Events

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Preparing for the Season of Advent

Over two nights in October, parish liturgy teams and school teachers from across Melbourne gathered at the Catholic Leadership Centre to begin their preparations for Advent and for a new liturgical year. Guest speaker Ria Greene explained that the centrality of the kingdom of God is a particular feature of Matthew’s gospel, emphasising the teaching of Jesus rather than his actions. This results in a more ‘reflective and didactic account’, designed to keep its audience focused on the kingdom at a time when evidence of God’s reign was often hard to discern—an emphasis that is still relevant today, particularly in a climate that is often hostile to the church. Read more >
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Celebrating the Extraordinary Month of Mission

This October, the Universal Church is celebrating an Extraordinary Missionary Month, whose theme is ‘Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World’. The month coincides with the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV's Apostolic Letter ‘Maximum Illud' and Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of October, which is for a ‘Missionary Spring’ in the Church. The initiative aims to awaken the awareness of the meaning of mission and reinvigorate the sense of responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel with new enthusiasm. View the resources available for parishes >

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Sparks of Beauty: Sacred Spaces

Wednesday 9 October --- Join us for an evening of conversation, music and contemplation at ACU's award-winning St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Chapel, where we will explore the notion of 'sacred spaces'—the ones we build around us and the ones we create within. Featuring guest speakers Fr Laurence Freeman OSB and Cathy Jenkins, the two will offer some insights on how we might find and celebrate the sacred in today's increasingly fragmented and secular world.
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Plenary2020: Exploring communal discernment

Over 100 parish priests and parish representatives from across the Archdiocese (and beyond) recently gathered for an opportunity to learn about the next phase of the Plenary Council process. On hand to present were Rev. Dr Kevin Lenehan (Associate Dean, Catholic Theological College) and Lana Turvey-Collins (Facilitator for the Plenary Council). Lana said that this next phase invites communities to enter into the practice of ‘spiritual conversations’. “This is not meant to be a debate of ideas but a prayerful, spiritual conversation ... It’s a process that involves prayer, listening, discernment, and having our minds and hearts moved,” she said.
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Exploring the practicalities and possibilities of RCIA in your parish/school

Tuesday 13 August --- We are offering two RCIA workshops this August—one focused on the planning, preparation and promotion of RCIA in the parish and the other on adapting the Rite for the preparation and initiation of children. These workshops are suitable for those new to and interested in the RCIA and those involved in catechetics or sacrament preparation (particularly the sacraments of initiation). Both workshops will be offered twice, to enable as many coordinators to attend. 
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Everyone Leads: A seminar for parish pastoral leaders

Thursday 5 September --- Drawing on decades of leadership experience, bestselling US-author Chris Lowney will examine the profound challenges facing the global Catholic Church, share real-life stories of Catholics making a difference, and offer practical suggestions for change. Chris will not only outline the challenges but also map the path forward. 
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Watch talks from the 2019 Christian Leadership Series

The Christian Leadership Series is an annual offering for parish leaders and all those interested in exploring what Christian leadership looks and feels like in the context of 21st century Australia. This year’s four-week series offered participants a survey of key books, themes and figures from our biblical tradition. Guided by some of the country’s leading biblical scholars, a range of topics were explored from creation through to the prophetic movement, the Lukan narrative and the Pauline letters. Missed the series? Watch them online >
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Melbourne to host 4th APMN conference in October 2019

AOFE is proud to be supporting the fourth Australian Pastoral Musicians Network Conference, taking place in Melbourne from 1-3 October 2019. Preparations are underway for this conference that's open to all musicians, cantors, conductors, composers, choristers, teachers, catechists, campus ministers, clergy, liturgy teams … and all who love sung prayer! Special early bird registration is available until 30 June. Don't miss out!

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Upcoming liturgical formation workshops

19 June --- Those engaged in these ministries through local parish service and/or outreach to homebound or hospitalised sick or elderly will find this day enriching. The day includes formation for those involved in Ministry of Communion to the Sick, Readers of God’s Word and the Ministry of Welcome. Participants are welcome to attend one or more sessions to develop and assist their personal faith, knowledge and practice of these vital ministries.


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Sparks of Beauty: Film

1 May --- The Sparks of Beauty series is back for 2019! The series seeks to enter into dialogue with speakers from a variety of fields – art, science, music, literature, sport – and celebrate the intersections between faith and life while encouraging a new imagining to Catholic spirituality in 21st century Australia. The first gathering for 2019 will be a film screening of the Wim Wenders’ film, Pope Francis — A Man of His Word, which premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was screened as part last year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).
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Alpha: A tool for encountering Jesus

Focusing on the Kerygma—the initial proclamation of the Good News—Alpha introduces participants to a personal encounter with Jesus. A series of sessions which explore the Christian faith, Alpha is typically run over eleven weeks, with the process comprising a shared meal, film and discussion exploring a different topic or faith question such as: ‘Is there more to life than this?' Does your parish want to know more about Alpha? Contact us.


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Parishioners attend planning day for Lent and Holy Week

Saturday 16 February --- More than 150 people from various parishes across the Archdiocese of Melbourne gathered at the Catholic Leadership Centre to attend a seminar in preparation for the Season of Lent and Holy Week. The day included two keynote presentations and 10 workshops for participants to choose from that focused on scripture, prayer, music, service and outreach.

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Liturgy of the Word with Children: Exploring Parish/School Connections

12 & 21 February 2019 --- This workshop will explore the liturgical principles underpinning the ministry of Liturgy of the Word with Children, offering practical strategies and creative techniques for sharing the Good News with the young. It will be offered centrally and in the southern region of the archdiocese.


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Mark your calendars! Upcoming formation events

In 2019, AOFE will continue to offer programs, events and resources that encourage and form parish leaders to a creative and imaginative approach to the proclamation of the Good News in their local settings. Here's a snapshot of what’s on offer in the first quarter, including the liturgy planning seminar, ‘The Lenten Jesus: Discerning the Way’.

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Best-selling author speaks on the impact of books in our lives

Michael McGirr is a best-selling Australian author, essayist and reviewer of over 1,000 books. Speaking at the recently held Sparks of Beauty event at the State Library of Victoria, he reflected on books and authors who have shaped his life. Michael is also the Dean of Faith at St Kevin's College Melbourne and says, "...the best thing you can do is to lead them (students) into the stories... the open-ended stories. The story of Elijah ... the story of Ruth and Naomi ... the story of Jacob... the story of the wedding at Cana ... these stories they are so richly textured. We are lucky, I think, to have such a religion of the book."

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Sparks of Beauty in Literature

Tuesday 30 October --- Great stories can be life-changing. They can feed your hungry mind and take your heart on a journey. Join us for the final Sparks of Beauty session for the year, "Stories that make us", where best-selling Australian author Michael McGirr takes us on a journey through stories—some ancient, some new—that have changed his life. In dialogue with speakers from a variety of fields – art, science, music, literature, sport – the Sparks of Beauty series seeks to encourage a new imagining to Catholic spirituality in 21st century Australia.


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Archbishop Comensoli on listening and discernment

The Plenary Council’s first stage of preparation is the Listening and Dialogue phase. During this time, people will have the chance to gather with friends, family and fellow parishioners to share their experiences of faith, life and the Church. As Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli describes in this video, the invitation to participate in this Plenary process is something many of us are already familiar with -- especially in our family relationships where listening is so essential. He also talks about discernment as an invitation to "look more and more like Jesus." 

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VIDEO: Creating inclusive environments for people with disability

In 2017, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, through the Bishops’ Commission for Pastoral Life released a document providing Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with People with Disability. The guidelines draw upon the Church’s rituals and experience in ministering to or with people with a disability. To help unpack and implement the Principles, a number of practitioners working in parish, school, healthcare and pastoral care networks across the Archdiocese of Melbourne were invited to reflect on how parishes and workplaces can work towards creating more inclusive environments for people with disability. 

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Letter to the Faithful of Melbourne

Pope Francis has overnight written a letter to all People of God, expressing his heartfelt concern for the suffering endured by many due to sexual abuse, and the ecclesial cover-up that often has accompanied it. Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli echoed these sentiments, saying "...looking ahead, it falls to me, as your Archbishop, to ensure that our local Church in Melbourne is unequivocally committed to attending to the harm done, prioritising the dignity and care of all who are young and vulnerable, rebuilding trust among our people, and creating safe environments in our communities, agencies and organisations." Read Archbishop Comensoli's message to the church of Melbourne >

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Sparks of Beauty in Sport

3 September @ Fed Square --- A conversation on the role of sport in building community, celebrating diversity and imparting worth—and not just the monetary kind. Featuring voices from Melbourne’s other religion: Footy! Come and hear from three-time premiership player for the Richmond Tigers Mervyn Keane and premiership winner and AFLW star Emma Kearney.

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ACU Short Course: Listening to the Spirit: Towards the 2020 Plenary Council

1, 8, 15 & 22 August --- ACU is hosting a four-week short course on exploring the future of the Church in Australia, with a specific focus on the 2020 Plenary Council. Topics covered include the future of Catholic education (by Dr Paul Sharkey Director, Catholic Education Services, Catholic Education Melbourne), the mission of the Church in the 21st century, and a week four listening and dialogue session led by Dr Joel Hodge.

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Watch talks from the Christian Leadership Series

A selection of talks from the Christian Leadership Series are available to watch and are ideal for personal learning or formation tools for members of parish pastoral councils and leadership teams. Each video is accompanied by speaker notes and points for reflection/group discussion. Topics covered include the challenge of exercising an adult faith in a pluralistic environment, the principles of Christian dialogue, re-discovering our rich biblical heritage and the sensus fidei.

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