Nazareth Catholic Parish

Grovedale, Torquay and Anglesea

Nazareth Social Justice Group

As a Christian community our Parish understands that through our baptism we become the hands of God in our world. With the intention to live an active baptism, we are committed to creating justice and supporting the vulnerable, the marginalised and the oppressed whoever they are and wherever they may be.
If you would like to know the underlying principles of our Social Justice Group, you can read the SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT.

Good news from REACH VIETNAM Sept 2018

Sister Simone sends her best wishes and blessings as she offers this SEMESTER 2 REPORT – SCHOOL YEAR 2017 – 2018
English tuition:
The children still undertook English tuition, financially supported by Parishioners in Australia. We are very grateful for your on going support.
Maths tuition:
The children also still undertook Maths tuition supported by the Order.
Academic results:
· 2 girls in Grade 3: Both achieved Excellent grade.
· 1 girl in Grade 4 achieved Good grade.
· 2 girls in Grade 6 achieved Good grade.
· 8 girls are in Year 7, 6 achieved Good grade, 2 achieved Average grade.
· 5 girls in Year 8 achieved Good grade.
· 5 girls in Year 9, 4 achieved Good grade, 1 achieved Average grade.
· 13 girls in Year 10, 4 achieved Good grade, 9 achieved Average grade.
· 4 girls in Year 11, 1 achieved Excellent grade, 3 achieved Good grade.
· 7 girls in Year 12, 3 achieved Good grade, and 4 achieved Average grade.
Tertiary results for Year 12 children:
· Thiec: was accepted in Diploma of English course in Kontum. She’ll continue boarding at the Convent.
· Xoan: was accepted in Diploma of Sociology course also in Kontum. As Thiec & Xoan will be going to the same University, they’ll be sharing Thiec’s family motorbike.
· Le Na: was accepted in Diploma of Education course (Pre-school Education) in Kontum. The course is 3 year long including boarding at school. Although Le Na was successful, her family has limited ability to afford her education. Given Tertiary courses in Education are supported by the Government, course fee is minimum. Major cost is in living expenses and educational needs. Exact cost is unknown until course commencement.
· Van: achieved more than enough mark to apply for Tertiary courses. However her family, also in similar condition as Le Na’s, does not have the ability to provide her further education. Da Minh Tam Hiep Order in Dong Nai offers to assist with her education, at the same time undertaking the religious life. At first Van was unsure, but the in end, she accepted the offer.
· Giao: was accepted in Bachelor of Education course (Primary Education) in Kontum. She’ll also take boarding at school.
· Lac Lo: Lost interest in academic education and decided to undertake apprenticeship in a Beauty Parlour.
· Mlung: Also lost interest in academic education and decided to undertake cooking course in Saigon to become a Chef.
Children undertaking Tertiary education:
· Tran: completed her first year undergraduate degree in Mathematics, achieving 12th highest mark in her year. She has started coaching maths to younger girls.
· Na: completed her first year undergraduate degree in Music, achieving outstanding result, 2nd highest mark in her year. During summer holiday, Na plays music for the children in the Parish. Na’s family continues to support her. We offer Na to stay at the Convent, however Na’s school is too far for her to transport on bike daily.
· Hang: completed her first year undergraduate degree in Education (Primary School). She receives scholarship support for $500,000 VND (about $30 AUD) at the end of Semester 1.
· De: Completed her first year in diploma of Nursing/Pharmacy. De doesn’t need to pay for course fee in 2nd year. She however needs to purchase educational tools, but we can help as it does not cost much.
· Ngoe: is completing her final year in Diploma of Nursing/Pharmacy, and will graduate in October this year.

Reach Vietnam

In late 2011, Fr Linh told his story of leaving Vietnam to the Year 6 children at st Therese School. Consequently, the Year 6 Outreach Group approached Fr Linh about the possibility of making some connections in Vietnam, as part of their participation in their Studies of Asia.
In 2013, Fr Linh and the then Principal Pauline Audley, visited Vietnam to explore some options and the decision was made to support the Sisters of the Divine Providence Order in Kon Tum, who care for and encourage approximately 400 children in the pursuit of education, so that they may be better able to make a link with Catholic values as they grow.
Read more of the original story.
REACH Vietnam 2017 .
During the July school holidays a group of parents and past students from St Therese School, together with a couple of teachers and a member of Catholic Education Melbournem(CEM) visited Kon Tum and were delighted to see how well ourprogram is developing and have come back with lots of new ideas. A report of the visit with some photos appeared in the St Therese School Newsletter.
Our REACH Vietnam project will soon enter its fifth year. Reports from some of our folk who recently visited the girls in Kon Tum indicate that the program is going very well. Sr Simone who replaced Sr Phuong last year is totally committed to the program and the girls. Our contribution feeds fifty girls, plus now also funds extra curricular tutoring in English and Maths which has markedly improved the girls’ school results. As well, the girls are all growing emotionally. One indicator of the success is that this year five girls will move on to tertiary education and next year potentially seven will do so. However, we have become aware that some girls are precluded from either finishing high school as their families are unable to meet the financial requirements that grow towards the end of high school and likewise, some girls cannot move on to tertiary education. Some of these costs have been covered, but the decision has been made that we, as a parish, shall try to increase our contribution to cover these additional costs. Putting this into perspective, the amounts are quite small by Australian standards, totalling perhaps a couple of thousand dollars per year, on top of our current contribution of around $16,000. Given our plan to continue this project foreseeably, we are enabling, via education, parts of an ethnic minority community to move out of the cycle of poverty over a generation or so. We are using our gifts for the good of others, and at the same time gaining an understanding of their culture, thus enriching our own lives – isn’t this the gospel message in action?

Achieving this is, of course, totally based on your ongoing generosity and support.

The Attack on Invasion Day

This article gives an Aboriginal perspective about the annual conversation (usually somewhat heated) about changing the date of Australia Day . Using the Kerri- Anne Kennerley segment on TV at the time, it points out the passion of many Aboriginal people about Australia/Invasion Day but stressing this does not diminish their passion about working on the issues that KAK raised, as well as a myriad other justice issues that Aboriginal people here face. We all need to develop and improve our listening to Aboriginal people if justice is to ever occur.”
Read the article here.

Are Aboriginal Peoples Justified in Taking a Radical Stance?

The following two articles in combination, give insight into how many aboriginal people feel and think.
Presuming that what is reported in the first is accurate, it is a small example of how Aboriginal Peoples have been deceived, let down and frankly, abused by politicians of many stripes over a long period of time.
The second article is written by Ghillar Michael Anderson, the last living founder of the tent Embassy in Canberra. He is a qualified lawyer in Western law. He would be what some might perceive as the radical end of aboriginal activists. And so the question in the heading.

Gathering of Nations Extended

BHP and Rio Endorse the Uluru Statement – A must read article

The link below is a discussion about the previous week’s supportive statements by Rio and BHP about the "Uluru Statement”. 
This statement was put out in 2017 by the biggest gathering of Aboriginal people in many years, and immediately dismissed by the P.M. at the time, Malcolm Turnbull,. He said it called for a third house of Parliament. It in fact never did this, but provided a very good way forward, beyond the current impasse to Aboriginal justice.
This discussion gives a very clear view, I think, of the core issue facing us and Aboriginal people at the present time. The link takes you to the Drum on iView. Select Summer Drum for Thursday 31/1/2019, and fast forward to the 10 min mark
If you are interested to read more, you can read the Statement itself here, along with further background. 
Joe Annettss 

Treaty for Aboriginal Victorians

Last week Fr Linh went to the priests’ annual gathering that was held in Torquay. He noted that he was very taken by a presentation by Eugene Hurley the Catholic Bishop of Darwin. Linh recounted Eugene’s story about how he came, when he first arrived in Darwin, to go down to the river and speak to the old Aboriginal men there. He did this without letting them know who he was, he just wanted to engage face to face to learn more about them, and their lives. They eventually found out who he was, but he further recounted how, much later, when he was walking towards the river some white guys said to him ‘It’ll cost you $10 if you go down there’ ; he replied with 'it’ll only cost me a blessing’.

You may already be aware of the moves towards a Treaty process in Victoria, but if not, then a visit to "TREATY" is definitely interesting and very informative.

Another website "DEADLY QUESTIONS" gives the views of a number of Aboriginal Victorians about this process as well as a section where questions from other Victorians are answered.  (to the right of the middle is a small cross to click on)
So, like Bishop Eugene, spending some time at these two websites,  gives us an opportunity to find out more about Victorian Aboriginals, their lives and their thinking.  It behoves us all to ensure we are well briefed about the stories of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters.

Do you regard yourself as Captain Catholic???

As far as being a Catholic I’ve done all the right things. Married a Catholic in a Catholic church, children educated in catholic schools, Parish councils. Worked for the Catholic Church. Killed no one. Maybe coveted some of my neighbours goods. Millions of venials, no mortals to speak of. I toed the party line. I was Captain Catholic and I was going straight up.

Things changed however when I began to work for Caritas Australia. I discovered Catholic Social Teaching– commonly referred to as the church’s best kept secret.

In the last 2 centuries numerous Papal encyclicals and documents on contemporary issues have been written. Concerns such as the widening gap between the rich and the poor, worker’s rights, globalization and care of the earth have been examined in light of the Gospel.

Put simply, Catholic Social Teaching is a collection of guiding principles, based on the combination of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the wisdom and common threads from Papal encyclicals. They help form a basis on which the church and its people make judgement and commentary on contemporary social issues.

Underpinning all principles is the Dignity of the Human Person. Every human is made in the image and likeness of God and therefore has innate human dignity.
The Preferential Option for the Poor is a core principal. Jesus was a friend of the poor. As his followers we are challenged to defend those who are vulnerable and marginalized.
The Common Good suggests that every person should have access to enough resources to enable them to live fulfilling lives. When we work together to improve the well-being of all people we are working towards the common good.
Solidarity acknowledges that our responsibility to each other crosses racial, religious, economic and ideological differences. Nazareth Parish through REACH Vietnam is in solidarity with young schoolgirls in Kon Tum.
In today’s world a critical principle is Care of the Earth. Indigenous Australians are a great example to us - protecting the land rather than exploiting its resources.

Francis has clearly articulated that he wants a poor church for the poor. For him the vulnerable and marginalized are paramount. Just imagine a hierarchical church that shared his vision. Just imagine the Australian Catholic Bishops sharing that vision. Just imagine that the principles of Catholic Social Teaching were fundamental to their thinking and subsequent actions. Were this the case we may have had a very different and far more compassionate outcome for those survivors of clerical sexual crimes.
Amidst the challenges of modern society, the Church’s Social Teachings are a rich treasure of wisdom urging us to build a just society and to live honourable and ethical lives, mindful of those in our society who are the most vulnerable.

For me, the principles of CST are a lens through which to ascertain whether I’m on the straight and narrow. Of course I have more than my fair share of the world’s resources. My carbon footprint is far too large. I don’t always treat people with the dignity they deserve. I fear my Captain Catholic badge has been severely tarnished. I’m not sure now if I’ll go straight up!!!.
Mary Anne Collins'  talk on Social Justice at Mass was pithy and challenging to say the least. You can find some further information and a set of questions that might chllenge one's own thinking in such a personal way a to initiate action. if you are looking for a discussion topic for a group meeting these would be ideal.

Social Justice - what's that??

Our Social Justice Group want to help us gain a better understanding of what Social Justice means and looks like. Here is their first offering:

Pastoral Letter for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker

This important document begins:

"On this Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, let us consider the importance of the just wage. This is particularly important in today’s Australia, where wage growth has been very slow and low-paid workers often experience real hardship."

A Fair Day's Pay - for the dignity of workers and the good of all." Bishop Vincent Long

“Richard Flanagan 'Our politics is a dreadful black comedy’

This article is a must read for all us Christians. Reflect on it and ask yourself how we as a Christian community need to act?”

Read the article by Richard Flanagan


'The Government's assessment of Indigenous disadvantage ignores how far behind remote commuities are when compared with cities, and how top-down policy making reinforces economic disparities.'
Many will remember Fred Chaney as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs under the Fraser Government.  He continues to fight for justice for our Aboriginal people, but as this article by Mike Seccombe notes, he is "despairing." 

On 17 November the bones of Mungo Man will be returned to their original resting place at Lake Mungo, part of the Willandra Lakes about 100km north of Mildura. This is internationally significant because the discovery of Mungo Man and Lady in 1974 established that our settlement in Australia dates back 45,000 years. The three Aboriginal groups associated with the area will welcome back the remains which have been stored at ANU and the Australian Museum, and they are inviting all Australians to join with them as they celebrate Return to Country Festival. For full details see the attached brochure.
It is both very human and very Australian to have a treasure before us and not know what to do with it,
or not even know it’s a treasure 
...Mungo Man's our entire community, balck and non-black, a new bond and a national glory 
Tom Keneally, The Age, 26 April 2016 


Several weeks ago we had the gospel about the ‘generous landlord’. To add to Fr Linh’s interesting homily on this text, you are urged to read Michael Bowden’s reflection on the same text, and his link to the treatment of a small group of Aboriginal people in Alice Springs. It says a lot about our society’s relationship to Aboriginal people, as well as how we should/must be a voice for “generosity” in the gospel sense. By the way for all you Tiger fans Michael Bowden, an Alice Springs resident, is the father of Joel Bowden.
This article, Aftermath, by Melinda Hinkson, gives a very good summation of the negative impact that ten years of the Intervention has had on Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory; hinting at how it is driving these rich cultures towards extinction. Should we be standing by and doing nothing about this?”
ANOTHER OF MICHAEL BOWDEN'S REFLECTIONS  which highlights the power of the Aboriginal concept of 'belonging to' the land, rather than 'owning' the land. What could happen if we were to learn from Aboriginal culture by opening ourselves to proper reconciliation??

Keating's Challenge: view Australia through Aboriginal Eyes.

On 10 December 1992 Keating gave a speech on Aboriginal reconciliation addressing issues faced by indigenous Australians such as their land and children being taken away. This speech became known as The Redfern Address. It was given in Redfern Park to a crowd of predominantly indigenous people. Although it was not given a lot of media attention at the time it is now regarded by many to be one of the greatest Australian speeches. Keating was the first Australian prime minister to publicly acknowledge to Indigenous Australians that European settlers were responsible for the difficulties Australian Aboriginal communities continued to face: 'We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice'.

In 2007, ABC Radio National listeners voted the speech as their third most "unforgettable speech" behind Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech (number one) and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (number two)This article is one of several similar articles that the former PM has issued recently. It provides a way of thinking on Aboriginal issues that we might all embrace as it could not only lead to improvement in the way we relate to our Aboriginal brothers and sisters but also, as Keating notes, lead to us embracing more closely the many attributes of Aboriginal culture that would add to enrichment of the broader Australian culture."

Watch this speech here
On Dec 9, 2017 Paul Keating made a reprise speech at the Australian Museum, and it provides a way of thinking on Aboriginal issues that we might all embrace as it could not only lead to improvement in the way we relate to our Aboriginal brothers and sisters but also, as Keating notes, lead to us embracing more closely the many attributes of Aboriginal culture that would add to enrichment of the broader Australian culture."