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The final day of Hearing, Healing, Hope commenced early on the Friday (23 February) with a working breakfast to discuss Australia's upcoming Plenary 2020 Council with facilitator Lana Turvey Collins. This was followed by a plenary on responding to abuse, and ensuring safety and dedication to service led by Maria Harries AM, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia's board, Robert Fitzgerald (who was one of the Commissioners on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for five years) and Sheree Limbrick, the recently appointed Chief Executive Office of Catholic Standards Ltd. To close, Frank Brennan SJ AO led a masterclass on Pope Francis and Human Rights: Moving Justice and Solidarity from the dictionary to the workshop of Catholic social services.
On the first full day of the national Catholic social services conference, Hearing Healing Hope, more than 200 participants joined in an afternoon series of workshops addressing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, governance issues, protection of vulnerable clients, preventing family violence, increasing support for asylum seekers and recently arrived communities, social housing, parish engagement, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander empowerment and effective advocacy of public policy. This was followed by the conference Mass and dinner, with eminent Australian broadcaster and journalist, Geraldine Doogue, presenting the Mary MacKillop Oration. In her address, Geraldine challenged and inspired us to reflect on how, and where we can find hope during difficult times.
More than 200 Catholic and community leaders gathered in East Melbourne on Thursday 22 February for an opening keynote address by Phil Glendenning AM to launch the first day of the Catholic Social Services national conference, 'Hearing, Healing and Hope'. This was followed by a forum addressing the topic, 'Economics for a Flourishing Society'. View all the photos, here.
The 2018 national Catholic social services conference, Hearing Healing Hope, was very fortunate to start with a team of experts encouraging us to consider what it would mean have a healthy earth and a flourishing society. Former director of Catholic Earthcare Australia Jacqui Remond unpacked the heart of the message of Pope Francis' Laudato Si saying, "We can no longer look after the social and think someone else is looking after the ecological."

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