The Aquinas Academy
The Aquinas Academy was set up under the auspices of the Australian Province of the Marist Fathers by Fr Austin Woodbury SM in March 1945. The Academy began as a centre for the study of Philosophy and Theology in the Thomistic tradition. For some twenty-nine years it continued in this capacity under Fr Woodbury's guidance, in premises at the back of St Patrick's Church, Gloucester Street, in The Rocks (Sydney, NSW). For a short while the Academy offered a License in Philosophy under accreditation from the University of St Thomas in Rome. Since its inception, a number of qualified priests, religious and laity have been part of the lecturing staff. The Academy was one of the pioneers of Catholic adult education in Australia.
Since 1975, the Academy has increasingly focused on general adult education in the faith. Perhaps the most popular of the programs mounted was the Christian Growth Program, offering basic education in theology, morality, psychology and spirituality.
Reflections on the Feast of the Ascension
The Feast of the Ascension strikes many Christians as the poor relative of the two rather bigger celebrations which top and tail the long and joyful season of Eastertide: Easter itself, and Pentecost. But Damian Howard SJ ascribes to this feast the utmost significance. What are we to make of the story of Jesus being taken up into a cloud, an episode that not only sounds like mythology but also violates our modern sense of space? Read more
Gonski in an age of budget repair
School funding is a very complex issue in Australia. It's now a poisonous political cocktail.
David Gonski, who had been the poster boy for Julia Gillard's bold education reforms, has now been showcased by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham announcing their new deal for school funding.
The National Catholic Education Commission, the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association, and the Catholic Secondary Principals Association are upset with the proposed funding arrangements. Read more
Conference: Awakening the Sacred 2017
Friday 7 July - Saturday 8 July 2017
Australian Catholic University
Awakening the Sacred is the fifth in a series of conferences presented by The Sacred in Literature and the Arts (SLA), a community of interest that brings Australian and international writers, artists, musicians, academics, religious and members of the general public together to explore the interplay between the arts and the sacred. More information here.
Conscience, hope and the double bind
Michael Whelan SM
One of the most wonderful gifts one human being can give another is the sense of realistic possibility. The presence of faith, hope and love tends to do this for us – especially when we are young and vulnerable. When others – typically parents – communicate faith in us, hope for us and love no matter what, it can awaken a realistic sense of our own dignity and worth and allow us to engage the world with some confidence and honesty. It tends to engender in us a life-giving sense of possibility, preparing us for adulthood ...
Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell and the Grand Inquisitor
Michael Whelan SM
I refer to the report by Dan Hitchens in London’s Catholic Herald, 29 November 2016 (Link here to Article) . Hitchens reports on a talk given by Cardinal Pell in London on St Damien of Molokai as part of a series of talks for the Year of Mercy. It all sounds terribly familiar. Cardinal Pell needs to be challenged as a mischief-maker.
Course: The Politics of Decency
Starts 6 June 2017
For our purposes, ‘decency’ stands for fairness, justice, peace, security, dignity, inclusiveness, acceptance of difference, religious toleration, and self-determination for all; a fair distribution of wealth and income, universal access to the material and cultural amenities available in our society; equal life chances; and equal rights to participate in civic and political affairs. ‘The politics of decency’ refers to guidelines for political decision-making and civic activism that cultivate decent societies with no second-class citizens.
Course: Writing Your Life (I) - A Freeing Journey
Catherine Hammond Bs in Ed, MA, MPh
Starts 7 June 2017
Two things will happen with this course. First, through stimulating and fun techniques, you'll find memories coming alive, incidents you've almost forgotten -- funny, moving, significant -- and writing them down will give you a record of your life and times for your children and grandchildren. Second,looking at where you've been, what you've done, what you've felt over the years will bring deep insights, new freedom and growth.
Course: Film Lectio II - Recociliation in 'The Railway Man'
Starts 15 June 2017
During the Second World War, the Japanese constructed the Burma-Siam Railway. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of Asian labourers, mostly conscripted, and 60,000 allied prisoners of war were forced to build the line. It became known as the Death Railway. Every sleeper laid was said to have cost a human life.
Marist Presence 8: Mary as inspiration
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The work to be done is Mary’s work. Fr Colin used that phrase frequently – “Mary’s work”. Marist presence is therefore motivated and shaped by Mary’s presence. Fr Colin did not focus on Marian devotions or pieties. Jean Coste SM writes:
Here we touch on what I am prepared to call the Marist paradox which must be grasped if there is to be understanding of the way that the role of Mary is lived in the Congregation (ie the Society of Mary) at the present time.
Gospel for Feast of the Ascension (28 May 2017)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 – NRSV)
The ending is also the beginning. The Christian community is a missionary community: