Significantly, Australian parishes make available a range of social service activities providing for those in need. In some ways, they can reach out to sections of the community that professional service agencies cannot. Services provided by parishes usually have a strong personal focus on those being served.
The key role of parishes as centres of Catholic social services will be a focus of the forthcoming Catholic Social Services conference, Serving Our Communities with Courage and Compassion.
The conference is being held at the Catholic Leadership Centre, Victoria Parade, East Melbourne on 26-28 February 2020.
According to Denis Fitzgerald, conference steering committee member and former Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria: “The 2016 National Church Life Survey established that three-quarters of Catholic parishes in Australia provide social services or social action activities, like emergency relief and material assistance, and even more arrange visitation to hospitals, aged care facilities, prisons or parishioners”.
He noted that the types of involvement included support for migrants and refugees, youth services, political action or social justice activities, delivering Meals on Wheels, environmental activities and many more.
At the conference, a workshop will explore the mutual support that can be so fruitful between parishes and social service agencies. The workshop presenters will be Alana Crouch from CentaCare Brisbane and Cathy Hammond and Mark Phillips of CatholicCare Sydney.
Fitzgerald highlighted: “The speakers will present on a number of vibrant examples of current practice, with input also invited from workshop participants of their experience and wisdom”.
The workshops are taking place on Thursday 27 February 2020, in two sessions between 1.30pm - 3:00pm, and 3.30pm - 5:00pm. The parishes workshop is taking place from 3:30pm - 5:00pm. Following the workshops there will be a conference Mass and dinner. Registration is essential. Book here. Click here to view a summary of each of the workshops.
During the conference dinner, Dr Ursula Stephens, CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia, will deliver the 2020 Mary MacKillop Oration. The conference will conclude with a masterclass on engaging media to advance mission.
The Catholic Social Services conference will also include sessions on Catholic social services ‘journeying’ effectively with our First Peoples, the homeless, children and vulnerable people, regional Australians and those impacted by domestic violence, disability and/or the justice system. Other areas of focus will be serving at the margins, eco-justice, formation for ministry, ministry governance, the Plenary Council, and fostering emerging leaders.
For further information and bookings, see www.css.org.au/Serving-Communities. Bookings for the conference close Wednesday 19th February 2020.
Catholic Social Services Victoria
Registration enquiries: Lucia Brick, email Lucia.Brick@css.org.au or call (03) 9287 5566
Media enquiries: Fiona Basile, email email@example.com or call 0407 879 991