Sunday, March 31, 2013

Michael Galovic Exhibition in Brisbane

The Cathedral of St Stephen Art Group  COSSAG) warmly invite you to THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED an exhibition of contemporary religious art and traditional icons by MICHAEL GALOVIC

One of the leading Australian iconographers of international note, Michael will share his insights and knowledge about religious art and icons on the opening night. COSSAG collaborates proudly with Michael, a graduate from the Belgrade Academy of Arts to offer an opportunity for viewing the body of work rarely exhibited in Australia.

Where: Francis Rush Centre,
227 Elizabeth Street Brisbane.
When: Opening on Friday, 12 April at 6pm

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Sounds from the ABC

What better way to spend your Easter break than with a special RN selection. On Good Friday Natasha Mitchell talks to author Anne Deveson about her lifelong preoccupation: how to promote peace. Also on Friday, we mark the 40th anniversary of the classic album Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon . The music continues on Easter Sunday when Rhythm Divine features a 200-year-old tradition of American folk hymn singing known as Sacred Heart music. And on Easter Monday, two leading thinkers in sociology and philosophy look at how secularism shapes and challenges Islam and Catholicism, and Pope Francis' hope for inter-religious dialogue.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A kissing, hugging loving Pope

What an amazing video. This man is a kissing, hugging Pope who walks among people with ease and generosity. Note how he embraces people, kisses, hugs and is quite relaxed about the "protocol" for greeting a Pope.

Let's hope some of those "holy bouncers" surrounding him learn to chill out a bit and enjoy the moment more as we watch something wonderful happening in our midst!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Papal Limerick

The new man in Rome is called Frank
Will he empty the Vatican Bank?
And give to the poor
Who cry at his door?
Now that would be one blessed prank

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Commonwealth Won't Discriminate

March 11 2013 is Commonwealth Day. On this historic day our head of state and Supreme Governor of the Anglican communion, Elizabeth II will sign a new Charter of the Commonwealth. Part of this Charter reads: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds’.

When was the last time you saw that statement in your Archdiocesan Pastoral plan or local parish mission statement? It seems the Australian Catholic Bishops  may have an ecumenical predicament on their hands as they weigh up their passion for religious freedom against the expressed wishes of the SG of the Anglican Church!! Perhaps this new Charter will spur the republican hopes of George Cardinal Pell.

However, I expect that many of those still remaining in the pews will stand proud as members of a Commonwealth that holds such values and speak out when political, religious and social leaders who use discrimination to exploit and abuse others.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Images That Open Your Eyes

International Women's Day and the Nurturing of Faith

This week I celebrate the 60th anniversary of my baptism.on Sunday March 8 1953. It was a long time before my I associated that date with  International Women's Day. And now as I reflect back I have a debt of gratitude to the women who nurtured my faith over the past 6 decades.

My mother's family  were typical Catholics of their era. My grandmother saw three of her children marry Catholics and her  youngest daughter join a religious congregation, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. From my grandmother and my mother I learnt much of the tribal loyalty that was a feature of  Irish Catholicism.

I have fond memories of my grandmother and her Legion  of Mary troupe walking the streets for home visits where we would recite the rosary gathered round the travelling "Fatima" statue.. My grandmother's house was a mini-shrine with each room featuring a larger than life icon. (My grandmother didn't call them "icons" of course, they were just part of the family along with the photos!!) In fact I don't recall any non-religious art in the house at that time. The  Infant of Prague had a special place in the kitchen where he had responsibility for the "Tatts" tickets, a custom my own mother continued.

My grandmother was a typical "pillar" of her local Church which meant that there were high expectations of her kids and especially the grandkids. I managed to  uphold the family name when at 11 years of age I correctly named every saint in our parish church windows as part of a parish centenary celebration.

Mum read widely and encouraged us as kids to do the same. As well as our membership of the local library we had a series of religious magazines that arrived at regular intervals. One of those mags was the Redemptorists Fathers publication, The Majellan. My mother was anxious not to have  my hormones disturbed too early and in my younger years I was only allowed to read the "Teen Page".

My mother who died last August was  an amazing woman of faith who took on the challenges of  a new era with the tribal loyalty she inherited. Her association with the FMMs and the Columbans  opened her eyes to the world of justice making as a constituent element of her faith.

Her bookshelf included titles by Henri Nouwen, Shelia Cassidy, and Joyce Rupp. This image of my mother's bedside table was taken just before she moved from her unit into high level nursing care before her death..  In her 84th year she is willing to take on the challenging writings of people like Michael Morwood.

Outside the family connection it took a generation before I found women of real religious inspiration. Perhaps the most surprising discovery was  Mirium Therese Winter. As a young  guitarist I took on the excitement of new music being written for worship in the late 1960s and 70s.

The Medical Missionary Sisters  folksy and singable hymns broke ground with a new langaue and theological imagination. Over three decades i have followed the writings of Mirium Therese Winter as she introduced me to  feminist perspectives both in word and song.

In the 1980s I worked in the Collingwood Parish with the  Angel of Collingwwod, Margaret Oates.  Margaret mentored me into social work with compassion and amazing generosity. Her legacy continues with a soup van named after her, but more important are a generation of  middle aged women who will remember the support they received as young girls living in the  streets and high rise units on inner city Melbourne.

At the same time I discovered the words and work of Dorothy Day and began  my journey into a commitment to nonviolence. Locally the life and mission of 'Mum Shirl" inspired and enthused a new relationship with indigenous people.

In recent years I have also discovered the rich spirituality of art in the work of Janet McKenzie and the wonderful nurturing of the imagination with Sr Wendy Beckett.

Among my favourite books I count  The Flowering of the Soul A book of Prayers For Women by Lucinda Vardey, the works of Jean Housten and the haunting text and sounds of Hildegard von Bingen.

One women I really want to honour on this anniversary is  Bernice  Johnson.Reagon. Twice in my life I have been spellbound by the live performance of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the a cappella ensemble Bernice founded in 1973.  "We Are" remains for me one of the great anthems of our time that deserves to be heard and sung in churches, parks, homes, workplaces, streets and wherever people gather.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

I was a stranger and you welcomed me ( Matthew 25:35)

There are times when our core values are challenged by personal story rather than political rhetoric and street rallies. The generous and humanitarian response of my friends Damien and Linda to a refugee family is one that could be lived in every suburb of our land.Read this story of community compassion here.

The CathNews site allows for readers comments and among those that contributed to this story was one of Brisbane's leading advocates for refugee rights, Frederika Steen.
Loved your heart warming story! Your direct action is a great model for others to follow, and the need is enormous with the release of people from detention centres who are on Bridging Visas for as long as it takes to finalise their claims for protection. 

Those arriving after 13 August will not be allowed to work... robbing them of the dignity, self respect and means of supporting their family left behind- because the escape journey is so dangerous and costly.

I hope more good folk will personalise their support for a humane asylum policy and help these asylum seekers. The Australian Homestay Network (see website) is one way, but local groups ( often around parishes) are pitching in with accomodation and moving, support and furnishings and food parcels.A spare room, a granny flat would be greatly appreciated especially by youths who aspire to study and finish high school before going on to TAFE or University. 

There are 100s of Unaccompanied Minors here without their family, who on turning 18 are on their own.

Read more of Damien's life and passions on his blog