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REGISTER NOW - Embracing Family: Parish, School & Beyond Family Ministry Conference 2015

on Friday, 07 August 2015. Posted in News, Events

REGISTER NOW - Embracing Family: Parish, School & Beyond Family Ministry Conference 2015

Pope Francis has described family as “the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children.” (EG, 66). In his recent encyclical Laudato Si, the Pope describes family as “the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed” (LS, 213). However, we may well ask “What is family?” “How do we understand and relate to the many and varied ways family exists in today’s society?” 

This conference will explore these questions and offer some practical skills and resources for engaging, nurturing and reaching out to families within and beyond our parish and school communities. Bringing together speakers from across the country we will develop strategies for more effectively engaging with families, enabling them to feel more at home and welcome within our faith community.

Friday 30 October 2015 (9am-4pm) – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Retreat Centre, (247 St Andrews Rd, Varroville, NSW)

Saturday 31 October 2015 (9am-4pm) – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Retreat Centre, (247 St Andrews Rd, Varroville, NSW)

Conference Program – Both Days

8:45am - 9:15am Gather

9:15am - 9:30am Welcome & Opening Liturgy

9:30am - 10:40am Keynote 1 (Friday) & 3 (Saturday)

10:40am - 11:10am Morning Tea

11:10am - 12:20pm Keynote 2 (Friday) & 4 (Saturday)

12:20pm - 13:10pm Lunch

13:15pm - 14:15pm Workshops Round 1 (Friday) & 3 (Saturday)

14:25pm - 15:25pm Workshops Round 2 (Friday) & 4 (Saturday)

15:30pm - 16:00pm Summary, Close & Afternoon Tea


Keynote 1: “It takes a village to raise a child”
Presenter:   Fr Elio Capra sdb (Lecturer in Liturgy & Sacramental Theology at Catholic Theological College)

Does an ideal family actually exist? And does an ideal Catholic family actually exist? If so, what would it look like? Making use of Scripture and Church documents we explore these questions and the current social situation families find themselves in today. What are the complexities and tensions facing Catholic families in our society and in our Church?

Keynote 2: Sharing experiences of engaging with families in Family Ministry:
Presenter: Jill Gallio (Manager – Catholic Communities Office, Archdiocese of Adelaide)

What are the life experiences, resources and skills that we bring to enhance and grow the relationships and learning partnerships we have with our families in our schools, parishes and neighbourhoods?


Keynote 3: Family, School & Parish: One Community
Presenter: Fr Elio Capra sdb

This keynote will explore the unique role of the Family, School and Parish. What are the differences, privileges and responsibilities of each? What is the influence that each group has on the child and how can the three complement and support each other in the w/holistic formation of their children? What are the qualities and characteristics of a w/holistic formation of children in our society today? 

Keynote 4: Valuing each other in Jesus’ name
Presenter: Jill Gallio

Drawing together many of the elements of the first address, Jill will explore the importance of knowing and valuing our families and honouring God already deeply present in every life and situation.


Title: Parish: Supporting the Home as Domestic Church? 
Presenter: Sr Sue Barker s.g.s

Our church proclaims the home as the “domestic church”. But do our words, our policies and our practices affirm and support this vision? How can church leadership, teachers, catechists, parish workers support the home as the place of primary faith formation?  We briefly review what Church documents say about the Domestic Church and develop our understanding of a spirituality of family life. We also explore practical ways within our diverse ministries we can nurture the “domestic church” of our contemporary Catholic families.

Title: Grandparents: Passing on the Faith and keeping prayer alive in the family
Presenter: Fr Elio Capra

This workshop will explore the important and central role of grandparents in today’s family. Together we will explore simple, ‘sneaky’ and creative ways in which they can help their families in passing on the faith and keeping prayer alive. This workshop will provide the participants with many examples, resources and possibilities.

Title: Get Messy! What is Messy Church and Starting Messy Church in your parish or school.
Presenter: Albion Park Messy Church Team

How can parishes and schools connect with families and those who are close to our communities – but perhaps do not feel a part of them…..it can be tricky to hit the right note with such a broad range of people. We know that life is messy for many families. Imagine inviting the people in your school and parish to a two hour afternoon session for craft activities, a liturgy and a community meal. During this workshop the Albion Park Messy Church Team will explore the question "What is Messy Church?" and through discussion and dialogue share practical ways on how to start up your own Messy Church.

Title: Youthspeak: Communicating timeless truths today
Presenter: Seth Harsh

Youth ministry can’t be seen as disconnected from childhood and adult faith formation, but rather, as an important part of a developmental continuum ending in full Christian maturity. How we communicate the Catholic faith often determines how well it is received and lived. We will look at how communication, recreational activities, relationships, and expectations have changed over the last 30 years and how this impacts youth ministry. Practical considerations will be discussed regarding how best to engage contemporary youth, and innovative models for youth ministry both today and into the future will be explored.

Title: Families and Ageing in the 21st Century
Presenter: Carmen Karauda

Those who are ageing form an integral and vital part of the modern family life. In this workshop we will look at, discuss and share experiences on: importance of family relationships, families and the ageing experience; positive ageing; work and retirement and how interdependence not independence is the true "Gospel" value.

It is hoped that through the information sharing and discussion that participants will embark on a better understanding and acceptance of ageing as natural part of life that can be integrated into the life of the family and family relationships.

Title:  The Alpha Toolkit of Evangelisation and Family Resources 
Presenter: Lorraine McCarthy

Thousands of Catholic Parishes worldwide use Alpha to introduce people to a living relationship with Jesus Christ and form missionary disciples. Using the simple formula of food + talk + discussion, parish lay teams can effectively evangelise and re-energise their faith community.  We will give a brief overview of Alpha, view a sample Alpha Talk and ‘role play’ an Alpha Small Group Discussion. We will also look at the Alpha Marriage and Parenting Resources which to assist parish communities in their role of supporting and building healthy family relationships.

Title: ”Conversations about Catholics”: Connecting People with the Catholic Faith
Presenters:  Anne McLean; Anne Flynn & Sr Alice Sullivan

This program assists parents with their questions and uncertainties about Church, and in turn encourages and empowers them in the faith formation of their children. It acknowledges and values how parents nurture their family, and gently brings people together by welcoming and connecting families to each other, to the wider community and to the Church. The Workshop will introduce participants to the four week program, the Leaders’ guide, up-to-date resources and take-home material.

Title: Celebrating Children’s Liturgy of the Word
Presenter: Paul Mason

These two sessions uncover the meaning and rationale of celebrating a separate children’s Liturgy of the Word. We overview the celebration, exploring its nature as both proclamation and celebration, as well as its ritual structure.  We consider the participants and ministers involved and explore some practical issues and suggested resources.

Title: Working with Children in Parish Ministry
Presenter: Rebecca Miller

This workshop provides an overview of the new Working with Children Check requirements for parishes and examples of best practice for lay people working with children, young people or other vulnerable people from our communities. Strategies for maintaining “right relationships” and what to do if you have concerns for a child or young person involved in your ministry are also presented.

Title: Catholic Playgroup Resources
Presenter: Rebecca Miller

Parish Playgroups are fun and where lifelong friends can be made – they can also provide a pathway from baptism to school encouraging families to stay in touch with the Church and their faith. A more overtly Catholic identity for your Parish Playgroup serves to welcome families more fully into your Parish and provides opportunities to nurture the faith of families.

This workshop introduces a new guidebook for Parish Playgroups, identifies resources and practical strategies to help your Parish build a vibrant family ministry.

Title: The Catholic Guy & Parish Connection
Presenter: Sandra Purcell

Sandra will briefly describe the aims and objectives of The Catholic Guy Ministry and Impact Centres, share and give practical suggestions on effective initiatives to strengthen parish/school/family relationships and connect/reconnect people back to their personal faith and faith communities.  Discussion will be held on how parishes and The Catholic Guy ministry can work together.

Title: We are the Memory of God
Presenter: Patricia Mowbray

Pastoral leaders are responsible for being inclusive in proclaiming the Good News, providing catechetical formation and sacramental preparation for parishioners with disability. People with disability, their families and their advocates, as well as those knowledgeable in serving people with disability can make a most valuable contribution. How can this be reality in parishes and faith communities? This workshop provides an opportunity to share stories and resources. We explore how we can provide and encourage the full participation of people with disability and their families in Church life. The focus will be on Sacramental preparation and celebration.

Title of Workshop: Supporting married life in a parish setting
Presenter Name: Cheryl and Eugene Gabin & Fr Doug Smith

In this workshop we explore different ways of supporting married life. Drawing from the groups’ experience, we will look at what constitutes a “good or healthy” marriage, some of the reasons /causes for marriages breaking down, what impact a healthy marriage and an ailing marriage has on the immediate family, extended family and the parish and wider community. We will brainstorm, discuss and decide on specific ideas / things / tools that can actively support families in our parishes and in our communities.


You can register for a Single Day Pass for $20 ($18.18 for Catholic GST Religious Groups eg, parishes, schools and agencies) or register for the Full Conference for $30 ($27.27 for Catholic GST Religious Groups). Registration includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

The conference is using the TryBooking online registration system. Payment is by Visa or Mastercard. In addition to the registration fee there is a TryBooking fee of 30 cents per ticket. You will also be asked to select your Workshop preferences during the registration process. If you would prefer to download a paper registration form to complete and mail/fax/email to us, please click here to download the brochure and paper registration form. Otherwise, click the below button register online:

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If you have any questions, do not hesistate to contact:

Darren McDowell
Diocesan Faith Formation Coordinator
P 02 4222 2463
F 02 4222 2479