Yesterday marked the end of two coinciding celebrations. The first was the conclusion to the Year of Mercy, proclaimed throughout the world by Pope Francis and featured in our daily lives from the feast of the Immaculate Conception to the feast of Christ the King, the end of the Church’s liturgical year.
I’m often asked “What do you do exactly in your role as Parish Family Liaison Officer?” Well, after four years on the job it’s fair to say that it’s a responsive ministry where no two days are the same. I sub- title the role ‘Faith, Family, Food and Fun’.
170 years ago, in 1846, the people of Maitland opened St John the Baptist Church in Maitland, right next to the Hunter River. Then in 1866, Bishop James Murray proclaimed this church as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Maitland.
The celebration of the 150 years since the arrival of the first residential Bishop in the Diocese of Maitland, Bishop James Murray, came to a fitting climax on Sunday with the dedication of the former St John the Baptist Cathedral as St John’s Chapel.
Globally, religion is on the rise. Almost three-quarters of the world’s population identify with one of the great world religions − Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism − and the graph is pointing upwards. By the middle of this century, 80 percent of the world’s population will be identified with one of those four religions.
Every minute of every day in 2015, some 24 people were displaced from their homes. That’s 34,000 people per day, worldwide, who were forced to seek refuge elsewhere. These large numbers of newly displaced persons further swelled the 16.1 million refugees in the world who, according to the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), were already displaced.