2nd March 2017
Vol 2 Issue 4

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Here is their story—a great Province Ministry
We will update with further stories and news in future editions


 The Edmund Rice Centre WA has a proud history and an on-going commitment to assisting people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Established in 1998 to provide essential settlement services and community education activities in the northern suburbs of Perth, the Centre services have expanded more widely throughout the metropolitan area with a particular emphasis on young people and youth leadership as a way of ensuring a positive future for all.

The Edmund Rice Centre WA is recognised as one of Australia’s leading service providers by community groups, government and other agencies in the field.

  READ MORE  Download Bonheur Cubahiro's "Good News" story.



Yesterday the Edmund Rice Tutoring and Learning Club for students of refugee background started again for 2017, in its fourth St Albans location. Br Chris Meehl began the tutoring in the heritage-listed Uniting Church Hall in 2002. In 2010 it moved to the Brimbank Council's Errington Centre.

When this was demolished in 2015, operations continued in the nearby demountable erected by the Council. The new and best site is the recently finished St Albans Community Centre. ERCRS had input into the design. On the first evening for 2017, about 30+ primary school students were present along with groups of Adult tutors and peer tutors from St Patrick’s College Ballarat, Parade College Bundoora, and Penleigh & Essendon Grammar.

It was also a new beginning for the centre as it welcomes Gudrun Philipp on the same day as its new Coordinator.


The rehabilitation center works with street children from the Mukuru slums


I am a recently professed Christian Brother presently waiting for my assignment to be part of the TST program in India. During this time, I have been asked to work in the Mary Immaculate rehabilitation Centre.

The rehabilitation center recruits street children from the Mukuru slums and offers them love and care to help them change for the better and prepare them to be responsible people in the society; the Centre also, and, most importantly, helps the street children to locate their parents or relatives.


Address Climate Change Increasingly Urgent


ERI is again encouraging participation in Earth Houron March 25th at 8:30pm local time. Earth Hour is a movement to encourage people worldwide to switch off their lights for an hour each year to demonstrate their commitment to fighting climate change.

The Paris Agreementon climate change was adopted at COP21 a little over a year ago. It is essentially a plan to save our planet from the worst impacts of climate change and build a sustainable future for humanity.

Last year (2016) was officially declared the hottest year on record (the third year in succession this has happened) underlining the seriousness and urgency of the need to address climate change.


The Sophia Circle is supported by:

Edmund Rice Centre Amberley and Edmund Rice Education Australia


Edmund Rice Centre Amberley

7 Amberley Way, Lower Plenty

Enquiries regarding cost or program:
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Retreat 1:

Call to Global and Personal Transformation
Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July

Mixed Retreat

Retreat 2, Soul Sisters:

Women Called to Connect, Bond and Heal in the Broken World Friday 4th - Thursday 10th August

Women’s Retreat


Mass for Edward (Ted) Thorpe, at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Otara,

Thanks to Don Murray and Cath Ford for being present at the Requiem in Auckland, on 26th January.

Ted spend nearly 30 years as a Christian Brother, involved in teaching ministries in Christchurch, Auckland, the Cook Islands and Rotorua, as well as being a member of the Edmund Rice Youth Support Trust in Mangere. Br. Joe Lauren wrote : “Ted will be remembered as a great man who displayed compassion, vision, commitment and gentleness.”

Ted always showed a special care for young people who were struggling, and who often did not fit in easily to an academic educational mould.


Br Steve Morelli cfc was leader and editor/compiler for the project.


At Nambucca Community and Arts Centre, Steve Morelli addressing the packed crowd
for the launch of the Gumbaynggirr Dreaming Story Collection


Last Wednesday a new book was launched in a packed hall at Nambucca Heads with many having to stand or sit on the floor so as to be involved in what was a most joyous community occasion. Our own Steve Morelli, lead editor/compiler for the project, gave a wonderful speech acknowledging the enormous contributions of people stretching back 30 years when Steve started his work on the NSW mid-north coast. And, of course, the numerous people who had been recording Dreaming stories from the Elders of the Gumbaynggirr before the stories were lost.

Cover of Gumbaynggirr Dreaming Story Collection


Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, St Pauls, 2016, RRP $7.95
Reviewed by Br Brian Grenier CFC


A small 64-page booklet like this might easily escape the attention of a reviewer. That would be a pity; for it has more to offer readers (especially those afflicted by ill health) than some weighty tomes. In seven brief chapters and an appended interview the Dominican Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, shares his experience of a serious illness which struck him down on Christmas Day 2015 and left him paralysed from the neck down. Admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome—a painful disease which necessitated slow and difficult therapy over several months.

Appropriately, the first chapter reprints an article entitled ‘The Mystery of Suffering’ that Archbishop Fisher contributed to the Catholic Weekly at the beginning of Holy Week in 2016. This is followed by two thought-provoking homilies he gave at the Chrism Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral and on Easter Sunday. The former is an especially fine piece of writing in which he highlights the important place that hands have in human relationships in general and in the mission and spiritual life of believers in particular.


Serving the homeless in St. Kilda and South Melbourne.

The Edmund Rice Food Van Program currently supports and runs three food vans a week in St. Kilda and South Melbourne on Wednesday and Friday nights. Over the past 8 years this program has created an inclusive and accepting community. Our food vans aim to address social isolation faced by the homeless community whilst also providing a basic yet important necessity - food.

Through a welcoming and non-judgemental approach our volunteers and community members come together to share an evening of conversation and story sharing over a meal. This program encourages those involved to recognise the complexities of homelessness in its various forms.



Know Your Website

Visit www.edmundrice.org


This week we will look at "Our Response".

Last week we introduces "Our Call". This week we look at how we respond to that call. There were many more traditional ways to head this section: "Our Work", "Our Mission" or "What we do". It was decided to use the term "Our Response" to indicate that this is not just any work but a response to God's call.

The "Drop-Down Menu" lists the six major areas on which we have concentrated our efforts. There are formal organizations set up to respond to each of these calls.

The first, "Brothers in Mission" shows the range of ministries the individual Brothers engage in. Some of these are with organizations beyond the Edmund Rice Network.

I am hoping that the problem we are having with the website has been resolved. However I have found that it keeps coming back.

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The Centre was founded by its current director, Stephen Bowman. He saw a great need for more education based services for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Centre has developed an excellent reputation for offering “grass roots” services that consistently help address the current unmet needs in the community.

Each year the Centre interacts with around 3,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. It provides programs in English, computer studies,


life skills for living, driver education, specialist housing assistance, settlement assistance, a women’s group and very popular youth sports and youth leadership training programmes, alongside leisure and cultural programmes.

60 students a day come to the Centre to participate in the Language for Living programme alone. 300 young people each month participate in programmes that include AFL, basketball, soccer, art classes and a highly successful local parks programme that encourages children to come and “have a go” at different activities. The program also transitions young people to mainstream sporting clubs through the assistance of the Kidsport initiative.

“We welcome, respect and value each person regardless of colour, race, creed or ability and we aim to enable social change and learning,” says Stephen Bowman. “We have a warm and vibrant community where staff, volunteers and those with whom we connect always feel encouraged and welcome”.



The Edmund Rice Centre WA is an independent incorporated organisation that is overseen by a board of management with strict governance and financial management. It currently employs a senior management team of three, 10 programme co-ordinators, 17 part-time staff and over 40 active volunteers, many of whom have worked with the Centre for a long period of time.

Our work could not continue without the very generous support of the Christian Brothers Oceania Province.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of Wadjak country and their continuing connection to land, sea and community.
We pay our respects to elders both past and present and to their stories that have sustained them over many thousands of years.

  ERCRS 2 Gudrun also coordinates the Brighter Tomorrow Boys Mentoring group. She comes with vast experience in the sector. She will add value to the great work put in place by many before her.

Coincidently or not, all this was witnessed first-hand by one of the great contributors to what the centre is today, Br Sean McManus. It was good to see him around connecting the dots in the proud history of ERCRS.

(Image: Br Trevor & Biong in the new kitchen)


The center has two sections, the school and the technical programs. The younger ones are helped to enter the education system. Those who are past the school age are taught carpentry. Once they have completed the program, they are helped to get an attachment or a job with various companies with which Mukuru is involved.

Over the last two weeks I have been involved in helping the children who are ready to join various high schools in which they had secured an admission. I have also been involved in going to the street to recruit new children. It is an exciting but a challenging experience trying to convince the children to leave the street and take them to the rehab Centre.

To enter into the places where they live (base or mtaa) is a serious and risky business that could result in being robbed of ones belongings (phone or money or any valuables) My first visit was scary as they demanded that I surrender my phone and money, but after one of the other staff told them I was also a teacher and not Nairobi county council officer or police, they returned my phone.

Now, I am received with cheers and high fives with a nickname "Mode" and I can walk in the "base" sit, relax and talk to them and share stories. In a way, I am leaning from these youths as much as I am helping them: the youth in the base really inspire me because they don’t live as individuals; they live as brothers and share everything they have and protect each other.

They are also joyful and happy and welcoming and help each other without any fuss.

Br Kelvin Otieno


Some grounds for optimism exist that the global community may be able to meet the challenge.

  1. The cost of renewable energy generation continues to fall with solar energy now costing less than fossil fuels
  2. The movement to divest from fossil fuels continues to gain momentum.

Major concerns remain however, particularly in regard to the intention of states to honour the commitments made.

  1. President Trump's appointment of climate-change deniers to key environmental posts
  2. the apparent move of his administration to suppress the dissemination of scientific information about climate change
  3. the Australian government's  plan to spend billions of dollars to enable the establishment of a new coal mine (which banks have refused to finance after recognising that the world is moving away from fossil fuels)

are just two examples.

   Click to learn how to participate in Earth Hour    

On 27th January I was privileged to be invited to participate in a Staff Development Day held at Teschmakers Centre, for the staff of St. Kevin’s College, Oamaru. Teschmakers, a former Dominican Sisters’ boarding school, is now a conference centre, but still retains its beautiful Chapel and surrounding gardens and trees.

Sr. Mary Horn and Sr. Jan Ogilvy welcomed the SKC staff onto the property, and as well presented aspects of Dominican spirituality to the staff members. I was very pleased to be able to present some aspects of Edmund Rice history and charism. The day was a valuable opportunity for staff members to share their understanding of St. Kevin’s College values. A reminder that the 90th Jubilee celebrations of the founding of SKC takes place this year in October over Labour Weekend.

It was also a privilege for me to be present at St. Thomas’s College, Christchurch for both the opening School Mass of the year on 1st February, and then on the following day for the blessing and opening of the wonderful new Waterford High Performance Centre. The Waterford Centre is a modern, state-of- the-art gymnasium, which will allow the students to develop their physical health in a number of areas, being taught by a highly competent and qualified staff.

After 26 years of service to the people of Murupara, Br. Vincent Jury has moved out of the Church residence in Murupara, and will now be living some 60km up the road in Rotorua. Br. Vin has been extremely committed to serving the local community in Murupara, both through the Edmund Rice Youth Centre Trust, and in his leadership role in the Catholic Parish of Murupara.


It was wonderful to hear stories told in the Gumbaynggirr language by a young man, Clark Webb, with no hesitation or self-consciousness. The work is undoubtedly a great resource for indigenous and non-indigenous alike who want to learn more about Gumbaynggirr spirituality, heritage and culture.

Congratulations Steve on being such an integral part of the project. The launch was so obviously a time of rejoicing and spoke so well of community pulling together.


Chief editor and compiler Br Steve signs a copy for another admirer.

  Unifying thematically these chapters and the ones that follow—two more Catholic Weekly reflections, a homily at the Corpus Christi Mass and a homily at the celebration of the Eucharist on the occasion of the silver anniversary of his priestly ordination—are references to the lessons he has learnt about life and death from his experience of debilitating illness and recovery.
Archbishop Fisher acknowledges the comfort and encouragement that he derived from the prayerful support of many people (including children). He admits that he has gained ‘a certain humility that comes with humiliation’ and observes that from now on the starting point of some of his reflection will be ‘that common experience of dependence, of suffering, of weakness that much of humanity is in fact suffering much of the time’.
I hope that many readers will share the pleasure that was mine and the insight that I gained from reading The Healing Peace of Christ.  

Through being present and engaged in the community, the program urges volunteers to challenge the stereotypical views perpetuated throughout society of a person experiencing homelessness.

In the current political environment the issue of homelessness in Melbourne has reached a boiling point. The 'solution' to homelessness has been debated and discussed by media and politicians, yet the rhetoric around this debate and the subsequent treatment of the people whom it directly affects has only created greater division between the wider community and the homeless.

This makes our program all the more important as we work towards breaking down those barriers of isolation and encouraging unification.

If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved, send an email to:
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Danielle Watts

Edmund Rice Food Van Manager

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