Tuesday, April 08, 2014

2014 Blake Prize Entries Now Open

Preparations for the 2014 Blake Prize are well under way. Prizes awarded this year will include the Blake Art Prize, the John Coburn Emerging Artist Award, the MUA Blake Prize for Human Justice and the Blake Poetry Prize. There’s $40,000 in prize money to be won, so start working on your entries now!
You'll be pleased to know that entries for the Blake Poetry Prize are now open and this year's judges will be Peter Boyle, Martin Harrison and Astrid Lorange. To find out more about the judges and download the entry form click here.
While we can’t divulge the judging panel for the Art Prize just yet, we can tell you that entries will close on Friday 29 August. Stay tuned for more information!
Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, photographer, new media artist or poet, make sure to check our website for the conditions of entry and frequently asked questions for either the art prize or the poetry prize. While you’re there, subscribe to our mailing list, so you can keep on top of all of this year’s important dates and events. We’ll let you know as soon as the Art Prize entry forms are available.
Image: Sherna Teperson, Sunrise (The throwing of the bones), mixed media, 27 x 27.5 x 27.5cm.

Rwanda Anniversary Brisbane

As a Catholic I live with the shame and dis-grace of the complicity of my Church in the genocide of Rwanda 20 years ago. I carry this shame because the hierarchy of my Church have washed their hands like Pilate.

It is worth noting that this commemoration is not being held or even supported by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.In fact most Catholics live with total ignorance of their shared shame in this moment of contemporary history.

Please join me as we stand in solidarity with this community on this anniversary.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Finding Jesus in the Marketplace

Only in West End would you go to a market and find yourself at a Jesus Shop. Surprise number two was that the man behind the Jesus Shop was a student at Australian Catholic Uni when I was on staff. So what happens to graduates of the MA in Theology Course? They become AoG Pastors and run a Jesus Shop. I came away with the Vintage Jesus leaflet I am holding for the pic.

The other amazing discovery in this visit is that framed piece on the wall. It is from the Christ series by David Hart, son of the legendary artist, Pro Hart!!
 — at Boundary Street Markets
Tony Robertson's photo.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Congrats to Michael Mason CSSR

Congratulations to a colleague from my days in the Collingwood Catholic Community, Michael Mason CSsR who has been awarded the Archbishop Adrian Doyle Award for Pastoral Research, for recognition of his outstanding contribution to pastoral research in Australia.

In attendance to present the award was retired Archbishop of Hobart Adrian Doyle, the first chair of the Board of Management for the Pastoral Research Projects (the predecessor of the Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research) and himself a strong supporter of pastoral research in the Church.

Extract from “Don’t shoot! I’m only the messenger!” A few reminiscences from fifty years of pastoral research by Michael Mason CSSR 

Address delivered at the 
Conference on Beliefs and Practices of Australian Catholics 
ACBC Pastoral Research Office 

February 19-21, 2014 

What have I learned? Well, not much, I suppose – two principles, at least: 

• First: Understanding the situation is fundamental and must come before “doing”: understanding 
what has changed, and what is the situation for ministry now. Otherwise people make poorly 
planned attempts at “quick fixes” which don’t work. (I saw a cartoon of an elderly pastor 
saying: “We gave them jazz masses, rock masses, hip hop masses, and still they don’t come! 
What more do young people want?”). 

• Second: The relationship between religion and society has changed over a long period; this change 
accelerated sharply in the Western world from the 1970s on, and is still continuing; Christianity 
will not become extinct, but in the future the church as an organisation in Western societies 
seems likely to become smaller, more marginal, less influential than it is today, with fewer 
resources and a smaller superstructure. The Church is primarily the people of God. The 
institutional structure, which we also call church, is just the beautiful old family home the 
Church has lived in for a long time, parts of which are getting beyond repair. 

• The church existed for centuries in a relatively stable society and culture; so it has been shaped as a 
traditional organisation; geared to faithfully continuing to hand on its treasures, and of course 
developing and changing, but slowly; traditional organisations assume the future will be 
basically much the same as the past, so they will always be relevant. So they tend not to notice 
when rapid change in their environment makes them ineffective. Like an old TV station 
continuing to send out an analogue TV signal when the receivers have all changed over to 

• As institutions lose touch, they get a bit short-sighted; they can look straight at their defects and see them as strengths; there’s a lot of bad pastoral research out there that screens them from the 
truth – Mary Gautier showed in her wonderful talk the other day how even counts of mass 
attendance in the USA are exaggerated to make parishes or dioceses look good. Hence the old 
saying: “there are lies, damned lies, and church statistics!”. A pastoral researcher must tell the 
truth. If you announce that your research shows that in Catholic schools today, it is pastorally 
harmful to impose religious education and prayer on students who do not believe (and this 
includes many who are nominally Catholic), you will be called a Jeremiah. Well, take comfort 
– he was a great prophet, to whom the Lord said: “Behold, I put my words in your mouth”. 

• The people of God need some new houses built. And success always starts with failure. But the 
church of the future will still be the community of believers gathered to live the Gospel of the 
Lord. Our belief and hope in its future is not based on numbers but on the testimony of the 

Holy Spirit.

World Day of Prayer, Thanksgiving and Action for Human Rights Defenders and Peacebuilders

Join us on April 11th in prayer and action for all those working for human rights. This year, we particularly think of Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen Mahesan, OMI, two activists who are under investigation by the Sri Lankan government for their actions in defense of human rights. 

Únete a nosotros el 11 de Abril, en la plegaria y en la acción, por quienes trabajan por los Derechos Humanos. Este año, tendremos particularmente presentes a Ruki Fernando y al P. Praveen Mahesan (Oblato de María Inmaculada), dos activistas que se encuentran investigados por parte del gobierno de Sri Lanka a causa de su compromiso en defensa de los Derechos Humanos.

Good Friday Vigil for Those on Death Row

Death Penalty Vigil
The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace Commission’s annual Good Friday death penalty prayer vigil will take place on Friday 18 April at 12 noon at Christ the King Church, Churchill Street, Graceville. 
All are welcome to join us in prayer for those on death row in Indonesia and around the world

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Sign of The Times

Will we see this sign displayed in Catholic Worksites? When was the last time a parish priest mentioned Trade Unions as part of a pastoral vision?

A few  addresses to send this image for display:
The Prime Minister https://twitter.com/TonyAbbottMHR
The Federal Treasurer J.Hockey.MP@aph.gov.au
Minister for Employment e.ebetz.MP@aph.gov.au /  https://twitter.com/SenatorAbetz

Sunday, March 16, 2014

UCA Prayer and Fasting for First Peoples Justice

Tony Robertson Photography
Members of the Uniting Church in Australia begin a week of prayer and fasting for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders today.

The week includes a public prayer vigil on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra at 10.30am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Individual congregations around the country are also conducting related services and activities, under the banner ‘A Destiny Together’, up until Sunday 23 March.

Uniting Church President Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney will lead the Canberra prayer vigil with Rev. Rronang Garrawurra, Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

“We are coming together to express our grief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still experience injustice, racism and exclusion in this country,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.

“We are also performing this act of public witness because we believe that recognition, justice and reconciliation are possible when we work together.”

Church members, including many from remote Aboriginal communities, are coming to Canberra from all over Australia to attend. As part of the hour-long service, participants will be asked to mark each other with ash as a sign of mourning and will celebrate Holy Communion as a symbol of hope.  

Speaking in his native Yolngu language, Rev. Garrawurra has urged all Church members to come together in solidarity to support the event. 

“We are all one people living together in this land. We need to listen to each other and truly accept one another,” said Rev. Garrawurra. 

“We need to work together in a spirit of cooperation, sharing together to witness to God’s work of reconciliation amongst us. If we continue as we are, separated from each other through racism and injustice, we will not be walking together on the path God intends for us.”

The week of prayer and fasting is the Uniting Church’s response to the pain expressed by its Aboriginal members as a result of the imposition and effect of federal policies such as the NT Intervention and the Stronger Futures on their communities. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Web of the Cross

Jesus of the People Janet McKenzie
This online meditation was launched in 2000, the Year of Great Jubilee. It has been published each year since  with updates to the links and reflections  as some material goes offline and new resources become available.

This series is based on the  Way of the Cross released by the Congregation of Rites in 1975. 

You might also like to visit the Online images of this series of the Stations by Peter Schipperheyn, created for Notre Dame University Fremantle. W.A.

The image, Jesus of the People by Janet McKenzie is kindly allowed for use by the artist. Janet's Stations of the Cross set has been published in a work featuring writings by Joan Chittister. 
How to Pray Online
Set aside a regular time for this prayer, perhaps when you ‘boot up” each day or as a way of closing your day’s work.Take your time to let the image music or text find a home in your heart.
I suggest you spread the” Stations” over several days or the whole season of Lent.The box indicating the number of each station is linked to the Scripture reference. The title of each station takes you to a  web site with a pastoral response.for your prayer and consideration.The music on this site reflects some of my own journey across various traditions that I hope you find inspiring and challenging.

Station 1The Last Supper
Station 2The Garden of Gethsemane  
Station 3Jesus before the Sanhedrin 
Music: Be Not Afraid
Station 4Jesus before Pilate 
Station 5
Jesus is whipped and crowned with thorns 
Station 6Jesus carries his cross 
Station 7Jesus is helped by the Cyrenean 
Music: Amazing Grace
Station 8Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem 
Music: We Are
Station 9Jesus is stripped and nailed to the cross 
Station 10Jesus and the Good Thief 
Station 11Jesus speaks to Mary and John
Music: Stabat Mater
Station 12Jesus Dies
Station 13Jesus is Buried 
Station 14Jesus rises from the dead