News & Events

Those distant from the Christian faith: July 2017 Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Those distant from the Christian faith.

Text of July video:

'Let us never forget that our joy is Jesus Christ - his faithful and inexhaustible love. When a Christian becomes sad, it means that he has distanced himself from Jesus. But then we must not leave him alone! We should offer him Christian hope - with our words, yes, but more with our testimony, with our freedom, with our joy.

Let us pray that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the beauty of the Christian life.'

We invite you to post a reflection or prayer in our prayer space.

Key Concerns & Signs of Hope: Our Climate Future

Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace (CCJP) invite you to join us at our July Seminar, Key Concerns & Signs of Hope: Our Climate Future, to be presented by Professor Tim Flannery.

Professor Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, Professor Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007.

Professor Flannery is Chief Councillor at The Climate Council, an independent non-profit organisation funded by donations by the public. The Council’s mission is to provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change.

Date: Sunday, 16 July 2017.

Time: 10am - 12 noon.

Venue: Convent of Mercy, 6 Victoria Road, Parramatta (opposite St Patrick's Cathedral).

Parking: Street parking is available with the exception of Victoria Road and O'Connell Street.

Donation: A $10 donation is appreciated.

Refreshments: Morning tea will be provided.

For more information, contact CCJP:
T: (02) 9745 0820. E: W:

Download the flyer (PDF)

All are welcome!

Do come along and bring interested friends with you.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2017

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July (2-9 July 2017). Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation recognises the importance of NAIDOC Week in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture, talent and resilience and the opportunity this week offers us all to build relationships.

According to the NAIDOC Committee, this year's theme - Our Languages Matter - aims 'to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song'.

Ways to be involved in NAIDOC WEEK:

NAIDOC events are being held around Australia. A list of these can be found on the NAIDOC website here

Check out programs on offer in NAIDOC Week 2017: NITV / ABC guide

'Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds. Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on', the Committee tells us.

Bishop Vincent appoints Mercy Sister as Chancellor for Diocese

'With her vast breadth of experience in education, pastoral work and ministry, the Most Rev Vincent Long OFM CONV has appointed Sr Catherine Ryan rsm as Chancellor (Ministries) for the Diocese of Parramatta. Sr Catherine is the first female religious to hold such a position in the Diocese. She joins Msgr Ron McFarlane who has been appointed Chancellor (Administration).

Sr Catherine has been a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta since 1963 and ministered for the following twenty-seven years in the field of Catholic Primary education. Initially a teacher at St Charles’ Ryde and St Bernadette’s Castle Hill, Catherine completed higher studies in Education Administration and then worked in the Catholic Education Office Sydney to establish the Leadership Development Program for Primary School Principals (1974-1976). Sr Catherine served as principal of St Patrick’s Primary School Blacktown (1977-1980), OLOF Caringbah (1981-83) and St Michael’s Baulkham Hills (1985-1990).

In the early nineties, Sr Catherine gained qualifications in Clinical Pastoral Education through Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney and was appointed by Bishop Bede Heather as Chaplain to those living with and affected by HIV/Aids in Western Sydney. This ministry included the opening of Bethany, a respite care centre in Blacktown, which was sponsored by the Diocese and supported by many religious congregations and the NSW Health Department.

From 1998-2005 she gained rich pastoral experience as member of the Parish Team of Holy Family Community, Mt Druitt. From 2005, Sr Catherine took up fulltime leadership roles within her Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, serving as Congregation Vicar 2004-2010 and as Congregation Leader 2010-2016. She currently lives in the Mercy community at St Michael’s Baulkham Hills.

Sister Catherine Ryan commences her appointment 1 July 2017.'

Article first published in Catholic Outlook, Diocese of Parramatta News. Reprinted with permission.

Celebrating Australian Citizenship

The City of Sydney holds regular citizenship ceremonies to welcome new Australians.

Janet Woods rsm attended two citizenship ceremonies this week, on 19th June and on World Refugee Day (20th June). The ceremonies were held at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) near Central Station Sydney. The two women who got their Australian citizenship are refugees, one from Sudan and one from South Sudan. They both attend English classes at Mamre House and have attended our Citizenship classes which helped them prepare for the citizenship test.

L-r: Janet Woods rsm with Achol Deng at conclusion of the ceremony

We have been conducting these Citizenship classes at Mamre House since 2007 and to date 53 women have passed the test and gained their Australian citizenship. This is quite amazing considering that most of the women spoke no English when they arrived in Australia and the majority had never been to school because of the 20 years war in Sudan.

Mamre House in St Marys was set up by the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy through Mary Louise Petro rsm and continued under our care for many years. It is now a work of Catholic Care Social Services.

"It has been a great joy and privilege for me to have been able to assist all these women to gain their citizenship and to rejoice with them at the Citizenship ceremonies", said Sr Janet.

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