Raise your voices!
Following Paula McLeod’s article last week, Rise Up for a Just Church, several comments were made to me which have been encapsulated in this week’s letter, Some help please! from Fr Sanchez, of Brisbane: basically that people would like to write – but to whom and what needs to be said?
In the specific case of Redfern, Cardinal George Pell, and the parish priest, Fr Gerard Prindiville, would head the list. Other possibilities include Archbishop Philip Wilson (Adelaide), as President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and Archbishop Barry Hickey (Perth), the chair of the new Bishops’ Commission for Relations with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. If you want to go further, other Bishops could include Christopher Toohey (Justice and Service), Eugene Hurley (Pastoral Life) and Michael Malone (Church Ministry). And, of course, there is always your local Bishop.
To offer support to the local Aboriginal community, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Catholic Council (NATSICC) might be able to offer some assistance or provide the names of local contacts.
An excellent source for information about the Catholic Church in Australia normally is the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference site within the Church portal. While it is not up-to-date with the new structure of the ACBC, unfortunately, it will give you easy access to emails and postal addresses for all the Bishops.
As to what to say, Paula has suggested that in relation to Redfern, essentially the point to make to our Bishops is that all of the communities within a diocese "have a place at the table". All must be heard from and accounted for, and each one must show consideration for the rest and for the good of the entire church.
She says that Redfern is not just an administrative unit of a larger entity. It is a gathering of Christians in which the Spirit dwells. No parish should be more privileged than another. No parish is second-rate compared to others and should not be treated as such.
As a Catholic parish Redfern shares "true equality in dignity and action whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ".
(excerpts taken from an excellent summary by Future Church of parish rights and obligations at www.futurechurch.org/sopc/parishrightsandobligations.htm)
She says that this website also has links to sample letters to bishops on a range of topics.
It is important when writing such letters that you make your point clearly, briefly and without allowing the emotion that has generated the letter-writing to dominate. You do not want to give the impression of being impolite or unreasoned. It is also important that you express what you want to say in your own words. While this can be more difficult for some people, it is worth the effort as your opinion comes across much more genuinely to the recipient of the communication.
If you need further help, then your local social justice group / diocesan commission might be useful.
It is important that we communicate with our Bishops.
until August 31 A world without polio: the story of the global polio eradication campaign, Mary MacKillop Place Museum, Mount Street, North Sydney; daily 10am-4pm
until August 20 Pilgrimage to the Heart, from Sydney to Sydney, via Uluru, Kings Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef
16 Uniya seminar series: Good Neighbour. Bad Neighbour. What’s the difference? Australia’s Relations with Indonesia; Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Centre, Ultimo, Sydney; 7.30-9.30pm
17 Australian History Summit hosted by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop; Canberra (further information: Murray Hansen, 0417 886 155)
19 The Mystics – Women and men for our time; Emmanuel Pastoral and Spirituality Centre, Launceston, Tasmania; 10am-3pm
Australian Catholic University (ACU National) open day, Melbourne
20 Workshop series: Our Response to the Environmental Crisis (week 4) – Land Use and Management: Nature conservation, Dr M. Mulvaney and Studies on Church Involvement in Environmental Protection, Steve Douglas; Wesley Church, Forrest, ACT; 3-5pm (further information: Rev. P. Walker, telephone 02 6295 3680)
22 Afternoon Tea for the Futur: Climate change, Edmund Rice Centre, 1st floor, 9 Alexandra Avenue (crn Monash), Croydon, NSW; 1.30pm (further information: Jill Finnane, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Uniya seminar series: Good Neighbour. Bad Neighbour. What’s the difference? Australia’s Relations with Indonesia; St Ignatius Parish, Norwood, Adelaide; 7.30-9.30pm
23 UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
26 Project Rachel National Conference, Post abortion healing: Through grief to forgiveness and wholeness; the Good Samaritan Congregational Centre, Glebe, Sydney; 9am -5pm. Costs apply.
Australian Catholic University (ACU National) open day, Canberra
Spirituality in the ‘White House’ 2006: Ways of Praying – Deepening our relationship with God; for young adults, conducted by the Sisters of St Joseph, Croydon. Registration: Sr Mary Ryan rsj, 9747 4323 or email@example.com
23 Spirituality in the ‘White House’ 2006: Ways of Praying – Deepening our relationship with God; for young adults, conducted by the Sisters of St Joseph, Croydon. Registration: Sr Mary Ryan rsj, 9747 4323 or firstname.lastname@example.org
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Audacity to Hope, Christian women’s workshop, St Francis College, Milton (Brisbane); 9.30am-3.30pm. Cost: $20 (further information, bookings: Queensland Churches Together, 07 3369 6792 or email@example.com)
27 Workshop series: Our Response to the Environmental Crisis (week 5) – The Impact of Population on Our Environment, with Dr C. Murray; Wesley Church, Forrest, ACT; 3-5pm (further information: Rev. P. Walker, telephone 02 6295 3680)
Refugee and Migrant Sunday
28 National launch of a Columban-produced 26-minute DVD on genetically modified foods; ACU National, Canberra
28-30 Leading at the Edge, Catholic Health Australia National Conference; Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.
29 Peak Oil and Permaculture, with Richard Heinberg and David Holgren, NSW Parliament House Theatrette, Mascquarie Street, Sydney; from 6.30pm
30 Spirituality in the ‘White House’ 2006: Ways of Praying – Deepening our relationship with God; for young adults, conducted by the Sisters of St Joseph, Croydon. Registration: Sr Mary Ryan rsj, 9747 4323 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Great Aboriginal Debate: Is our education system completing Aboriginal culture genocide? Corpus Christi College, Nundah (Brisbane); 6.45-9pm. Entry: by donation.
31 Peak Oil and Permaculture, with Richard Heinberg and David Holgren, Kuringai Town Hall, Pymble; from 6.30pm
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