Genevieve Bryant is a musician and singer from Mitcham parish in Melbourne. Genevieve is involved in music ministry as a songwriter and recording artist. She also works as a teacher. Genevieve was involved in the formation of a ministry group Evergreen that has expanded her love of worship music. In 2013, Genevieve travelled across Australia recording, performing and writing new material. In the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Genevieve worked with music ministry groups running workshops on liturgical music and song writing. In December 2013, Genevieve performed at the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Melbourne.
- What inspires Genevieve’s music ministry?
- Does Genevieve’s story help you to see Jesus? How?
- In a similar way to Genevieve, do you use your gifts and talents to proclaim God’s glory?
- How can your family and friends play a role in your faith?
Sr Hilda Scott OSB
Sister Hilda Scott is a Benedictine sister from the Jamberoo Abbey in NSW. Sister Hilda is widely known for her role in an ABC television series The Abbey, which followed her as she mentored five lay women through 30 days of monastic life. The Benedictines conduct retreats and offer hospitality to their visitors. Sister Hilda was originally a Mercy Sister working in education and social ministry before dedicating herself to a life of Monastic prayer.
- What characteristics and values do you see in Sr Hilda?
- How can you help the marginalised in society like Sr Hilda has done?
- Do you love your neighbour in the way that Sr Hilda has loved the poorest people?
- Sr Hilda lives a monastic life – is there any similar time of silence in your life?
- Do you hear God’s voice in the silence?
- Do you need silence in order to pray or is it possible in the busyness of your school day?
Fr Chris Ryan MGL
Fr Chris Ryan is a Missionary of God’s Love priest (MGL). He is the rector of the MGL Seminary in Melbourne. Fr Chris was the coordinator of the Australasian Journey of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon in 2007-08 leading up to World Youth Day in Sydney. He is the author of two books In the Light of the Cross (reflections on the journey of the WYD cross and icon) and Bring Forth Hope (based on messages and quotes from Pope Francis during his first year). He is passionate about bringing the message of Jesus to young people.
- What attracted Fr Chris to the priesthood?
- Have you heard of the Missionaries of God’s Love (MGLs)? Where and when did the community begin?
- Do you know what the MGL identity and mission is?
- Have you ever considered a vocation to religious life?
- Did you witness the journey of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon during its pilgrimage in 2008?
Benita De Vincentiis
Benita De Vincentiis is Director of the Youth Office at Catholic Diocese of Darwin. Prior to working for the Darwin Diocese, Benita was Programs Manager at St Vincent de Paul Society and School Program Manager at Greening Australia Victoria. A graduate of La Trobe University, she attended Mount Lilydale Mercy College in Victoria. Benita thrives on working with people and especially loves welcoming new people into the Catholic community in her local parish.
- What themes emerged from Benita’s story?
- Do you welcome new people into your parish in the way that Benita describes?
- How do you think the Catholic Church, in particular your parish, could be a more welcoming place?
- What is the St Vincent de Paul Society?
- Have you ever considered volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society?
- Is there an initiative that your class could commence to help support the work of the Society?
- Do you know what a World Youth Day event is?
- Have you ever attended a World Youth Day? If so, can you share your experience with your classmates?
- Do you know how young people in your parish/diocese can get involved in the next World Youth Day? What city will World Youth Day take place in 2016?
- Which Pope initiated the celebration of World Youth Days internationally?
- Has World Youth Day ever taken place in Australia?
Patricia Mowbray is the Disability Project Officer at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Patricia is also a Catechist who teaches young people with disability in preparation for reception of the Sacraments at a national level. Living in Canberra, Patricia is married to Glenn. The couple have adopted four children, each with an intellectual disability. The couple also have one grandchild Noah.
- In what way has Patricia Mowbray and her husband lived out their faith?
- Do you know people with an intellectual, sensory or physical disability?
- Is there someway that you can support them or simply sit and communicate with the individual or taking steps to forming a real and authentic relationship?
- What Christian values and personal characteristics does Patricia portray?
- Is your school and parish disability friendly?
- In your school, are there ways that you and your class can help create awareness and understanding about people with disabilities?
Jan Heath is a Catholic lay evangelist who has been instrumental in piloting and introducing the Catholics Returning Home Program throughout Australia and New Zealand. Jan is a wife, mother and grandmother. She describes herself as a parish person actively working in the Petrie Catholic Community, a dynamic community committed to bringing the message of Jesus Christ to all, in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jan has travelled to Africa, Asia and Europe with parishioners and young people.
- Are you a lapsed Catholic like Jan used to be? If so, why? Does Jan’s ‘Returning Home’ story inspire you?
- Are you a ‘parish person’ as Jan describes herself?
- Is your Catholic parish the source of your faith?
- Are you active in parish-based ministries?
- Is there a youth group or regular youth Mass in your parish? If not, what communication skills could you use to get something started for other young people?
- What is evangelisation? How can you and your classmates evangelise in school, at home or within your community?
- Have you ‘said yes’ to Jesus? Does your response open many doors in your life or make you feel isolated from society?
- Did you ever consider volunteering to do missionary/evangelisation work in Africa during your summer holidays?
Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann
Miriam Rose Ungumerr Baumann was born near Daly River, Northern Territory in 1950. At five years old she was placed in the care of her aunt and uncle and lived at police stations near Adelaide River. She was baptised a Catholic in 1965, began teacher training in 1968 and became the first qualified Aboriginal teacher in the Northern Territory. In 1988, she achieved a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University and a Masters of Education Degree in 1999 focusing on the integration of traditional and western education for Aboriginal children and adults. She was also awarded an honorary Doctorate from Northern Territory University.
- What do you know about Australia’s indigenous people and their communities?
- Have you friendships or relatives that have grown up within the aboriginal culture?
- What type of project could your class carry out as a way to learn more about the aboriginal cultural practices, beliefs, housing, art, spirituality, languages or the social structure?
- Do you understand aspects of the aboriginal spirituality that Miriam speaks about?
- Have you ever studied an aboriginal painting to understand what each of the shapes, designs and colours symbolise in our world?
Donna McDade is a Brisbane based musician, an independent retreat facilitator and a personal trainer. Donna aims to cultivate positive identity, grounded confidence, healthy relationships, servant leadership and Christian values and spirituality. Donna is the founder of Experience Wellbeing, a business set up to support young people and their wellbeing. For more than ten years, Donna was the Campus Minister at Siena Catholic College, Brisbane.
- What message will you take from Donna’s story?
- Do you know what a retreat involves? Have you ever participated in a retreat?
- As Donna speaks about family extending outwards in society and including new people all of the time, do you think your family could do the same?
- In a similar way to Donna, do you ever feel hurt by the Church or angry about certain events that happened in the Catholic Church internationally? How do you overcome/reconcile these?
- Is there someone close to you that has hurt you? Have you forgiven the person? Did you use your communication skills/gifts to help you resolve the issue(s)?
- Sr Mel is doing missionary work in Africa. Is this something you’ve ever considered? How could your class support the work carried out by Sr Mel’s charity?
Duc Mac was born in Vietnam on 9 July 1987. Duc arrived in Australia on 5 May 1993 as a refuge. The eldest of four children, Duc’s sister Kathy and brothers Kevin and David were born after his Dad completed studying in Sydney. Duc entered the Seminary in 2008, where he spent three years discerning a religious vocation. He left Good Shepherd Seminary in December 2010 to pursue a legal career. Today, Duc is working as a paralegal in family law while he continues his legal studies.
- Do you know what a refugee is?
- Do you have an understanding of Australia’s immigration policies?
- Can you learn about the Catholic Church’s position on refugees and asylum seekers?
- Have you ever considered a religious vocation?
- Going into the seminary today, what are some of the challenges that people may face?
- How is seminary life today different to seminary life in the 1960s or 1970s?
- Do you know what role a paralegal has?
- Reflecting on Duc’s decision to leave seminary life and take up a legal career, what are some of the fears and challenges he may have faced?
Maeve Heaney was born in Ireland. She is a consecrated missionary of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity. Maeve completed her licentiate and doctorate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Maeve is also a musician and composer. Having completed a doctorate in theology, she taught at the Gregorian University, Rome for eight years. Currently living in Brisbane, Maeve is a lecturer in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. In 2012, she published the book ‘Music as Theology’.
- As a young person, have you ever felt a longing need to know/see Jesus like Maeve described?
- How do you talk to Jesus – is it through playing music, singing, prayer time, meditation or being of service to those less well-off?
- What struck you about the way that Maeve felt called to religious life?
- What do you know about the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity? Are you aware of other Institutions of Consecrated Life in the Catholic Church?
Graeme Mundine grew up in Bundjalung, Northern NSW. The youngest of 11 children, he was educated by the Marist Brothers and entered the Marist novitiate upon finishing school. For 20 years, Graeme was a teacher at Marist Schools. In 1990 Graeme became Chair and Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC). In 1999, Graeme left the Marist Brothers. He later worked with the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) for eight years. Graeme married Gabrielle Russell Mundine in 2011. Graeme is now Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Sydney Archdiocese.
- What struck you about Graeme’s story?
- Do you attend a Marist Brothers school? What can you learn about the Marist Brothers?
- What do you know about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
- Graeme describes the importance of making time for silence and contemplation amongst the busyness of life; do you make quiet time available for Jesus?
- Are you constantly caught up in the hustle and bustle of life?
- Where is the time and space to pray or meditate or chat to Jesus?
Lulu Mitshabu grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she was forced to flee as a refugee due to a lack of rights for women. Lulu soon became a social justice advocate and campaigner for the rights of women and girls. Throughout her journey, Lulu believes Jesus guided her in bringing her family to a safe place. Today, Lulu works for Caritas Australia. She is the mother of six girls and lives in Canberra with her husband.
- What role has Lulu’s faith played in her life?
- What is Caritas? Do you know what the word means? Where does the
- How can you help to support the work that Caritas does?
- What do you know about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?
- Can you learn more about the rights of women in the DRC?