During the month I worked with the National Catholic Education Commission on the development of their upcoming paper on the Mission and Purpose of Catholic Schools. It was good to bring perspectives on formation from other sectors such as health and parish, into the educational setting. We understand that formation begins in the home and parish before it becomes part of the work of Catholic Schools and other Catholic organisations. We also need to understand how that formation works best as a whole across Catholic organisations so that an individual can grow in relationship with God and with others.
The recent meeting of Chairs and Executive Officers of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Catholic Religious Australia and AMPJP was very helpful and positive. One question was, in the light of the Synod and the request of the Plenary Council, how do the leaders of AMPJP best grow their roles as fully-fledged leaders in the Australian Church?
The Executive Officers of the MPJPs’ recent meeting centred on the working relationship between the MPJPs and Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd. More work needs to be done to simplify and explain the safeguarding auditing process for MPJPs. At the same time the MPJPs support a whole of Church approach to safeguarding and ACSL is working on a targeted response to the needs of MPJPs.
Attending Catholic Religious Australia’s launch of its new formation framework, Restoring and Nurturing Right Relationships, was important. As MPJPs follow in the footsteps of religious orders, we need to understand their formation so that we can adapt that for ourselves as active members of MPJPs.
The Charity Law and Tax working group was led by the ACBC and is looking at a number of important issues, especially as there is a key paper on the non-profit sector in development, the process of which has largely ignored MPJPs. This is despite the MPJPs being some of the largest charities in Australia. As well as listening to a great deal of wisdom in the group, my contributions were mostly around maximising use of our property assets as a Church to fund new areas of mission in Australia.
I have been trialling a calendar of leadership and formation events for the Catholic Church in Australia. It has the potential to be a contribution by AMPJP to the wider Catholic community. Am looking for partners to also be involved in the project before any final submission might be made to the AMPJP Council. See ampjp.org.au/events.
The Annual Forum of National Catholic organisations and associations, hosted by the ACBC, brought together agencies such as Catholic Health Australia, Caritas, Catholic Social Services, National Catholic Education Commission, many ACBC Commissions and more. Major focus areas included how to respond to the first assembly of the Synod for a Synodal Church and how to continue together in partnering our First Nations people post-referendum.
The month has had a lot of sadness, with the wars in Ukraine, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle-East and the terrible drug wars in Central and South America being joined by the massacre of people in Israel and the Israeli war with Hamas with extreme civilian casualties. We keep all those people in our prayers and our giving as we prepare for Christmas.
On a positive note, it is wonderful to welcome Loreto Ministries, and Whanau Mercy Ministries from New Zealand as they transition into full membership of AMPJP. MPJPs are an aspect of Church life in which Australia (Australasia now?) is a clear leader worldwide, and which we believe will continue to grow in the future.
Hoping you, your family and friends all have a most wonderful, inspiring and very happy Christmas.
We hope and pray these video and music resources will not only bring comfort and hope to you and your communities, but also inspire and empower you during this Advent season and beyond to continue to contribute, each in your own way, to the integral ecology of peace and justice for Mother Earth and all her people.
Join us this Advent in raising up the good in our humanity by singing and praying this anthem, RAISE UP THE GOOD,
that I have composed for our troubled world.
Blessings to you,