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Australians will spend about $2 billion on chocolate at Easter and much of it will be chocolate produced using child labour from West Africa. With this in mind, we're asking everyone to please buy and sell only slavery-free chocolate this Easter. This is the message from ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) to everyone intending to buy chocolate, or run chocolate fundraising during Lent.

Villa Maria Catholic Homes is hosting several open days in March to give people the chance to learn a bit about what life is like at its retirement communities.

If you are considering downsizing and living in a retirement community this is a great opportunity to meet our staff and residents and ask them questions. You can also look around our modern facilities.
The events include entertainment from 3AW personalities Pat Panetta and Mike Brady. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary BBQ and refreshments, along with games and prizes.
Click here for more information. 
Pope Francis has challenged all of us with his action plan for Asylum Seekers and Refugees: to Welcome, to Protect, to Promote and to Integrate. Unfortunately Australia’s sad treatment of Asylum Seekers continues, and so once again we find ourselves needing to make a public witness to 'Welcome the Stranger'. On Palm Sunday, 25th March 2018, there will be a Liturgy of Welcome in St Patrick's Cathedral from 1pm – 1.30pm. Following the Liturgy, we will walk as one Faith Community (down Lonsdale street) to join the larger Public Rally, which starts at 2pm at the State Library. Download flyer.

One of our member organisations, Villa Maria Catholic Homes, is thrilled to unveil the result of some amazing community generosity. Work to transform the warm-water pool at its specialist school, St Paul’s College, finished mid-February, giving hundreds of children and adults with disabilities a fantastic start to the new year.

Thanks to a generous donation of more than $17,000 from the Rotary Club of Balwyn, students at Villa Maria Catholic Homes' specialist school, St Paul’s College, are jumping for joy. They can now play more comfortably with their bikes, scooters and balls when it’s hot thanks to new sail shades purchased with the donated money.
Member organisation McAuley Community Services for Women provides accommodation, services, advocacy and support for women who are homeless and, women and their accompanying children who experience family violence. In 2016-2017 McAuley supported 742 women and their children to rebuild their lives and have safer, brighter futures. Read more about the work of, and issues impacting McAuley Community Services in its latest newsletter, here.
The National Trust’s hugely popular Vintage Clothing Sale attracts thousands of people to its two-day sale, this year being held on 17-18 March. Behind the scenes are four dedicated volunteers that includes Nance Houen and Betty Spangaro, who live at Villa Maria Catholic Home’s Athelstan Retirement Apartments, in Camberwell.
St John of God Accord is currently seeking an individual to promote the St John of God Health Care Mission and Values and undertake the role of Director of Mission Integration. St John of God Health Care is a leading health care provider, with private and public hospitals, home nursing and Social Outreach services throughout Australia.
To view and download the advertisement, click here. To view and download the full position description, click here.

As part of our national Catholic social services conference, Hearing Healing Hope (from 21-23 February in Melbourne), Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO will be hosting a Masterclass on Pope Francis and Human Rights - Moving Justice and Solidarity from the Dictionary to the Workplace of Catholic Social Services. The Masterclass is open to everybody (not just conference participants!) On Friday 23 February 2018 at Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, from 2pm - 4pm. Cost is $100.

Book your place at the Masterclass here.     |       Enquiries: lucia.brick@css.org.au or phone (03) 9287 5566
Good Shepherd Australian New Zealand is hosting a forum on the topic, 'Forced marriage, slavery
 and family violence' as part of its #GoodConversations series. The forum series, #GoodConversations, shines a light on social policies that disadvantage women and their children.
Details: Thursday 1 March, from 5:30–7:30pm, in The Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall, 90–130 Swanston St, Melbourne
For more information, click here.

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Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work. Click for our Reconciliation Vision
Cardinal Knox Centre. 383 Albert Street (PO Box 146), East Melbourne Vic 3002
Tel: (03) 9287 5566 Fax: (03) 9287 5567 Email: office@css.org.au
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