Gatherings of people who not only talk about asylum seekers and refugees, but bring our brothers and sisters from across the seas into the heart of our gathering, to listen to their wisdom, are much needed at this time in our nation’s history.
One such conference, held on Tuesday 3rd May in Lidcombe, NSW, entitled “For Mercy’s Sake” includes stories from asylum seekers and refugees, conversations facilitated by Sydney Alliance, with workshops and interactive panel featuring those involved in welcoming, supporting, housing and empowering new arrivals to participate in our parishes, schools and communities.
It is a gathering of parish pastoral council members, pastoral associates, clergy and religious, social justice representatives, those in education and related disciplines and diocesan workers.
The conference echoes Pope Francis’ call: “Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” (Misericordiae Vultus)
Keynote speaker, Fr Aloysious Mowe SJ, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, has worked extensively in the area of Islamic studies and interfaith dialogue. He says: “No one is excluded from God’s graciousness and blessing, and those who consider themselves God’s people above all are to welcome the stranger in their midst, on their land.“
Panellists include Fr Aloysius Mowe SJ, Ms Maha Abdo OAM, President of Islamic Women’s Association, Fr Maurizio Pettená CS, Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office and Mr Brian Moir, Epping-Carlingford parishioner. Bishop Terry Brady celebrates Mass with participants at St Joachim’s Catholic Church, Lidcombe. Over dinner, participants listen to South Sudanese child soldier-turned-lawyer Deng Thiak Adut, who moved hearts with his 2016 Australia Day address.
Workshops include: Sydney Catholic Schools response to refugees and asylum seekers; Providing practical support (Asylum Seekers Centre); Helping parishes work with refugees (David Addington AM, Northern Beaches Refugee Sanctuary); Developing a parish response (Brian Moir, Epping-Carlingford); Organising parishes to work for the common good (Sydney Alliance); Serving and supporting refugees and asylum seekers (Settlement Services International) and the Welcome Dinner Project (Penny Elsley).
The conference is organised by the NSW Association of Pastors, Pastoral Associates and Parish Workers (NAPPA), a Catholic organisation connected with the NSW Bishops Conference. NAPPA holds an annual conference for members and guests to consider issues affecting parish, school and diocesan life. This network supports collaboration between ordained and lay pastoral ministers, including religious, in our service of God’s mission.
Tuesday 3rd May, 9am to 5pm, then Mass & Dinner, till 9pm
Dooleys Catholic Club Lidcombe, $75; and extra $40 for dinner and speaker.
Registrations are open until Monday 2nd May 12pm: http://www.trybooking.com/KIRS
Enquiries & Dietary Requests: Greg Byrne 0427 918 568; firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference flyer including workshop descriptions