Friday, May 26, 2017
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Category Archives: People Stories

‘Christ among us’

By Paul Jeffrey BEHIND the blue-helmeted United Nations soldiers ringing the periphery, their tanks and heavy weapons pointed outward, Maryknoll Father Mike Bassano’s parish is a tightly packed maze of tents and tarpaulins filled with people hiding from war. Fr Bassano is the only priest amid the 25,000 civilians who live inside the civilian protection area of the UN base ... Read More »

Miracle of forgiveness

By Eva-Maria Kolmann CARMELITE Father Aurelio Gazzera was almost lynched by an angry mob in Central African Republic. He prayed the Rosary as rocks pelted his car and furious people pointed weapons at him. The priest had brought the wrath of a number of Muslims down upon himself by supporting the withdrawal of the Séléka (predominantly Muslim) insurgents; some of ... Read More »

The cunning psychology of a cult

By Paul Dobbyn WHEN Debra Geileskey, a charismatic, seemingly devout young Australian woman, arrived in Dublin in 1995 the authority of the Catholic Church in Ireland was under attack. Allegations of corruption and abuse were rocking this once integral part of Irish society. Fr Brendan Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock ... Read More »

Karen’s spiritual journey

By Paul Dobbyn THREE days into her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Karen Gerrard wasn’t travelling well. Her knees felt as though they were about to give out after her trek down part of the Pyrenees in this early stage of the Camino Frances (the French Way). Stretching out ahead of her were 30 more days of walking ... Read More »

Coming home to the Church

Leaving cults

By Paul Dobbyn EILISH Gaffney was at Helidon’s Magnificat Meal Movement headquarters in early 2012 listening to a live Skype talk from the movement’s founder in Vanuatu. To her shock, she heard the founder Debra Burslem denounce two of her closest friends. That was when Eilish felt the first serious stirrings of doubt about the path she was on. Claire ... Read More »

Rising to the challenge

Steph Lalor of Caritas

AMAZINGLY Steph Lalor’s faith was not shredded by her exposure to the devastation and trauma caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu last month. Quite the opposite, the Caritas Pacific program manager said. The monster cyclone, the strongest ever recorded to make landfall in the South Pacific, was responsible for 11 deaths and the destruction of more than 75,000 homes ... Read More »

Hail Mary to the end

By Paul Dobbyn AUTHOR Michele Gierck is emphatic that accompanying her mother through Alzheimer’s to her eventual death “is not a sad story”. Reading the Melbourne author’s latest book, “Fraying: Mum, memory loss, the medical maze and me”, it’s easy to agree. “Touching”, “inspirational”, “heart-warming” and “informational” are words which come to mind, but definitely not “sad”. Michele was very ... Read More »

Led to Christ

By Emilie Ng WILL Nicol has thrown off many ugly crosses in his life, but there’s one he would eagerly clutch until he dies – the crucifix. And while the 25-year-old nor any human being will ever have a chance to touch Christ’s real cross, this year he walked in Jesus’ shoes, portraying the Son of God in the Stations ... Read More »

Adventure in Alice

By Peter Bugden SISTER Anne Surtees has never taken a leap of faith quite like the one she is taking this Easter season. The Ursuline Sister of 35 years is giving up a role she “loves” – as director of Centacare Pastoral Ministries in Brisbane archdiocese – and heading off into the great unknown in Alice Springs. It’s a change ... Read More »