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  • Workshops > Stream: Spirituality   

    Stream: Spirituality   
    Workshop Title/Session(s)  Description  Presenter(s) 

    Art of the Merciful Heart 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 2 
       Studio 2 

    This workshop involves looking at and appreciating beautiful works from Catholic, Indigenous and Asian perspectives and showcasing some simple art-making ideas, moving beyond the teacher-given template, to find the delight, humour and playfulness in students’ own authentic imagery. Participants will start with a short meditation involving art, Scripture and text and leave with practical ideas and online resources to help enliven Religious Education in a classroom situation. This workshop is suitable for primary and middle years teachers.

    Jane Strickland has recently spent over 10 years working in Catholic education at the National Gallery of Victoria. She is currently undertaking her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Jane is an experienced art educator, having worked in primary, secondary and tertiary contexts. Her interest in art and spirituality has led her to travel to remote communities in Australia, to ashrams in India and to study art history at the American Academy in Rome.



    Building a Culture of Prayer: Daily prayer and rich prayer resources 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 4 
      Celtic Hall 

    This presentation will present the context for prayer and liturgy in schools, with particular reference to the requirements for Catholic schools expressed in the Archbishop’s Culture of Prayer Report.

    Images of God, the spirituality of children and creating sacred spaces will be covered, as well as experiences of different forms of prayer suitable for classroom use.

    Resources will be offered and the Daily Prayer, which is available through the CEVN website, will be featured. Its aims and contexts for use by teachers and staff in schools will be discussed. Results of the recent survey will be presented and an opportunity to gather and record participant experiences of using this prayer resource, with a view to making further improvements will be explored.

    There will also be a focus on ‘getting the most out of LiturgyHelp’, its new features and options for developing presentations.

    Moira Cosgriff has been a Catholic primary teacher for over 25 years and is a former Assistant Principal – Religious Education from Brisbane. She has been involved in many different Catholic communities in a variety of roles both in Victoria and in Queensland.
    Moira now runs her own business, ‘Oran Mor’, focusing on writing liturgies and prayers and running inservices and workshops in spirituality, liturgy and prayer for schools. Moira writes liturgies and prayers for Emmaus Productions and is the writer of the CEVN daily prayers for Term 1 and Term 3. She has a particular passion for building prayer and spirituality in Catholic schools.

    Lisa Hughes has recently joined Catholic Education Melbourne as Formation Officer: Catholic Identity. Her role is to maintain, strengthen and enhance a culture of prayer within the archdiocese by providing professional learning and leadership. She has been working with children and families in Catholic education both in schools and parish settings in a variety of roles, most recently as chaplain, for the past 25 years. Lisa is a trained Mindfulness facilitator and enjoys ‘paying attention’ and ‘living in the present moment’. 

    Exploring a Spirituality of Mercy for Community Engagement Programs (Community Action) 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 2 

    15 July 

    • Workshop 3 
      Studio 6 


    This presentation aims to provide the participants with a sense of what it might be like for those who live on the edge of our communities and feel excluded and alienated from sharing in the richness of life. The workshop will explore the notion of a spirituality of presence as a suitable place for engagement with the groups living on the edges of our community. By being fully present to the people who belong to these alienated groups, one is encouraged to enter a compassionate place, a place of mercy. It is here that one encounters the sacred stories that can lead to mutual liberation. This is our Christian call to be part of God’s dream for our world, inspired by the gospel insights of compassion, mercy and love. In living out this dream we in turn witness God’s mercy to the world.
    The workshop will be interactive, engaging the participants in a range of experiences and reflections designed to inspire empathy and compassion.

    Peter Hay is married with two adult children. His interests apart from family life include sport, exploring the natural environment, ecology and reading.
    He is currently the Director of Edmund Rice Centre Amberley, a retreat and spirituality centre in Lower Plenty, and is the Victorian and Tasmanian Formation Coordinator for the Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers. Peter is a trained Spiritual Director and has completed studies in Arts, Theology and has a Master of Arts – Spiritual Direction.
    Prior to his work at Amberley, Peter was a teacher for many years. His passion was teaching English and Text & Traditions.

    Faith in Action – Working towards a more just and compassionate society  

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2 
      Studio 3 

    The Faith in Action workshop provides a framework for young people and their supporters to explore their spirituality and find meaningful and relevant ways to respond to social justice issues in the community.
    This workshop will explore three key youth engagement opportunities facilitated by the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Youth and Education Team, including;

    • Social Justice Workshops for schools which provide facilitated discussions and activities on topics such as: Advocacy, Volunteerism, Homelessness, Food Security and Catholic Social Teaching.
    • Social Justice Vincentian groups for schools which follow a Vincentian model of Mini Vinnies (primary) and College Conference (secondary) groups which identify and respond to need in the local community.
    • Just Art! An advocacy through art competition and exhibition, which calls for the community, especially young people, to have a voice on contemporary social justice issues. The 2016 topic is Asylum Seekers: Stories of Humanity.

    The Vincentian ethos is immersed in deep spirituality, while also challenging us to show our faith through the work we do, to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. As our founder advised us, ‘you must give of your time, your talents and yourselves’ to serve those most in need, truly being a sign of God’s love in the world.
    Join us to explore how we can all work together, with our students, to help create a more just and compassionate society.

    Michelle Pereira has worked for 13 years in the Catholic education sector, including leadership roles in Catholic secondary schools. In 2008, Michelle joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in one of their key education programs, the Dandenong Tutoring Program, which provides social and academic support for young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, many of whom come from refugee families. She now leads the Youth and Education Development Team, working with young Vincentians from primary-school age to young adults, as well as providing support to a number of education programs including tutoring programs, reading clubs, breakfast programs, and scholarship programs for young people experiencing disadvantage.
    Cheyne Pettit is Membership & Development Officer at St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria. 

    Meditation for the Catholic School  

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2  
      Studio 9 

    There are a growing number of schools implementing the practice of meditation into their programs. This workshop will focus on the meaning and practice of meditation in the Catholic school context.
    Meditation has been shown to make connections with students at all levels, to enhance wellbeing and promote Catholic Identity. The question of how meditation impacts on the religious and spiritual dimension will be addressed in light of its varied applications in society today. The workshop will also provide a background and practice of meditation within the Christian tradition, and offer resources and practices for its integration into the school and classroom.

    Chris Morris is a lecturer at Catholic Theological College in East Melbourne in the Graduate Certificate in Guiding Meditation. He is also completing a PhD in the Christian wisdom tradition. Before coming to CTC he had experience in Religious Education leadership in Catholic schools and with Catholic Education Melbourne.

    Music, Mercy and Young People 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 6 

    Contemporary Christian religious educators need to establish respectful relationships with young people in order to be able to engage in dialogue. Research in Australian Catholic schools indicates a disparity in the views of students and teachers regarding the effectiveness of the Religious Education curriculum. Developmental research indicates that young people are disposed towards thinking and acting justly. The main developmental task of young people is the gaining of identity that is reinforced through rituals.
    Contemporary music is ubiquitous in the lives of young people and could be said to be their lingua franca. Therefore, contemporary music and video is an effective means for religious educators to dialogue with young people. Contemporary music, which frequently has a justice focus, can be used in Religious Education to help young people grasp the justice message of the gospels. This is a facet of Recontextualisation.

    Patrick Jurd has taught for over 30 years in Melbourne Catholic schools with the majority of that time also spent in faith leadership. His twin passions of religious education and music led to his master’s research: ‘Encountering the justice of God’s reign through music’. He has written reflections for educators for eight years, which he publishes weekly in his blog, ‘Educating for the Lived Gospel’. The reflections have been published in two books: To Strengthen and Encourage and Always in God’s Presence.

    Singing the Mercy of God 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 2  
      Studio 1 

    The workshop will begin reflectively, as participants are invited into prayer through the beauty and power of music and simple scripture meditation focusing on the loving mercy of God. The workshop will then gain pace as participants experience and engage in a variety of vocal music suitable for school celebrations of the Eucharist and classroom/staffroom prayer.
    Participants will find the experience an enjoyable one. Please be ready to sing, and if you play an instrument, feel free to bring it along. There will be a generous music hand-out with lots of new music to try.

    Br Michael Herry FMS was born in Lilydale, Victoria, burial place of the first internationally acclaimed Australian, Nellie Melba! It was from his father, who played the saxophone in a country dance band, that Michael was exposed at a young age to music-making and in Lilydale began piano lessons at the local Mercy Convent.
    After matriculating at Marcellin College Michael entered the Mt Macedon novitiate of the Marist Brothers and in 1965 completed his primary teaching registration. He then taught both primary and junior secondary classes for six years before commencing a music degree at the Elder Conservatorium of the University of Adelaide, graduating with honours in 1976. After teaching both music and religious education for many years, Michael completed a Diploma in Pastoral Liturgy in Carlow (Ireland) and since the mid-nineties has devoted himself to writing and directing liturgical music for parishes and schools and presenting music workshops.

    Spirituality and Pedagogy 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
      Studio 6 

    The spiritual dimension of the human person is one which is attracting more research than ever before in the fields of psychology and education, as a vital dimension which offers these fields deep and challenging questions. The Catholic Church offers a rich tradition of exploring, grappling with and enhancing spirituality. Tapping into this rich spiritual tradition is a vital component of an authentic Catholic education.
    This workshop engages participants in exploring their understanding of spirituality. It proposes an interactive framework which invites dialogue about multiple perspectives on spirituality from within the Catholic tradition. Participants are invited to reflect on ways that deepen understandings of spirituality may enhance pedagogy.

    Rina Madden has worked as a teacher and leader in Religious Education both in schools and in Catholic Education Melbourne for over thirty years. She currently holds the position of Education Officer, Religious Education, at Catholic Education Melbourne and is part of the core team guiding the work of renewing the Religious Education Curriculum Framework in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
    She is also working towards her PhD, researching Children’s Spirituality under the supervision of Prof. Didier Pollefeyt of Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven.

    Voices of Youth: How Australian Catholics magazine gives students a voice in faith education  

    15 July  

    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 2 

    Realising that the best way to engage young people on issues of faith and spirituality is through the voices of other young people, Australian Catholics magazine decided five years ago to create a youth internship program. Each year, one of the five editions of the magazine is edited and written entirely by high school students. The Year 10 and 11 students spend a week working with the editors to plan the edition and write articles exploring the edition’s theme. Over the last two years, the initiative has expanded nationally, bringing in correspondents from other states. A young writer’s community has also been created to provide the former interns, and other young writers, with the opportunity to make an ongoing contribution to the magazine. These young writers now feature in every edition of the magazine.
    This year’s internship program engaged young writers around the theme ‘Mercy in the world’ as part of the magazine’s series on the Year of Mercy. This workshop will provide an overview of this program, and its key learnings and successes in engaging and empowering young people to have conversations about Catholicism and spirituality. It will also feature input from the interns on their experiences of the program.

    Michael McVeigh is the editor of Australian Catholics magazine and the communications manager for the Australian Jesuit Province. Before joining the magazine more than ten years ago, he was working in communications in the non-profit sector and was involved in youth ministry with the Marists in Melbourne.
    He is currently a member of the Media Council for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and is part of the executive committee of the Australasian Catholic Press Association.


  • 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.' (Luke 6: 36)