Awareness of our Surrounding World




View their latest newsletter here October-2020

JustAct is the social justice unit at the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. They equip church members and non-church members to take action on issues that matter most to them.

JustAct campaign on issues that matter most to their supporters. 

Sometimes this means writing letters or making phone calls, but it can also result in direct lobbying. They also offer other types of resources for those interested in making social justice change.

This Month’s Letter Writing Actions
>Church People Murdered and Harassed in the Philippines<
Murders of church people have occurred in the Duterte Administration’s ‘drug war’, which has seen thousands of extrajudicial executions. Those responsible for the murders of church people, human rights defenders, environmentalists, and social justice advocates are very rarely held to account. Help us take action to make it clear murders, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders are unacceptable and those responsible will be held to account.

Creating more jobs and safer social housing with energy efficiency upgrades<
Social housing is provided to people on low incomes or with particular needs by government agencies or not-for-profit organisations. Energy efficiency upgrades are one of the most cost-effective measures to reduce emissions while also creating jobs. Help us create a fairer and more sustainable social housing sector.

Seeking justice for people seeking asylum in Australia<
The Commonwealth Ombudsman reported in early 2019 complaints of injury as a result of excessive use of force by private detention officers employed by Serco, a detention centre contractor for the Australian Government. They concluded the use of force was outside of standard operating procedures and appeared unlawful. Take action to protect people in immigration detention form acts of violence both, physical and threatened.

Ensuring the well-being of people with disabilities<
Australian Governments, Commonwealth and State, have introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to support people with disabilities. Often it grants funds directly to the person with the disability or their carer. However, the NDIS has marketised and privatised care of people with disabilities which threatens exploitation by people working to provide services, thereby degrading quality of care. Take action to safeguard the NDIS and safeguard those who access it. 

An update to 11 years too long:    It all began when:

Elizabeth Young RSM started this petition to Peter Dutton (Minister for Home Affairs)

“11 years is too long. Hon Peter Dutton MP, we call on you to release A from detention and grant him his SHEV visa immediately!

Despite more than 11 years in detention, and being recognised as a refugee, A has still not been granted his liberty. Now he fears he will be transferred back to Christmas Island as part of the government’s reshuffle of the detention network in response to COVID-19. ‘Christmas Island is where I was first held; I cannot return there 11 years later,’ A said.

A Sri Lankan of Sinhalese ethnicity, A fled his country, in fear for his life, in the midst of bloodshed during the height of the civil war. He was 29 years old when he arrived in March 2009.”  Read in full here

 And Now:  A is free – thank God!

We are now thanking God for some very good news: 

A has been given a visa and freed from detention!!! Let us then celebrate with him. Here is A’s message:

“Dear Australians, By the will of God and your support, I got the visa and am now, finally, a free man. I am forever indebted to you all. At this moment I am reminded of the words of God. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…. Read A’s Full message of thanks

Uniting global voices to promote gender equality in the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church is facing a crisis.
A new generation of Catholics are questioning the Church hierarchy and its response to a changing world and emerging problems, such as sexual and power abuse.
Many questions are coming from deeply faithful Catholic women who are asking why the Church is so slow in recognising their value and opening decision making roles to them; roles that incorporate their faith, charism, expertise and education into structures of authority at all levels. 
With over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide and over of them women, we must ask why there are so few female decision-makers in the Catholic Church.
Decisions that affect all of us, cannot be voiced by half of us.
Without female voices in leadership, half the Church remains silent.
Visit the website and tell Pope Francis why this must change. Write your message
this campaign has been created by Voices of Faith find out more

LOYO – Our new Sister Community in the Philippines

Our St Kevin’s community are proud to learn more of our new sister Community so that we can understand their needs and better assist them. To do this we’ve sponsered one of our dedicated teachers- Fulvia Gerolisimo – who has embarked on a missionary trip to the Philippines to experience first hand our newly sponsored community of ‘LOYO’. 
Please read an email Fulvia sent to Fr Gerry recently:

“Hello Father Gerry, Hope you are well. 

Our stay here in Cebu has been quite overwhelming. My heart aches for the people. What we have seen has been so incomprehensible. 

Our visit to Loyo Elementary was pleasant yet sad. The school and community are in desperate need of every possible thing you can imagine. For one, the school itself has no running water so the children need to fill up 2  x 2 gallon bottles of water collected at the well approx 800 meters from the school, then walk up the hill to the school. That is their drinking water and bathroom required water for their school day. At the end of the day they walk back down the hill, refill their 2 gallons with water from the well and take it back home to their home for the family. 🙁

Both Anna-Maria and myself went shopping the night before for school supplies. We purchased 90 exercise books, 200 writing pencils and 40 packets of colouring pencils. (With Parish money) 
We also purchased the Loyo community (17 families in total ) a 50 kilo sack of rice which we then divided amongst the families . Emely gathered a member from each of the families to the school where we then distributed it. Some of the parents were crying upon receiving the bag of rice. We had the underwear to distribute and lots of other donations family and friends had given us for the school/community. 
After having visited Loyo we then purchased paint for the Prep classroom as the Prep teacher had been asking Emely for paint to paint her room for a long time. Our hearts broke upon hearing her desperation on covering the holes in the walls & peeled paint. All the classrooms are so run down, old, tiny, dark ( little if any sunlight)
Emely let her know we had purchased it for her and she came to the Patupat community where we were staying to collect it and to personally thank us, with tears in her eyes and biscuits she had baked for us. We still have about $30 left over so I will add that to Charity’s money. Hope that is ok with you. 

Dearest Father Gerry, my goodness I have so much to share with you about this whole trip. The people. The communities. The life of the people. Our sponsor child and her family. What we have seen, heard and experienced has been so incomprehensible. It hurts my heart so very much. 

Thank you for allowing me to travel here and experience this. 

Take care and God Bless,”

Fellow in Contemporary Church History, Campion Hall, Oxford
_____ Hélder Câmara Lecture NEWMAN COLLEGE, MELBOURNE 21 March 2019 _______


When he addressed its gathering at the Olympic Stadium in Rome in 2014, Pope Francis warned the Charismatic Renewal against turning in on itself, existing for its own self, and thereby becoming an obstacle to salvation. “You are dispensers of God’s grace, not its arbiters!” he told them. “Don’t act like a tollhouse for the Holy Spirit!” And he urged them to read the third document of Malines by two great churchmen of the 1970s: Cardinal Leo Suenens of Brussels, and the Bishop of Olinda and Recife for whom this lecture is named, Dom Helder Câmara. The Malines documents were a series of discernment reflections in the early 1970s by leading church figures on the fast-spreading and surprising eruption of the charismatic renewal. The one the pope was urging them to read, was about service to humanity, not separating personal faith from the justice of the Kingdom of God. Camara was the icon of that integrity in Latin America at that time: he had led the group of bishops who signed the Pact of the Catacomb following the Council, inspired by John XIII’s call for a Church for all, but especially of the poor. Francis had famously identified with this current on the days after his election, telling journalists he dreamed of a “poor Church, for the poor”.
In that Malines document, Dom Helder says this: “If the Church is to give the example it must, if it is to be the living presence of Christ among men and with men, it urgently and permanently needs to cast off its concern for prestige, to unharness itself from the chariot of the mighty, and to agree to live the prophecy of the Master, which is valid for all times:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves … They will hand you over to courts of judgment” (Mt. 10, 16-17).”


I don’t want slaves working for me

February 2019 I have the power to show, through the choices I make, that everybody matters – that I don’t want any slaves working for me, says Good Samaritan Sister Sarah Puls.  BY Sarah Puls SGS

One of the most courageous people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know is a woman named Mary (not her real name), who was a victim of human trafficking.

Mary and I meet up regularly so that we can, together, negotiate the challenges of her day-to-day life which she lives with courage and determination, but also with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One day Mary would like to tell her own story; I could never do it justice anyway. But I’d like to tell you how Mary has become a part of my story. When Mary was brought to Australia she was held captive, deprived of food and subjected to physical and sexual violence by multiple men every day for almost two years. Before I met Mary and heard something of her experience, I could never have imagined that a human being could subject another human being to such inhumane, violent, horrific treatment. I certainly could never have imagined how a person who’d been a victim of such treatment could not be fundamentally broken. And yet, what I see in Mary is a woman who is fundamentally changed, but definitely not broken. I, too, am fundamentally changed through knowing Mary’s story and walking beside her in her pain. As I listened to her story I had so many unanswerable questions: How could those men do that to her? How is it possible for one human being to use another person like they are a ‘thing’ to be abused and discarded? What does it mean to live in a community where there are people who can treat other people in this way? And if this darkness exists in my community, what is my responsibility for that? Over the past year there has been growing awareness in the community about human trafficking and modern slavery. With the encouragement of Pope Francis and our bishops, many people have been praying for the safety and recovery of victims and for a change of heart for the traffickers. Praying and working for change is terribly important, but I wonder if there is another aspect to the issue which I could be considering. I can think of people like Mary’s abusers and imagine the ‘bad guys’ are very different from me. I may think of cocoa farms in Western Africa, cotton farms in Uzbekistan or sweatshops in Bangladesh and think that the problem of modern slavery is far away, beyond the reach of my influence. But the disturbing reality is quite the opposite. Regularly in my day-to-day life I bump up against the edges of the world of trafficked people, because here in Australia, we all do. The distressing truth is that it is easy for me – and for all of us – to be complicit in systems and processes which allow human trafficking to be a growing problem in our world. Though not abusing people directly, our choices every day connect us with the systems and supply chains in which people are used as objects, in which the life of a human person is worth very little indeed. Everyday purchases like clothing, food and technology connect us with supply chains in which slavery and labour exploitation are endemic. The choices I make reflect my values, my commitment to human rights and my ability to recognise every person as having equal dignity and value. When confronted with issues as disturbing and challenging to my understanding of humanity as human trafficking, it can be very tempting to say with the Pharisee: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people” (Luke 9:11). But the reality is that my indifference to the suffering of others – my ‘sinfulness’ – is held at a distance, allowing me to feel I am not responsible. It is so much easier to look away and try not to think too much about the $3 t-shirt and how it is possible for a product to be produced so cheaply. I don’t want to think about the hands that held that t-shirt before me, and the kind of life that worker had. But that worker and I do have a connection. And in the relationship between us I am not able to wash my hands entirely of the way he/she is treated. I may not have the power to change that person’s life, but I do have the power to show, through the choices I make, that everybody matters – that I don’t want any slaves working for me. If I really believe that every person matters, then maybe this Lent is a good time to make sure that my actions match that truth.

The season of Lent calls me, and each one of us, to…  Read the full article
This article was published in the February 2019 edition of The Good Oil, the e-magazine of the Good Samaritan Sisters.

Human Trafficking


To Succeed in this work of justice we all need to work as partners.

Here are six suggested ways we could do this:

1. Support the Victorian-Tasmanian Catholic Anti Slavery Working Group
2. Share what you know. Talk with at least 5 family members or friends about Human Trafficking. Put a brief report in your school/work or Parish bulletin to inform others about the existence of human trafficking and slavery.
3. Learn more. Regularly visit for information about current issues and campaigns requiring actin. Register for ACRATH’s monthly e-news bulletin by emailing . Attend forums and information sessions on trafficking or slavery.
4. Slavery-proof your school parish or community. Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Uniforms…
5.Campaign. Visit to explore the following campaigns in which you, your family and friends could be involved in:
-Slavery-free Easter chocolate campaign;
-Slavery-free purchasing;
-16 days campaign for the prevention of violence against Women and Girls (25 Nov – 10 Dec 2019)
7. Shop Ethically. Use your purchasing power to prevent slavery by always seeking out FAIRTRADE, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification of tea, coffee, chocolate and ask for just wages for workers behind the goods and services we use.
8. Help raise funds. Organise a fundraising event in your school, parish or community or make a donation to support the work of ACRATH.
Following the example of St Josephine Bakhita, we are called to take action on behalf of people vulnerable to being trafficked today.