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Parishes as Centres of Service
The Church is in a hard place at the moment, and the faith and endurance of its people and its leaders are being well and truly tested. This is not the first time Christians have been on the outer – Jesus gave his life for what he stood for, as did Paul, Peter and many others. Perhaps we are just returning to normal."  Adrian Foley of Catholic Social Services reflects on our call to endure during these difficult times.
“It’s just about treating people decently”, was the main message of those gathered for a recent parish forum to discuss practical responses in assisting people seeking asylum within our community. Fifty people from 16 Melbourne Catholic parishes and five Catholic agencies and communities gathered on Saturday 23 March in East Melbourne for the Parish Forum Helping our Refugee Families and Friends. The focus of the forum was on how parishes can assist refugee families and the Catholic and other agencies who support them.
On Saturday 23 March 2019, Catholic Social Services Victoria is hosting a parish forum on the topic, Helping our Refugee Families and Friends at the Cardinal Knox Centre, East Melbourne, 9.30am-1pm. This follows the very successful parish forum on the same topic held in August in 2018, focussing on how parishes can transform their desire to help asylum seekers and refugees into practical action. Book your place here
What are the key issues we face in relation to housing in Australia? What action can individuals and parishes take to address housing, stress and homelessness in their communities? Following a successful forum held last year with parish representatives to discuss the practical responses and opportunities to assist those who are homeless, Catholic Social Services Victoria is hosting another forum for parishes on Saturday 8 June at Cardinal Knox Centre, 383 Albert Street, East Melbourne.
If you are someone within your church who works at developing resources, implementing training or drafting policy on domestic and family violence, the National Council of Churches in Australia invites you to attend its domestic and family violence roundtable on Thursday 2 May. It aims to bring together people who work in the domestic and family violence area of their church and to provide a space where people can share, learn and build networks with others working within the domestic and family violence space within churches. 

 
A number of parishes and deaneries within the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne have taken up the opportunity to host a workshop in 2019 addressing domestic and family violence: what is it? What supports are available? This follows a similar workshop that was held in the Sunbury parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel last November, which was led by Sr Nicole Rotaru rsm. Please contact Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Victoria if you'd like to host a similar forum in your local parish or deanery.
“The Catholic parish has a prophetic quality about it, particularly today. It is form of community that we require more than ever because of the forces of disconnection and of isolation that mark our contemporary experience.” The Very Rev Dr David Ranson, Administrator of the Diocese of Broken Bay, addresses the 170 attendees from Catholic parishes across New South Wales who gathered together for the NSW Pastoral Ministry Conference on 26 February 2019.
Caritas Australia's six-week Lenten fundraiser, Project Compassion, provides a practical means by which each of us, including our school and parish communities, can make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Caritas Australia and its Indonesian partners are working with local communities to create new hope for a better future, by helping teach local people English and long-term, sustainable eco-tourism activities.
 
Catholic Social Services Victoria's Advent/ Christmas edition of Catholic Parishes Supporting the Community is out now. As we reflect on the meaning of Christmas, we encourage parishioners and parish communities to look at the ways they can support some of the most vulnerable members of our community - refugees and asylum seekers. There are also news items related to events that have assisted parishioners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of family and domestic violence. From all of the team at Catholic Social Services Victoria, we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season.
During this time of Advent and Christmas, we are reminded of the story of Joseph and Mary who desperately sought shelter for themselves and the impending birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the same way, there are many people today who urgently need our assistance by way of shelter, work or financial aid. Refugees and asylum seekers are among our most vulnerable community members. When they knock on our door, are our hearts and minds open? Are we responding with love and generosity? There is an immediate need! If you can help by way of financial aid, housing or provision of work, please contact Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project or Vinnies Victoria.

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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
Copyright 2019 by Catholic Social Services Victoria Login