The Catholic Weekly https://www.catholicweekly.com.au The Church. All of it. Fri, 16 Nov 2018 22:25:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Street Feast a joy for city’s marginalised https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/street-feast-a-joy-for-citys-marginalised/ Fri, 16 Nov 2018 06:48:45 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15879 Many of the city’s marginalised and vulnerable enjoyed lunch with Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher today.

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Luncheon Club
Friends Alexis and Carol Ann King enjoy lunch at St Mary’s Cathedral with Archbishop Fisher. Carol is the founder of The Luncheon Club, an agency that provides services for the homeless. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

The forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral was transformed into a reception for many of the city’s marginalised and vulnerable who were invited to lunch with Sydney’s Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP today.

About 300 guests, including those who have experienced disadvantage, service providers and several civic leaders enjoyed the city’s inaugural Sydney Street Feast event held to mark the second World Day of the Poor on 18 November.

Archbishop Fisher welcomed the guests saying it was “lovely” to host them at his place and that it was an occasion to honour the many groups who care every day and night through the year for those who slip through the cracks of society.

“Welcome to my table, welcome to the family of God and know that you are welcome for all eternity to the family of God,” he said.

“I want the Catholic Church and all the churches and the whole community to be there for everyone in our community, especially those who are struggling in some way.

Archbishop Fisher
Archbishop Anthony Fisher shares a joke with a patron from David’s Place, an organisation providing spiritual care for the underprivileged. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“I’d love to put something like this on every day or every month, but the wonderful thing is that there are people that this is just a symbol of, who are doing it every day and every night somewhere around our city.”

The theme of this year’s World Day of the Poor is ‘This poor man cried and the Lord heard him’ (Psalm 34:6).

Justice and peace promoter for the archdiocese Father Peter Smith thanked the event’s supporters along with civic and company leaders who “are in a position to help us change some of the conversations around our city and help us become a more inclusive society”.

“When we think of poverty the first thing that comes to our minds is people who are struggling financially, who are struggling for food, who are struggling for accommodation; but there’s a poverty that exists in all of us,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s a poverty in our relationships, sometimes it’s a poverty in terms of our loneliness, sometimes it’s a poverty of feeling isolated or left out of some of the goods of our society.

Sydney Street Feast caterers
Caterers provided for about 300 lunch guests of the Archbishop to mark World Day of the Poor on 18 November. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“But clearly those who are lacking finance, food and shelter, they are the ones that we need to address and care for the most.”

The event was sponsored by the PAYCE Foundation and Paynter Dixon, while the St Merkorious Charity provided a feast of chicken and beef kebabs, sausages, flatbreads, salads, and dessert.

Also in attendance were Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Terry Brady, City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster, Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne, and local MPs Paul Green and John Sidoti.

“We’re not just about food and beds,” said Barry Anderson of Cana Communities which provides a range of services including crisis accommodation and support and respite.

“Our residents are wanted and valued and we form a family connection with them.”

Eric Espic, 69, said that Cana Communities helped him out of a rough patch in his life when “things were bad” and he needed a place to live and help to get back on his feet.

The Sydney Street Choir provided entertainment for the hundreds gathered in St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“Days like this are great because they bring people together and open up your eyes to just how many people are homeless,” he said.

Volunteer server Eric Kent, 23, said it was great to see people coming together for what was a relaxed and joy-filled occasion.

“You can really see the Gospel in everyone, everyone gathered here today is really living the Word,” he said.

Pope Francis in his 13 June message encouraged Catholic communities to celebrate the World Day of the Poor “in a spirit of joy” and share a meal with those experiencing the “many forms of poverty all around us”.

“God’s answer to the poor is always a saving act that heals wounds of body and soul, restores justice and helps to live life anew in dignity,” he said.

“God’s answer is also a summons to those who believe in him to do likewise, within the limits of what is humanly possible.

“The World Day of the Poor wishes to be a small answer that the Church throughout the world gives to the poor of every kind and in every land, lest they think that their cry has gone unheard.”

On his Facebook page, Archbishop Fisher said that while Catholic agencies across Sydney “feed, shelter, and clothe thousands of our poor and marginalised brothers and sisters each day” it was nice for so many of them to come together as one for the occasion.

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Alexis–Carol-Ann-King_Streetfeast_GPortelli_16-11-18_850 Friends Alexis and Carol Ann King enjoy lunch at St Mary's Cathedral with Archbishop Fisher. Carol is the founder of The Luncheon Club, an agency that provides services for the homeless. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli ABFisher_Streetfeast_GPortelli_19-11-18_850 Archbishop Anthony Fisher talking to a patron from David's Place, an organisation providing spiritual care for the underprivileged. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli Caterers_Streetfeast_GPortelli_16-11-18_850 Caterers provided for about 300 lunch guests of the Archbishop to mark World Day of the Poor on 18 November. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli SydneyStreetchoir_Streetfeast_GPortelli_16-11-18_850 The Sydney Street Choir provided entertainment for the hundreds gathered in St Mary's Cathedral forecourt. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli
Life-giving service to women awarded https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/life-giving-service-to-women-awarded/ Fri, 16 Nov 2018 06:19:12 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15875 A woman dragged into the media spotlight due to her own crisis pregnancy has been awarded for her role in raising awareness of the need for greater pregnancy support services. At the 2018 Pregnancy Support Awards Dinner at NSW Parliament House on 14 November, Jaya Taki was awarded along with four others for their work […]

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Jaya Taki accepts her award for Leadership in Pregnancy Support at NSW Parliament House. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

A woman dragged into the media spotlight due to her own crisis pregnancy has been awarded for her role in raising awareness of the need for greater pregnancy support services.

At the 2018 Pregnancy Support Awards Dinner at NSW Parliament House on 14 November, Jaya Taki was awarded along with four others for their work in supporting pregnant women and their families.

The Hon. Greg Donnelly MLC, presented Ms Taki with the award for “Leadership in Pregnancy Support.”

Ms Taki’s story hit the headlines—against her will—in 2017, after she became pregnant to a high-profile footballer and was subsequently pressured into aborting their unborn child.

The Pregnancy Support Awards recognise individuals and organisations that support women facing crisis pregnancies and their families. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

She has spoken publicly about her experience of post-abortion grief and the need for more support for women facing a crisis pregnancy.

“I didn’t expect this at all. I’m very grateful,” Ms Taki said after accepting the award.

She expressed her gratitude for Sarah’s Place, the pregnancy counselling centre in Surry Hills that helped her deal with post-abortion grief.

“I didn’t know abortion grief was a real thing and since then I’ve come leaps and bounds in my personal life and I’m in such an amazing place, from being someone who wanted to take her own life after an abortion. So it’s really me who should be thanking all of you.”

University student, Bethany Marsh, who was targeted through social media after publicly expressing opposition to exclusion zones around abortion clinics, was awarded in the category of “Outstanding Young Volunteer.”

Bethany Marsh receives her award from MP Damian Tudehope, Member for Epping. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The second year student at Campion College, who has provided counselling and support to pregnant women, led the We Support Women advocacy group against the exclusion zone bill passed in the NSW Parliament in May this year.

After expressing her views against the 150 metre exclusion zones during a TV interview with SBS, Ms Marsh was viciously attacked via social media.

“Thank you to everyone who helps expectant mothers and unborn children and families that are struggling. It makes society a better place,” Ms Marsh said, after accepting her award from Damian Tudehope, MP for Epping.

The winner of the award for “Outstanding Pregnancy Support Counselling” was Preethy Abraham, who works at Sarah’s Place, providing both face-to-face and telephone counselling to women facing unplanned pregnancies or experiencing post-abortion grief.

Preethy Abraham was awarded for her work as a pregnancy support counsellor. She received her award from Paul Green MLC. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok.

The Women’s Life Centre in southern NSW won for “Best Pregnancy Support in Regional, Rural and Remote NSW,” while T21 Mum Australia Network, based in QLD, was awarded in the category of “Outstanding Interstate Pregnancy Support Service.” T21 Mum Australia specialises in supporting mums whose unborn children have been identified as potentially and positively Down syndrome.

Mr Donnelly, who initiated the Pregnancy Support Awards three years ago, thanked all those present at the dinner for the work they do in supporting pregnant mothers and their families, and paid tribute to all organisations and individuals engaged in such vital work.

NSW MP Greg Donnelly, far right, initiative the Pregnancy Support Awards three years ago. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

“While detailed records are not available, one can safely say that thousands of lives have been touched by these outstanding individuals and organisations, some of whom have been toiling away doing this critically important, yet under-recognised voluntary work for decades,” Mr Donnelly said.

“And of course, we have those wonderful people alive today, living fulfilling and complete lives and making a contribution to society, who would not be with us today if it was not for the encouragement, assistance and care that people like you have given their mothers.”

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Reflections on a challenging but blessed life https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/reflections-on-a-challenging-but-blessed-life/ Fri, 16 Nov 2018 06:00:38 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15849 It was a different era, when a young Kerry Bayada arrived at St Columba seminary in the Blue Mountains still a child. Now the retired monsignor looks back on nearly 60 years as a priest

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By Debbie Cramsie

As he stood on the country platform at Central Railway waiting for the 4pm Blue Mountains service to arrive, Kerry Bayada tightly clutched his mother’s hand, not knowing when he would see her or his father again.

As the train pulled in and the whistle blew, there was time for one more desperate hug and then he boarded the Springwood-bound service waving as the doors closed behind him.

Mons Kerry Bayada
Monsignor Kerry Bayada reflects on his 53 years in the priesthood. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

At just 12 years of age, Kerry was setting off to join St Columba seminary.

More than 70 years later and recently reflecting on that time, he says he had no real understanding where he was going and, admits that if he did, he might not have boarded that train.

Sitting on the tough leather seats, he gazed out the window as the passing landscape changed from suburbia to bush.

Noisy students laughed and chatted as they caught up on how they had spent the January school holidays and, although about 80 students surrounded him, he had never felt so alone.

He had never spent a night away from his family, let alone “a forever” in a place full of strangers.

The two-hour train trip rumbled up the mountain and felt like an eternity.

On arrival at Springwood station, he and the other students were ferried to the St Columba Seminary by a fleet of waiting buses.

He followed the throng of boys who seemed to know the drill, a hush converging on them as they entered the driveway.

He stepped off the bus, looked up and was speechless.

Built in 1909, St Columba Seminary was opened at a time when Australia’s Catholic seminaries were bursting at the seams. It was a seminary for school-aged boys to complete their leaving certificate before heading to the adult seminary at Manly.

He was led to a dormitory of about 30 beds, dropped his few belongings beside one, and changed into the supplied soutane and collar.

Dripping with sweat, the dry heat exacerbated by the unfamiliar items of clothing that would become his new uniform, he tried to take in his new surroundings.

Ushered to a dinner of bread, butter and jam, he remembered thinking, “Gee that’s not what mum would ever have given me for tea”.

He, along with the others boys, were then led into something called meditation (a term he’d never heard before) and then the “great silence” began.

No talking was allowed until after breakfast the following morning. He changed into his stiff new pyjamas and climbed into the unusually hard bed.

He was sure he heard some muffled sobs coming from under the blankets but lay as still as a rock until he eventually feel asleep.

Time has faded many, many memories, but waving goodbye to his parents just 10 days before his 13th birthday is as raw today as if it were yesterday.

On reflection, Monsignor Kerry Bayada, now 83, said he still can’t believe his parents let him go at such an early age. However, despite the challenging beginnings, he is extremely thankful for his 58 years in the priesthood.

Monsignor Bayada and family
Monsignor Bayada (at right) with parents George and Irene.

Born in February, 1935, the eldest of seven brothers and sisters, Monsignor Bayada remembers fondly growing up in Sydney’s working-class Haberfield and attending Gladesville’s Villa Maria Primary School.

With World War II looming, his parents George and Irene decided that for the safety of their young family, they should move to the country so they descended on relatives at Yarrie Lake, near Narrabri.

Despite their efforts to escape the terror of war, they arrived to find the area surrounded by barbed wire fences, heavily uniformed soldiers and booming army trucks rumbling up and down the usually deserted streets.

Defence training camps had been set up in the area and he remembers sitting in wonder watching the young soldiers going through their paces and preparing for battle.

Despite the heavy presence of military, Monsignor Bayada said they settled into the area very easily and quickly became part of the small farming community.

“We absolutely loved it,” he says.

“We learnt how to survive in the bush and for kids coming from the city that was pretty exciting.

“I remember sitting with my uncle milking the cows straight into cups and then drinking the warm milk. We rode horses and would shoot rabbits. Looking back it really was a very happy time for us all.”

The family stayed in the district for about eight months, and then travelled back and forth between Sydney for a few years before finally settling in Tamworth.

He said he remembers those years as bitter sweet. It was where he lost his younger brother but also had his first thoughts about a life dedicated to the Church.

Monsignor Bayada (centre) with his siblings.
Monsignor Bayada (centre) with his siblings.

Young Francis Joseph Bayada was born in the local hospital and plagued with health issues throughout his short life.

He survived a bout of diphtheria but at the age of just four succumbed to the ravages of rheumatic fever and died at home when Monsignor was just nine.

His parents brought the small boy home from hospital and he remembers hearing the screams from his mother when he passed away at 6.45pm on a Friday night.

The next morning the family buried their son and brother with a very modest funeral, paid for with borrowed money.

Every weekend the family visited his brother’s grave – a pile of dirt, as they could not afford a tombstone.

“My siblings and I loved going to see little Francis,” he smiled. [But] being the eldest I noticed the toll it took on my parents. To this day, I can still hear my mum sobbing as she lay on the bed next to him.

“I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have lost a child. In fact, I remember my mum saying years later that she never really grieved for Francis and it was something she took to her own deathbed.

“We have since had a proper tombstone erected and from time-to-time we go up there to visit him.”

Life went on for the young Kerry and he took great comfort in the Church. He became an altar server and loved getting to know the local priests and watching with awe as they carried out their duties in the district. Baptisms, reconciliation, communion – even funerals were all greeted with a sense of fascination and something that he thought about doing.

The family eventually moved back to Sydney and while the memories of country life quickly faded, the desire for the priesthood didn’t.

Monsignor Bayada with his family on his ordination day
Monsignor Bayada with his family on his ordination day at St Patrick’s, Manly.

He kept his thoughts about his vocation a secret from his parents but took the opportunity to talk to some visiting priests from St Columba seminary, who came to speak to the boys.

“I spoke to one of them about becoming a priest and he listened very attentively and told me to give it a few years, I was too young,” he smiled.

“And then a second priest spoke to me and advised I do something about it immediately.”

That night a very anxious Kerry broke the news to his mum who quickly told him to “go talk to your father”. And while neither parent was at all surprised, their biggest concern was how they would afford it.

In those days, the boys had to pay to 70 pounds to attend the seminary, which was well and truly out of the question for the struggling family. However once his parents saw how determined he was in pursuing a vocation his parents approached the local St Vincent de Paul Society who gave him the money.

Before he knew it, his application form had been lodged and he was asked to meet with Cardinal Frank Gilroy, the then Archbishop of Sydney for an interview.

He and his mum travelled by tram to St Mary’s Cathedral on a Saturday morning and he remembers been asked why he wanted to become a priest and he said: “because it’s the best way for me to serve God”.

Father Bayada with Irene Bayada
Proud mum and son, the then Father Bayada with Irene Bayada.

Just days later his acceptance letter arrived and he started preparing for his departure to the junior seminary.

He was supplied with a list of items he needed to bring including a dressing gown, pyjamas, and slippers, which received as Christmas presents from his family.

“It all happened so quickly, I didn’t really have the opportunity to think about what I was doing,” he smiled.

“Being the eldest I didn’t complain, I just did the best I could and got on with it.

“I had never owned a dressing gown or slippers before so my family somehow purchased them for me for Christmas. Not exactly the type of presents I was hoping for but I was still very grateful.”

He spent his early years at the seminary before he was transferred to St Patrick’s at Manly for the conclusion of his studies.

Surprisingly this was where he really struggled most with his vocation.

He said after so many years at Springwood it had become home and leaving all that was familiar to him took its toll.

“I remember celebrating my 21st birthday feeling very, very low,” he said. “I suppose today you’d call it a type of depression.

“I had gone from being with my classmates in a big dormitory to being in a room on my own.

“It was very grim and I seriously thought about my future and if the priesthood was what I really wanted.

“I like to think God had a hand in it but I became friends with a fellow seminarian and between the two of us I worked through my issues and decided to stay.”

Fr Kerry was ordained and assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Earlwood in 1964.

He said he very quickly became aware that despite the many, many years of training he really had very little idea how to deal with the parishioners.

Monsignor Bayada
Looking back on his life: Monsignor Bayada says he would do it all again

“For the first time I had to deal with real people,” he said.

“They had real problems, ones I had never experienced myself so had no clue how to deal with them.

“I was so naïve looking back, we really were very under-prepared.”

Gradually he settled into the parish, but after four years, he was moved to Newcastle and then Belmont.

Cardinal Gilroy gave him permission to buy a car so he could drive himself around his new parishes.

He spent a few years in the region before getting a look at the other side of life moving to Darlinghurst in 1967.

Prostitution, homosexuality, drug addiction were things he witnessed daily.

“It certainly was a side of life I had never seen,” he said. “I went from seeing nothing to seeing everything.

“It was a real challenge but one I thoroughly enjoyed.

“I remember meeting this young fella who was a drug addict, I persuaded him to go to a rehab hospital and get cleaned up.

“After a few days I decided to go and visit him and see how he was getting on. Once I got there I was accused of trying to smuggle him drugs.

“I just couldn’t believe they would even begin to think a priest would try and do that. To start with, I wouldn’t even know where to get them.

“I guess it just shows how naïve I was.”

After two years, another move, this time to Roseberry, taking on the job of Vocations Director for the Sydney Archdiocese, guiding young men thinking of joining the priesthood – a role he carried out for the next 17 years.

At just 33 and himself still a young man, talking to school students and other young men about vocations was something he loved, and today still comes across many priests who he helped discern their vocation, including the current Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP.

Monsignor Bayada on his 21st birthday.

Short stints at Strathfield, Silverwater and Concord West followed before he was installed initially as the parish administrator at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Caringbah in 1985, and then Parish Priest and Monsignor a year later, where he stayed for 30 years until his retirement three years ago.

During that time he said he did the lot, “hatched, matched and dispatched” and thoroughly enjoyed the parish and the parishioners.

“The Caringbah community accepted me and made me part of their family,” he said.

“They were there for me in the difficult times, especially when my parents died.

“It’s a very caring community and exceptionally generous. When we held an aid appeal after the 2004 tsunami, we raised $27,000 over two weekends.

“Still today when I visit the parish they all tell me they miss me. I’ve been very touched by the things they have told me I gave them. Sometimes I thought I hadn’t expressed myself very well but somehow, something I said touched the congregation.

“I appreciate them for their kindness and generosity and that they accepted and welcomed me. They have been family to me. I appreciate that very much.”

Upon retirement three years ago, Monsignor Bayada moved to a aged care village where he remains the chaplain. He celebrates Mass twice a week and fills in from time to time when Sydney priests take holidays.

Over the years, he has officiated at all his siblings’ weddings and baptised his nieces and nephews.

He said in his 58 years as a priest he “did the best I could”.

Monsignor Bayada
Monsignor Bayada, in the front row third from the right, with his ordination class of 1960.

“I have had an extraordinary life,” he smiles with a tear in his eye. “I have no regrets and can honestly say I did the best I could.

“There have been both some incredibly sad and happy times.

“I remember when I buried about six young people in a very short time frame and that left a real mark on me. But then I have seen some incredible things and been very, very blessed.

“There aren’t many of my classmates left now, just a handful who I see now and then. If I had my time over I would do it all again in a heartbeat, it’s been a wonderful life.”

Asked what advice he would give his 12-year-old self now, he pauses for a moment, then says: “Go ahead mate, take the challenge, it’s all worthwhile.”

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MKB_10 Monsignor Kerry Bayada reflects on his 53 years in the priesthood. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok MKB_5 MKB_1 MKB_3 MKB_4 MKB_11 MKB_2 MKB_9
Lights spectacular to draw Christmas crowds https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/lights-spectacular-to-draw-christmas-crowds/ Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:00:06 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15806 Sydney’s longest-running, free Christmas community event, which has become a “must see” for thousands each year, is about to kick-off for its ninth season. The iconic free community event, The Lights of Christmas, will be launched at St Mary’s Cathedral Square on Wednesday 5 December at 7.30pm by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and NSW Premier, […]

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The Lights of Christmas last year was a huge success drawing 800,000 people. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Sydney’s longest-running, free Christmas community event, which has become a “must see” for thousands each year, is about to kick-off for its ninth season.

The iconic free community event, The Lights of Christmas, will be launched at St Mary’s Cathedral Square on Wednesday 5 December at 7.30pm by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.

St Mary’s stunning facade will provide the canvas for the spectacular Christmas light show, every night from 8.30pm to midnight, up to and including 25 December.

Last year 800,000 attended The Lights of Christmas, with more than 3 million viewing the show online.

The Lights of Christmas 2017. PHOTO: AGB Events

Choirs will perform on the steps of the Cathedral each night one hour before the audio and light show begins.

The opening night will feature a performance by CaSPA, the choir comprised of Catholic school students, and the Sydney Street Choir.

This year’s theme will be “Giving” and for the first time the event, presented by Paynter Dixon and produced by AGB Events, will partner with the Curran Foundation to raise funds for Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

Money raised will go towards the Hospital’s Heart and Lung Transplantation program.

Family and friends come together for The Lights of Christmas each year. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“This has become such a wonderful and huge Christmas event for Sydney, where people from all communities are welcome,” said Anthony Bastic, Creative Director of AGB Events.

“Each year we try to provide a new experience with the visual and audio show which relates to this special time of year. This year it is “Giving” and we hope the show will encourage everyone, of all ages, to think there is much more to giving than receiving.”

“And of course we will have the beautiful traditional artworks featuring the Madonna and Child,” Mr Bastic said.

The Lights of Christmas has become an annual tradition for Sydney-siders, especially for families, with many enjoying a picnic dinner together as they watch the festive light show.

People photograph The Lights of Christmas at St Mary’s Cathedral. PHOTO: AGB Events

The show will run on a 12-minute loop and will consist of three segments, beginning with a visual feast of decorative patterns inspired by Christmas.

The second segment will present a beautifully animated story, Roger Robot, written and narrated by the Red Wiggle, Simon Pryce, exploring the power of giving rather than receiving.

The final segment traditionally honours the essence of the Christmas story, featuring a series of artworks depicting the Madonna and Christ Child.

The show will finish with the traditional images of the Madonna and Child. PHOTO: AGB Events

“We are proud to be associated with this inspiring community event,” James Boyd, Director of Paynter Dixon, said.

“The Lights of Christmas is firmly a part of the fabric of Sydney and it is an event for families and friends to come together.”

Other sponsors of the event include the NSW Government, Australian Catholic University, PAYCE, Catholic Super and the City of Sydney.

Full details: www.lightsofchristmas.com.au
Follow on Instagram @lightsofchristmas or on Facebook @LightsofChristmasSydney

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In the footsteps of St Elizabeth https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/in-the-footsteps-of-st-elizabeth/ Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:37:09 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15842 Catholic Mission is offering an opportunity for eight pilgrims to retrace the ancient paths of a world-famous journey.

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Pilgrims will take in the beauty of Portugal and Galicia on the Immersion pilgrimages next year. PHOTO: Catholic Mission

Catholic Mission is offering an opportunity for eight pilgrims to retrace the ancient paths of one of the world’s most famous journeys.

Registrations are now open for the 250-kilometre  walk in the footsteps of St Elizabeth of Aragon, the 13th century Queen Consort of Portugal.

Over 17 days, beginning in May 2019, pilgrims will walk from the Portuguese city of Porto, crossing into southern Galicia in Spain before arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Immersions business manager at Catholic Mission John Kerrigan, says the Camino is more than just religious tourism.

St Elizabeth of Portugal
‘St Elizabeth of Portugal Distributing Alms’ by Francesco Pittoni

“Regardless of why people set out on the Camino, the journey itself becomes a spiritual adventure, drawing them into a deeper retreat experience,” he said.

After the Camino Francés, the Camino Portugués is the most popular Camino route among pilgrims and takes in lush forests, vineyards, farmlands and small villages along with the historic cities which line the route, he added.

“To be walking the Way of St James and sharing that deep spiritual experience with other pilgrims is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Catholic Mission will operate two immersions in May and June 2019. Groups will meet in Lisbon and take in a full day in Fatima, before heading north and setting out on the Camino from Porto.

The pilgrimage will also stop in historic Braga, before reaching its conclusion in Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrims will be asked to leave their technology behind in order to fully immerse themselves in the spirituality of the ancient Christian journey.

For details visit catholicmission.org.au/immersions

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Portugal-and-Galicia_CaminoImmersion_CatholicMission_850 Pilgrims will take in the beauty of Portugal and Galicia on the Catholic Mission Immersion pilgrimage. StElizabethofPortugalDistributingAlms_Circle-of-Francesco-Pittoni_Wikipedia_850 St Elizabeth of Portugal Distributing Alms by Francesco Pittoni
EXCLUSIVE: Students want faith https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/exclusive-students-want-faith/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 21:00:45 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15790 The overwhelming majority of students in Catholic schools say religion is an important part of their lives and many would like to learn more about it, a new survey has shown. The answers of 18,000 students who participated in the survey flies in the face of the common misconception that young people have overwhelmingly rejected […]

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Young people pray during the final Mass at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2017 in Sydney. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

The overwhelming majority of students in Catholic schools say religion is an important part of their lives and many would like to learn more about it, a new survey has shown.

The answers of 18,000 students who participated in the survey flies in the face of the common misconception that young people have overwhelmingly rejected Catholicism.

The thousands of students from Years 5, 7, 9 and 11 in systemic Catholic schools within the Sydney Archdiocese were surveyed in the 2018 Survey of Religious Attitudes and Practices about their views on religion and their practice of the faith.

It is believed to be the largest survey of its kind in the western world.

Results showed that the vast majority — about 90 per cent of students — place value on their Catholic faith, although levels of practicing the faith were greatly varied.

Over 2,000 Catholic schools students from All Saints Primary, Secondary and Senior schools in Liverpool came together to celebrate All Saints Day on 1 November 2018. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Less than 10 per cent of the respondents said they placed no value at all on religious faith.

A further encouragement for those who teach religious education to young people was the response of 66 per cent of students who said that they want to know more about religion.

“The survey provides valuable insight into religious beliefs and practices of the young people in our schools,” Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation at Sydney Catholic Schools, Anthony Cleary, told The Catholic Weekly.

“It shows they do certainly change as they become older, they are more questioning about the role of religion in their lives … But what’s clear is that they haven’t written religion off. They haven’t dismissed it out of hand.

“It shows the vast majority clearly do see value in religion.”

Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation at Sydney Catholic Schools, Anthony Cleary.

“The very bleak impression that some sociologists would try to present of young people is not evident in this survey. This survey actually shows that there is interest there, that there are lots of opportunities there.”

The survey is conducted every two years, allowing a particular cohort of students to be tracked over their school lives.

While the majority of students across all year levels said they wanted to know more about religion, it was female students in particular who expressed this desire, with 84 per cent of girls in Year 5 saying they wanted to know more.

“It shows that young people do have a sense of the transcendent,” Mr Cleary said.

“Whereas, if you read the newspapers they’re presented as godless and hedonistic and only interested in themselves.

Catholic secondary students praise God during one of the Plenary sessions at ACYF 2017 in Sydney. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“I think what we need to do is recognise that deep down a lot of them actually are yearning for opportunities. They want to be able to discuss the faith and that’s where we need to create a culture in our schools where young people feel comfortable talking to each other about the faith.”

Students responded that the most important influence on their lives is their family (72.5 per cent), demonstrating the importance of supporting families as a positive influence, Mr Cleary said.

The most important influence on students’ religious views was God at 42 per cent, with family second at 37 per cent.

From his own personal research into the effects of World Youth Days, Mr Cleary said young people are looking for opportunities to share faith experiences with their peers.

Thousands of young people celebrated their Catholic faith at ACYF 2017 in Sydney. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

“We sent 10,000 to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, a religious event. We send hundreds to every WYD and they come back on fire. I’m a firm believer in youth-to-youth evangelisation.”

While overwhelmingly positive, the survey also highlighted plenty of areas of concern, he said, such as a lack of participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the absence of a real prayer life for many young people.

“What we need to do is help young people develop a personal relationship with Jesus and to see the way their life can be transformed though that relationship.”

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Gobsmacked: Rome steps in, US abuse reform votes delayed https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/gobsmacked-rome-steps-in-us-abuse-reform-votes-delayed/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 05:25:55 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15809 By Greg Erlandson Seasoned bishop watchers know that just about every autumn meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a surprise. Sometimes it’s an election result. Sometimes it is the debate you never expected. Sometimes it’s that there’s no debate. But the first day of the 2018 Autumn meeting was one that caught […]

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Prelates pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel during a day of prayer on 12 November at the autumn general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Greg Erlandson

Seasoned bishop watchers know that just about every autumn meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a surprise. Sometimes it’s an election result. Sometimes it is the debate you never expected. Sometimes it’s that there’s no debate.

But the first day of the 2018 Autumn meeting was one that caught just about everyone in the room flat-footed. Right on the eve of what looked to be a decisive meeting of the US bishops in dealing with sexual abuse within their own ranks, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops asked them not to vote on two of the key proposals that were to be put before them.

When Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the conference, made the announcement Francis had asked that the US reform votes be delayed within the opening minutes of the meeting, the entire room — bishops, staff and journalists — were gobsmacked.

This, after all, was the meeting when the bishops were going to get their own house in order following the latest wave of sex abuse stories — Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the subsequent flood of subpoenas and investigations and self-published lists of priest offenders.

The McCarrick scandal in particular raised questions about who knew what and when. It also highlighted the fact that even when adults were involved, there could be harassment and abuse of power. In a 16 August statement, Cardinal DiNardo called for “an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops, and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints.”

Following meetings in Rome, some of the early requests by the US — particularly for an apostolic visitation to investigate the questions surrounding the McCarrick scandal — were rejected or modified by Rome. Likewise, a request by Pope Francis that the fall meeting become a weeklong retreat for the US bishops was rejected as logistically impractical, and plans were made for such a retreat in January in Chicago.

What is not clear is how much of the discussion and planning by the U.S. bishops involved Rome. By the eve of the November meeting, the US bishops were planning to ask for votes by the entire conference on three key issues:

  • A proposal for “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”
  • A proposal to establish a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the “Standards of Episcopal Conduct.”
  • And a protocol regarding restrictions on bishops who were removed from or resigned their office due to sexual abuse of minors, sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, or grave negligence in office.
Protesters gather outside the hotel in Baltimore where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting during its fall general assembly. Photo: CNS, Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

In addition, there was to be a report on a third-party reporting system that would allow victims or those knowledgeable of abusive situations regarding bishops to report such cases confidentially.

According to Cardinal DiNardo’s announcement, word was received on 11 November that the Vatican was asking the conference to delay their vote because of the previously announced meeting at the Vatican of the presidents of all the world’s bishops’ conferences to discuss the abuse crisis in February.

In his remarks, Cardinal DiNardo expressed his disappointment at the request for the delay of the reform votes, which threw the planned agenda for the four-day meeting into disarray.

Theories abound about what happened and why, ranging from the darkly conspiratorial to the surmise that Rome simply did not want the US bishops to get too far ahead of the Vatican on the very sensitive issues involving the disciplining of bishops. Such discipline in church law is normally the prerogative of the pope himself.

One observer said that the US bishops’ sense of urgency — inspired in part by the anger of many lay Catholics and their priests — clashed with the more cautious way that Rome would approach any issue with such far-reaching implications.

What will be the implications of this sudden twist is still unknown. Protesters and bishops alike may now see Rome as the obstructionist, and the growing pressure on Pope Francis will continue. Ironically, this may take some heat off the US bishops, at least temporarily, but is unlikely to help Rome-US relations.

Critics of the proposed action items also may be relieved, since there were those who viewed the proposals as opening the door for other conferences to make similarly unilateral changes in areas of discipline or doctrine.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address on 12 November during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. Photo: CNS, Bob Roller

Perhaps most frustrated are those bishops — many of them appointees after 2002 — who want to open their archives, name priests credibly accused, and forthrightly address issues of accountability and transparency.

Following the announcement of the delay of the US reform votes, the bishops of the Missouri province released a letter originally written on 6 October. It expressed support for the proposals suggested by Cardinal DiNardo but added: “We fear these measures will not be enough in either substance or timeliness to meet the demands that this pastoral crisis presents.”

Delay is inevitable, however. And now the bishops have the rest of their meeting to decide what, if anything, they are still able to do.

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Gobsmacked_by_Francis_head_in_hands580x567_141118 Prelates pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel during a day of prayer on 12 November at the autumn general assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo/Bob Roller Gobsmacked_by_Francis_protest_850x567_141118 Protesters gather outside the hotel in Baltimore where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting during its fall general assembly. Photo: CNS, Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register Gobsmacked_by_Francis_Di_Nardo850x617_141118 Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address on 12 November during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. Photo: CNS, Bob Roller
Sydney students arrive in Rome https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/sydney-students-arrive-in-rome/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 05:14:10 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15820 Participants in the inaugural Australian Catholic University (ACU) School Leavers Program arrived at the ACU Rome Campus this week to begin a three-week study on the history of Western Civilisation in Rome and London. The groups’ arrival at the Rome Campus was marked by an opening Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop for Sydney Bishop Richard […]

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Participants in the inaugural ACU School Leavers Program in Rome with Bishop Richard Umbers.

Participants in the inaugural Australian Catholic University (ACU) School Leavers Program arrived at the ACU Rome Campus this week to begin a three-week study on the history of Western Civilisation in Rome and London.

The groups’ arrival at the Rome Campus was marked by an opening Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop for Sydney Bishop Richard Umbers, along with ACU Rome Campus Chaplain Fr Anthony Expo.

ACU and Sydney Catholic Schools have collaborated to send the group of 21 high-achieving school leavers on an immersion experience exploring the foundations of Western Civilisation, first in London and then Rome.

Students were selected based on their academic excellence and their potential for leadership and community service in the Church and wider community. All of the students were nominees for the Archbishop’s Awards for Excellence.

During their time in the UK the students will visit many of the pivotal places in the history of Western Civilisation including Oxford University and London’s Houses of Parliament.

While in Rome the group will visit famous historical and cultural sites such as the Roman Forum, the Catacombs and the Vatican, between daily reading sessions and lectures on the people, institutions and events that have shaped the Western Civilisation since the time of Ancient Greece.

ACU Vice President Father Anthony Casamento csma said that ACU is delighted to be partnering with Sydney Catholic Schools to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to students.

“Our mission as a Catholic university is to engage in the Catholic intellectual tradition, where faith and reason are in dialogue – and this program gives students the opportunity to do just that while being in the unique classrooms of the cities of Rome and London,” he said.

“It was also important for the School Leavers Program to allow the students the possibility to enter into the opportunities that living and learning in another city and culture has to offer.”

“The University’s hope is that by understanding how powerfully Christianity, politics and culture have shaped both the Western world and today’s diverse, complex, and secular society, this learning experience will inform the development of leadership and service in the next generation of Catholic leaders in our country,” he said.

Related story: Schoolies of a spiritual nature

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Monica Doumit: The mask that evil wears https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/monica-doumit-the-mask-that-evil-wears/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:31:11 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15804 In all of the big news stories that have occurred in recent weeks, only lightly reported was an extraordinary – and unprecedented – decision handed down in the Queensland Supreme Court last week. In early October, Graham Robert Morant was found guilty of counselling his wife, Jennifer Morant, to commit suicide, and then assisting her […]

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A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.
A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.

In all of the big news stories that have occurred in recent weeks, only lightly reported was an extraordinary – and unprecedented – decision handed down in the Queensland Supreme Court last week.

In early October, Graham Robert Morant was found guilty of counselling his wife, Jennifer Morant, to commit suicide, and then assisting her to do so by driving her to a hardware store to purchase the generator that she would use to take her own life, unpacking it, and then helping her to set it up in her car before leaving the house and going to church so that she would die alone (and he would have an alibi.)

Mrs Morant suffered from chronic back pain, depression and anxiety, but was not suffering a terminal illness. The judge found that, over a period of about nine months, her husband had convinced her that the best thing to do would be to take her own life. He also found that he had a financial motive to do so.

Mrs Morant had a life insurance policy that had been taken out in 2010. In the years leading up to her death, however, two additional life insurance policies had been taken out on her behalf, with Mr Morant as the sole beneficiary of each one. In total, they would have paid out $1.4 million to Mr Morant if his wife had died, provided she did not commit suicide within 13 months of the policies being purchased.

Mrs Morant took her own life three months after that 13-month deadline expired, making Mr Morant eligibile to receive the associated payments. In the months before Mrs Morant’s death, her husband had taken her to see the property he intended to buy with the money that would be left to him.

Apart from the callousness of such action, what makes this case astounding is that it is the first time in the world, it seems, that a person has been imprisoned for encouraging another person to commit suicide. [The conviction of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts teen who encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide in a series of text messages, and the 15-month sentence imposed upon her, has been appealed and a decision on that case is expected shortly.] Justice Peter Davis of the Supreme Court of Queensland made this clear in sentencing remarks handed down on 2 November, saying that he could find no guidance in Australia or any other jurisdiction on how long to imprison someone who had urged another to take their own life. “Research has failed to find any conviction for any similar offence in any other jurisdiction,” he said.

What this means is that Justice Davis had the opportunity, by the sentence he imposed, to indicate not only to Australia but to the whole world, whether counselling someone to take their own life was a serious criminal offence.

And the judge delivered, sentencing Mr Morant to 10 years imprisonment for counselling his wife to do so. In doing this, Judge Davis commented that counselling a person to suicide is a more serious offence than assisting them to take their own life because, as was in this case, there is an element of persuasion to the crime.

Assisting a person who has otherwise already decided to take their own life is one thing; actively trying to convince them to do so is another, and it is much more dangerous.

Indeed, it exposes one of the grave risks associated with legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide, because it clearly highlights the enormous – and even fatal – amount of influence that a loved one can have over a person in their “choice” to die.

This is particularly the case when a person stands to benefit financially from the death of a family member. Judge Davis spoke of this risk in his sentencing remarks. “One can imagine many circumstances arising where people in positions of trust and responsibility could succumb to the temptation to counsel suicide for personal gain,” he said.

It’s not a great stretch to imagine, for example, an elderly Sydneysider living in a property that, in current markets, could be worth millions of dollars while their children struggle to even save a deposit to purchase their own Sydney home, being pressured to ask for death.
As in the case of Mr Morant, such subtle forms of influence could occur over months or even years, such that the vulnerable person involved can be convinced that suicide is their own free decision. The gradual, hidden nature of such influence would make it near impossible for others to detect.

This is why the continued push to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide is so dangerous, because no legislative safeguard could protect the most vulnerable against this type of influence. It is very good to see that a Queensland judge has become the first in the world to recognise at law the seriousness of such influence. Let’s hope our parliamentarians listen to him.

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Doumit-181118 A Queensland judge has seen through the deception that euthanasia is always noble in intention.
Martyn Iles: Help a refugee? Love them https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/martyn-iles-help-a-refugee-love-them/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:08:13 +0000 https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/?p=15801 Among Christians, a debate about Nauru rarely gets far before someone invokes Jesus. His parable of the Good Samaritan, His command to love our neighbour, even the notion that He was a refugee (sort of). Commands such as these, we are often told, are clear evidence of what the government ought to do about refugees. […]

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Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.
Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.

Among Christians, a debate about Nauru rarely gets far before someone invokes Jesus. His parable of the Good Samaritan, His command to love our neighbour, even the notion that He was a refugee (sort of).

Commands such as these, we are often told, are clear evidence of what the government ought to do about refugees.

But here’s the thing…

Jesus wasn’t telling the government what to do.

When Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan, His whole intent was to tell me that I am personally commanded to be the Good Samaritan.

The Good Samaritan never did his good deeds by the proxy of government. He did not outsource them to bureaucrats. He did not lobby the passing priest and Levite to help the victim on his behalf. He did not set up a committee to resolve the problem of victims by the roadside. He didn’t express his outrage at the governing authorities of the time for allowing such a thing to happen.

He knelt and did it himself.

The point is this: he got his own hands dirty. He got down on his knees in the dust. He took His own risk. He spent his own money. He used his own time. He risked himself. He loved his neighbour.

This is how love – agape – works. It acts, at great cost to oneself, for the ultimate and highest interests of the other. Love is action. Love is costly. Love is for the other. But crucially, love is personal.

It would be brilliantly convenient if Jesus had directed His parables to the institutions of government. I could outsource these obligations at the ballot box and feel magnificently virtuous. So many of the more difficult aspects of my Christian duty could be disposed of in my vote. I could outsource my love of neighbour and leave it there.

But He didn’t. He directed His commandments to me.

Let me make a trite point, but one which is too often lost: the institution of government is not a citizen.

As a citizen, duties flow to me from the commands of Christ. I must fulfil them.

And yes, I should vote in the best interests of my neighbour.

But I should also vote for the government that will best implement the duties which flow specifically to it from the commands of God.

In scripture, those duties and commands are differently expressed and separately articulated compared to my duties.

Why? Because the government is not a citizen. They are different. They exist for different reasons.

This is by God’s design. He intended governing authority to be a feature of life in this world (bad news for anarchists, then). That is why the Apostle Paul said governing authorities are “instituted by God,” “what God has appointed,” and reminded us that there is no authority except from God [Rom 13:1].

The governing authorities, we are told, are called to a ministry for God which exercises God’s governing power to restrain evil and promote good [Rom 13:1-7]; a ministry of righteousness, for it is righteousness that exalts a nation [Prov 14:34].

This is not a simple task. It requires great wisdom.

Principally, it requires great wisdom because the realities of this fallen world are so complicated. Well-intentioned laws can all too often lead to unintended outcomes. A good idea can all too often come joined at the hip with a bad idea. Something that looks good – even “righteous” – can so often be a cover for that which is bad – even “evil.”

We should not pretend that the business of good government is simple. It is a ministry entrusted to some which carries great responsibility, and a massive need for wisdom and insight. I suspect that is why wisdom was such an appropriate gift for Solomon.

But to think these matters through is not unchristian. Wisdom is every bit as much a Christian virtue as compassion. We are called to know both.

If a seemingly compassionate policy undermines national sovereignty, then one must pause for thought. God ordains nations and determines their times and dwelling places [Acts 17:26]. Christians should not simply oppose passports and borders.

If a seemingly compassionate policy carries a real security risk, then more thought is needed. A security risk means a risk of harm to a government’s people. If a government is to restrain evil as God intended, then they would take such a thing very seriously.

If a seemingly compassionate policy is known to cause a worse humanitarian problem, then it makes no sense. It’s not wise. For the present discussion, it is well known that if people smugglers get wind of any sort of hope, they will be back in business. People will drown. Human trafficking will be facilitated.

I could go on, but suffice to say that the challenges of this policy area are very real. Pretending otherwise would be dishonest.

Importantly, however, it is neither unchristian nor unfaithful to the commands of Christ to take all these matters (and the rest I haven’t mentioned) very seriously.

The application of wisdom is crucial.

ACL has long campaigned for strong borders with a generous humanitarian intake for refugees, focusing on the most persecuted minority groups.

We have tried to strike a balance. The government has a job to do which is hard, with many competing challenges.

But when a refugee moves into your street, love them. That’s your job.
Jesus was talking to you.

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Iles-181118 Australia’s treatment of illegal migrants elicits passion and controversy. But walking the walk starts with us, writes Martin Iles.