02 Sep 2020
To live life to the full - Archbishop O'Regan
The Southern Cross | September 2020
To live life to the full
As time permits I have been attempting to visit as many Mass centres in the Archdiocese as possible. I’m told there are around 143 different places where Mass is celebrated so this will take some time.
During these visits I have found people to be most welcoming. Discussion often proceeds to people’s deeper concerns. One consistent concern is the effects of COVID on their own life and that of the parish to which they belong. For some this is expressed in the pressure they see that the virus is exerting on people’s mental health.
When a survey was conducted of our young people in preparation for the 2018 Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, the number one issue of concern to them was mental health.
So, it is timely that this year’s Social Justice Statement seeks to address this issue. Mental Health in Australia Today is the subtitle of this year’s Social Justice Statement (2020-21) from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), To Live Life to the Full. This document outlines how the Church in Australia views the challenge of mental ill-heath today, and encourages us all to “make mental heath a real priority, so that all people may know the fullness of life which Jesus offers (John 10:10)” in the words of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the ACBC.
This statement is an invitation for our parishes and schools, families and community groups to become more actively involved in assisting those living with mental health challenges. It is also an acknowledgement from the hierarchy of the Church that “as leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia, (we) are painfully aware of the failings of so many Church people and entities to protect and care for children and vulnerable adults in institutions… All of us who inherit these situations share in the responsibility to address them.”