News from Down Under

News from Down Under April 15, 2009

First off, I hear from my Aussie friend Peter Wales, (who actually, really, truly lives on “Kangaroo Island” no less!), that Sr. Mary McKillop could wind up as Australia’s first saint! That would be doubly cool because Mary is such an archetypally Aussie sort of saint: tough as nails, resourceful, true blue good, with the sort of can-do frontier spirit that still animates Aussies and able to bear up, even when her bishop was, well, rather nuts. An inspiration to serious Catholics who have to endure crazy clergy there and elsewhere.

Sherry Weddell has written about Mary elsewhere, I think.

Next up, the good people of the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, NZ write:

UNIQUE SPIRITUAL RETREAT AT EUCHARISTIC CONVENTION, 17-19 APRIL

The global economy may be in the pits, but over 1,000 kiwis will enjoy a huge spiritual uplift at next weekend’s Eucharistic Convention. Brilliant international Catholic speakers from the USA, Vietnam and Australia, plus Kiwi speakers, are set for the 16th annual event at Westlake Boys High School Auditorium.

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn is scheduled to celebrate the opening Mass on Friday night. Saturday and Sunday each feature Mass, Holy Hours and brilliant speakers. And the Diocese of Auckland’s Divine Mercy Celebration will be held on Sunday. This is a retreat like none other, and one of the largest lay-organized Catholic events in NZ.

“The event this year was really difficult to bring together; for one reason or another, there were brick walls everywhere. But all things happen for a reason, and with help from above, the speakers finally confirmed for this event are remarkable. We are in for a big one this time around,” says Organiser John Porteous.

Father John Flader (Australia)

Father Flader is Director at the Catholic Adult Education Centre in Sydney and teaches on Catholic Doctrine, Catholic Social Teaching, spiritual life, the Mass, and Christology.

In his role in adult education, Father Flader frequently finds himself answering questions in his Catholic Weekly (Sydney) column, which are also available in a book entitled “Question Time”. One critic said Fr Flader’s book was “in the tradition of the apologetics of Fulton J. Sheen. He explains the Church’s teaching and practices in a straight-forward way without any spin. A great resource for handing on the faith.”

Sister Trish Franklin (Vietnam)

Loreto Sister Trish Franklin is never more at home than when she is amongst the poorest of the poor. For nearly a decade she has worked to change the lives of the street children of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. They sleep on the streets and become scavengers, beggars, shoe-shiners, market laborers, carriers, dish washers and prostitutes.

Through the Loreto Vietnam-Australia Program (LVAP), which she founded, Sr Trish operates shelters for street children, a school for the blind and a school for intellectually and physically disabled children in Ho Chi Minh City, plus a number of rural schools.

Dr Mark Miravalle (USA)

Dr Mark Miravalle, husband, permanent deacon, and father of eight, earned his Sacred Theological Doctorate at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He has taught at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio) since 1986 and is known internationally for his lectures in Mariology.

He has served members of the Episcopal hierarchy with preliminary investigations for reported apparitions, and is frequently on US television, including Fox and EWTN. He also produces a biweekly Mariology television show for www.airmaria.com. Dr Miravalle is the author of numerous books and articles in the area of Mariology and Marian private revelation.

Mary-Eileen Russell (USA)

American author Mary-Eileen Russell’s first historical novel Trianon was published in 1997 under the pen name of “Elena Maria Vidal.” In 2000, the sequel Madame Royale was published, as well as the second edition of Trianon. Both quickly found an international following.

“One of the reasons I wrote Trianon is that I kept encountering educated people who really thought that Marie-Antoinette said ‘Let them eat cake.’ I kept running into Catholics, including priests and nuns, who thought that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were killed as a punishment for some egregious wickedness or, at least, for unforgivable stupidity. Having read books about Louis and Antoinette since I was nine years old, I knew that not to be true; it was only after a great deal more research that I came to see how completely false is the common belief about the king and queen. I came to realize that the demonization of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in the popular mind is necessary in order to justify the excesses of the French Revolution and the destruction of Christian society. When people have a false and distorted view of history, then it is difficult for them to grasp the present, and almost impossible to meet the future with any kind of preparedness.”

Michael Mardon

Michael Mardon was employed in the computer industry for many years, before accepting God’s call into ministry. This passion for God’s Word led him in 2003 to become the Auckland Regional Representative for The Bible Society in New Zealand. He has a deep conviction that we need to contextualise the Gospel message so that it connects people with the Good News.

Eucharistic Convention Details:

Date – 17-19 April 2009
Venue – Westlake Boys High School Auditorium, 30 Forrest Hill Rd, Takapuna
Theme – ‘Unless the Lord Builds the House’
Cost: Adults $40, Senior Citizens and students $20; Children up to 15 free
More info at: www.eucharistic-convention.com or by ringing 021 729 963.

I’ve been to this Convention twice. If you are there in the land of the Kiwis, it’s well worth going.

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