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 Rerum Novarum Oration 2018

Widening the Doors of Hope
Speech by Dr Stephen Parnis: HERE





Around the world, hundreds of millions of children and adults suffer oppression and violence for their peacefully-held religious beliefs. Join us on #RedWednesday as we stand in solidarity with those facing religious persecution. Get involved as schools, parishes and organisations will see their communities wear red and light up their buildings in red! World landmarks will be lit up in red. More information:
On Wednesday 28th November, please join us for an interfaith gathering in the forecourt of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Cathedral will be floodlit in red for the first time as a visible sign of solidarity with those facing persecution. All are welcome!
Time:     7.30pm – 8.30pm 
Date:     Wednesday 28th November 2018
Venue:   Forecourt, St. Patrick’s Cathedral
7.30pm - Interfaith Prayers and Reflections
8.00pm - Light refreshments
8.30pm - Floodlighting the Cathedral 
Take a photo with your whole community wearing red and send it to 

Walk of Witness - Social Justice Statement Launch 2018-19



“[The Good Samaritan] went to him and bandaged his wounds… put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Lk 10:34

The Archdiocese of Melbourne launched the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Social Justice Statement for 2018-19 “A Place to Call Home” on Tuesday 18 September 2018.

500 people, including school children, representatives from Catholic parishes, agencies and organisations working to help people with homelessness walked through the streets of Melbourne giving public witness and prayer in support of people who are homeless. Beginning at Federation Square, they stopped at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, the Salvation Army Temple and the German Trinity Lutheran Church where their church leaders led them in prayer. They gathered at the steps of Parliament House where the Minister for Housing, Hon. Martin Foley MLA and the Shadow Minister of Housing, Ms Georgie Crozier MLC, received the Statement from students from Galilee Primary School. The statement was officially launched on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Bishop Mark Edwards OMI and Netty Horton, CEO CatholicCare.

At this critical point in our society, there is a crisis of insecure housing and a tragedy of rising homelessness with nearly 116,000 homeless Australians on any given night. In the Statement, the Bishops affirm that housing is a basic human right, calls on all of us, government, Church and society, and individuals to recognise the dignity of every person who is marginalised and suggests practical measures to achieve real change.

On 30 September 2018, the Church celebrates Social Justice Sunday in which the Statement is officially issued. Read the statement, pray the Prayer for people who are homeless with others in your school, parish and community, and with the 10 Steps resource work together and with other organisations dealing with the issue to solve this crisis.

More photos: HERE (Credit to Ashoka Peiris)

Melbourne Catholic Article: HERE

Social Justice PD Day for Teachers – 10 September 2018


34 social justice teachers from secondary colleges in the Archdiocese attended a Social Justice PD Day to break open the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement 2018 – 19 “A Place to Call Home”. Teachers reflected on ways in which they could use the Statement in their schools to begin conversations and commit to practical ways to help solve the issue. They also reflected on the good work their schools are already doing to raise awareness of homelessness.

Thank you to our presenters: Netty Horton - CEO CatholicCare, Sue Cattermore - CEO St Vincent De Paul Victoria, Mary Lam - Australian Catholic Housing Alliance, Claire-Anne Willis - Catholic Social Services Victoria and Jodie Henry - Villa Maria Catholic Homes.

Organised by the Justice Education in Catholic Schools (JECS) Committee of the Office for Justice and Peace.


White Rose Mass & Forum - 22 August 2018


“It's high time that Christians made up their minds to do something . . . What are we going to show in the way of resistance…? We will be standing empty-handed. We will have no answer when we are asked: What did you do about it?” – Hans Scholl

The Benenson Society and 11 schools gathered at Xavier College to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the executions of six members of the White Rose with a Mass and a human rights forum. The White Rose movement consisted of young German Christian (Catholic & Lutheran) university students and their lecturer and was a non-violent resistance group writing leaflets against the Nazi regime. The Benenson Society takes the White Rose as its emblem and as inspiration for its members.

Read a detailed account of the day here

More photos here

The Office for Justice and Peace supports and promotes the Benenson Society, an international human rights organisation that advocates for prisoners of conscience, against torture and for the abolition of the death penalty. Members can be found in 11 countries and there are a number of school chapters in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

More info:

Inquiries about setting up a chapter:


Supporting Christ's Mission - 2 June 2018


People of many different faiths gathered together on Saturday 2 June for an ecumenical service in support of Christ’s Mission to the poor and marginalised. Supported by the Filipino chaplaincy, Australians for Philippine Human Rights and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Office for Justice and Peace, a group of dedicated people joined together at the Cardinal Knox Centre to support Sr Patricia Fox. 

Read more about the event: Melbourne Catholic article 

Students' Social Justice Day - 28 May 2018

Theme: “Leave your mark on history”

– Pope Francis, WYD Krakow 2016 Vigil Mass 

Read more about the day: Melbourne Catholic Article

Thank you to the 130 students and staff, representing 26 Catholic secondary colleges, who attended this day. Thank you to the justice organisations who ran workshops: Caritas, St Vincent De Paul Society, CatholicCare, Catholic Mission, Australian Catholic Religious Against Human Trafficking (ACRATH), Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, The Benenson Society, Young Christian Workers and Young Christian Students.

Organised by the Justice Education in Catholic Schools (JECS) Committee of the Office for Justice and Peace.


 "Called to Welcome and Protect" 


Thank you to all who participated including schools, parish groups, justice organisations and religious orders. We pray that the voices of those suffering in offshore detention centres will be heard. Enough is enough! Bring them here! 
Fr Joe Caddy PP EV - Homily: HERE
Melbourne Catholic Article with photos and videos: HERE
More photos: HERE

2018 International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking - Thursday 8 February

 More photos: CLICK HERE

"… the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity." Pope Francis 

In 2015, Pope Francis declared 8th February each year (the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita of Sudan) to be the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. About 40 million people around the world today are victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. On Thursday 8th February 2018, around 200 people gathered in St. Patrick's Cathedral for Holy Hour and Mass as a means of fulfilling Pope Francis’ desire to end this scourge. The Principal Celebrant was Fr Joe Caddy, Episcopal Vicar of Social Services and Justice and was joined by Fr Stephen Majwok of the Diocese of Malakal, South Sudan, Deacon George Piech Meat, Chaplain to the South Sudanese Catholic Community and Deacon Jim Curtain, Diocesan Director of Caritas Australia. Each of those present, individually, committed themselves to making ethical choices to end modern slavery as well as collectively, as the Archdiocese will move towards ending modern slavery.

Thank you to the South Sudanese Catholic Community including St. Bahkita Choir, Archdiocesan Office for Youth, Australian Catholic Religious against Human Trafficking and the Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office for helping to put on a such wonderful celebration for St. Josephine Bahkita's Feast.

 For further information on this important issue visit:

The Archdiocese is committed to the safety, wellbeing and dignity of all children and vulnerable adults.