RSVPs close this Friday for The Atonement: Lina’s Project

On Friday 15 September the Catholic Diocese of Maitland - Newcastle will facilitate a victim-led community event of atonement. Lina, a victim of abuse at the hands of a member of clergy in the diocese conceived this event as a means by which she could regain a measure of trust in the Church and some healing for our whole community.

You may have seen a commercial on TV featuring a penguin and an egg and Lina’s voice or a story about the event popping up in your Facebook feed. You may have driven past the billboard on Maitland Road or seen an ad in the Newcastle Herald. You may have wondered what it was all about or whether it would be a good idea to attend. Lina wanted the event publicised as widely as possible so that everyone in the community felt welcome to be there on the 15th – to stand in solidarity with survivors and witness the diocese acknowledge its criminal history and the devastating impact child sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel has had on the people of our region. Lina hopes that by acknowledging its criminal history publicly, apologising and seeking repentance the community will understand that the Church in our region is  “one full of sorrow and remorse.”

So what will happen on the night?

You will be welcomed at Newcastle City Hall Concert Hall. You will hear more about Lina and her vision for the event. You will watch a short film that will name the perpetrators of abuse and concealment in our diocese and, through the words of victims, understand more fully the lifelong and dire effects of child sexual abuse by clergy and church personnel. The presentation will include apologies and will end on a hopeful note, as is Lina’s wish. You will be invited to take part in a short ritual if you so wish and there will be mechanisms in place to share messages of support to survivors and relay your ideas for potential future events of healing. All will be invited to share some food and drink at the conclusion.

Bishop Bill Wright is hopeful that the event will be a positive step towards healing for the community.

“If we can share the story and own the story, perhaps we can speak of our feelings with each other more, listen to each other better, make more allowances and support each other with greater understanding. That is Lina’s hope. That is Lina’s Project,” said Bishop Bill.

It is important to note that while the diocese is facilitating Lina’s vision for this event, there are plans in place to facilitate other events and projects in consultation with victims and survivors.

You need to rsvp (anonymously if you wish) on or call 4979 1188 by this Friday 8 September if you would like to attend the event on 15 September at Newcastle City Hall. We hope to see you there.

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Joanne Isaac Image
Joanne Isaac

Joanne is a Communications Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular columnist for Aurora Magazine.