Sunday, September 28, 2014

L’Arche Brisbane celebrates L’Arche International Family Day

On Saturday 4th October L’Arche Communities across the world will join each other in a time of prayer and thanksgiving .
As a Community we are holding a liturgy at St. Francis of Assisi Church 47 Dornoch Terrace West End from 10.30am.  We thought it most appropriate to hold our prayer time here as it is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on the 4th October. This will be an ecumenical liturgy and we would like to invite priests, reverends, pastors and members of the church communities, especially those  who welcome our Core Members,  to attend on the day.   
Following our time of prayer we will gather in Orleigh Park near the West End Ferry for a BYO picnic lunch. During this time we might like to share stories and basically enjoy spending time together.
Please free to come and join us for as much of this time as you can manage.
L'Arche is 50 years old! To be able to celebrate our Jubilee year is an amazing gift. When I welcomed Raphael and Philippe from a violent institution, little did I know that L'Arche would grow into the world wide network it is today.  So many people over these years have come to L’Arche and discovered the deep value of people with intellectual disabilities, who if accepted, loved and honored have much to give to our world.  Let us all go forward into the next 50 years with much hope and intentionality, growing but also deepening our vision and letting ourselves be continually transformed by the relationships we share in our communities so that we may become an ever more inspiring presence for our world.
Jean Vanier

Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrate Earth


The Queensland Churches Environment Network (QCEN) is hosting a Celebrate Earth ritual on Friday 3 October in the grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen (behind the Chapel) 249 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.

All are welcome to participate in this short celebration at either 12 p.m. or 1 p.m.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Brisbane Justice Advocate Promotes Bishops Statement

Media Release

Brisbane Justice Advocate Promotes Bishops' Statement

Brisbane Catholic justice advocate, Tony Robertson has given the “thumbs up” to this year’s social justice statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The statement, A Crown for Australia, Striving for the bestin our sporting nation was released for Social Justice Sunday, 28 September 2014

Mr Robertson attended the Brisbane launch of the statement by Archbishop Mark Coleridge at St James Coorparoo on Wednesday September 17 . He took the opportunity to have a promotional photo taken with both of them giving a “thumbs up’ to a document he describes as  “ the best piece of sport commentary to come from a pulpit”.

Mr Robertson said: “As a youngster in Geelong our family ritual was Mass followed by World of Sport, one of the TV shows for which we all had a passion. “

My introduction to sport was on the parish tennis courts of Ss Peter and Paul’s in Geelong West. My Catholic primary and secondary schools had sport teams with the tribal loyalty that the Bishops speak of in this statement” he said.

Mr Robertson applauded the statement’s social inclusion with its references to women, Indigenous and athletes with disability. ‘The connection between community, justice and sport is a relationship we need to affirm more and more in this anxious times” he said.

“Not only is the statement a great document for all Australians, it is accompanied by a video clip which is probably one of the best uses of new technology I have ever seen by the Bishops he said.

Mr Robertson acknowledges that the Catholic Church and its Bishops have been challenged by the dark history of clergy abuse and its cover up. “A generation or even two have been lost to the Church and now it needs to restore faith in the Australian  community if it wishes to become a credible voice in building our civic community; he said.

Mr Robertson said: “I believe this statement has the potential to begin a new conversation with  Australians from a Church that is better attuned to the protection of the vulnerable, the power of sport to build community and the grace of team work.”

“This statement is couched in accessible language and accompanied by iconic sport images that will fire the imagination of readers” he said.

Mr Robertson also thanks the Conference of Bishops for making access to the statement, the video and  support materials available online at

26 September 2014
Tony Robertson
M: 0417 792 509

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Catholic Church Supports Call for Release of Children from Detention

Supporting the release of children from detention. Catholic Mission - Brisbane#freethechildren — with David McGovern at Cathedral of St Stephen, Brisbane.

The grounds of the Cathedral of St Stephen have been home for the last week to the installation Free the Children.Organised by a coalition of organisations which included the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office; Catholic Religious Australia; ChilOut; International Detention Coalition; Australian Young Christian Students; Uniting Justice Australia; the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and PNG; and Catholic Mission, the "Free the Children Installation" was created by award winning sculptor artist Benjamin Gilbert.

I participated in this installation and have sent off a message to my local Federal Member,Terri Butler calling for an end to this inhumane policy.Join me in a chorus across the land that calls out #freethechildren

Media from Church Sources

“The Catholic Church welcomes proposals by the Greens for children to be removed from
Immigration detention centres,” Fr Maurizio Pettena, Director of the Australian Catholic
Migrant and Refugee Office, said today.  Fr Pettena was responding to calls by the Greens,
supported by the Liberals, to release children from detention centres.

“Both in its pastoral activity and in its advocacy, the Catholic Church has always been
advocating for the release of children from the detention centres.” Fr Pettena said.

“The Catholic Church has been active over many years working with asylum seekers, both
inside detention centres and after they are released.  Our workers have seen the trauma
and the damage that is caused by indefinite and, in many cases, arbitrary detention.
There must be a better way,” Fr Pettena said.

“Detention is particularly cruel and particularly inappropriate for children.”

“We note that the Social Justice Commissioner’s report on Indigenous Deaths in Custody
1989‐1996 said in part (recommendation 10) “disruption to the lives of children should be
a strong consideration” and “Mothers of young children should not be detained unless
absolutely necessary.”

“If the Social Justice Commissioner was correct 14 years ago regarding Indigenous women
and children, his comments are also correct today regarding women and children in
immigration detention.”

“The time has long passed, if it ever existed, for the wholesale detention of women and
children in Immigration detention”, Fr Pettena said.

“We call on the Government to release children from detention.”
Link to Official Copy of the Statement

Fr Maurizio Pettena
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
T: 0262019848
M: 042766764

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office opposes locking up children
in immigration detention centres because:

  • The detention environment and length of time spent in detention inflicts 
  • mental and physical harm, anguish and suffering on Children. 
  • The detention environment subjects children to violent and distressing 
  • incidents, including self-harm and witnessing their parents and other 
  • children and adults mentally and physically breakdown. 
  • The prolonged and mandatory nature of detention inherently treats 
  • children as criminals and fails to uphold their human dignity. 
  • The policy of locking vulnerable groups in detention without trial is 
  • fundamentally oppressive and morally corrupt. 
  • Australia has effective alternatives to held immigration detention which 
  • address national concerns and allow asylum seekers to be treated 
  • humanely in the community.
  • Punishing people for seeking protection ignores the gravity of a global 
  • humanitarian crisis and the realities people face when compelled to seek 
  • protection through clandestine channels. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Open Mosque Day Brisbane

On Friday September 19 Brisbane residents had an opportunity to participate in  the first Queensland Open Mosque Day.

For me this meant my first visit to the local Mosque in Holland Park.You can view my video of the visit here

Solidarity and support for the local Muslim community. Great hospitality and frank conversation with neighbours and friends — at Holland Park Mosque

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Book Launch of ISA: Christian Muslim Reflections by Dave Andrews

 AMARAH cordially invites you to: 
a Special Book Launch of ISA: Christian Muslim Reflections by Dave Andrews

AMARAH is a non-profit organisation based in Brisbane, Australia that advocates for a better world.
AMARAH is an acronym for Australian Muslim Advocates for the Rights of All Humanity.
As the name suggests, AMARAH supports and encourages the positive engagement of Muslims on issues of concern for the whole of humanity.

Date:          Tuesday 30 September 6.30 pm- 8:00 pm
Venue:       The Meeting Room Westfield Garden City Library, Mt Gravatt
RSVP:        Nora Amath namath14@yahoo.comby 25 September
                  Tea/Coffee and Light Refreshments will be available

I commend Dave Andrews for being so insightful as to write this wonderful treatise about Jesus to further enhance, or even revive, the ‘interconnectedness’ between Muslims and Christians in a time of suspicion and hostility. His work is a testimony to his goodness and genuine desire to bring people of different faith persuasions together, to discuss about Jesus in a respectful and noble manner.”
                                                                                                                          Assoc Prof Mohamed Abdalla

“…(This) book seeks to engender an attitude of openness and dialogue, rather than maintaining, as we so often do, a closed door to others or at worst a brutal dismissal of what other people believe without ever have discussed these matters with persons of the faith we have outrightly condemned.”
                                                                                                                                         Prof Charles Ringma

Monday, September 01, 2014

The Launch of Bill Morris's Book in Canberra and Adelaide

 These clips are available on the ATF Youtube Channel
The text of Frank Brennan's speech is available here.