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  • Workshops > Stream: Witness

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

    A Journey of Hope – Catholic schools extending an arm of faith by providing the best possible opportunities 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3 
      Studio 5 

    A Journey of Hope – an insight into the Iraqi-Christian refugee experience and their settlement experience into a Catholic primary school. A Journey of Hope examines our Catholic mission for our families in our schools. Often schools find that they need to find a balance between our responsibilities regarding social justice and our obligations regarding the teaching of the students in our care.
    Large numbers of Iraqi refugees have settled into the northern suburbs of Melbourne in the last decade. The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) commissioned the making of a film by a Catholic primary school in the northern region to document one family’s narrative. The aim of the project was to develop a resource to support teachers. The viewing of the narrative will provide educators with an understanding of the cultural, social and psychological issues that may impact on the educational outcomes of such students.
    In this workshop participants will examine the policies, practices and processes around the supports available for refugee students in Catholic schools. Participants will be engaged in interactive discussions and will be given an opportunity to reflect on and audit their current practice in order to develop a whole-school approach.

    Jane Banks has worked in Catholic education for 29 years. Jane has a particular interest in teaching students from non-English speaking backgrounds and has taught in both mainstream primary classrooms as well as in Adult Education. She has a Graduate Diploma in TESOL as well as a Masters of Literacy Education from the University of Melbourne. Jane has been an ESL teacher, a Literacy Leader and an Acting Principal in her time with Catholic education. Her current role is as a School Adviser for English as an Additional Language and New Arrivals students at the Northern Regional Office of Catholic Education Melbourne. 

    Growing in Mercy: From third-world villages to the classroom 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2 
      Studio 5 

    The workshop will explore Sam’s decision to sell everything in order to walk around the world for Christian unity, and how in undertaking that journey he met person after person exemplifying what a merciful neighbour is. Those who showed mercy, again and again, were the people who lived their faith courageously. Their stories are moving and challenging.
    In the workshop we’ll briefly explore how that same mercy he witnessed overseas can be lived through our lives, specifically in sharing our faith and drawing others to Christ

    Staff Professional Development Days, Student Reflection Days and Keynote Seminars have become a passion for author, documentary producer and adventurer, Sam Clear. With six years of full-time youth ministry experience with YMT Australia, a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a rich sporting background, and now over 600 engagements internationally as a sole presenter, Sam brings the lessons of the 19-month, 15,600 km walk around the world for Christian unity to extraordinary life. Sam has an innate ability to communicate, inspire and motivate.
    Sam was also the founding manager of Harvest Pilgrimage’s youth and young adult division, INROADS, which engages Year 12 graduates with drug- and alcohol-free Alternative Schoolies options to Fiji. His book, walk4one – Paving a Path to Unity, is currently used in numerous Australian schools’ curriculum, along with the follow-up documentary, The Road to Adolfo.

    The ‘M&Ms’ – Mercy, Mary MacKillop and Me 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
      Studio 2 

    ‘Be Witnesses of God’s Mercy’. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop was an extraordinary Australian, who was certainly a witness of God’s mercy. Through the sharing of familiar and not-so-familiar stories of the woman who was born in Fitzroy, participants will be able to explore how they too can model their lives on her, and how these stories relate to their own experiences.
    The world, school communities and individuals are yearning for God’s mercy. St Mary of the Cross MacKillop showed compassion and mercy to many around her. The use of song, images and stories will be integral to this workshop.

    Sr Rita Malavisi is a Sister of
    St Joseph, the Congregation founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. She has worked as a primary school teacher in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the Diocese of Ballarat, as well as working as a Pastoral Associate in a number of Melbourne parishes. She is currently employed part-time by Penola Catholic College, Broadmeadows, as coordinator of their Year 11 Christian Service Program.
    For some years Sr Rita has ministered with people seeking asylum in this country. Sr Rita is a trained Spiritual Director, and she has facilitated a number of staff spirituality days in Catholic schools. 

    ParishSchool Connections: Celebrating strong Catholic identity 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2 
      Studio 8 


    This workshop will focus on the intersections of parish and school life. Through dialogue, the workshop explores our call to be witnesses and grasp those ‘mission moments’ that help build family-centred Church in our own contexts. Presented by Mary Ryan and staff of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation (AOFE), the session will highlight rich practices of parish–school engagement and showcase the resources of the AOFE that support the work of making Catholic identity tangible. Suitable for primary and secondary educators, pastoral workers and all those seeking to enhance the vitality of their local Catholic community connections.


    Mary Ryan is the Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation/Parish Liaison for the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation*. She worked for many years as a Parish REC in the development and delivery of family-friendly catechesis and sacramental programs. She is passionate about bringing the joy, richness and practice of the Catholic tradition at the grass-roots level into clearer focus and in providing practical ideas and strategies that help to develop a strong Catholic identity in children, families and school/parish communities.
    *The Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation (AOFE) is a mission agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. It assists those in positions of leadership in parishes and schools by providing adult faith formation and ongoing support in their ministry.

    To Be or Not to Be Mercy 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3  
    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 7 

    In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy we are challenged to proclaim the gospel in a new way – to be witnesses of faith through both word and deed. For Brendan this challenge means more than just being a witness of God’s mercy. It entails the challenge to be mercy for others.
    At present, Brendan is fortunate enough to hold a leadership position in a Mercy school, where the values of courage, justice, compassion, respect, service and hospitality are paramount. Opportunities for being mercy ought then to be plentiful – but they are nonetheless still challenging!
    How then can one be a witness through word and deed by being mercy? How is mercy our way of being and acting in the world? This workshop draws on storytelling and the Mercy value of hospitality to explore ways in which the staff of a Mercy school strive to be mercy in the ordinariness of everyday living, proclaiming the gospel in a new way. 

    Dr Brendan Hyde is the Head of Catholic Identity and Action at St Aloysius College, North Melbourne. He is an Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University, a Senior Research Fellow of Federation University Australia, and a Fellow of the Centre for the Theology of Childhood in Denver, Colorado.
    Dr Hyde is the author of Children and Spirituality: Searching for meaning and connectedness, and co-author of The Spiritual Dimension of Childhood. He is also a co-editor of the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality and a member of the Godly Play Australia Advisory Board.

    Trafficking/Modern-day Slavery 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3  
    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 1 


    What is trafficking/modern-day slavery? Who is trafficked? Where does it occur? What kinds of trafficking are prevalent in the world/Australia?
    What does Pope Francis say about this problem in the world today?
    What might some of the causes of tracking be? How can people help?
    What is Fairtrade? What practical means can a person take to help? What/who is ACRATH and what are the aims of ACRATH?

    Sr Carole McDonald RSM is a Sister of Mercy who worked for many years as a primary school teacher and principal in Victoria before spending 12 years volunteering in refugee camps and detention centres in South East Asia. Carole established a high school in one camp before taking on responsibility for the hundreds of unaccompanied minors needing care and support.
    At the moment, Carole is the Regional Coordinator of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans). An important aim of this organisation is to raise awareness of the evil of human trafficking in all its forms.
    Sr Joan Kennedy PBVM is a Presentation Sister. She began her ministry in primary education, followed by fourteen years as a Parish Pastoral Associate. For the last nine years Joan has worked as a Justice Contact for her Congregation. In 2010 she spent eight months with the International Presentation Association at the United Nations in New York. Joan has been an active member of ACRATH for the last nine years. She has been engaged in the many and varied aspects of ACRATH’s work. Joan is a member of their education team, working with teachers, students and community groups on issues related to Human Trafficking.


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