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Online conference an “overwhelmingly positive” experience.

Sr Marion Gambin rsj hosted the opening day of the conference, featuring a keynote address from Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Photo: Supplied.

Catholic Mission has this week reported its fifth edition of the Mission: one heart many voices conference, held for the first time online and presented to a worldwide audience, was an outstanding success with more than 500 participants actively involved and engaged in exploring the challenges of living the gospel and leading mission in Australia and globally.

The conference, held from 1 to 3 September 2021, commenced with greetings from Pope Francis, who invited participants, to a “renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the bond of unity and love.”

In a message forwarded by the Apostolic Nunciature to Fr Brian Lucas, National Director of Catholic Mission, Pope Francis sent cordial greetings and good wishes to all those taking part in the three-day virtual conference.

The conference also included an additional day of creativity shaped by young people on 4 September, explored the challenges of living the Gospel and leading mission in Australia and globally.

Catholic Mission National Director, Father Brian Lucas said that this is the first time the conference is being presented virtually.

“The feedback from the participant experience has been overwhelmingly positive,” Fr Lucas said.

“I’m very grateful to all who participated, and to our supporters and sponsors who make the conference possible.”

Senior Australian of the Year, Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu, renowned artist, activist, writer, and public speaker Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM opened the conference with a welcome and opening prayer followed by her address focusing on Dadirri, an inner deep listening and quiet still awareness.

Dr Miriam-Rose invited participants to contemplate what they see, feel, and hear around them.

“It is peace in silent awareness. A big part of Dadirri is listening,” Dr Miriam-Rose explained in her keynote address.

“Inner deep listening and quiet still awareness, whether you’re happy or sad.”

Also, on the opening day of the conference, a keynote address from Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. His discussion focused on Fratelli Tutti, global missiology and the spirit of working with “people of goodwill” for a better world and God’s Kingdom.

Online interaction: CEO, Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd, Ursula Stephens and prominent author Hugh Mackay participated in a question-and-answer session on day two of the Mission: One Heart Many Voices conference, facilitated by Catholic Mission’s Luke Tobin. Photo: Supplied.

“Justice is not an ideal,” Cardinal Tagle said in his discussion.

“Justice is about people. Justice blooms where love is open.”

Day two of the conference featured keynote addresses from Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd Chief Executive Officer Ursula Stephens, focusing on the concept of Redemptive Leadership and its connection to everyday reality and opportunity.

Prominent Australian author, Hugh Mackay who also led a special workshop, focusing on his latest book, The Kindness Revolution, which takes inspiration from the difficulties Australia faced throughout 2020.

Mr Mackay, in his talk, explained that kindness is “a therapeutic act”.

“The capacity for kindness is our most precious act. Kindness is a remarkable property. I think of kindness as the purest form of human love,” Mr Mackay said.

“Kindness refers to the only form of human love that doesn’t involve emotion… We have the capacity to show kindness to anyone.”

A special presentation from human rights activist, broadcaster and former Socceroo, Craig Foster, was another highlight on the second day of the conference.