severity of fires in NSW and QLD was a sign of just how extreme the drought is. I really feel for farmers watching their paddocks turn to dust around them. How I approach 2020 I want to go deeper into God and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit about how I and my friends can be His in- strument to renew the Church.

Partick McArdle, ACU Can- berra Campus Dean, Associate Professor  Highlight of 2019 2019 has been challenging; study, ren- ovations, negotiating difficult govern- ment policy and increasing awareness of mental health challenges, especially for young people. I have been too busy and not had enough time for the people in my life. A low point The ongoing stalemate about climate change and action to remediate the issues. A professional achievement For the last 18 months I have been studying a course in Canon Law. I did not think I would get very far (ad- vancing age and limited abilities) but I have been able to engage with it. A personal achievement Getting a long planned renovation actually done. I now understand how building and renovations cause the same stress levels as losing a loved one or ending a relationship. In May I went to Ottawa for my Canon Law course. A significant number of students were young women under 35 sponsored by their dioceses/em- ployers. The questions and the stance taken on different matters showed the breadth of change possible in the Church as more lay people, especially lay women, engage in leadership and governance roles. A news event that affected me The constant news of the move away from international cooperation to in- creasing nationalism, self-interest and an inward focus such as the US re- moving itself from a range of treaties and the UK seeking to finalise Brexit. How I approach 2020 I expect the Plenary Council will dominate the landscape in ways we have not yet anticipated. There will be surprises and disappointments but if we trust in the Holy Spirit the Lord will lead us in the right direction.

Fr Ken Barker, Moderator MGL Highlight of 2019 The Light to the Nations pilgrimage by the Disciples of Jesus Community at Bowral over Easter attended by 1000 people. Many young people gave their lives to Jesus which is such a precious moment. A professional achievement In August, I blessed the new MGL Retreat Centre in Flores, Indonesia. We also opened the Arete Centre for Mis- sionary Leadership in Sydney which will help equip lay people for ministry. A personal achievement I am grateful to the Lord for 18 young MGL priests who are under 10 years’ ordained. Something I have learned I visited our MGL mission in Manila, Philippines. Walking among the poor in the slums of Payatas is good for my soul. I was particularly moved meet- ing an aging man in his little hovel no bigger than our bathroom. His smiling welcome fed my impoverished heart. I was glad to hear that we were renovat- ing his little ‘house’. A news event that affected me I have felt deeply the ongoing pain of victims of sexual abuse by clergy. As a new congregation, it is challenging for the MGL to put in place what is needed to create a safe environment for children and young people but we are confident we have the heart and competence to do it. How I approach 2020 I am aware of the need to ask “Why?” in relation to the six MGL missions under my care. Too often we ask “how do we do it?” or “what must we do?” forgetting to ask why we are doing it. I want to focus more on why we exist.

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