Our Parish Redevelopment Project has a long history. From the initial considerations in 2007 through to the present day we have been struggling with the issue of how to prepare the Parish for the future. Our current facilities are inappropriate and the support that a large parishioner base provided to three churches, three schools, three presbyteries and a convent has diminished. After long consultation we set out to redevelop the Mary Immaculate site and to rationalise, that is, sell assets we could no longer afford. The property sales are funding the redevelopment of our physical assets as a base for the future of our Parish community. See full report and photos HERE
It is a joy to announce the appointment of Rosa Botoulas as our new Parish Secretary. Rosa will take up the appointment on 4th January 2022.
Rosa is enthusiastic about returning to working within a parish community having previously worked as the parish secretary of St. Fidelis, Moreland for 11 years and at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for 2 years. Rosa will not only bring great experience to our parish office but a commitment to parish life and the values and mission of our parish.
2022 will be an exciting time for our parish as we work towards the completion of our new parish centre at Mary Immaculate. To have Rosa ‘on board’ as we move, mid year, into a new office and all that transition will mean, will be a great blessing as we work together to fulfil the dream and vision that has been at the forefront of this parish for nearly two decades.
Without change Church’s mission is at risk, Plenary reformers say
Extract from Adam Wesselinoff, Catholic Weekly, 2 December 2021
The Catholic Church’s clerical leadership, norms of governance, language and tradition have been raised as areas of potential reform at a significant post-Plenary convocation. The third convocation of the “Future of Catholicism in Australia” series, held on 18 November, was organised by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR) to reflect on the first session of the Plenary Council. Nine speakers offered assessments ranging in tone from constructive proposals and expressions of hope, to out-and-out opprobrium about the “institutional church”. The discussion across the evening focused predominantly on participants’ frustrations that the first Plenary session did not facilitate thorough and concrete proposals for church governance reform which they see as necessary. This reform was viewed as necessary by participants because the Church’s traditional structures were seen as an impediment to its mission. Former Royal Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said that during his tenure at the child abuse Royal Commission “it became clearer to me that perhaps the church, the institutional church, was now at a serious point of actually failing or impeding the ability of people to come to God”. He described the Plenary process as a struggle against fear, “the great disenabler in life”, which he attributed to a “bloc” of conservatives acting “from an ideological position, who wish to resist change”. The Plenary risked becoming a squandered opportunity and the Church a “laggard” if reform was not grasped, Fitzgerald added. A similar view was put by Francis Sullivan, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia and former CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council. “We were supposed to be a deep listening Church. This Plenary Council is not about the Bishops, it’s about us,” Sullivan said. The Catholic Church’s clerical leadership, norms of governance, language and tradition have been raised as areas of potential reform at a significant post-Plenary convocation. ..........(more). Photo: Francis Sullivan, Chair Catholic Social Services Australia, Catholic Weekly 20211202
Catholic Social Services Victoria: Stop kicking the kids down the road
Extract from CSSV, Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta, 25 November 2021"
"A society is fruitful when it is able to generate processes of inclusion and integration, of caring and trying to create opportunities and alternatives that can offer new possibilities to the young, to build a future through community, education and employment” — Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2019, speaking at Las Garzas de Pacora Juvenile Detention Centre
The Communique from the November Meeting of the Australian States and Territories’ Attorneys-General (MAG) in relation to the issue of children in custody was underwhelming. While it is good to see that the MAG has continued to speak about the serious problem of keeping children of a very young age in prison, it is now three years since its previous proposal to study the issue. Despite much public concern and hundreds of local and international organisations and experts, including the UN, advocating to ‘raise the age’ to at least 14, the MAG’s announcement has kicked the issue, and therefore the kids, down the road by announcing it will support ‘development of a proposal to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12’. This ‘announcing an announcement’ is not the commitment we need that will give children the best chance at a bright future and keep our communities safe over the short and long term. To be clear: this is not a national commitment to raise the age to 12, but rather a minimal mention of ‘developing a proposal’, surrounded by a contingent of caveats and exemptions. “Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) takes criminal justice and child welfare seriously. Raising the age two years from 10 to only 12 defies all expert and international advice. As last reported numbers stand, it would actually impact less than 10% of the 500+ children under the age of 14 in custody across the country, a mere token.” says Josh Lourensz, Executive Director of CSSV. “It falls short of the bare minimum age standard of 14 that legal (the Law Council), medical (AMA) and indigenous experts declare necessary and urgent. The ACT alone has taken substantial action in line with expert advice, committed to raising the age to 14 and has addressed MAG’s ultra-cautious concerns in a clear roadmap for releasing under-14s from custody......(more). Image: De an Sun Unsplash. Catholic Outlook, Parramatta, 25 November 2021
Pope challenges Church's pastors with "Beatitudes for Bishops"
Francis outlines the traits he's looking for in bishops with a prayer card distributed at the start of the plenary assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Limited Extract from By Loup Besmond de Senneville, Vatican City, Subscription journal La Croix International, 24 November 2021
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Pope Francis may have found a prayer that's worth at least a thousand speeches. It's called "Beatitudes for Bishops" and the pope gave a copy of it to each member of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) on Monday at the beginning of their weeklong plenary assembly in Rome. The small prayer card bears an image of Jesus carrying "the lost sheep" on his shoulders and extols the Church's shepherds to be humble servants of the People of God. "Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his lifestyle," says one of the beatitudes. Another praises the bishop "who is not afraid to wet his face with tears, so that in them may be reflected the sorrow of the people" and "the work of priests". "Blessed is the bishop who considers his ministry a service and not a power," says another. "Blessed is the bishop who does not shut himself up in government buildings, who does not become a bureaucrat more attentive to statistics than to faces" and the one "who has a heart for the misery of the world". "Blessed is the bishop who is not afraid to go against the grain for the Gospel," says yet another. "Blessed is the bishop who works for peace, who walks along the path of reconciliation, who plants the seed of communion in the hearts of priests, who accompanies a divided society along the path of reconciliation," says another in this list of beatitudes tailor-made for the Church's leaders........(more)
Parish Redevelopment Project – Update
Pat Kelly, Project Manager, 5 November 2021
Our Redevelopment Project has progressed slowly over the last months as the Covid-19 restrictions required the project to be closed for some weeks and placed restrictions on the number of workers on the site. While the completion date has moved, much has been done. Earthworks and drainage are well advanced and the underground rain water storage tank is installed. The form of the building facing Upper Heidelberg Rd is clearly evident. The steel work of the veranda and office doorway are to the right of the internal brickwork of the Lady Chapel. The supporting structure for the first floor of the office and presbytery is in place in preparation for the concrete pour. The below floor brickwork for the new entrance to the church, sacristy and toilets is complete.
Work is also proceeding in the church. Much preparatory work around the sanctuary and the entrance is complete. The floor coverings have been removed in preparation for the later installation of carpet. Our architects FPPV, builders Raysett Constructions, Archdiocesan representatives, Fr Bill and myself meet fortnightly to review progress and address any issues. It is clear that the delay to the project was beyond our control. With Covid-19 restrictions being removed, Raysett has prepared a revised project program. The project completion is now June 2022. If you would like further project information, please contact me.
TOP photo: View from Upper Heidelberg Rd with the Lady Chapel to the left and the entry to the parish office on the right
LOWER photo: Preparing for Tuesday’s concrete pour of the 1st floor presbytery & office slab
From October 3 - 10,
the Catholic Church in Australia will gather for the first of two
Assemblies of the Plenary Council. The wider public will be able to
observe the Plenary sessions by tuning in to the daily livestream,
beginning with the Opening Mass in Perth on Sunday 3 October (2.00pm Melbourne time).
Visit this website's EVENTS page for full details and access to the Plenary Council daily livestream.
Please keep the Plenary Council in your prayers, particularly over the coming weeks.
BlueCross ‘Starfish Awards’ for our Pastoral Volunteers
Friday 1 October 2021
Elizabeth Craven and Trudy de Luise, who are Parish Pastoral Volunteers at BlueCross Aged Care Facility in Waterdale Rd, were worthy recipients of the facilities’ ‘Starfish Award’ for their commitment in providing pastoral and emotional support to residents.
In addition to being part of our team who assist at our monthly Mass at BlueCross, Trudy and Elizabeth visit residents each week providing pastoral and emotional support.
Mary Immaculate Redevelopment - Construction Shut Down
Fiday 24 September 2021
Because of the current shutdown of construction sites and the travel ban across the metropolitan and regional border, all work on the Mary Immaculate site has ceased until the restrictions are lifted. Security on building sites when they are unoccupied are always an issue. If any parishioner sees anyone on site or suspicious activity please ring Fr. Bill immediately 0427 879 733.
Strange Sighting in Ivanhoe
Friday 17 September 2021
It’s not a Ballistic Missile!
It’s not a Submarine
It’s Step 1 in our Environmental Plan for our Redevelopment Project
Our 35,000 litre underground tank to supply recycled water to our toilets and gardens
Don’t blame the boomers for decline of religion
Extract from CathNews NZ, 2 September 2021
The generation born in the two decades after World War II has long touted itself as the revolutionary religious demographic that grew up dutifully sitting in the pews before rebelling — as they did in music, politics, art and the bedroom — and freeing American culture from its hidebound superstitions. OK, boomer. Examining the data from the General Social Survey, it turns out it’s not the baby boomers who were the last vestige of a highly religious, very Christian era of American history. Instead, Generation X — born between 1965 and the early ’80s — is the last to come of age and even perpetuate an overwhelmingly Christian and largely devout religious landscape in terms of church attendance and beliefs about God. The GSS has been asking people about their belief in God since 1988, when the oldest members of Gen X were moving into adulthood. The Silent Generation, the baby boomers and Generation X show up in its findings as just as likely (if not more) to have a certain belief in God in 2018 compared to 1988. That’s clearly not the case for millennials, who dropped about 10 percentage points in 20 years in reporting their certainty about a supreme being. It’s still very early to come to any firm conclusions about Generation Z, but there’s ample reason to believe that they are half as likely as Gen X to express a certain belief — leaving millennials as the generation that was the great divide.....(more). Photo: CathNews NZ
Holiness does not come from following rigid rules, pope says
Extract from Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, 1 September 2021
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Redemption is the work of God, not of human beings, so be careful and do not listen to “fundamentalists” who claim holiness comes through following certain laws, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience. The belief that holiness comes by observing particular laws “leads us to a rigid religiosity, a rigidity that eliminates that freedom of the Spirit which Christ’s redemption gives us. Beware of this rigidity that they propose,” he said Sept. 1 to those gathered in the Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. God’s saving grace is received through faith in the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection, and God invites people to rejoice in the righteousness received through that faith in Christ, he said. The pope continued his series of talks on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by looking at the apostle’s explanation of justification by faith and of graces flowing from the Spirit, not from works of the law. However, before beginning his catechesis, the pope spoke off-the-cuff to explain the context and purpose of the weekly audience talks, which are usually in-depth reflections on many aspects of church teaching. The pope said the teachings in St. Paul’s letter were not anything new or “my own thing.” “What we are studying is what St. Paul says during a very serious conflict” in Galatia. “They are not things that someone invented. No. It is something that happened at the time and that can repeat itself,” he said, referring to the apostle’s attempts to correct those who were tempted to believe a person is justified through works of the law, not faith in Christ’s redemptive action. The pope said, “This is simply a catechesis on the Word of God expressed in the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. It is not something else. Always keep this in mind.”....(more).
A very early (external) look at our new, more accessible, Parish Office-to-be
Friday 27 August 2021
Structural steel being put in place across the entry and ceiling of the new parish office.
Centre of picture shows chapel windows, to the right is the entry to parish office.
By The Way:
On next weekend, September 5th, Father's Day, we traditionally take up a collection for Retired Priests. Please see an 'advance notice' about this on the Mass Details page HERE
Fr Charles Balnaves appointed as Parish Priest of St Kevin’s Templestowe and St Gregory The Great Doncaster.
Edited extract from St Kevin'e Parish, 26 August 2021
Fr Charles will commence his tenure on Wednesday, 8th September. He lived in
the parish of St Kevin’s for twenty years. He worked for BHP for
thirty years, was married and has two adult sons. He was among the
early cohorts of men to prepare for ordination as permanent deacons in
the Archdiocese, and was among the first group to be ordained deacons in
October 2012. During his time of
preparation, and subsequent to ordination as deacon, Deacon Charles
served as a very effective Deanery Resource Co-Ordinator for the Yarra
Deanery. His first ministerial term as deacon was spent right in
his “home” parish of St Kevin’s. Fr Charles was a
very good student during his preparation for the diaconate. He received a
number of awards at Catholic Theological College and one year he
received the Master’s Prize. Charles’ wife died in March 2012 after a long illness during which he lovingly cared for her. Some time later,
Charles was encouraged to consider applying to be ordained a priest. He
obviously went on to apply for the priesthood, but he did so after
serious and well-rounded spiritual discernment. He was ordained a
Catholic priest in 2015 and after a short time as an assistant priest,
was appointed to the leadership of a parish. He has served on the
Archbishop’s Council of Priests and, in December 2020, he was appointed
to the inaugural Board of CatholicCare Victoria Ltd. Many of St Kevins
parishioners know Fr Charles already and his appointment to St Kevin’s
and St Gregory The Great is testimony to the esteem in which he is held. He will arrive on September 8, 2021 and take up residence at St Gregory the Great Parish.......(source) Photo: St Kevin's
Update Parish Redevelopment Project
Friday 6 August 2021
The walls of our new Chapel facing unto Upper Heidelberg Road go up.
UPDATE 22 July 2021 : See result of the PPC renewal process on the People / Leadership page HERE
Nominees For Parish Pastoral Council
The following have been nominated for the 9 vacancies on the Parish Pastoral Council.
The election will take place after each Mass on the weekend of 7 / 8 August.
Clare Bellio Wennie van Lint
Eugene Ballao Pat Kelly
Isma Chiera Lucy Dal Pozzo
Robert Erbacher Maxwell Gratton
Phi Nguyen Sue Moorhen
Full details of each nominee, with photo, will be distributed next weekend when hopefully we will be back at Mass.
Archivists file new ideas for the digital Church
Extracts from CathNews, The eRecord, 16 July 2021
The Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia gathered in Perth recently to explore new ways of serving the Church in the digital age.
The meeting drew about 30 (online and in person) under the theme of "Walking together in Service with our Community". The Catholic Diocesan Archivists of Australia (CDAA) is a sub-committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, established to foster fellowship and professional development among the Catholic diocesan archivists of Australia......Keynote speaker, Director State Records of WA and State Archivist, Damian Shepherd, spoke about the ways which the State Records Office has been working with a range of agencies to support digital transformation of government services. The Archdiocese of Perth also shared its focus on a new vision and mission statement for the Archives Office, and the new information management strategy, policies, and records management system which are also a key platform of the Archdiocesan Transition Programme. Archdiocese Archivist and Director Odhran O’Brien said the meeting identified many opportunities and challenges for the Church across Australia as it seeks to adapt to new ways of doing things. “Our parishes and agencies now create large volumes of digital information which needs to be managed and this is a particular challenge for regional dioceses,” Mr O’Brien said. “The key message that came out of the meeting was that if we are going to respond to these challenges effectively as a national community then collaboration is more crucial than ever.”....(more)
Happy Birthday Fred
Friday 9 July 2021
Last Sunday afternoon was a day of celebration for Fred Cullen, as his family and friends gathered in the Heidelberg Town Hall to celebrate Fred’s 100th birthday.
We wish Fred every blessing on this milestone - 100 years of life gifted by God and lived to the full.
Pope Francis' Herculean efforts to clean up Vatican finances
The announced trial of 10 people connected to risky investments, including a cardinal, is just one part of a long series of internal reforms that has provoked fierce opposition
Limited Extract from Loup Besmond de Senneville, Vatican City, Subscription journal, La Croix International, 5 July 2021
The scene is the medieval-looking tower of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), more notoriously called the "Vatican Bank". It was here in March 2019 that a request for a 150 million euros loan landed before IOR's board of directors. The applicant? The Secretariat of State of the Holy See. Located in the Apostolic Palace and headed by Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, this is the Vatican's equivalent of a combined ministry of the interior and of foreign affairs. It is here that the Vatican's finances, in particular its real estate investments, are managed. And it was precisely to cover an investment in a building in London that the Secretariat of State sent the request for a loan to the IOR. However, according to La Croix's information, officials at the so-called bank immediately balked. First, because the reason for the request was more than vague: "institutional purposes". Then, because one of the consequences of the profound financial reforms Pope Francis began in 2014 is that the Vatican Bank no longer grants loans, at least in theory. In recent years, the operation and structure of the IOR have been considerably cleaned up. For example, nearly 5,000 suspicious accounts were closed there in 2016. But in the case of the Secretariat of State's request, the board of directors -- under pressure -- made an exception. It asked for documents justifying the reason for the requested loan. This was just the beginning of a struggle that would last several months. The first documents that arrived at the IOR were four photocopied sheets of paper slipped into an envelope. The Vatican bankers were far from satisfied. They quickly realized that the real estate investment in London was based on a series of holdings stacked on top of each other. Several trips back and forth followed, during which the IOR-mandated auditors did not succeed in obtaining the necessary documents. One of them, in charge of compiling the file, was even threatened. This IOR employee resigned a month later.... (source). Photo: Pope Francis attends IOR board of directors AP La Croix Int 20210705
Pat Kelly (Project Manager) and Tim Neill (Architect) inspect form work for the stairwell leading from the new parish office to the church.
Bishop Vincent: ‘My hope for the Plenary Council’
Extract from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Dom Helder Camera Lecture, Catholic Outlook, 30 June 2021
Plenary Council: Abundance of goodwill or the last throw of the dice? With a few months to the first session of the long-awaited Plenary Council (PC2020), we are finally headed down the home stretch. The initial phase of listening drew nearly 220,000 people across Australia and 17,500 individual and group submissions. These submissions were distilled into the six national theme papers and then further distilled again into the working document and finally the agenda. Momentum for the Plenary Council ebbed and flowed during this process, which has been disrupted by the pandemic. By and large, there has been considerable goodwill, enthusiasm and even a sense of hope for the future of the Church in Australia in the post-Royal Commission period. Robert Fitzgerald who – among other prominent roles – is the new Chair of Caritas Australia, once enthused that the Plenary Council is the only game in town. For a country of about five million nominal Catholics, the initial response was quite remarkable. Perhaps, for many of the disenfranchised, it is the last throw of the dice. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket, though. Some of you might have heard or even attended the first of the three convocation series organised by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR). There were 3,000 participants, including myself. We heard a powerful and inspiring address by Sr Joan Chittister. Catholicism “must grow up”, she said, “beyond the parochial to the global, beyond one system and one tradition, to a broader way of looking at life and its moral, spiritual, ethical frameworks.” That is the kind of stretching of the imagination and dreaming of the transformation of the Church that many Catholics are thirsting for. Few Catholics have any appetite left for cosmetic changes, mediocrity or worst, restorationism dressed up as renewal. We have struggled under the weight of the old ecclesial paradigm of clerical order, control and hegemony with a penchant for triumphalism, self-referential pomp and smugness. We yearn for a Church that commits to a God-oriented future of equal discipleship, relational harmony, wholeness and sustainability. The revitalisation and convergence of many lay reform groups in response to the Plenary Council is no small development for the Church in contemporary Australia. It is a sign of the “growing up” that Joan spoke about. Australian Catholics are growing up beyond the passive, subservient to the co-responsible agents for the transformation of the Church. In Germany, there is a lay body called Central Committee, which plays a key role in their Synodal Assembly, including having one of its members as co-president of the said structure. Perhaps this unique feature is part of the legacy of the Reformation in the German Church. Is the Church in Australia in pole position for deep reform?....(more). Photo: Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Diocese of Parramatta 20210630