It's Thursdays with a twist!
Held once a month on a Thursday (7.30pm - 9.30pm @ Cardinal Knox Centre), Cultured Cafe promises good food, fun, and entertainment with friends. It starts straight after Holy Hour, and for only $5, you can enjoy a delicious dinner with drinks and dessert. The night also includes light entertainment (an interesting talk, movie, or even a trivia session -- where things really start to heat up!).
CulturED Cafe presents ... Sherry Weddell co-director of the Siena Institute (USA)
As the Year of Grace comes to a close this Pentecost, we reflect on the many graces in our Church and in our lives – graces we can name and graces that we have yet to grasp. God continually invites us to contemplate and seek the face of Christ in our own ‘everyday moments of grace’. International speaker and author Sherry Anne Weddell talks to us about discerning God’s presence in our lives. Through her work at the Siena Institute and the internationally acclaimed Called and Gifted program, Sherry helps us answer the burning question, “How can I discern God’s will in the time and place in which I live?”
Where: Cardinal Knox Centre (Cnr Landsdowne St and Albert Street, East Melbourne)
When: Thursday 16th May!
Entry: $5 which includes a delicious dinner, drink and dessert.
For any enquiries, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9412 3300 or see the events calendar for more information
Guest speaker David Schutz, Executive Officer for the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Commission (EIC), spoke of his work in building bridges with other religions. Ecumenism, derived from the Greek word “oikos” means “household." It describes the household of God, referring to “all the people in God’s house”. The goal of Ecumenism therefore is the full visible unity of all Christians. This, however, is different from Interfaith Relations – which involves dealing with others not necessarily baptised in the faith. The aim is not to evangelise, but to dialogue with them – get to know them. A one-man team, David spend most of his time networking with other churches. His work involves regular meetings with the Anglican Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Uniting Church, the Bahai, Hindus, and Jews.
David says the dialogue needs to be ongoing – there is no point in simply ‘ticking the ecumenical and interfaith box’ after one dinner with another faith. It is an ongoing effort to build a lasting relationship. David made the point that by getting to know other faiths, it helps change the growing perception (in the secular world) that religion is the source of disunity. “When you start a friendship with other religions, the world out there gets a different idea of what religion is. At the moment, all religions are being condemned for being the cause of disharmony, wars, conflict... but if we can show them that religions can cooperate in a path to peace then I think we've scored something.”
Over dinner and dessert, young people heard from the engaging Sr Cecila Joseph and Sr Mary Rachel from the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, the Dominican Sisters first came out to Australia in 2007 at the invitation of Bishop Anthony Fisher for World Youth Day Sydney. Along with a few other sisters, they were then asked by Cardinal Pell to stay on to work in religious education and participate in the renewal of religious life in Australia.
"Being in Australia is a new experience for us... the only other place (apart from Nashville) that we Sisters are based in is Rome. So staying in Australia is really a walk of trust," says Sr Mary Rachel. “There has been a really beautiful response from the young people we’ve met... we hold regular retreats and meet with those interested in religious life, walking with them to assist in finding out what God is calling them to."
The sisters themselves were just students when they received "the call". Sister Cecilia Joseph was at university when she heard about the Sisterhood and puts it down to 'the power of word of mouth'. "I had two friends already in the congregation, and I received many recommendations from priests and websites before I joined." she said.
While they say their personal journeys to religious life may not be as exciting as that of others, they did share that wearing their signature Dominican white habit is always a conversation starter. "Mostly it’s the kids who see us and then ask their parents if we are nuns. Some parents are unsure and come up to us and then we get to talking. One kid who saw us once said, "Mommy, it's an angel!"
The sisters currently teach Religious Education to students from years 7 to 12 at a Catholic School in Sydney. When asked if there were any differences between Australian and American students, Sr Mary Rachel said, "The desire is the same for all young people – they have a hunger for truth. Sure, they put up a fight - we all do, don't we? - but the hunger is there. What we do is present the facts, then share with them what the Church teaches. As the Holy Father says, 'the truth of itself is appealing."
Sr Mary Rachel shared that what stops young women from choosing religious life today was the ‘uncertainty’. "We seem to want 100% certainty in everything we do. This vocation, like any vocation, requires great trust in God. It's that whole idea of trusting that He indeed speaks to our hearts. When I entered the sisterhood, a priest told me, ‘You are not going to be 100% certain. But that's what faith is, isn’t it?’ Even when you enter into a marriage or any other serious commitment, you are never going to be 100% certain. You need to have faith."
The Archdiocesan Office for Youth is an agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne | email@example.com
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