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Saint of the day

Financial life lessons with Noel Whittaker AM

It was an honour to welcome Noel Whittaker AM to the Assembly of Catholic Professionals event in March. Noel generously shared his personal life story including the lessons he has personally taken from his successes as well as his failures.

Noel Whittaker is considered one of Australia’s leading finance experts. He has written 21 bestselling books, including ‘Making Money Made Simple’, which was named in the top 100 of the most influential books of the last century.

View full discussion

Date: 8 March 2018
Speaker: Noel Whittaker AM

Seven new seminarians in 2018

There’s nothing like the promise of new beginnings to inspire us all.

It’s a delight to introduce the men who have just begun their first year at Holy Spirit Seminary at Banyo (pictured l-r): William Brennan, Thomas Popovic, Sang Duc Bui, Matthew Popovic, Tristram Garbellotto, Michael My Van Tran and Bradley Davies.

With such a great range of choice available to young people, and challenges and even societal pressures to overcome, it has taken great courage for these young men to make the decision to discern a life of service.

“These seminarians will undertake what’s called their propaedeutic year. The year is about getting them settled into the kind of education and formation that is required for the priesthood. It’s a time to discern their response to a sense of the call of vocation that they have, which ultimately is a call confirmed by the Church,” says Monsignor John Grace.

“As they adjust to their new life based on the rhythms of prayer and study, the students will work closely with Seminary staff on a programme based on Pastores Dabo Vobis an Apostolic Exhortation written by Pope John Paul II for the formation of priests in the present day.”

The formation team and I are confident each of our seminarians will contribute to a strong and vibrant future for the Catholic Church in Queensland.

Together with our current seminarians, we now have 22 young men on their journey to the priesthood. Thank you for all that you do to help prepare these men for the priesthood and to build up our church, please keep them in your prayers.

Would you consider a prayerful gift to support the Seminary and our future priests?

Bursaries for St Jimmies College

From the desk of Gerry Crooks, Principal, St Jimmies College

“One of the time-honoured traditions at St James College is to touch the school crest on your way into the school grounds each morning. As the principal, I watch hundreds of students do this every day, an instinctive sign of gratitude for the family that welcomes and supports them within the schoolyard, and beyond.

I’m really proud to introduce you to Catherine*, one of our current Jimmies students. Catherine has experienced a lifetime of trauma in her 16 years, like so many of our Jimmies students. She and her seven siblings were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When Catherine was young her parents, who were government workers, were set upon by rebel soldiers in their own home and murdered in front of their children. Catherine and her siblings ran away in search of safety.

Priests and nuns cared for them in a convent for three years. Catherine said that during this time, “We lived in fear of being abducted by soldiers. After some time soldiers came back to look for
us and killed two priests and two nuns who had been caring for my brothers and sisters and me.”

Catherine and many of our Bursary Program students have suffered greatly and overcome enormous challenges at heart-wrenchingly young ages. Their stories share common threads of hope, perseverance and strength. Will you please contribute to the education of these students whose determination is intricately woven into the fabric of the Jimmies community, who care so genuinely for their peers and who so fully embody our motto, Faithful Forever.

Did you know that over 20% of current students require fee concessions due to financial hardship? Demand for assistance is constant and growing. The College fees are currently $6,700 per annum, per student. Despite being lower than many other Catholic secondary schools, this precludes many students and their families from enrolling. As you know, St James has always prided itself on opening the door to young people who have been turned away from other schools but we cannot afford to provide fee concessions for additional students without your help.

St James has welcomed students from an array of cultural, socio-economic and academic backgrounds. We’ve launched a past student monthly giving program, the Faithful Friends Fund (a nod to our Faithful Forever motto), to provide tuition bursaries to students whose families are facing significant financial hardship. A gift to this Fund will ensure that vulnerable or very poor young people like Catherine are given an education that helps them to flourish.

Would you prayerfully consider making a regular monthly donation to give young people like Catherine a chance to reach their unique potential?

After witnessing the callous deaths of her parents and living in various refugee camps across the Congo, Catherine and her siblings moved to Uganda. “We had kept a photo of our older, adopted ‘sister’ Anne who we thought had been killed after our parents were murdered. With the help of a priest, we discovered that Anne was alive and living in Australia!”

Catherine’s story then thankfully took a different turn: “The whole family is now together again. We love calling Anne and her husband our ‘mum and dad’ and Australia home! Some of my brothers and sisters and I came to St James in July of 2016 shortly after arriving from Uganda. We love feeling safe again and having the opportunity to attend school. St James has helped our whole family, Anne included, to settle into life here, to become part of the community.”

Today, Catherine is thriving at school. The College welcomes many students like her who are from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. These children bring with them many challenges – over half of all Jimmies’ students have English as a second language and many have a learning disability. At Jimmies, these differences are celebrated through the College’s rich pastoral care, academic, sporting and cultural curriculums. A Jimmies education – founded in authentic Gospel spirituality, reflected through compassion, respect, social inclusion and understanding – represents the gift of transformative education, hope and inclusion.

As Jimmies approaches its 150th anniversary, the College is seeking the support of at least 150 generous people to consider making a monthly gift to the Faithful Friends Fund, to help provide bursaries to our most disadvantaged students. By making a regular, modest monthly gift you can have a significant impact on a student’s future. Catherine summarises it best,
“I know that I and my siblings are just a few of a large number of vulnerable young men and women who attend St James and who cannot afford fees or uniforms. We so are grateful that Jimmies has welcomed us so warmly and that the teachers and my friends help us in every way they can.”

The Jimmies Family is one of true multiculturalism and inclusion. The College ethos makes it uniquely able to welcome students like Catherine, in a way that no other school could. We are, and always will be, proud to provide a Catholic education to young people whose families could not otherwise afford it.

All donations to the Faithful Friends Fund are tax-deductible and can be made online. Your support will provide Catherine and other Jimmies students like her with an education that they could only otherwise dream.

When Catherine touches the crest on her way into the schoolyard, she has a lot to be grateful for. Your generosity will make it possible for more children to proudly touch that same crest and be welcomed to St James.”

*Student names have been changed for privacy.

St James College Bursary Fund Giving Form

Thank you for supporting the St James College Bursary Fund

Gifts over $2 are tax deductible.

Catholic school gives hope to children in need

In a world where others want so much, 5-year-old Philip is fascinated with one thing: his brand new school bag!

The thought of going to school gives Philip so much joy, he jumps out of bed on a Monday morning. He’s excited to put on his uniform every day. He has no idea how much financial and emotional pressure his family are under ever since his mum was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

A Catholic school gives his family hope for the future

Your generous gift has been combined with other donors to fund a bursary for Philip.

While his mum and dad were desperate for Philip to go to a pastorally-focused Catholic school, mounting medical bills placed this dream permanently out of their reach. Now, they are again filled with hope. Even though times ahead will be tough for Philip, his parents have a small measure of comfort knowing he’ll be cared for in his new Catholic school.

Thank you for helping to give this young family such peace of mind.

Hope for more than two dozen students

The start of the school year is especially bright for 25 students who have received a Mary MacKillop bursary.

Each of the students who receive a MacKillop bursary has experienced the shattering effects of family breakdown or extreme financial hardship. The Fund provides tuition fees to attend the local Catholic school and gives them the best chance to live up to their true potential.

As the fund grows, more bursaries will be awarded to deserving children across the Archdiocese. On behalf of each of our 25 MacKillop bursary recipients and their families, thank you for your support.

Please consider a prayerful gift to the Mary MacKillop School Access Fund


New seminarians a boost for our future Church

There’s nothing like the promise of new beginnings to inspire us all. Thanks to your support, Monsignor John Grace and his formation team have just welcomed seven young men to Holy Spirit Seminary at Banyo. This group of seminarians is one of the largest in recent years and represent the future of our Church.

Educating seminarians for the priesthood

Together with our current seminarians, we now have 22 young men on their journey to the priesthood, drawn from dioceses across the state. It takes both faith and courage for these young men to make the decision to choose a life of service to the Church.

A journey of faith

It is not a journey they can complete on their own. With your prayers and support, the formation team at the Seminary are confident each of our seminarians will contribute to a strong and vibrant future for the Catholic Church in Queensland.

With your gifts to Holy Spirit Seminary, you help to provide for their education and formation. Supporting seminarians means we guarantee the future of our Church and ensure priests are there to support us, guide our children, baptise our grandchildren and will humbly serve Christ with a humility modelled after His own merciful heart.

Thomas Zaranski was ordained into the transitional diaconate in 2017. He says:

The Holy Spirit Seminary is a prayerful place and a great place to learn. This opportunity would not be afforded to my peers or me without the support of the Catholic community in Brisbane. I don’t take this support for granted and I look forward to becoming a priest, to being able to serve a faithful community who have always supported me.” Read more from Thomas on discerning the priesthood.

Thank you for your prayerful support of our seminarians.

If you would like to make a kind gift to Holy Spirit Seminary, donate online today.


Retired priest still active

Father Jim Browne jovially describes himself as a “re-treaded” rather than a retired priest. In fact, since his retirement in 2002, he has helped the people of Macleay and the Bay Islands build their first church.

Thanks to your prayerful gifts, elderly and retired priests, like Father Jim, are able to continue to live out their calling to serve God and his Church in the Archdiocese.

Retired priests embody the essence of giving and sacrifice. While Father Jim has a seemingly endless vigour to further the Lord’s work, he has been grateful to receive the support of the Priests Foundation numerous operations and procedures.

Priest remains active in retirement

In spite of his health concerns, Father Jim continues to be inspired by the words of Jesus, “The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served. He gave his life as a ransom for many and I think that’s the bottom line when it comes to who we are as servants”.

Like Father Jim, most retired priests continue to be actively engaged in the community, supporting their brother priests and helping people in need. They freely and happily give their time to celebrate Mass and other sacraments and provide chaplaincy to hospitals, schools, prisons, aged care and social service groups.

Support from the Priests Foundation

There are currently 57 priests who receive support from the Priests Foundation and over the next five years, 15 more will be eligible for retirement. Thanks to your prayerful gift Archdiocesan priests are provided basic living assistance, convalescent care, accommodation, health and transport support.

Thank you for your support of retired priests in prayer and deed.

If you would like to prayerfully consider support to the Priests Foundation, please donate on our secure website.


Hospital chaplains the light in darkest times

Chaplains help hospital patients

Our Hospital Chaplains

Hospital chaplains are a light during challenging moments of our lives. Chaplains are volunteers who offer patients and their families comfort. One of our chaplains said:

“I’ve helped people through the toughest times of their lives. Sometimes we pray together, other times we just talk. But when circumstances look the bleakest, I find it’s then that people will ask questions about life, God, and their life’s journey – that’s where we can offer a shoulder, comfort and support.”

Your kind gifts have helped to support Centacare’s hospital chaplains looking after patients and their families in hospitals around Brisbane and South East Queensland.

Making Ministry Possible

Thanks to your support, hospital chaplains are able to continue their work and provide pastoral care to people in often difficult and vulnerable moments. It’s an indispensable ministry of the Church, made possible because of the financial support of people like you.

We are grateful to our army of volunteers and donors who enable our non-government funded work in prisons, hospitals, psychiatric pastoral care and Indigenous communities.

If you would like to know more about Centacare’s work visit

Your local Church providing Catholic Social Services

Centacare has been providing support services to the people of South East Queensland for the past 50 years.

Whilst Centacare is a Catholic agency, they provide services to the entire community, regardless of religion, circumstance, ethnicity, economic situation, age, gender or ability.

Many services attract funding from both the Federal and Queensland governments, to help provide quality services to those in need. However, there are a growing number of vital services that do not receive any funding or are critically under-funded.

If you would like to contribute the growth of Centacare in the community, please consider a donation today.

Gift of compassion from students at St Thomas More

The student leadership team at St Thomas More college in Sunnybank, Brisbane proudly presented Bishop Ken Howell with a gift of $3000 towards this year’s Annual Catholic Campaign.

In line with the school’s motto ‘God’s Servant First’ and their commitment to infuse compassion and kindness, justice and peace, and love of God, into all they do, students raised the funds to support four critical ministries in the Archdiocese.

This year they are Centacare, which serves our most vulnerable neighbours. It also supports the care of elderly, retired and unwell priests, seminarians’ education at Holy Spirit Seminary, and the Mary MacKillop School Access Fund, which provides Catholic school bursaries for children whose families are experiencing severe financial hardship.

Every gift is important

Have you thought about giving a gift to this year’s Campaign? It is truly your heart’s attitude rather than the size of your gift that matters.

Mary Macuga, Director of the Catholic Foundation hears from donors with big hearts. “Donors often say, ‘It’s not much, but I want to give something’.

“This humble thought is what the Campaign is all about. It reminds me of the widow’s mite because she gave so much to serve others, and give thanks to God.”

Regular giving

Each monthly gift is put straight to work, to make a difference in the lives of people in need. Regular gifts also help ministries reduce their admin costs and plan ahead, to help even more people in need. Please consider making a regular gift today, in an amount that is meaningful to you. You can make a one-off or regular gift through your parish, online at or call the Catholic Foundation on 07 3324 3200.

However you support the Campaign, one thing is clear: your gift will be the answer to someone’s prayer.

Melbourne Cup panel

The Assembly of Catholic Professionals welcomed guest speakers Bart Sinclair (commentator), Shane Scriven (former jockey), Brian Yorke (former jockey) and Father Dave O’Connor (local racing enthusiast). Moderated by Michael Crutcher, General Manager – Communications, Archdiocese of Brisbane.

An expert Melbourne Cup panel

Ahead of the 2017 Melbourne Cup, the Assembly of Catholic Professionals was delighted to welcome an expert racing panel. Over lunch, they gave the audience an entertaining behind the scenes look at the Melbourn Cup and Australia’s racing industry.