The hunger for justice The hunger for justice

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					                                                             St Vincent de Paul Society

                                                       Summer 2006-07

The hunger for justice
Fighting to give welfare recipients a fair go
Fighting to give welfare recipients a fair go
Helping overseas
Helping overseas         Ozanam Lecture
                         Ozanam Lecture
Our global neighbours
Our global neighbours    Townsville Centenary
                         Townsville Centenary
World Youth Day
World Youth Day          Asylum seekers
                         Asylum seekers
A pictorial diary
A pictorial diary        Journey through a minefield
                         Journey through a minefield
poetry and prose

Poetry and prose
  Beyond Our Shores
                                                                                              St Vincent de Paul Society
    Beautifully rounded
    Majestically golden Autumn moon
    Overwhelming in your grandeur                                     Summer 2006/2007 Vol. 89 No. 4

    You look at me and I become                                       Incorporating Viewpoint
    Aware of my little corner of the universe
    Minusculed in comparison

    No longer am I standing on flat ground.
    I have a sense of what you see -
    The global Earth suspended like you.

    So distracted are we with earthly cares                           Cover image:
    We forget where we are                                            Ozanam’s Vision, Oil on Canvas,
    Spinning through space with planets and stars.                    2.1m x 1.1m by artist Bart Sanciolo

                                                                      Reproduced with permission of artist.
    Jo Tutton                                                         Refer to page 23 for more information.

  The Man At The Gate                                                 The Record is published four times a year by the
                                                                      St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of
    I said to the man
                                                                      National Council of Australia
    Who stood at the gate of the year,                                PO Box 243, Deakin West, ACT, 2600
    “Give me a light that I may tread safely                          Contact: Julie Schelb
    into the unknown.”                                                Phone: 02 6202 1200
    And he replied,
                                                                      Editor: Syd Tutton
    “Go out into the darkness
                                                                      Assistant Editor: Jessica Gadd
    and put your hand into the hand of God
                                                                      The Record is overseen by an editorial
    That shall be to you
                                                                      committee comprising Syd Tutton (Chairperson),
    Better than the light                                             Jessica Gadd (Assistant Editor), Danusia
    And safer than a known way!”                                      Kaska, Jonathan Campton, John Campbell and
                                                                      Raymond James.
    So I went forth                                                   Advertising: Amanda Hobson
                                                                      Phone: 02 6202 1200
    And finding the hand of God
    Trod gladly into the light.
                                                                      Layout: Ben Ziegler
                                                                      Catholic Communications Melbourne
    M. Louise Haskins                                                 PO Box 146, East Melbourne, Victoria, 8002
                                                                      Phone: 03 9926 5677

  We invite readers to contribute their poems. Those published will   Printing: Doran Printing
                                                                      46 Industrial Drive, Braeside, Victoria, 3195
  receive a free book.                                                Phone: 03 9587 4333 Fax: 03 9587 3177
                                                                      Opinions expressed in this publication are not
                                                                      necessarily those of the publishers.

 The Record – Summer 2006/2007
 Page 2
In this issue…
3   Frontlines
    From the National President.

4   Genevieve’s bread
    The Society in Western Australia is

                                                 Reaching out
    in safe hands.

5   Out of the archives
    The Beginning of Vinnies Centres.

6   The hunger for justice

                                                     am writing this message on my recent return from a meeting of the
    Speaking up against the breached
    welfare regime.                                  Society’s International Council where I reported on the St Vincent de
                                                     Paul Project in Africa; I am chairing this Commission on behalf of
8   Helping overseas                               Australia.
    Providing assistance to our                      The brief is to take an independent look at the African Continent, all 53
    global neighbours.                             countries and make recommendations on how best the Society can help.
                                                     Among the many problems of Africa is the serious AIDS pandemic. A
                                                   phrase commonly used in Sub-Saharan Africa is: “If you are not infected
                                                   you must be affected” This means most families have seen loved ones:
                                                   brothers, sisters, mother, father, aunts and uncles dying of AIDS.
                                                     The Australian Society has been generous in the past with innovative
                                                   programs in Zambia, and Queensland State Council has recently provided
                                                   our National Council with the means to help progress the work of this
10 A day of fun                                      This edition of the Record also contains an article of our sharing with
    A run to the Gold Coast for                    the less fortunate countries of our Region.
    our refugee families.

11 Immersion program                                 Sadly, Rita Williams has left us to take up a position with Fairfax
    Intensive experience in an                     Newspapers. Rita has edited the last seven editions of the Record and has
    indigenous community.                          taken it to the highest of standards. May I express the Society’s thanks and
                                                   wish her well for the future.
12 Pictorial diary
    Looking forward to World Youth Day.

                                                      National Council is currently considering a report on how the Society
                                                   can better engage with Generation X, i.e. the 29-45 year olds. We
                                                   are conscious, to achieve results in recruitment in this and across all
                                                   generations, we must look at cultural change, whilst remaining faithful to
                                                   the vision and tenets of Ozanam.
                                                      To ensure that we can continue providing for those on the margins we
                                                   must show courage by breaking new ground. Change needs to occur and
                                                   like all change, there will be pain.
16 Ozanam lecture                                     Reactions to change vary, some people are crushed, others refuse to face
    Bishop Hurley on “The future of                the fact of change and insist on carrying on as before. Others will face the
    humanity - by way of the family”.              challenges in the Spirit of Ozanam and remain full of hope.
                                                      The institutions, firms and structures that served us well in past times
18 Getting to know your                            no longer answer the needs of our day.
   National Chaplain
    Fr Greg Cooney introduces himself.
                                                      There are many lost sheep in our communities. The elderly can become
19 Asylum seekers                                  prisoners in their homes, lonely and forgotten. Many of us can seem
    A journey through a minefield.                 frightened of people with mental illness or other disabilities, and are
                                                   unable or unwilling to make the simplest contact with them.
20 Living with mental illness                         The Society looks around to see those who have drifted to the margins
    Isabella Fells writes on her long journey.     and reaches out to them in simple friendship.
21 Letters
    Readers have their say.                          May you all experience the love of Christ this Christmas and enjoy
                                                   health and happiness in 2007.
22 I see you
    See Jesus in His response to people.
                                                   John Meahan
                                                   National President
                                                   St Vincent de Paul Society Australia

                                                                           St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                Page 3

      Receiving Genevieve’s bread
      The dedicated work of Genevieve de Souza ensures that the
      Society in Western Australia is in safe hands.

         n Quebec City in Canada beneath         Sacrament. Her motivation being that          Genevieve sees the greatest challenges
         the walls of the City is an ancient     the Conference was facing closure as       in her term of office is the declining
         square on which stands the first        they didn’t have a Secretary and she, as   membership and the aged profile
      Church in Canada or New France as it       a parishioner, admired the good work of    of conferences. She is focusing on
      was then called.                           the Conference.                            recruitment in the 45-60 years age
         The Church is dedicated to Our Lady       She became President of the              bracket.
      of Victories. The priests who ministered   Conference within a year and then             Her passion, home visitation, is
      in the Church were firstly a branch of     served as a Regional Council President     the impetus that brought her into the
      the Franciscans and after them came the                                               society. The needs, she said are more
      Black Robes, the Jesuits.                                                             than often not material but loneliness
         In the church is a shrine to Saint                                                 and alienation through the rampant
      Genevieve and a spill of bread is given                                               breakdown that is occurring in families.
      out to visitors as a remembrance of                                                      Genevieve quotes that during her
      when St Germanus sent her some                                                        stay in Australia, people offered Mother
      blessed bread as a token of esteem,                                                   Teresa to go to Calcutta and work
      when her enemies were cruelly                                                         with the needy but she said they were
      persecuting her.                                                                      better off staying to serve the hidden
         The bread is meant as a wish that                                                  poverty of social exclusion and isolation
      the recipient will be protected from                                                  in this country. Relationships with
      disasters, fever and plague.                                                          people is more important than food in
         In Western Australia there is another                                              maintaining people’s dignity.
      Genevieve who is giving bread to those                                                   Genevieve has a sparkling and
      in need through her Conference work                                                   bubbly personality which is mirrored
      and leadership as State President.                                                    in her hobbies of country singing
         Genevieve came to Australia, with her                                              and dancing – although she says her
      husband Michael, from Singapore and        on two separate occasions. Brian Bull,     husband Michael is a hopeless dancer.
      settled in the suburb Gosnells.            now Senior Vice President, appointed          The Society in Western Australia is in
         In 1988, encouraged by good friends,    her his Vice President when he was         safe hands.
      she found the Society through the          State President, and she succeeded him
      Conference of Our Lady of the Blessed      in office in 2005

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          The Record – Summer 2006/2007
             Page 4
Out of the archives
In this article from 1972, Ken Scully celebrates the 50th
anniversary of the Vinnies Centres.

         ustralia has had many ‘firsts’ in many things - the            Thus it can be said that their charity is like a chain,
         secret ballot and the invention of skiing, to name but      linking in love the needy of many kinds – the halt, the blind,
         a couple.                                                   the mentally retarded, the aged, the sick, the destitute men
   But if the history of charity is ever written, Australia’s        and women who take refuge in our hostels.
initiative in giving to the world the idea of collecting usable         The Stores are big business. They make a lot of money, and
goods to help the disadvantaged should rank high in the              all of it is spent on the poor. Their work is charity in action,
record.                                                              charity that does not rest but which spreads like oil on water
   Here it seems that humility – which is truth, not pride –         to the far ends of the world.
should make us thankful that the idea originated from the St            The work of the Stores must be dear to the heart of Christ,
Vincent de Paul Society. For the Society exists for two prime        and as such should be prized as a pearl of high price by the
purposes – the sanctification of its members and to serve the        members of the Society dedicated to His love and to helping
needy in all ways it can. Approached with the right intention        those He loves – His “least brethren”  ,
and in the proper spirit, “rag drives” can help Vincentians             Let us give thanks indeed for 50 years.
achieve the first objective as undoubtedly they do the second.
   Here at home we know that, in the Society itself, the
idea has spread throughout the continent and has grown
and flourished into the Stores and Centres of today. And
it has been adopted by other charitable organisations ‘in
Australia – Lifeline, the Anglican Stores, the Smith Family
are instances. Overseas we have seen the idea copied by Abbe
Pierre, the French ‘rag-picker’ priest who has acknowledged
that it was the Australian Vincentian example that inspired
him to begin his great work for the destitute.
   Those small beginnings of our Stores 50 years ago have
grown like the mustard seed in the parable into big business
today. To carry the biblical analogy a little further, we see
birds of many varieties now nesting on the branches of the
mighty tree it has become.
   Like Shakespeare’s quality of mercy, the work of the Stores
can be considered twice blessed, benefiting those who give             In September 1922 ten Society members, armed with rakes
and those who receive. Perhaps they have a third blessing            and shovels set out to carve a place in Society history. Their
– for those who collect the clothing, furniture and other            objective was to make an old disused stable situated in a
goods.                                                               paddock in King Street, Newtown, a suburb of Sydney, usable
   Besides assisting the needy locally and the track travellers      as a depot for wasted products. From this humble beginning
who call at them as they traverse the country, the arms of           was to grow the Stores and Centres as we know them today.
Christ reach out from the Australian Stores to touch people
in other countries: Fiji, the Pacific Islands, India and the like.   This article was written by Ken Scully, the then Assistant Editor
The refugees of Bangladesh and victims of other disasters            of The Catholic Weekly. It appeared in the September 1972
have been clothed by them.                                           edition of The Record
   To quote another New Testament saying, the surplus “is sold
and given to the poor.” For not only do the Stores provide an
opportunity for those on restricted income to purchase goods at
a small cost, but the profits go to support the Society’s works.

                                                                               St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                      Page 5

The hunger for justice
The debate over breached welfare recipients forces us to think about the real causes
of marginalisation and exclusion. By John Falzon

       ince the St Vincent de Paul Society indicated why          We do not look at this as some kind of victory. We’re all
       we would not be signing up to the Government’s          missing the point if we see this simply in terms of a battle
       new case management scheme for breached welfare         between the churches and the Government. What’s at stake
recipients we have been heartened by the wonderful support     here is the daily struggle of those who are already pushed
we have received from so many sectors of Australian society.   to the margins. As far as we are concerned it is they who
In addition, almost all the Christian charities have either    are suffering and are going to suffer even more keenly, the
refused to join up or pulled out of the Federal Government’s
new case management program for breached welfare
                                                                             “Charity is the Samaritan who
recipients after only a few weeks.                                            pours oil on the wounds of the
   For the St Vincent de Paul Society, the decision not to                        traveller who has been
participate was guided by our commitment to social justice,                     attacked. It is justice’s role
our solidarity with the marginalised, and our collective                      however, to prevent the attack.”
hunger for justice, following the imperatives of the Gospel.
   For this, we, and the other NGOs that took a similar
position, were accused by one Government Minister              effects of the punitive welfare laws that have come into play,
of turning our backs on the poor. We could never turn          especially when combined with the Work Choices legislation.
our backs on the people who are pushed to the margins          People are going to be pushed onto even more meagre
of society. We are, however, turning our backs on the          Centrelink payments and then into a more deregulated and
Government’s punitive welfare laws and we’re doing it          unprotected low end of the labour market. All of this is, of
because of the duty we owe to the people we assist.                                   course, accompanied by the threat of
                                                                                       a family’s income being completely
                                                                                       suspended for up to two months. They
                                                                                        are systematically being herded into
                                                                                        an ever-cheaper pool of labour that
                                                                                         is going to benefit some sections of
                                                                                          society enormously. The breaching
                                                                                           mechanism is a blunt tool, in terms
                                                                                           of actually delivering any positive
                                                                                           policy outcomes, but it’s a very
                                                                                            sharp weapon in terms of cutting
                                                                                             into the hearts of families, who are
                                                                                              already hurting incredibly.
                                                                                                  This debate does, however,
                                                                                               shine a light onto the bigger
                                                                                                problem of what is structurally
                                                                                                and systematically being done
                                                                                                 to further marginalise those

         The Record – Summer 2006/2007
         Page 6
who are at the margins of                                                                       alien to the spirit of the St
Australian society. In that sense,                                                              Vincent de Paul Society.
this debate is a very useful                                                                       There has been a 25%
one, because certainly our                                                                       increase in the number of
experience at Vinnies is that                                                                    people in custody over the
people are being made to think,                                                                  last decade. Is this the kind of
and to think very critically and analytically about what is       Australia we want? People are forced underground because
happening due to this Government’s harsh legislation.             they are desperately trying to salvage their dignity. Some
   We are all being forced to think about the real causes         resurface in our prisons or on our streets. The labour
of marginalisation and exclusion: the lack of affordable          market, we are told, must be flexible but this system of
housing, the paucity of access to healthcare, education and       social control is utterly inflexible.
training, childcare, and transport.                                  The people we stand in solidarity with, the people we
   The fact that we’ve spoken up quite clearly saying that this   come into personal contact with every day, in their homes,
breaching regime is immoral and that we will have no part in      in our centres, and in our special works; these people are
this breaching regime has been very important in galvanising      for us, a living sign of the sacred. They entrust to us their
our own ability to prophetically analyse from the perspective     stories. We owe them this: that we will honour their sacred
of those who are at the bottom..                                  stories by bearing witness to their truth.
   Blessed Frederic Ozanam, our founder, said, “Charity is the
Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveller who        Dr John Falzon is Chief Executive Officer for the St Vincent
has been attacked. It is justice’s role however, to prevent the   de Paul Society National Council.
   As far as we’re concerned, in 2006 in Australia, it is the     This article was based on an interview conducted by Stephen
role of the St Vincent de Paul Society to do everything we        Crittenden for The Religion Report on ABC Radio National.
can to prevent the attack, not to go into partnership with        23 August 2006)
the attacker. We will continue to pour oil on the wounds of
the traveller. We will always be there to provide charitable
assistance to those who’ve been wounded as it were, by
oppressive legislation and by the economic forces that have
pushed them to the margins. We’ll provide the charity but
it is justice more than anything else that these people have
a right to, and we will not cease to clamour for justice. As St
Augustine put it so well: “Charity is no substitute for justice
   There are some who would like to see us doing the
bidding of those who are oppressing the marginalised. There
are some who long for the consolation that we will provide
charity as a substitute for justice. Nothing could be more

                                                                         St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                 Page 7

Helping overseas
How the St Vincent de Paul Society is changing lives
for the better in Pakistan and the Philippines.

           hile the St Vincent de Paul Society is not an           students would put on wonderful performances for us. They
           overseas aid agency, it assists those in need in        treated us like royalty. They did this for one reason – to say
           developing countries through the local St Vincent       ‘thank you’. It was humbling to be accepting their gratitude
de Paul Societies in these countries. The Society’s Overseas       on behalf of the Australian supporters of the Assist a Student
Partnerships and Development Committee (OPDC) is                   program. We witnessed firsthand just how much benefit
responsible for developing, administering and overseeing a         is being provided to the students and their families. They
number of programs that assist our neighbours overseas.            may have little materially but they have plenty in terms of
The Society in Australia provides assistance to a number of        enthusiasm and a desire to go to school.
countries in the Asia Pacific region including the Philippines,       We had the opportunity to speak to the parents of the
Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Caroline            beneficiaries of the Assist a Student program. As we listened
Islands, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu,              to their stories being translated for us, we could see in their
Solomon Islands and Kiribati.                                      faces the emotion of a
                                                                   journey that required
                                           Br Doug Walsh FMS       surviving each day
                                        (National Projects         without the help of so
                                        Officer) and James         many benefits we take
                                        Lee (National Assist       for granted. They spoke
                                         a Student committee)      of their struggle to have
                                         made a visit to two of    food on the table for
                                         our partner countries     their children and would
                                         in July this year and     often have to go without
                                          share with us some of    themselves. They found         Br Doug Walsh with parents of the
                                          their impressions.       joy in knowing that their      beneficiaries in Southern Leyte, Philippines.
                                                                   child had an opportunity
ASSIST A STUDENT                                                   to be educated. This was an opportunity that was denied to
                                                                   them when they were young. They had a strong belief that
   Assist a Student is an education scholarship program            once their children were educated things would improve for
aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. Donations from             them.
Australians are used to provide education scholarships for            For $70 a year, you can Assist a Student. Call (02) 6202 1200
students across partner countries in Asia and the Pacific.         for more info.
Local St Vincent de Paul Society members in each country
select students from families in need to be supported by the
program. They receive                                              TWINNING
a scholarship for one
year and the money                                                   Conferences in Australia are twinned with a Conference in
donated contributes                                                a developing country in a spiritual partnership in which the
to their education                                                 two Conferences agree to:
needs.                                                               • Each pray for the members of their twinned Conference
   We were fortunate                                               and its work
to visit the Philippines                                             • Keep in contact through correspondence and
and Pakistan during                                                  • Share some small material support if it is required
our recent trip. We                                                  We currently have 2,295 twins. For more information
were warmly hosted James Lee with Assist a Student beneficiaries   about twinning, ask your local conference president.
                         in Lahore, Pakistan
in both countries by
the local Vincentians.
Education is seen as a blessing and a gift to the Assist a
Student beneficiaries and their families. In each country, the

          The Record – Summer 2006/2007
          Page 8
LITERACY PROJECT – PAKISTAN                                               Mudslide, southern Philippines
   The St Vincent de Paul Society Australia supports teachers                On February l7th 2006, a huge mudslide occurred
to teach illiterate children in villages throughout Pakistan.             resulting in the town of Guinsaugon being totally buried.
The ‘project’ is free for the students, who would otherwise               Over 3,000 people perished in the disaster in the remote
be unable to afford to go to school. At present, 28 teachers              Southern Philippines. The rock from the collapse of the
are supported thanks to the generosity of the Society in                  mountain is so thick that attempts at retrieving the remains
Australia.                                                                of the village have been abandoned and the area declared
   We were able to visit a number of villages across Pakistan             a mass grave. Through the Disaster Fund, the Society was
during our stay. The Society’s Pakistan President, George                 able to provide funds for emergency housing and supplies.
Anthony, accompanied us and explained that through the                    The Society in the Philippines, led by President Dr Buddy
Literacy Project, more students were able to be reached.                  Silverio was among the first on the scene. In a letter to the
The teachers are                                                          International President of the St Vincent de Paul Society,
located all over the                                                      Dr Buddy made special reference to the Australian financial
country and teach                                                         assistance which was used for supplying basic needs and
small communities                                                         new homes for the affected families.
of students, many of                                                         We were touched to have met a number of students who
whom are illiterate.                                                      had lost family members in the tragedy who were now being
Meeting the students                                                      afforded the chance
and their families                                                        to rebuild their
was wonderful as                                                          lives and futures via
we heard them share                                                       education. Some
with us stories of their                           village community of   35 Assist a Student
                              With students in the
struggles in life due to      Kushpu r, Pakistan                          scholarships have
extreme poverty and the                                                   since been given to
difficulties of not having the opportunity to go to school.               affected students.
   We spoke with the teachers who were being supported and                We spoke in depth
in some cases they told us they had given up their jobs at                to one of these
schools to work in the Literacy Project. They had chosen to               students, Eric, a 17
accept a lower wage than what they would receive at schools               year old who lost his mother and five brothers as a result
and their motivation for this was their desire to assist the              of the devastating mudslide. He and his father are the only
children of the poor communities. To us, it was a sign of                 surviving members of the family. We were lost for words.
God’s spirit at work.
                                                                          Earthquake, northern Pakistan
                                                                             In October 2005, a huge earthquake rocked the
DISASTER FUND                                                             mountainous region of northern Pakistan resulting in over
   Where a catastrophe occurs outside Australia, the Society              10,000 deaths and many more displaced. The terrain of the
in Australia responds through our National Council.                       affected area made it difficult to get emergency supplies and
National Council liaises with the National Council of the                 services to all the people. Whilst most of the infrastructure
affected country to                                                       damage has now been repaired or removed, many people are
ensure that all relief                                                    still living in makeshift tents.
provided is distributed                                                      Through the Disaster Fund, the Society was able to finance
wherever possible                                                         the purchase of durable shelters which provided warmth for
by Vincentians or                                                         residents during the freezing winter which occurred shortly
with Vincentian                                                           after the tragedy. Due to local regulations, the Society’s
involvement. Our visit                                                    assistance was limited to this rather than a more direct and
involved visiting two                                                     hands-on approach. Despite this, the local Vincentians were
areas where disasters                                                     still able to ensure that assistance was provided to those in
have occurred recently.                                                   most need.

                                                                            For more information on how to donate to the Disaster Fund,
                                                                            please call (02) 6202 1200.

                                                                                 St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                      Page 9

A day of fun
Ninety-three migrant and refugee families were treated to a
day at Tallebudgera Inlet on the Gold Coast.

                                                         kids and do not

      hey say a picture tells a thousand words,          see anyone else.
      these pictures do a pretty fantastic job of           In the Logan
      illustrating the fun and excitement some of        area there are
our migrant and refugee families had at the beach        several types
on a recent trip to Tallebudgera Inlet. Ninety-three     of classes run
in total attended and every one of them seemed           for anyone new
too excited for words. They spent the day laughing       that wants to
and playing, swimming in the water and building          learn new skills,
castles in the sand.                                     and have the
   What these photos do not tell you, is the harsh       opportunity to
conditions and poverty these families escaped.           meet new people.
They do not show you the family and friends that         Several weeks
were left behind, or the new struggles these people      before the trip
now face trying to adapt to a strange country and        to Tallebudgera
different lifestyle.                                     Inlet, the Logan Sewing Class were presented
   For many of the children pictured here, this was      with certificates for successful completion by
the first time they had ever seen a beach, the first     Logan City Council Mayor Graham Able. Other
time they had ever swam in one. It was certainly         classes offered include Cooking and Hygiene
the first time they had ever ridden in the lifeguard’s   Lessons.
dinghy                                                      The Society is working hard to provide
   The day trip was organised by the Saints Peter        opportunities for refugee families to experience
and Paul Migrants and Refugees Conference, with          the same opportunities available to all
buses to transport families from the Logan area          Australians.
to the Gold Coast paid for by Guardian Angels
Conference Southport.                                    Sky de Jersey
   Burleigh Heads Lifesaving Club provided their                 Society Convener for Migrants and Refugees
services for the day, and Lifeguard Jim was a real
hit with the kids! Also there on the day were
students from local schools, conference members
from the area, teachers from the Refugee Sewing
Classes and Gold Coast Diocesan President Peter
   A barbecue lunch provided a great opportunity
for the families to mingle and meet new people.
One of the difficulties many migrants find when
they come to Australia is isolation. They struggle
with the language and therefore even a task like
taking the bus to the shopping centre to buy
groceries can be too daunting. Unfortunately
many mothers stay at home and look after the

       The Record – Summer 2006/2007
       Page 10
Immersion program
     he St Vincent de Paul Society Immersion Program
     is an intensive two week immersion experience in a
     remote Indigenous Community. The program is run in
Nganmarriyanga (Palumpa), a community in the far north-east of
the Northern Territory that is home to approximately 500 people.
The Immersion Program is a two-week live-in experience in the
community, that gives St Vincent de Paul members and volunteers
the opportunity to experience what it is like to live in a remote
community, and gain a better understanding of what it means to be
Indigenous in Australia today.

                 St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                   Page 11
                                “The experience made me realise that
                                faith is a living thing that needs attention
                                constantly in order to grow.”
                                           Vincentian WYD Pilgrim, anDreW JacKSon


                                                              Above: Vincentians from all around
                                                              the world met up for their own
                                                              Vincentian gathering just outside
                                                              Köln, Germany, as they will in
                                                              Australia in 2008.

                                                              Left: Being a pilgrim is not always

                                                              Right: Australian pilgrims gather in

The Record – Summer 2006/2007
Page 12
TH DAY 2005

      St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                  Page 13
SVDP’s World Youth Day co-ordinator
Bec Bromhead speaks of her experience at
WYD 2005 and hopes for 2008.
  WYD 05 was an amazing encounter that gives me great
hope for the Church. Among all those people there was the
full spectrum of belief, but within that there was a binding
commonality that we all shared.

  WYD 2008 is an opportunity for renewal of the Church and
the Society. Rather than seeing this as an ‘event’, I hope people
will see WYD as a mechanism to renew and strengthen all
aspects of the Society, from recruitment to relationships.

  I see WYD as an opportunity to engage with all members
of the Society, not just youth. This is a chance for us to work
together to achieve great things.

   It would be great if conferences could initiate contact and
relationships with their twins and support some of these
members from around the world to attend WYD 08.

Above, middle-right, lower-right: Bec Bromhead with her fellow pilgrims in
Köln, Germany for World Youth Day 2005.

Top-right: Australian pilgrims gathered in Köln to celebrate Cardinal Pell’s news
that Australia was likely to host WYD 2008.

         The Record – Summer 2006/2007
         Page 14
                                                           The journey to WYD08 starts now!
                                                              There will be a Society Youth Gathering for members of
                                                           the SVDP Society to be held during the official WYD week,
                                                           at this stage on July 16 (location yet to be confirmed).

                                                              This gathering will include keynote speakers and
                                                           opportunities to explore Vincentian spirituality and build
                                                           relationships within the Society.

                                                             A Vincentian Family Gathering will be held at St
                                                           Stanislaus College in Bathurst, central west NSW This will
                                                           see the coming together of all members of the Vincentian
                                                           Family including the SVDP Society, Congregation of the
                                                           Mission, Daughters of Charity and Vincentian Marion
                                                           Youth (JMV) for a three-day program in the week preceding

                                                             At a conference level, the journey to WYD 08 can start
                                                           now. Resources are currently being prepared including
“All my life I have followed the poetry of                 Preparation Programs for conferences to gear up to 08 as
love in preference to the poetry of anger.                 well as fundraising packs.
I will not change now.”                                      Fundraising is an important part of the journey, and will
        FreDeric ozanam (Vincentian theme for WYD2008)     help to open up the WYD experience to as many young
                                                           people as possible.
“You will receive the power when the
Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you                     What you need to know:
                                                           In July 2007 the WYD cross arrives in Australia and begins to
will be my witnesses.”                                     tour…
                       actS 1:8 (WYD2008 official theme)
                                                           Subscribe to the ePILGRIMAGE newsletter, and find school and
                                                           parish support materials available at

                                                           Pre-WYD programs include 10-14 July, days in the Diocese,
                                                           where young pilgrims from around the world spend days in
                                                           local parishes.

                                                           Palm Sunday 2007 and 2008 (1 April and 16 March) are seen
                                                           as an opportunity to celebrate WYD between WYD years.

                                                           There will also be a national tour of Australia to build awareness
                                                           of WYD 2008 – stay tuned for dates.

                                                           15-20 July 2007 is a key time, as it signals the “one-year-to-go”

                                                                    St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                           Page 15
Do you remember your dad
kicking your backside?
An edited version of Bishop Hurley’s Ozanam Lecture
on the future of humanity – by way of the family.

    My commission is to reflect on the            a presbytery” and I thought Mike’s answer      had that a week and I’m desperate to ring
centrality of family: in society, in our          was interesting, he said “Well it’s sort of    her and tell her I love her! But I can’t do
Catholic faith and then to contextualise          like a house for unmarried Fathers”    .       it. Then he added, what sort of a mongrel
these reflections in some way within the             But seriously though, focus on the          am I?
reality of the celebrations of the St Vincent     family throughout the world has never              That’s a very sad place for a loving
de Paul, the 100 Years of the St Vincent de       been sharper it seems to me. All over the      father to be. So, I know him very well , so,
Paul being operational in the Townsville          world, the understanding that the family       in the context of a therapist, you wouldn’t
Diocese. Obviously, I hope it’s obvious I am      is the basic unit of society has become        do this normally, but I said to him “Tell
not a parent but I am very much part of a         central to sociologists and people of          me something, tell me how often you
family. We all are, regardless of the shape       concern. All societies are conscious of the    remember your dad hugging or kissing
of that family and I have been privileged         fact, that if families are in good shape,      you.” He said, what sort of rubbish is
to have lived all of my priesthood among          then society is in good shape. And equally     this? I said, well it’s a pretty easy question,
families. Back in my Diocese, some of our         true; if families are fragmenting, and under   you know it’s not rocket science, what do
priests are more than 1000 kilometres             stress, then society would mirror that very,   you remember? “Never” he said .Then I
from one another. When we were in the             very faithfully.                               said “Well how often do you remember
seminary they used to tell us that you               Within our Catholic faith, Pope John        your mother hugging or kissing you?”
should spend your day off with your               Paul II said it beautifully his letter from    He was very aggravated about this.
Brother Priests, as a safe guard to your          “Illiarius Consorsio”                          And I said “No, I want to know.” He
Priesthood and to develop all sorts of               He said, “The future of humanity passes     said “Once. When I left home to go
spiritual aspects of your work.                   by way of the family, as the family goes, so   to work.” “Good! How often do you
   Well it would be a bit hard for my priests     goes humanity”    .                            remember your dad, kicking your
to slip off a thousand kilometres to spend           My background is that of a therapist.       backside up and down the street, to
a day with a Priest, and then slip back           I am very well aware of the development        make you behave yourself?” He said
and be back home that night. So what              in family in counselling. Particularly a       “My father loved me!” I said, “That’s
we’ve discovered in our Diocese is that you       process which is most commonly called          not the question. How often do you
immerse yourself in the community of              ‘The Family of Origin’ in short it means;      remember that? ” “Regularly” so I was
families where you are. I’m certainly not,        In order to understand who we are, and         able to say to him “Michael, you are a
as I say, a parent but it does remind me of       why we react certain ways when we do.          very good father. You are a wonderful
an experience I had when I was cleaning           Why we see life the way we see it, than        father! You are a father, just like your
the car one day. That is not a regular            we need to look back into our families.        father. The question is, do you want
experience, so I suppose it stands out in         Even over generations. I suppose in short-     to continue to be that sort of father?
my mind. As I was cleaning the car, these         hand, it’s a process which allows us to        That’s the question for you! You’re a
two young lads came by, one a Catholic            understand who we are and then choose          wonderful father. You’re like your own
lad, whom I knew, and his mate, who was           to stay that way or to change. I’ll give you   father. But do you want to continue to
not a Catholic. The young Catholic lad            an example. I’ve changed some of the facts,    be like that, or do you want to change?
                    .                    ,
said “g’day Father” I said “g’day Mike” the       mainly the names.                              The other thing is this. I’m not going to let
other lad said g’day and I said g’day to             I have a very good friend called Michael,   you off, because you said to me ‘I can’t ring
him.                                              whom I’ve known all my life and he burst       her and tell her I love her, I can’t do it!’ I
   Neither of them offered to help cleaning       into my office one day. He is a very big,      said “That’s not true! A man with no legs
the car. But we chatted for a while, and          powerful man with a family. He threw           can’t do the high-jump; that’s the truth.
as they were going out of earshot, I heard        down a card on my desk and said “Read          But you can! I will write out the number
a really interesting discussion that went         that!” So I read it and it simply said ‘Dear   for you. I’ll dial it. And then I’m going to
on. The young, non-Catholic lad said to           Dad, I know it’s not Christmas, I know it’s    write for you on a bit of paper” (Say his
Mike “Mike, you called that bloke ‘Father’.       not Easter, it’s not even your birthday! But   daughter’s name is Sarah – which it isn’t)
What did you call him Father for, he ain’t        I just thought of what a fantastic, loving     “Sarah this is dad. And I love you. I’ll write
your dad” Mike explained “that’s what             Dad you are and I thought I’d write and        it out. So I’ll hold it up, ring the number
Catholics do, that is the title of the Priest”.   say all of that. Love, his daughter” .         and you take the thing and read that off.
He did pretty well I thought, and then the           That’s beautiful, so I looked up and        You can do that, you can read. The fact
young non-Catholic lad said “Well, where          he is pacing up and down like a lion and       is, you will not do it. You wont do it! Not
does he live?” and he said, oh he lives           I said what on earth is the matter? Is         that you can’t do it, you wont do it. The
there in the presbytery. Which staggered          something wrong with it? And he said, no       question in my mind is ‘Why wont you do
the non-Catholic lad a bit, he’d never            there is nothing the matter with it. So I      that?’ ”
heard of such a place. He said “So what’s         said well what is the trouble? He said, I’ve       And I said “I’m going to take a risk and

        The Record – Summer 2006/2007
        Page 16
tell you why you wont do it. Because you         foreign. Particularly in our own country.       receive from others both life itself and its
will ring your daughter ‘Sarah’ and you          Particularly with Australian males. We do it    basic truths. We’ve been called to attain
will go to say ‘look I got your letter and       very badly, and I’m one of them. But we are     perfection in communion, with others,
I… ’ and you’re going to break down and          doing it very badly, we are getting better at   the family, born with dignity and to grow
you are going to weep. And you know in           it. But it’s tragic when we don’t do it..       and develop in an integral manner. It’s
your heart that your daughters going to              Our family will shape our attitude, the     a beautiful summary of the role of the
roll around giggling her frock off, because      “who we are” they’ll shape our attitude to      nature of family. Not only our individual
she always thought you were the rock. She        faith, and to God. I can remember my own        family, but the whole human family.
always thought ‘You know, my man. He             parents, my father was a wonderful man,            St Vincent de Paul said love of
is the one mountain, he’ll never vary. He’s      a very faithful man; great fellow. And my       neighbour is a path that leads to the
strong!’ And you’ll be blubbing on the           mother was beautiful. I can remember,           encounter with God. And that closing
phone and you’ll know that you’ve lost her.      we had property, 300km north of Adelaide        our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us
And you’re petrified. So when you’re man         and it was being share-farmed. When I           to God. So as we discover the presence
enough to take that courageous leap, you         was on holidays, normally the three of us       and nature of God within our families we
come back and see me.”                           would go up and do some work there, and         learn that we cannot hide from the world.
   He left my office very angry, angry with      this time, my mum couldn’t go for some          We cannot be an island in this world of
me. Which I anticipated, and I was happy         obscure reason at the last minute. My dad       humanity
to wear. But it was all true, and he is my       was like a bear with a sore head, for the          Pope Benedict says “Love of neighbour
very good friend. About 10 days later he         whole of the trip up we were working like       grounded in the love of God is first
came back to see me, walked in, and you’d        nothing on Earth, from morning till night.      and foremost a responsibility for each
of thought he’d won a gold medal. Because        After the first day my dad announced            individual member of the faithful. But
he came in, and said “I’ve done it.” And         “This is no good, we’re getting nowhere.”       also the responsibility for the entire
I kind of looked up and said “what have          And I said “What is the matter with you”        church community. At every level the
you done?” And he said, “I’ve rung my            It was just because Mum wasn’t there! So        local community, the particular church;
daughter” I said “How did it go?” He said        nothing would please him. The next day          the church summarised in its entirety. As
“I got on the phone, I got half way through      off we go home, 300 kilometres back again.      a community the church must practice
what I wanted to say” He said “I just broke      I was pretty ratty about it myself. I was       love. Love thus needs to be organised, like
down and wept like a child.” He said “She        thinking ‘What is this about?’ so finally       the St Vincent de Paul Society. Love needs
wept, and we talked for hours about things       we get home; he has rung up to say we’re        to be organised if it is to be an ordered
that I’ve always wanted to talk about.”          coming. When we get home, Mum is out,                                        .
                                                                                                 service to the community” Here’s the Pope
He said it was fantastic. He said “Not           opens the two gates for us to drive in. As      saying “This work is as essential as that”
only that, but my son, whom I knew had           she is opening the gates, dad gets out of       the church cannot neglect the service of
left home in anger, years before and lived       the car, (I am driving) and here they are,      charity anymore than she can neglect
interstate. He left home in one of those         locked in this embrace in the middle of         the sacraments and the word. The Pope
arguments ‘When you live under my roof,          the driveway, so I can’t get in. so you can     makes clear too that whilst we need to be
you’ll do as I tell you’ ” and so the young      imagine how this went over. I quietly           organised and competent in the way we
man said ‘well I’m not going to do it’ and       rolled down the window, put my head             deliver our charity, he says a very lovely
he said ‘well you’ve got a choice, either do     out and said “He hasn’t been to the war!”       thing. He says “We are also dealing with
it or get out.’ He said ‘Okay, I’ll get out’     and my mother, who was looking over his         human beings and human beings always
   So he left, and they hadn’t talked for        shoulder at me didn’t move a muscle. She        need something more than technically
years. He said “I’ve driven interstate, seen     just said “If it embarrasses you darling,       proper care. They need humanity. They
my son. Hugged him. Told him I loved             look away.”                                     need heartfelt concern. Those who work
him.” He said “I feel like a king.”                  And I got the best lesson in affection in   for the St Vincent de Paul Society, must
   I was thinking to myself, what an             love of husband and wife, they were not         be distinguished by the fact that they do
enormous tragic shame that this remedial         going to be phased by my discourtesy.           not merely meet the needs of the moment
work was being done so late in the life of           So as we on the reflection of families,     but they dedicate themselves to the other
this loving man, who was no different a          the key learning is the family is the school    with heartfelt concern. Enabling them to
man, but simply had the tools to express         within which we all learn the importance        experience the richness of their humanity”   .
himself, which was always true of him.           of relationships. It is the school where           I just want to finish up with this quote
He always wanted to do that, and never           we learn the imperative nature of               from a reflection by Archbishop Oscar
did it. And that’s a tragic thing. And can       relationships. And we learn that, whilst we     Romero in 1978:
you imagine some three or four years             are individuals with dignity, rights, dreams,      “A Christian community is
after this event, his son, over a tragic         hopes, that there are others around us with     evangelised in order to evangelise.
arrangement, committed suicide. Could            whom we have a relationship. Who in turn        A light is lit in order to give light.
you imagine how he would of felt if he           will define our relationship with God. This     A candle is not lit to be put under a
had never been reconciled with his son?!         was captured beautifully by Pope Benedict       basket said Christ, it’s put up high
It was awful as it was. But what a thing         “I wish in my very first encyclical to speak    to give light. That is what a true
to carry if he had never been reconciled         of the love in which God lavishes upon          community is like. A community is
with his son! So this family of origin is        us and which in turn we must share with         a group of men and women who’ve
the scientific way, if you like of reinforcing   others”                                         found the truth in Christ and in his
what we already know. That God has made              A few weeks ago I led a 50 person           gospel and who follow that truth and
us individual, that he has made us with          pilgrimage to the world meeting of families     join together to follow it even more
great dignity and uniqueness. And we are         with Pope Benedict, which was a great           strongly.
to love one another. And we’re to express        experience. . And in his homily he said
that love for one another. That’s not new,       “None of us gave ourselves life or single
but we live in a world that has become           handily learned how to live. All of us

                                                                                    St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                            Page 17
Your national chaplain
alicia Webster speaks to National Council Spiritual Advisor,
Fr Greg Cooney CM.

   What Is Your Title?                                                 How would you describe young people’s spirituality?
   I’m the Provincial of the Australian Province of                    Young people have a deep spirituality that shows itself in
Vincentians’. I’m responsible for Vincentian Brothers and           the way they seek to serve. Young people are vibrant in the
Priests in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Solomon             way they put spirituality into practice.
Islands.                                                               What do see in the future of Vinnies?
   What’s special about Vinnies?                                       A vibrant future. There is a real effort in the Society to
   There is a strong emphasis on compassion that runs               assist people in a holistic fashion – to address the whole
through the whole way that issues are approached…from               person. Also, there is a lot of diversity within Vinnies.
policy to person-to-person contact.                                 Differing interpretations mean the Society is alive!
   What is one word you would use that sums up                         What is a hallmark of the Vinnies identity?
Vinnies?                                                               The poor will never be abandoned. Even when others say
   Compassion                                                       ‘those people are beyond help’. Vincentians will be there…
   What do you hope to achieve as National Council                  and they will keep coming back so long as they see a need.
Spiritual Advisor?                                                     How would you describe Vincentian spirituality?
   To confirm and strengthen the Society in the ways it is             Well, that is best expressed by Vincent himself. “Let us
searching to address root causes of poverty and need.               love God. But let it be with the strength of our arms and
   What interests do you squeeze into the life of a                 the sweat of our brows.” It is an active faith that runs right
Provincial?                                                         through the Society.
   I enjoy sport, but only as a spectator, not playing! I’m a          Do you have a memorable Vinnies moment?
lifelong Essendon fan and am also a keen rugby union fan,              There are many, but to name but one… 35 years ago, on
both Wallabies and Waratahs. I also enjoy gardening and             the Gold Coast as a newly ordained priest, I went with
meeting people.                                                     some Vinnies members to visit an elderly woman in an old
   What is a Greg Cooney fact that not many Vinnies                 cluttered house full of cats and dogs. The Vinnies people
members will know?                                                  never gave up on this woman. Time after time they would
   I was a teacher for seventeen years. Science and Chemistry       come and clean up, provide food and most importantly, offer
in Bendigo and Bathurst and Moral Theology and Social               that vital face-to-face relationship. I don’t know if I could
Ethics at the Seminary in Adelaide.                                 have done that, but I will definitely never forget it. It is
                                                                    moments like this that help to make me more Vincentian.
   If you could live anywhere in the world, where would
                                                                    I have learnt a lot from the Society.
it be?
   Rome, Italy. I lived there for seven years in total during the      I notice you have a book on Islam. Thinking of a
70s and 80s whilst studying.                                        conversion?
                                                                       We have a lot to learn from other religions. Catholics
   You say you love cooking. Has Italy had any
                                                                    do not have a monopoly on the truth. There are many
influence in the kitchen?
                                                                    similarities between Christianity and Islam. We both
   I love making pasta dishes. My favourite is Spaghetti
                                                                    acknowledge and worship the same God, for example.
                                                                    There are also a lot of differences. It is important to seek an
   What is the greatest challenge facing Australians?               understanding of other religions and beliefs as well as our
   Selfishness                                                      own.

          The Record – Summer 2006/2007
          Page 18
Asylum seekers
A journey through the minefield.

   Asylum seekers are people who           for medical support. If they delay in          Recent legislation tabled by the
have fled their homes due to fear          making their application (beyond 45        Commonwealth Government shows
of persecution because of their            days) asylum seekers are effectively       how far we have moved from the
race, religion, political opinion or       made destitute – they are not allowed      Refugee Convention, which Australia
membership of a particular social          to work, have no medical support, and      helped draft in 1951. The “Designated
group. They have arrived in a new land     are not provided with any other means      Unauthorised Arrivals” (DUA) Bill
seeking protection or ‘asylum’ because     of support. Some may get help from         was tabled in Parliament in May this
they can no longer live safely in their    the Red Cross but access is limited.       year. The DUA Bill proposed that the
homeland.                                  People in this situation have to rely      entire coastline of Australia be excised
   The stories asylum seekers tell of      on the kindness of friends and family.     for migration purposes. Any persons
their experiences include torture, rape,   Charities, including the St Vincent de     arriving on our shores would be
persecution, discrimination, police        Paul Society, attempt to provide food      transported to Nauru for processing.
brutality and death of family members.     and shelter where possible.                   Thankfully the Bill was withdrawn,
The journeys they have undertaken                                                     but only after a considerable campaign.
in their quest to find safety have often                                              St Vincent de Paul Society was a part of
been as hazardous as the places they            Asylum seekers in Nauru               the lobby efforts, with letters being sent
are fleeing from.                                   are left languishing              to every Senator in Australia outlining
   Asylum seekers arriving in Australia         “out of sight, out of mind”           our opposition to this legislation. We
in recent times have included people              in detention centres for            were also a signatory to an open letter
from West Papua, Burma, Sri Lanka,                     many months.                   prepared by the National Council of
Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia receives                                              Churches presented hours before the
a few hundred asylum applications                                                     Commonwealth Government withdrew
a month, compared to an average of            Living in limbo with no means           the Bill.
50,000 applications a quarter in the EU.   of supporting themselves takes an             While rejoicing in its withdrawal,
   If they arrived by boat, landing in     immense toll on asylum seekers. Many       the fact that the Bill was tabled at all
certain “excised areas” the current        suffer from depression or stress brought   remains of grave concern. It directly
policy is to send them offshore            on by their circumstances, or periods      contravened the most basic protections
to Nauru, where the Australian             spent in detention, which further          enshrined in the refugee convention
Government processes their request for     erodes their capacity to cope with the     – the freedom from being penalised
asylum. In Nauru they are not able to      difficult situation they find themselves   based on the method of seeking
access any community support, and          in. Such penalties are very harsh given    protection.
have no real capacity to access legal      that generally a reasonable proportion        The Vincentian call to compassion
advice. Asylum seekers in Nauru are        of people seeking asylum are found to      is clear as we encounter the stories of
left languishing “out of sight, out of     be refugees, with much higher rates for    these people in need. So is the call to
mind” in detention centres for many        Iraqis and Afghanis (97% & 93%).           advocate for a more just and inclusive
months. If they arrive by air they are        The idea that an orderly processing     refugee policy for Australia.
allowed to remain in the country whilst    system exists (the mythical ‘queue’)
their claim is processed.                  which would enable equitable access to     Sky de Jersey
   Depending on when they made their       refugee places is simply not the reality   Society Convener for Migrants and
application for protection they may be     faced by the people fleeing war and        Refugees
allowed to work, and may be eligible       persecution.

                                                                       St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                            Page 19
Living with mental illness
Many of our neighbours, friends and loved ones are debilitated by
mental illness. Isabella Fels writes of her long journey.

             ental illness is so overwhelming and overpowering.
                                                                                              th Schizophrenia
             Others can never understand the experience. I              A Portrait of a Man wi
             am a stiff chronic player of the mind – losing all
sense of rhyme and reason and rationality, taking off on                He mutters to himself.
divergent paths so far from the main road.                              Days gone by.
   The mind is obsessed, possessed, unable to jump                      He just sits in that arm
                                                                                                     and the radio,
hurdles, to move on and get ahead in the race and quest of              Stoned by the television
life. It is so frustrating for victims and loved ones. Barriers,        Lost in another world
barriers, barriers – so many walls.                                     A much mo     re beautif ul world
                                                                                                   d takes note of
   The mind imprisoned – being stuck in the headlight                    Which understands an
of false sights and beliefs like a stunned animal caught at              everything he says.
                                                                                                   ile he’s always str iding
night in oncoming traffic.                                               It takes care of him wh
   Fears take over, obsessions are paramount. The mind is                full force in front                                 y
                                                                                                    fa and armchairs all da
filled with irrational ideas and beliefs like an overflowing             Not sunken into the so
                                                                                                   chen for relief
tea cup. Always delusions of grandeur never fulfilled. The                long turning to the kit
                                                                                                       often having his
mind is exhausted, debilitated, giving way to paralysis                   Where I bump into him
with too much to attend to and no focus, to tired for                      umpteenth coffee and                    about an
anything. My mind is like a cluttered kitchen with too                     I catch him tal king to himself again
much clutter to deal with – certainly no tea party. I am                   imaginary tea party                               d
                                                                                                    down to earth again an
unable to sort out the mess.                                               Before he comes back
   This is the harsh predicament and tyranny of                             offers me one of his bis
                                                                           Isabella Fels

   A century not out
        he Townsville Diocesan Council Centenary                   included elsewhere in this issue.
        celebration commenced with a civic reception                 The Centenary Dinner on the Friday included
        hosted by the Mayor of Townsville, Tony Mooney on          informative addresses by John Meahan, President
   August 24 2006.                                                 National Council and Bishop Aloysius D’Souza of
     The highlight of the evening was the launch of a              Mangalore, India.
   history of the Society in the Townsville Diocese, “A              The celebrations climaxed with Mass at the Sacred
   Century Not Out 1906 – 2006”    .                               Heart Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Michael Putney,
     As part of the celebrations, Bishop Eugene Hurley of          with concelebrants Bishops Hurley and D’Souza, Fr Greg
   Port Pirie delivered the Ozanam Lecture at the Mater            Cooney CM, Spiritual Advisor to National Council, and
   Conference Centre. An edited version of his address is          Fr Glenn Humphreys CM, Diocesan Spiritual Advisor.

       The Record – Winter 2006
       Page 20
                                                            by the general population to refer to those who sleep
Less doom and gloom                                         rough outdoors or in cars or squats. More recently the
   I agree and compliment Ray Harty, Yeronga Qld on his     term has been taken over by those seeking to obtain a
calm and well reasoned letter “Poor always with us – 1” .   better standard of housing for disadvantaged people
   One gets very tired of Dr Falzon’s continued             generally – an eminently worthwhile activity.
dramatic doom and gloom presentations, e.g. Sale of            However, if we choose to ignore the most
Justice P 13 Spring Edition.                                disadvantaged people so as to make it easier to obtain
   Dr Falzon should realise not all Vincentians agree       services for a less disadvantaged group then we are not
with his somewhat slanted viewpoints especially in          fulfilling our role, which I interpret as doing most for
relation to the Government’s I.R. Policies.                 those in most need.
   There are many well reasoned economic facts and             Leo Halt,
arguments to suggest the new I.R. laws may well help           Lower Templestowe, VIC
the poor, particularly in respect of unemployment.
   Dr Falzon makes the mistake of constantly                   The Record welcomes letters but we reserve
presenting one-sided arguments and consequently             the right to edit them for legal reasons, space or
runs the risk of resentment and alienation of some          clarity. Articles will be published only if full name
Vincentians.                                                and address and telephone numbers are provided,
   As a Vincentian of twenty years, I will not be made      although the address will be withheld from
to feel morally inadequate by Dr Falzon and others,         publication if so requested.
because I can see some merit in the new I.R. laws.             Post to The Record, PO Box 243, Deakin West
   Indeed, the poor are always with us – that will          ACT 2600 or email to
not change – and Vincentians will continue to love          Everyone whose letter is published will receive a
and care for them. Please, a little less one-sided over     free book courtesy of David Lovell Publishing.
dramatic preaching from Dr Falzon.
   Tony Kelly,
                                                            CCI017_Community130x90              27/6/05       2:06 PM       Page 1
   Mt Claremont, WA

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                                                                                St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                                                                                                      Page 21
I see you!                                                                                     Artistic Interpretation of
                                                                                               “Ozanam’s Vision”
“See” Jesus in His response to individuals.
                                                                                                 Visually, this painting echoes the

             hen he visited Australia earlier   family and household to do the same.          ‘angular and geometric’ architectural
             this year, President Clinton was     ‘There is example after example in          components and furnishings of the
             asked about his people skills.     the Gospel of the respect Jesus paid          National Boardroom. It also evokes
He said that when he was a child he was         individuals. He saw each one, took            the use a color scheme appropriate in
taught how important it is to see a person      time to stop and listen, When the blind       context and rationale and also most ‘in
and to listen to their story, for everyone      man was brought to him, Jesus asked,          tune’ with this boardroom’s ambience.
has a story.                                    “What do you want me to do?” He                  This painting provides a rendition
   He told of a tribe of people who live        waited for the response, “Lord, that I        of a landscape – open air and free
south of the Sahara Desert When they            might see!” Only then did he cure him.        of clutter. Within this painting, the
meet the greeting is “Hello. How are you?”        This is the challenge for us as             schematic representation of a house
The response, in their language is not          Vincentians today. We are called to do        not dissimilar to St Vincent’s own
“Fine!” but, translates as, “I see you!”        what Jesus did. We visit people in their      birthplace; a country house set in a
   How simple and how significant this          homes. We are invited to really “see”         typical European landscape.
is! Think how many people we meet each          each one and to “listen” to their story          On the left a simplified rendition of
day, and how many we take for granted           only then do we know what they want,          Ozanam’s profile as if looking onwards
and probably don’t see                                           and please God we can        to a future of service and hope. On the
The street sweeper,                                              help.                        extreme right ‘cog wheels’ symbolise
the post deliverer, the                                             It might not be easy      ‘human labor’ – the ‘Good Works’
secretary, the teacher,                                          but it is worth the try.     of the society and simultaneously;
the office manager, the                                          It will take practice and    an interconnected and functional
person who phones for                                            is an invitation to meet     organisation which works to a single
help.                                                            Jesus today in the many      goal. Purposely, the cogs are shown
   As Vincentians we                                             guises in which he           as if moving/turning in differing
meet a lot more. Do we                                           comes to us.                 directions and are of different sizes and
“see” each one; do we                                               Begin with the            design, indeed they are interlocked and
really “listen” to their                                         Gospel. “See” Jesus          function as one ‘machine’. To imply
story?                                                           in his response to           human work, purpose and structure.
   This is what Jesus                                            individuals. “Listen” to     Individually each cog also possesses
did.                                                             the story, and note the      symbolic meaning of the various
   Think of the woman                                            way Jesus responds.          components of the Society.
with the haemorrhage. She had suffered            Even of the Apostles Jesus asked,              The roads represent the ‘Pilgrimage
for forty years. I wonder did people            “What do you want?” They replied,             of Life’ offering various options and
take her for granted. Jesus didn’t, He          “Where do you live?” Jesus replied            allowing a physical progression through
stopped and asked “Who touched me?”             “Come and see!”                               time.
In surprise, the Apostles remonstrated            They were followers of John the                Finally, the Blue Tree central to the
with Jesus, ‘There are people pressing all      Baptist at this stage, but Jesus “saw”        composition is a symbol of strength and
around. Of course someone touched you!”         them and asked what they wanted.              growth. It glows incessantly as though
   Jesus stopped and waited. Someone had          These are the questions Jesus asks us       emanating a sense of life and a spiritual
a story. He was prepared to “see” her and       today. He sees us and listens to each of      aura. Aesthetically and thematically
to “listen”.                                    us.                                           providing a vertical link between the
   Zachaeus wanted to see Jesus. He wasn’t        What do I want? Remember, “      Ask        sky and the earth – Mankind and God
acceptable in polite society. He didn’t have    and you will receive!”                        and at once, the physical world and the
a respectable job. It didn’t matter if he         You might have to take time to find         spirituality of God’s intention.
climbed a tree. No one would see him or         what you really want. Jesus will wait.
take any notice if they did.                                                                  Bart Sanciolo, artist.
   But Jesus saw him. He stopped, called        Sr Toni Matha, IBVM                           Email:
him by name, asked to be invited to his         Special Advisor to the Society in Victoria,
home, and listened to his story. This was       formerly worked with Catholic Social
enough for Zachaeus to change his life.         Services.
It also gave him the impetus to invite his

          The Record – Summer 2006/2007
          Page 22

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        St Vincent de Paul Society Australia
                                    Page 23
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