Fiona Dyball, Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat
The 2018 Marian Lecture, A New Generation of Church, was recently held at the Christ Lecture Theatre at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. The lecture is a highlight annual event for the Australia-wide Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat, and is open to all. It offers an inclusive and dynamic point of encounter and dialogue with prophetic voices in the modern Church to explore what living as an authentic disciple of Christ, in the way of Mary, means in the 21st century. For the first time, the lecture was also streamed live online around Australia.
The lecture was skilfully moderated by Marcelle Mogg, Group Director from St John of God Health Care. Speakers Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, Bishop of the Diocese of Parramatta, Dr Bernadette Tobin, Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics at the Australian Catholic University, and Professor Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Australian Catholic University, captivated the diverse audience in their presentations on a Marian ‘style’ of evangelisation. Each presenter focussed on the practical application of the interplay of justice and tenderness in their specific area of ministry in the complex landscape of the new century, especially as applied to the Australian context.
Bishop Long invoked the rich imagery of Pope Francis in envisaging a Church that is like a field hospital after battle, with the ability to heal wounds and warm hearts through compassionate accompaniment in close proximity to those in need. He called for the Church as a whole to reject the trappings of power and privilege and to engage simply and directly with the poor at the grassroots. Bishop Long called all leaders in the Australian Church to come home to the heart of the Gospel in the humble and contrite way of the Prodigal Son. He invited all to this ongoing spiritual conversion of mind and heart through the transformation of metanoia.
Bishop Vincent Long
Dr Tobin called for those in health care to make their care of the sick an expression of God’s loving care for all, especially in vital and often challenging end of life care. Professor Craven reminded all that Christians will ultimately be judged by their fruits, and that words must be matched with authentic and loving actions. He linked this especially to the compassionate treatment of LGBTI persons in the Church, as modelled by Pope Francis, and with the way Christians speak to and about each other. Audience members engaged in a lively and thoughtful discussion around the issues explored and left enriched by an open dialogue that did not avoid difficult questions.
Staff and students from Assumption College in Kilmore
For more information on Marist Association of St Marcellin Champagnat events, please seehttp://www.maristassociation.org.au