The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Sat, 19 Jan 2019 05:23:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 WYD 2019: Sydney Pilgrims March For Life https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/wyd-2019-sydney-pilgrims-march-for-life/ Sat, 19 Jan 2019 04:51:12 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17776 By Monica Doumit in Washington “G’Day Mate! That’s ‘the Lord be with you’ in Australian.” So began Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s words to the 18,000 pilgrims assembled in Capitol One Arena for the youth Mass which occurs annually before the March for Life. The march itself, which finishes in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, […]

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By Monica Doumit in Washington

“G’Day Mate! That’s ‘the Lord be with you’ in Australian.”

So began Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s words to the 18,000 pilgrims assembled in Capitol One Arena for the youth Mass which occurs annually before the March for Life.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP addresses the huge crowd at the pre-march Mass – Photo: Gelina Montierro

The march itself, which finishes in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, attracts around 200,000 people from around the globe protesting both the practice and legality of abortion.

Organisers were thrilled to have such a large Australian contingent taking part and gave them seats right up the front to view the Mass and invited Archbishop Fisher to address the massive crowd.

Two inflated kangaroos, about a dozen Australian flags and the occasional chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy!” ensured everyone knew exactly where the Sydney youths were located.

The Aussie contingent in the front rows at the Mass – Photo: Gelina Montierro

Around 20 bishops and 100 priests concelebrated the Mass, and were joined by 100 religious sisters, 500 seminarians and more than 17,000 young people bundled up against the cold weather currently gripping the nation’s capital.

Security at the event estimated that the line for reconciliation before the Mass was about 2,000 people long.

The Sydney contingent left the Mass full of inspiration after being surrounded by and praying with so many pro-lifers before taking part in the march, now in its 46th year.

Getting ready for the march of their life – Photo: Gelina Montierro

An estimated 200,000 people of all ages listened to speakers including political commentator, Ben Shapiro, US Vice President and Second Lady, Mike and Karen Pence, and anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson before marching up to the Supreme Court building. There was also a video message from US President Donald Trump.

Pilgrimage coordinator Chris Lee said taking part in the march was an unforgettable experience for the large Sydney contingent.

Large crowds taking part in the 46th March for Life – Photo: Gelina Montierro

“After all the planning and work that went into this pilgrimage, it’s been such a blessing to bring a really fired up and inspired young group of pro-lifers from the Archdiocese of Sydney,” he said.

“It’s shown us what is possible … if we want to and if our generation takes responsibility, we could have something of this magnitude in Sydney and hopefully change our nation for the better.”

Chaplain Father Lewi Barakat said coming together to “speak up for the voiceless, the most vulnerable and innocent in society, the unborn children in their mothers’ wombs” was an experience that inspired hope.

See related story: WYD pilgrimage 2019: Coming together

Despite the 5am start, the pilgrims were full of energy as they talked about their impressions of the march.

Matthew French said that it was “incredible to see a country so proud of its pro-life cause”.

“It was empowering to everyone here and the energy was alive; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now,” he said.

Olivia Conolly said it was great to be “surrounded by so many other young people passionate about the cause,” and that it was so important to recognise the huge violation of human rights reflected in the high number of abortions each year.

Bethany Marsh carried a sign she stayed up until the early hours of the morning to make. It read “Marching for our future happy little Vegemites” and featured a kangaroo and an Australian flag.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and Bishop Richard Umbers with the Aussie pilgrims – Photo: Gelina Montierro

She estimated she walked with “a million pro-lifers” at the march, and was encouraged by the diversity of those who participated.

“It’s just marvellous being able to march with people from all walks of life, from Catholics to evangelicals to the Jewish communities to atheists and pro-life feminists,” she said.

School teacher Thanh Nguyen said he was overwhelmed and inspired by the Mass and the march, and felt blessed to share the excitement with the American group.

See related story: WYD pilgrimage 2019: First stop Washington

Seminarian Justin Faehrmann said the most amazing thing about being at the March for Life was seeing how many Americans backed the pro-life movement.

“Seeing the support of these people and listening to the support from the Vice President and the President for the pro-life generation was quite striking,” he said.

Following the March, many of the young pilgrims remained in the capital to mix with new-found friends united in giving a voice to the voiceless.

 

 

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WYD 2019: Sydney Pilgrims March For Life | The Catholic Weekly By Monica Doumit in Washington “G’Day Mate! That’s ‘the Lord be with you’ in Australian.” So began Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s words to the 18,000 pilgrims assembled in Capitol One Arena for the youth Mass which occurs annually before the March for Life. The march itself, which finishes in fr March for Life,Washington,World Youth Day March-For-Life-9_Archbishop-Fisher March for Life Mass - Photo: Gelina Montierro March-for-Life-Service-6 March for Life Mass- Photo: Gelina Montierro March-for-Life-10_Group-Picture March for Life - Photo: Gelina Montierro March-for-Life-14 March for Life - Photo: Gelina Montierro March-for-Life-11_Archbishop-Fishter_Bishop-Umbers_Mon March for Life - Photo: Gelina Montierro
WYD pilgrimage 2019: Coming together https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/wyd-pilgrimage-2019-coming-together/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 05:18:04 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17718 The Sydney Catholic Youth pilgrims this morning joined pilgrims from Sydney Catholic Schools for Mass; the first time the groups have gathered together in Washington DC. In the beautiful St Matthew’s Cathedral, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP reflected on the theme for World Youth Day: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done […]

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The Sydney Catholic Youth pilgrims this morning joined pilgrims from Sydney Catholic Schools for Mass; the first time the groups have gathered together in Washington DC.

St. Matthew’s Cathedral – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

In the beautiful St Matthew’s Cathedral, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP reflected on the theme for World Youth Day: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).

He invited the pilgrims to echo Mary’s ‘yes,’ one that demonstrated wholehearted trust in God, not just at a single point, but as something that would mark their whole personality and identity, as it did Mary’s.  “If we say a Marian YES, an in-God-I-trust YES, a with-all-my-heart YES, a for-today-and-always YES to God, God will take us as we are – our passions, talents, strengths, but also our struggles, limitations, failings – and turn them all to service,” he said.

St. Matthew’s Cathedral – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

Following the Mass, the Sydney Catholic Youth pilgrims visited the Dominican House of Studies, and were treated to a tour of the House by academic dean, Father Thomas Petri OP.  Father Petri gave the pilgrims a privileged look at some of the areas of the House not usually open to the public, including the beautiful cloister gardens.  He spoke to the pilgrims about prayer and the benefits of praying in community, which gave them some practical tips for their prayer life.  “Prayer is hard and sometimes you don’t feel like praying.  Community prayer is a way to keep you going at the times you don’t feel like praying,” he said.  He said that other orders are very interested in where a person is in their spiritual life, but the Dominicans are somewhat more blunt.  “If you don’t feel like it, just do it,” he told them.  “Faith isn’t a greeting card.”  He encouraged them to stay committed to prayer, even when it was hard.

Dominican House of Studies – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

See related story: WYD pilgrimage 2019: First stop Washington

Father Thomas also spoke of the importance of having friends who are striving to be saints, saying that many of the saints knew and were friends with other saints.  “Holiness always runs in packs; friends are holy together.”

Dominican House of Studies – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

Anticipating questions about why the pilgrims were visiting the House, the Archbishop – a Dominican himself – told them that he was simply a little biased!  He also said that with more than 65 studying for the priesthood, it was one of the most thriving religious houses in the western world.

A highlight for many of the pilgrims was seeing some books from the House’s rare book collection, including a partially-handwritten Bible from 1480, a fully handwritten copy of the works of St Oliver the Great from 1470 and an Inquisitor’s Manual published in 1668, answering questions about things like whether it was permissible to trade with heretics and, if so, at what times of the day.

Dominican House of Studies – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

The group then travelled to the Bible Museum.  Opened in November 2017 after more than seven years in the making, the Bible Museum is an interactive space taking pilgrims through the importance and impact of the Bible.  Different exhibits showed the Bible’s influence on art and architecture, literature and music, work, health, science and education, fashion and movies.  Displays ran from extracts of texts in ancient languages to screens playing Biblical references in films like Ghostbusters and X-Men.  The pilgrims were told that despite the printing press and the spread of Christianity throughout the world, more than a billion people still do not have access to a Bible in their native language.

Bible Museum – PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

See related story: Australians make pre-WYD stops at March for Life, Guadalupe

 


Watch vlogs and live-streamed highlights from WYD Panama at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney website www.sydneycatholic.org/live.

You can also follow the Sydney pilgrims’ journey through regular posts on the Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and the Archdiocese of Sydney Facebook pages.

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St-Matthew’s-Cathedral—Australian-Groups-Comes-Together St. Matthew’s Cathedral - Australian Groups Come Together - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro St-Matthew’s-Cathedral—Archbishop-Fisher-Mass St. Matthew’s Cathedral - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro Dominican-House-of-Studies—Archbishop-Fisher Dominican House of Studies - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro Dominican-House-of-Studies Dominican House of Studies - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro Dominican-House-of-Studies—Bible Dominican House of Studies - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro Bible-Museum-(4) Bible Museum - PHOTO: Gelina Montierro
Pilgrims prepare for March for Life https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/pilgrims-prepare-for-march-for-life/ Fri, 18 Jan 2019 01:09:38 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17708 By Mark Pattison Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP did an interview with CNS during his visit to Washington, DC as part of World Youth Day 2019. About 1,000 young Catholic Australians left their homeland to participate in World Youth Day in Panama. But, since they were in the neighbourhood – well, make that hemisphere – about […]

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen on 16 January at the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS/Tyler Orsburn

By Mark Pattison

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP did an interview with CNS during his visit to Washington, DC as part of World Youth Day 2019.

About 1,000 young Catholic Australians left their homeland to participate in World Youth Day in Panama.

But, since they were in the neighbourhood – well, make that hemisphere – about half of them made a visit to Washington prior to World Youth Day to take part in the annual March for Life. The other half made a pilgrimage to Mexico City to see the site where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St Juan Diego.

While in Washington, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney, Australia’s largest city, sat down with Catholic News Service to discuss the pilgrimage and answer questions, one of which was why Australians would want to participate in the march when American law plays no role in Australian law?

See related story: WYD pilgrimage: First stop Washington

“What America does in this (issue) does affect the whole world,” said Archbishop Fisher, citing the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, and how state laws are affected.

Australian law, according to Archbishop Fisher, similarly makes distinctions on what belongs in the federal purview and what is germane to its states, such as New South Wales, where Sydney is located.

Abortion is still outlawed in Australia’s states, “but the courts have ruled that to save the life or health of the mother, an abortion may take place,” he said.

“It’s hard in Australia to get late-term abortions,” the archbishop said, defining “late-term” as the third trimester.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen during an interview Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen during an interview on 16 January at the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS/Tyler Orsburn

Australia’s biggest pro-life challenge is euthanasia, Archbishop Fisher said. A couple of states have already legalised the practices, and advocates of physician-assisted suicide would like to alter the law so that medical professionals “legally be required to cooperate” with any euthanasia wish, he added.

Another challenge for the Catholic Church in Australia is a Royal Commission report issued last year on clergy sex abuse.

The Royal Commission said the bishops should urge the Vatican to change canon law so that “the pontifical secret” — the confidentiality surrounding a canonical investigation and process — “does not apply to any aspect of allegations or canonical disciplinary processes relating to child sexual abuse”.

See related story: Confession seal fight looming

Further, the Royal Commission asked that the bishops urge the Vatican to eliminate the “imputability test” of canon law when dealing with cases of clerical sexual abuse. This test means, in essence, that a person’s level of guilt for a crime is lessened to the degree that he or she was not aware that the action was wrong; if the imputability is diminished, canon law would recommend a lesser penalty for the guilty.

The commission also recommended the bishops work with the Vatican to amend canon law to remove the time limit for commencement of canonical actions relating to child sexual abuse, but the bishops, in a response to the report, said this was already the practice in Australia.

Archbishop Fisher said two Australian states have already made it law requiring for priests to break the seal of the confessional — a law that, as reported by Australia’s state broadcaster ABC, priests have said they will not follow.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, both of Sydney, are seen during an interview Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn
Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, both of Sydney, are seen during an interview on 16 January at the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

The archbishop said it was presumptuous of the Royal Commission to think that one nation’s bishops would ask the Church worldwide to “alter its universal teaching”. He added he found it ironic that, following a recent case where a criminal defence attorney turned out to be a police informant, Australia’s legal community wants to “enshrine” lawyer-client confidentiality in Australian law, yet not extend “confessional privilege” to the Church.

Changes in the law, Archbishop Fisher said, would not help uncover more abuse, but would likely hinder it, as any priest considering confessing to abuse would instead not confess to keep the abuse from being reported.

Be that as it may, he added, confession is an “under-utilised” sacrament in Australia. There are “Church centres in the cities where thousands” of Catholic go to confession, Archbishop Fisher said, “but in the parishes, it’s much, much less.”

The archbishop said he hopes the Vatican meeting with the heads of bishops’ conferences worldwide on clergy sex abuse drives home a few points: “that it’s not Anglo-Saxon, it’s not a media beat-up and it’s of world proportions”.

The problems surrounding the issue are “severe, they’re real and they’re universal” Archbishop Fisher said.

“Sadly, I think there are bishops around the world who still do not get it,” Archbishop Fisher said, but they should, he added, “learn from the American, the Irish and the Australian experience” before the issue comes knocking at their own door.

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Australians makes pre-WYD stops at March for Life, Guadalupe About 1,000 young Catholic Australians left their homeland to participate in World Youth Day in Panama. But, since they were in the neighbourhood... Life,March for Life,Pilgrimage,Pope John Paul II,World Youth Day,March for Life ArchbishopFisher-180119 Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn AUSTRALIA ARCHBISHOP FISHER Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney is seen during an interview Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn AUSTRALIA BISHOPS FISHER UMBERS Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, both of Sydney, are seen during an interview Jan. 16 at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Photo: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn
Padre Pio’s Archdiocese gets a new Bishop https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/padre-pios-archdiocese-gets-a-new-bishop/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 21:00:31 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17657 Thousands turned out to witness the episcopal ordination of Somascan Fr Franco Moscone CRS as Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo.

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Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS and Brother Sheldon Burke CRS with the then Fr Franco Moscone CRS at the Somascan run parish of St Jerome's in Perth, Western Australia. Photo: Josh Low/Supplied by Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS
Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS and Brother Sheldon Burke CRS with the then Fr Franco Moscone CRS at the Somascan run parish of St Jerome’s in Perth, Western Australia. Photo: Josh Low/Supplied by Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS

Thousands turned out to St Lawrence Cathedral in Alba, Italy, to witness the episcopal ordination of Fr Franco Moscone CRS, former Superior General of the Clerics Regular of Somasca (Somascans), as Archbishop of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo on 12 January.

The Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo is famous for its shrine to St Padre Pio at Our Lady of Grace Church, which houses the saint’s incorrupt body and attracts an estimated 7 million pilgrims each year.

Celebrated by Monsignor Marco Brunetti of Alba together with Bishop Donato Negro of Otranto and Andrzej Wojciech Suski, Emeritus of Torun (Poland), the ordination was attended by several local bishops, clergy and representatives from the Somascan Order.

In his homily, Monsignor Brunetti recalled that it was at St Lawrence Cathedral that Fr Franco received the gift of baptism, and from the Sacrament began his life of grace, which has led him to “the gift of the fullness of the priesthood”.

“We know what an unexpected surprise for you the call to the episcopate that you have accepted through obedience: soon, during the prostration, the Litany of the Saints will be chanted, among them the invocation to Saint Pio,” said Monsignor Brunetti.

“Providence wanted you to become a bishop in that land of the Gargano, where Padre Pio, 50 years exactly from his return to the Father, still today speaks to the men of the universal call to holiness that he lived in a heroic way.

“Dear Father Franco, I pray to the Lord Jesus that you can be not only a living image of the Good Shepherd, but also a Good Samaritan who bends over the wounds of humanity by pouring oil of the consolation and the wine of hope.”

Pope Francis places a stole on a glass case containing the body of St. Pio in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy in March 2018. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcin
Pope Francis places a stole on a glass case containing the body of St. Pio in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy in March 2018. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Addressing the congregation at the end of Mass, Archbishop Franco gave thanks for what he calls his “three origins”.

The first origin encompassed his natural family, church and schooling for which helped him grow as a Christian and gave him his first identity.

The second origin was with his Religious congregation of Somascan Fathers who had accompanied him for 42 years of his life in which he grew as a religious, priest and served as Superior General for 10 years.

The third origin is what began at his episcopal ordination with the Archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, which has given him the warmth of its people and the heart of Padre Pio.

Archbishop Franco has made multiple trips to Australia as part of his Canonical Visits as Superior General to the two Perth parishes entrusted to the Somascans.

A 2014 visit involved his inauguration of Somascan Movement Australia, an Australian Catholic Alliance between Somascan Religious and Somascan Laity, and a 2018 visit was made to receive the Solemn Profession of Brother (now Deacon) Chris De Sousa CRS.

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FrancoMoscone-1-270119 Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS with the then Fr Franco Moscone CRS and Brother Sheldon Burke CRS at the Somascan run parish of St Jerome's in Perth, Western Australia. Photo: Josh Low/Supplied by Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS FrancoMoscone-270119 Pope Francis places a stole on a glass case containing the body of St. Pio in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at the Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy in March 2018. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Shrine of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Q&A with Fr John Flader: Research vindicates Gospels https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/qa-with-fr-john-flader-research-vindicates-gospels/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 21:00:27 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17603 “Dear Father, a friend says she has read that archaeological findings in Israel bear out the truth of some statements in the New Testament that had been contested by scholars. Is this true?” This is an important question. If there is archaeological or other scientific evidence which contradicts statements in the New Testament, or the […]

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A collection of biblical manuscripts. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Museum of the Bible
A collection of biblical manuscripts. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Museum of the Bible

“Dear Father, a friend says she has read that archaeological findings in Israel bear out the truth of some statements in the New Testament that had been contested by scholars. Is this true?”

This is an important question. If there is archaeological or other scientific evidence which contradicts statements in the New Testament, or the Old Testament for that matter, we will be inclined to doubt the veracity of the Bible. But if these findings consistently confirm what is stated in the Bible they confirm the credibility of the inspired text. There are a number of biblical statements which have been challenged by critics, only to be confirmed later by archaeological discoveries. What follows is taken largely from Lee Strobel’s excellent book The Case for Christ (Zondervan, Grand Rapids 2016).

For example, St Luke says in the second chapter of his gospel that when Jesus was born Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because the census decreed by Caesar Augustus required all to go to their own city. It has been questioned whether there was any evidence for a census at that time which made this demand.

In fact an official government census order from a Roman Prefect of Egypt dated AD 104 has been found which states that “it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their provinces to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census and may also attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments.”

Likewise, Luke says that the census was conducted when Quirinius was governor of Syria during the reign of Herod the Great (cf. Lk 1:5, 2:2). But Herod died in 4 BC and Quirinius began to rule Syria in 6 AD. An archaeologist has recently found writing on coins which state that Quirinius was a ruler in Syria and Cilicia from 11 BC until after Herod’s death. It seems there were two officials named Quirinius and the census Luke describes took place at the time of the first one.

Although this finding has been disputed by some, Sir William Ramsay, the late archaeologist and professor at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, believed that Quirinius was a ruler in Syria on two separate occasions, one of which was during the time of an earlier census dated around 8-7 BC. And another scholar, who earned his doctorate at Cambridge, says that Herod was ill and came into conflict with the emperor Augustus in 8-7 BC, so that it would have been reasonable for Augustus to order a census to assess the situation before Herod died. For more on the year of the census and of Christ’s birth see my book Question Time 3, q. 317.

Another controverted statement of Luke is in the third chapter of his gospel where he says that Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene when Our Lord was born. But scholars have challenged this, saying that Lysanias was not a tetrarch but rather ruler of Chalcis some 50 years earlier. A tetrarch, by the way, is one of four joint rulers at a given time. But an inscription was found from the time of Tiberius, who was emperor from 14 to 37 AD, which names Lysanias as tetrarch in Abila near Damascus at that time, confirming what Luke had written. In fact, there were two officials named Lysanias.

Another example is St Luke’s use of the term ‘politarchs’ for city officials in Thessalonica in Acts 17:6. Many historians have said there was no evidence for that term being used in any ancient Roman documents. Yet an inscription was found on a first-century arch which reads, “In the time of the politarchs…”, confirming the use of the term at the time of St Luke. Archaeologists have since found more than 35 inscriptions that use the term, several of them in Thessalonica itself dating from the time at which Luke was writing.

A marked version of the Holy Bible.

One prominent archaeologist examined carefully Luke’s references to 32 countries, 54 cities and nine islands and found not one mistake on the part of Luke. The inference may be drawn that if Luke was so meticulous about geographical and other historical matters, he would have been equally meticulous and accurate in reporting events in the life of Jesus and the apostles.

Similarly, St John in the fifth chapter of his gospel speaks of Jesus healing an invalid by the Pool of Bethesda with its five porticoes. Scholars have questioned this statement since no such place had ever been found. But recently the pool was found by excavating some 13 metres beneath the ground, and indeed it had five porticoes or porches lined with columns.
Other archaeological discoveries that confirm St John’s writings are the Pool of Siloam (cf. Jn 9:7), Jacob’s well (Jn 4:12) and the Stone Pavement near the Jaffa Gate where Jesus appeared before Pilate (Jn 19:13).

As regards St Mark, Michael Martin, an atheist, accuses him of being ignorant of the geography of Palestine since Mark says that “Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis” (Mk 7:31).
Martin alleges that given these directions Jesus would have been travelling away from the Sea of Galilee, not towards it. But a study of ancient maps and the probable roads between them through mountainous terrain reveals that Mark was correct.

The very existence of the town of Nazareth is another fact mentioned by the New Testament but questioned by historians, who say there is no mention of the town in the Old Testament, in other ancient Jewish writings or by any historian or geographer before the beginning of the fourth century.

In 2006 the Nazareth Archaeological Project began excavating beneath the Sisters of Nazareth convent, a location known since 1880, and they found the remains of a first-century house which conformed to the plan of a so-called courtyard house, typical of early Roman-period settlements in Galilee. Archaeologists found doors and windows, cooking pottery and a spindle used in spinning thread.

The presence of limestone vessels, which Jews believed could not become impure, suggests that a Jewish family lived there. Another first-century house was discovered nearby in 2009, all of which confirms the presence of a small Jewish town on the site of Nazareth.

So once again, we have external proof for many controverted statements in the New Testament

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Flader-200119 A collection of biblical manuscripts. Photo: CNS photo/courtesy Museum of the Bible Flader-1-200119
WYD pilgrimage 2019: First stop Washington https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/wyd-pilgrimage-2019-first-stop-washington/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 04:09:32 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17669 The first full day of the Sydney Catholic Youth pilgrimage to World Youth Day began with a visit to the Saint John Paul II Shrine in Washington DC.

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An account of the start of the WYD journey by Sydney pilgrims

The first full day of the Sydney Catholic Youth pilgrimage to World Youth Day began with a visit to the Saint John Paul II Shrine in Washington DC.

Pilgrims explored the JPII exhibit, which featured images, photos and text from the life of the late pontiff who established the first international World Youth Day in 1985.

See related story: Young pilgrims commissioned to find Christ at WYD

Even though many of the pilgrims are too young to remember much of his pontificate, they were struck by his relevance to their current pilgrimage, and to the world today.

They learnt about JPII’s vision for World Youth Day; the coming together of young people from around the world as an affirmation that they are not alone in their faith.

Sydney pilgrims
Sydney pilgrims began their journey at the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

They were encouraged and inspired by his dedication to the dignity of every human person, from conception until natural death, and his strong words about the duty to protect life at all stages.

The pilgrims venerated his relics in a side chapel before coming together for their first Mass as a pilgrimage group.

In his homily, Bishop Richard Umbers exhorted the pilgrims to follow Christ’s example in their pursuit of holiness. “It’s normal to have temptations,” he told them.

“But it’s also normal to overcome them… with God, it’s possible. In the midst of our struggles, our temptations, our falling over, Christ redeems us as a man. He shows us the way as a man.”

People praying
Pilgrims at prayer during Mass at the shrine. PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

The Gospel of the day told how Jesus would rise early in the morning to pray. Bishop Umbers challenged the pilgrims to do the same, warning them that part of getting in a good routine of morning prayer meant getting to bed on time!

At the end of Mass, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP told the pilgrims about the last time he spoke to JPII.

“He asked me how many professed religious there were in Australia, and I told him that sadly, the numbers were declining,” the Archbishop said.

“Then he asked me how many kangaroos there were. I told him there were about 80 million, and he told me that he wanted more religious than kangaroos.”

At the Lincoln Memorial. PHOTO: Gelina Montierro

The Archbishop puzzled about how a population of 25 million could meet such a goal, but encouraged the young people to pray about their vocation during the pilgrimage.

Joining the group were Sister Cecilia Rose OP and Sister Moana Grace OP, both from Sydney who have joined the Nashville Dominican Sisters, and who just happened to also be at the JPII Shrine with their pilgrimage group.

After Mass it was time for some Washington sightseeing. They visited Union Station, the White House, the ANZAC Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean and Vietnam War memorials.

They were amazed and saddened to hear that the Vietnam War memorial bore the names of more than 58,000 who died in the war at an average age of 22 years (which is close to the average age of the pilgrimage group).

The loss of life, and of years, was another confirmation to the group of the value of human life. Despite the icy cold weather, they stood motionless as a Vietnam War veteran spoke to them of his experience of the war.

The pilgrims then gathered back at the hotel for small group discussion, and ended the day by praying a Holy Hour together.

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Pilgrims_WYD-Gelina-Montierro_1068 Sydney pilgrims at the St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. PHOTO: Gelina Montierro IMG_2182 Pilgrims at prayer during Mass at the group-pic_850
Simcha Fisher: Why isn’t there more advice about raising teenagers? https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/why-isnt-there-more-advice-about-raising-teenagers/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 01:23:38 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17653 Every once in a while, people ask me why I don’t write more about raising teenagers. When I was knee-deep in little kids, they were an endless source of writing material, and I was a bottomless font of advice, anecdotes, and commentary on the topic of raising little kids, about which I was clearly an […]

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According to Simcha, the first rule of raising teenagers is that you don't talk about raising teenagers.
According to Simcha, the first rule of raising teenagers is that you don’t talk about raising teenagers.

Every once in a while, people ask me why I don’t write more about raising teenagers. When I was knee-deep in little kids, they were an endless source of writing material, and I was a bottomless font of advice, anecdotes, and commentary on the topic of raising little kids, about which I was clearly an expert.

Now that I have five teenagers (and one post-teen!), I write less and less about my kids. This is because even the most uncommunicative teenager will always be willing to tell you one thing: She wants her privacy.

She doesn’t want you to tell strangers adorable or embarrassing or heartwarming stories about her. She doesn’t want you to share pictures of her blowing out his birthday candles, and she definitely doesn’t want you to share profoundly intimate stories of what you, as a mother, learned about your relationship with God after a revelatory moment alone in the car with her. Or if she does, you danged well better get her permission first.

See related story: Tips for when your teens become ‘allergic’ to you

So this is the first rule of raising teenagers: You don’t talk about raising teenagers. It’s unfortunate, because parents of teens need as much support and encouragement as parents of newborns or toddlers or elementary school kids; but the quickest way to screw up your relationship with your teenage kid is to blab about it.

Of course, teenagers aren’t the only ones who deserve some privacy. Younger kids do, too, although there is certainly more wiggle room, for a variety of reasons. And this is the second reason that experienced parents don’t write more about raising teenagers: Because there is nothing like raising a teenager to make you wonder if you have ever known anything or ever done anything right.

Teenage son sitting with his Father in front of boats.

With babies, toddlers, and little kids, the typical problems parents encounter are often more obvious, and it’s easy to tell if our solutions are working or not. My kid won’t sleep, so I did this thing, and now she sleeps. My kid has too many clothes, so I used this system, and now the room is tidy again. My kid hasn’t moved his bowels in three days, so I fed him this, and now we’re all set.

There are exceptions, of course. There are atypical children, and there is a wide range of normal for typical children. But in general, it’s easy to tell if what you’re doing is working or not.

But with teenagers, everything becomes murkier. When I look back on my own teenage years, I can’t even tell if my parents were on the right track with how they dealt with me or not, and it was my life! Raising a teenager is a lot like punching in that mysterious string of numbers in the TV show LOST: You have no idea if what you’re doing actually has any effect, but you don’t dare stop, no matter how silly or desperate you feel.

See related story: Pope opens canonisation process for two teenagers of heroic virtue

These feelings of helplessness are actually a good thing, assuming you all survive. It’s a good thing to realise that you’re no expert, you’re no genius, you’re no bottomless font of wisdom. It’s a good thing to realise that your child is not a robot to be programmed, or an empty sack to be filled with whatever habits and preferences and traits and skills you choose.

What your child is is a unique, irreplaceable immortal being with terrifyingly free will and a lot less self-knowledge than he had a few years ago; and what you are is someone who loves your kid and wants the best for him, but is so far from being in control, it’s laughable.

Here’s the thing: When you have a teenager, you begin to realise that you’ve always been helpless, after a certain point. You also had no idea what you were doing when you were raising that toddler; you just thought you did, but now the mistakes you made then and the good ideas you blundered into are just barely starting to come to fruition.

Teenage daughter sits next to her mother.

If this sounds discouraging, I’m telling it wrong. What I’m trying to convey is this: If you have lucked into raising a teenager who is calm, compliant, motivated, and organised, you should be aware that it really is mostly luck, with a large component of genetics, and you should be grateful rather than smug. And if you find yourself raising a teenager who makes you wonder where you went wrong — well, you may never know. Maybe everything. maybe nothing. So unclench, parents.

Does our parenting, past and present, have anything to do with how our kids turn out? Of course it does. I see people raising teens in a way that makes me wonder if they’re hoping the kid will self-destruct and the parent can just get back to living an unencumbered life.

But I have also seen parents who have done everything in what sure looks like the best possible way, and the kid is still a mess; and I have seen parents slack off and screw up and still somehow end up with a kid who’s the envy of the neighborhood. So no, you can’t keep trying to be a the best parent you can figure out how to be; but you do need to stop assuming you’ll get the results you want if you just do everything right.

See related story: Youth team live a ‘radical way’

I actually do have a certain amount of advice about how to raise teenagers, but really what it boils down to is this: Remember they are real people, not problems to be solved, trophies to be displayed, historical wrongs to be rectified, or theories to be born out.

They need whatever love it is you know how to give (and some kinds that you need to learn on the fly how to give), and the rest is up to them and God. So give them up to God repeatedly, and be open to the ways He guides you in raising them. But remember that, ultimately, they are His, and they are their own. They are not yours.

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Pope wants abuse summit to lead to action https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/pope-wants-abuse-summit-to-lead-to-action/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:32:46 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17662 Pope Francis wants leaders of the world's bishops' conferences to gain clarity on preventing abuse and care for victims.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on 16 January. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring

At the upcoming meeting on protecting minors, Pope Francis wants leaders of the world’s bishops’ conferences to clearly understand what must be done to prevent abuse, care for victims and ensure no case is whitewashed or covered up.

“The Pope wants it to be an assembly of pastors, not an academic conference — a meeting characterised by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering,” Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters on 16 January.

The 21-24 February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church “has a concrete purpose: The goal is that all of the bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors,” Gisotti said, reading from a written communique in Italian and English.

See related story: Confronting the reality of abuse

“Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response,” he said.

The Pope announced in September that he was calling the presidents of the world’s bishops conferences, the heads of the Eastern Catholic churches and representatives of the leadership groups of men’s and women’s religious orders to the Vatican to address the crisis and focus on responsibility, accountability and transparency.

Gisotti said, “It is fundamental for the Holy Father that when the bishops who will come to Rome have returned to their countries and their dioceses that they understand the laws to be applied and that they take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, to care for the victims and to make sure that no case is covered up or buried.”

Bishops
Two of the four members of the organising committee for the 21-24 February Vatican meeting on the protection of minors in the Church. From left are Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Centre for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring

He acknowledged the “high expectations” surrounding the meeting and emphasised that “the Church is not at the beginning of the fight against abuse.”

“The meeting is a stage along the painful journey that the Church has unceasingly and decisively undertaken for over 15 years,” he said.

In a separate communique, the Vatican press office said the meeting’s organising committee met with Pope Francis on 10 January.

The committee members are Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India; Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Centre for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

See related story: Why is no one talking about the real abuse issue?

The members informed the Pope about their preparations for the gathering, which will include plenary sessions, working groups and moments of common prayer and “listening to testimonies”.

Pope Francis has asked Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the former director of the Vatican press office, to moderate the plenary sessions.

The meeting will include a penitential liturgy on 23 February and a closing Mass on 24 February, Gisotti said.

“Pope Francis guaranteed his presence for the entire duration of the meeting,” the communique said.

Archbishop Fisher
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney gives his speech at a session of the Synod Youth in which he apologised to young people for “the shameful deeds” of some clergy. PHOTO: CNS photo/Vatican Media

The organising committee has already informed participating bishops that they should prepare for the gathering by meeting with survivors of abuse.

“The first step must be acknowledging the truth of what has happened. For this reason, we urge each episcopal conference president to reach out and visit with victim survivors of clergy sex abuse in your respective countries prior to the meeting in Rome to learn firsthand the suffering that they have endured,” said the committee in a letter released to the public by the Vatican on 18 December.

Without “a comprehensive and communal response” to the abuse crisis, the committee said, “not only will we fail to bring healing to victim survivors, but the very credibility of the church to carry on the mission of Christ will be in jeopardy throughout the world”.

The members also had sent participants a questionnaire so they could “express their opinions constructively and critically as we move forward, to identify where help is needed to bring about reforms now and in the future, and to help us get a full picture of the situation in the Church”.

Pope Francis, they had said, “is convinced that through collegial cooperation, the challenges facing the Church can be met. But each of us needs to own this challenge, coming together in solidarity, humility and penitence to repair the damage done, sharing a common commitment to transparency and holding everyone in the Church accountable.”

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Pope-Francis_CNS_160119_850 Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on 16 January. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring CNS_160119_850 Two of the four members of the organising committee for the 21-24 February Vatican meeting on the protection of minors in the Church. From left are Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, president of the Centre for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring fisher Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney gives his speech at a session of the Synod Youth in which he apologised to young people for "the shameful deeds" of some clergy. PHOTO: CNS photo/Vatican Media
Monica Doumit: The year we must fight https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/monica-doumit-the-year-we-must-fight/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 21:00:08 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17595 We always expected that the push to legalise euthanasia would be back on the cards in the next New South Wales parliamentary term, but the threat just got a little greater with the announcement that Senator David Leyonhjelm will resign from federal parliament and seek election in the NSW Legislative Council. In making the announcement, […]

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A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS
A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS

We always expected that the push to legalise euthanasia would be back on the cards in the next New South Wales parliamentary term, but the threat just got a little greater with the announcement that Senator David Leyonhjelm will resign from federal parliament and seek election in the NSW Legislative Council.

In making the announcement, he said that he wanted to switch to state politics in order to focus on “nanny-state issues,” including assisted suicide.

Senator Leyonhjelm has long been an advocate of euthanasia and assisted suicide. If you remember, he was the Senator who last year introduced a bill into the Senate that would have paved the way for euthanasia and assisted suicide to be legalised in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

The announcement from Senator Leyonhjelm puts into focus just how important each and every vote in the Upper House of parliament is.

His federal bill was narrowly defeated in the Senate (on the Solemnity of the Assumption, no less. Don’t mess with the Blessed Mother!) by a vote of 36 votes to 34. Had just two senators have voted the other way, the outcome would have been much different.

Read related article: Euthanasia: Ripping the fabric of society apart

The close votes aren’t just a feature of the federal Senate.

You might remember that the last vote on euthanasia and assisted suicide in NSW happened in November 2017 on a bill introduced in the Upper House by Nationals MLC Trevor Khan.

The final vote was even closer, with 20 members voting against legalising euthanasia, and 19 in favour. If just one person had voted differently, the bill would have passed.

Every vote counts.

Putting the result into more practical terms, there are two members of the Christian Democratic Party in the Upper House of NSW, Rev. Fred Nile MLC and Paul Green MLC. If Senator Leyonhjelm was there instead of one of these two, then euthanasia would have gone through the Upper House.

I’ll write more about the importance of our Upper House vote in the NSW state election as it draws closer, but we can no longer afford to be complacent.

This year the euthanasia battle is set to rage in other states as well.

Western Australia will push to have euthanasia legalised, following an inquiry held last year that recommended it be done. Photo: Silverhorse/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
Western Australia will push to have euthanasia legalised, following an inquiry held last year that recommended it be done. Photo: Silverhorse/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Looking elsewhere in Australia, we know that Victoria will become the first state to start killing the terminally ill, with laws passed last year set to take effect in June.

The government has now confirmed that it has been able to source the lethal drugs from Australia, circumventing any need to import prohibited substances into the country.

Western Australia will push to have euthanasia legalised, following an inquiry held last year that recommended it be done.

The Queensland government, fresh off decriminalising abortion in that state, has announced it will hold an inquiry into legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide as well.

And then, on New Year’s Eve, it was reported that Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman (who previously voted against euthanasia) is now open to it being introduced in the state. Reports also suggest that a private members’ bill will be introduced later this year.

One news outlet reporting on the developments in Tasmania labelled it ‘the Domino effect’ of the Victorian legislation. Now that Victoria has written and passed a law that is in a form that can easily be copied by other states, it could be that we go from one state with legalised euthanasia to five states this year.

That is, unless we fight back.

Read related article: Victoria votes to legalise euthanasia

The same news outlet that described the ‘domino effect’ of the Victorian legislation also quoted the architect of the Northern Territory’s euthanasia laws as saying that he was concerned that the Catholic Church will run an effective political campaign to stop the passage of euthanasia in other states.

Please God, I hope so. I hope his fears are realised, and that the Catholic Church continues to be known as the people who are standing in the way of state-sanctioned suicide. It would be a badge of honour for all of us, and a true act of service to our country.

So often, too often, it is said that the Catholic Church should stay out of issues like euthanasia because religion has no place in this debate. Those who argue this neglect that the Catholic Church is one of the largest providers of health care, particularly palliative care, and so our voice matters a great deal.

Let’s not be bullied into silence this year, and help prove the euthanasia activists right: the Catholic Church is the biggest obstacle to them getting their way.

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Doumit-200119 A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: CNS legislative-assembly-of-wa Western Australia will push to have euthanasia legalised, following an inquiry held last year that recommended it be done. Photo: Silverhorse/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
Symposium to focus on preserving Church art and architecture https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/symposium-to-focus-on-preserving-church-art-and-architecture/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:01:44 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=17646 Preserving Australia’s heritage Catholic churches will be a focus of a National Church Architecture Symposium in Melbourne next month.

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Experts in Church architecture will address a symposium in Melbourne in February PHOTO: Dion Seminara

Preserving Australia’s beautiful heritage Catholic churches for future generations will be a major focus of a National Church Architecture Symposium in Melbourne next month.

Jointly organised by the National Liturgical Art and Architecture Council (NLAAC) and the ACU Centre for Liturgy, Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also will be held at the Australian Catholic University’s St Patrick’s campus from 6-8 February.

Harry Stephens, secretary of the NLAAC, an advisory body to the Bishops Commission for Liturgy of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the symposium was a timely event for the Catholic Church in Australia.

See related story: Timeless beauty has facelift at Lewisham

“We have many old churches, many of which are important historically and some of which are protected with heritage listing,” he said.

“The symposium is a completely unique event – there’s never been anything quite like this in Australia before.”

Mr Stephens said two major events would happen at the symposium: the release of a new set of guidelines for heritage churches and the launch of Cultura – a digital catalogue of Church-owned items including buildings, sacred vessels, vestments, sacred books, pieces of furniture and altars.

Historical chapel
The Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Lublin, Poland, showcases a unique mix of Eastern and Western architecture and art. The chapel was built in under King Casimir the Great in the 14th century and decorated with Byzantine-Ruthenian frescos. PHOTO: CNS/Nancy Wiechec

“The book we have just finished writing is called Fit for Sacred Use: Stewardship and renewal of places of worship. We’ve never attempted anything like that before and it is something that is incredibly important now,” he said.

“This new book and its guidelines seek to ensure that damage is not done to the heritage value of our churches during any work undertaken to make them fit for sacred use.”

The document is a companion to the Council’s last publication, And when churches are to be built: Preparation, planning and construction of places of worship, released three years ago.

Mr Stephens said while the Cultura catalogue was a first for the Church in Australia, England’s Catholic and Anglican churches had been compiling similar registers for many years.

St Thomas altar
The altar at St Thomas Church in Sydney’s Lewisham. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“We also have two amazing international guest speakers. Keynote addresses will be presented by British architecture historian, author and heritage expert Sophie Andreae and leading American liturgical design consultant Richard S. Vosko,” he said.

There will also be other dynamic and engaging local presenters offering workshops, problem-based learning sessions, case studies and site visits.

Mr Stephens said Ms Andreae has looked after the heritage of the Catholic Church in England and Wales for many years, while Fr Vosko has completed hundreds of Church projects in the United States, earning him honorary membership of the American Institute of Architects.

“This symposium is for all those who care about the places of Catholic worship, including clergy, parishioners, architects, artists, teachers, liturgists, designers, theology and architecture students, academics and anyone with an interest in architecture, art, artefacts and heritage,” he said.

“We are expecting up to 170 people to attend this year and there is still time to register.”

For more information or to register, visit the National Church Architecture Symposium 2019 website.

This article was first published on the ACBC Media Blog.

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Bulimba850 Experts in Church architecture will address a symposium in Melbourne in February PHOTO: Dion Seminara 20151111T0731-331-CNS-POLAND-WYD-DAYS-DIOCESES The Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Lublin, Poland, showcases a unique mix of Eastern and Western architecture and art. The chapel was built in under King Casimir the Great in the 14th century and decorated with Byzantine-Ruthenian frescos. PHOTO: CNS/Nancy Wiechec Lewisham_850 The altar at St Thomas Church in Sydney's Lewisham. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli