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RCIA 2019 Conference

The Diocesan RCIA Conference will be held on
Friday, November 15 from 5.30pm – 9.00pm
(Click here for flyer)


The State RCIA Conference will be held on
Saturday, November 16 from 8.30am – 4.30pm.
(Click here for flyer).

Those attending the Ballarat Diocesan Conference are also welcome and encouraged to attend the State Conference.

Both events will be held at
St Patrick’s Cathedral Precinct,
5 Lyons Street South, Ballarat.

Register for the  Diocesan and State conferences here 



Keynote 1 - Fr Kevin Lenehan
Created for Community: Receiving the Grace of the Other
The Sacraments of Christian Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – embed our lives in the mystery of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus, by forming us as members of a concrete community of the church. This act looks back to humanity’s original creation in a relationship of love and friendship with God, other people, and the cosmos. And it looks forward to the communion of all creation, human and non-human, in the eternal glory of Christ. In the meantime, as members of the church, we learn to receive the grace of the other, in experiences of hurt and alienation as well as experiences of reconciliation and healing. In this way, we become a sign of God’s saving love at work in the world.

Rev Dr Kevin Lenehan is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat. He has recently been appointed as Master at Catholic Theology College Melbourne, a college of the University of Divinity, as well as  Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean (Postgraduate & Research) .  He holds degrees from Monash University, Melbourne College of Divinity, and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.  Kevin  teaches and researches in the areas of fundamental theology, theological anthropology, and religious education. He is a regular contributor in faith formation and adult religious education, as well as liturgical ministry in parishes. He has previously held appointments in youth ministry, pastoral ministry, and leadership in Catholic Education. 


Keynote 2 - Sharon Brewer
Will they find joy?
In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes, ‘One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, “sourpusses”’ (#85).  What an evocative word!  Sourpuss!  Yet, with the scandals that have taken place in our Catholic Church, as well as persecution of Christians here and abroad, there does feel, at times, little to smile about.  Many of us would also have to admit that it is hard to speak of our Church in a positive light, especially when speaking with non-Catholics or those who have left the faith.  And, to speak openly of our relationship with Jesus, quite frankly leaves many of us feeling very awkward.  So if neither our faces nor our words indicate the hope to which Christ calls us to, how will those who are searching for God be enticed to take a look at our Catholic faith?  Sharon’s presentation will delve into the challenges and opportunities of making our Church a joyful one. Sharon will use the six themes that have been put forward by the Plenary Council as a framework to guide the presentation.

Sharon works for the National Centre for Evangelisation (NCE), an agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.  One of Sharon’s tasks is to respond to the enquiries that come to the Catholic Enquiry Centre, which is a major work of the NCE.  She is Chair of the Christian Initiation Australia Network.  Prior to working for the ACBC she worked as the Parish Pastoral Support Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.  And, prior to a short stint with the Attorney General’s Department, she worked for many years as Sacramental Coordinator for her parish.   Sharon and her husband live in Canberra, and have four adult children and one gorgeous grandchild.  Outside of work Sharon spends most of her time doing ‘family stuff’, and is a committed member of her local parish.




A. RCIA for children in your Village: 
How do we start? How long will it take? What is the difference between a baptism program and the Rite of Christian Initiation (of Adults), adapted for children? So many questions bubble in a community when children, who are no longer infants, approach a parish. In this workshop we will explore how to create a whole parish experience with these families, seeking to join the Church. Rites, catechetical sessions, Children’s Liturgy of the Word and parish liturgies can all be adapted in ways which can evangelise the whole family and enliven a community. 

Mandy Robinson, from the Archdiocese of Melbourne, has over thirty years’ experience with the RCIA, in parishes in both Australia and New Zealand. Working as parish RCIA coordinator and catechist, her passion is the development of faith in children, along with their families. A contributor to various diocesan resources, including A Parish Experience a process of adapting the RCIA, for families with unbaptised, primary school aged children, emphasising the use of the Children’s Liturgy of the Word as a model. Mandy is also currently treasurer of the Christian Initiation Australia Network .  

B. Don’t Dismiss the Dismissals!
The Rite recommends Dismissals, yet many parishes hold back, hesitating to include this enrichment in their RCIA process. This workshop will explore the who, what, where, when, why and how of Dismissals. Practical pastoral strategies to ease the implementation of dismissals and extend parishioner involvement in Catechist and hospitality roles will be shared. Dismissals afford the worshipping community the privilege of witnessing Catechumens being nourished by God’s Word in a special way and the opportunity to relate the ‘Good News’ of the Gospels to their faith journeys. As their yearning to be nourished by the Bread of Life grows, the parish family joins them in looking forward to the day when they will be welcomed to the Eucharistic table for the first time. Catechetical resources will be recommended.

Mary Ann Payne is originally from the USA and Ann has lived in Melbourne for 43 years and coordinated RCIA in her parish, Our Lady of the Pines, Donvale since 2005. A familiar presence at local, state and national RCIA conferences, Mary Ann has served on the Melbourne RCIA Leadership Forum and is a student at the Catholic Theological College, having completed 25 units of study since her retirement from the Catholic Development Fund in 2008. She actively liaises with other RCIA groups both in Australia and the USA.


C. Dismissals During Advent - Understanding Matthew & Isaiah
Andrew is also among the presenters of “Making a Scene at Christmas”, a collection of  500 nativity cribs and artefacts.  During this workshop Andrew will use some of those resources to deepen participants’ understandings of Matthew and Isaiah, whose writings will be proclaimed during Advent.  This workshop will be particularly useful for those who lead dismissals during Advent and also into 2020 when Isaiah, and especially Matthew, will be heavily featured.  There could be singing!     

Fr Andrew Hayes is the Parish Priest of Ararat, a prison chaplain, an accomplished musician and a passionate supporter of people seeking asylum.   Andrew enjoys writing and presenting theatre.  He is a paid-up member of the Ararat Embroidery Guild.  Even he wonders why!  He received an Australia Day Multi-Cultural Award (and death threats) for his fundraising concert and community building for the Ararat mosque.  He went on tour with a spoken-word fund-raiser for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.  His next venture is a concert tour of a “respect for women” concert that he has almost finished writing.  Look for that in 2020. 
D. How do we learn or come to faith?
How do we learn or come to faith?  If this is true for us then it must be true for those in our RCIA process.  There is a need in the RCIA process to understand how people - including ourselves come to or learn about faith.  When I began pastoral ministry, I would often read from a text someone else’s words, until gradually with the support of good mentors and friends I began to share my own faith story, my own experience of God.  Things started to change and my connection and impact on others grew immensely.  Two things are important - I must know my own story of faith, I must know my God, and then I must trust it and have the courage to share it.  The Holy Spirit walks closely with me.  Experiences of God working with our faith are so valuable and need to be shared in the right setting.  RCIA is such a setting.  This breakout session will take us to showing others what living your faith in the world looks and feels like. 

Anthony Kilmartin is a Pastoral Associate at St Brendan’s Parish, Shepparton and is also involved in Aged Care.  He says that he never thought that he would be involved in pastoral care, but due to many changes in his life where he believes that his faith and an understanding of who God was for him, led him along a new path.  Anthony was always involved in parish life, but a time of mental illness changed his life as a dairy farmer with six children.  This period, while being the most difficult, made him reassess his life.  Anthony says that, “God took me down a new path, leading me through the wilderness, and out the other side”.  Anthony went back to study and a period of big changes in his working life followed.  He says ,“God can do great things”.


E. Come and See:  Exploring the practicalities and possibilities of the RCIA for your context
This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the RCIA, roles and responsibilities of team members and a focus on the practicalities and possibilities including preparation, promotion and planning, for RCIA in your context.  It will encourage you to view yourselves as an ‘RCIA parish’ rather than a parish with an RCIA.  The workshop is suitable for those new or exploring what the RCIA offers as well as those wishing to revisit and audit their current practice with fresh eyes. 

Jacqui Giuliano, is the Coordinator: Parish Leadership Formation, which includes the Secretariat for Lay Ecclesial Ministry, in the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation, Archdiocese of Melbourne. She was previously a parish Pastoral Associate, and is passionate about responding to, and bringing to life, our baptismal call through a spirit of mission. Providing formation and networking for RCIA coordinators and team members is a welcome part of her role.   


F. Mystagogia: Humanity Limited
This session will explore the communal dimension of our Christian vocation. The world in which we move has, since the Enlightenment, looked at people as individuals. This has had the positive effect that we have come to a greater understanding of human rights and an awareness of the needs of the person. The balancing arm of this understanding has, too often, been lost in the secular space. Our baptism is a baptism into a community. Our Church reflects the life to which we are called in Trinity and, like the concept of Trinity itself must, by definition, be relational. The Church is rightly described as “the People of God”. We are not loners but limited parts of a greater whole who image the Divine in relationship. The Catechism, the documents of Vatican II and consistent Catholic thought insist that the Divine life fulfilled in the Beatific Vision is one of communion. It is this which informs the Christian understandings of charity and social justice. By the very fact of initiation into the Church, we are called to a life lived for others.

Justin Glyn SJ  is a blind Jesuit priest who is currently General Counsel for the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus who also lectures canon law at Catholic Theological College. After growing up in South Africa and practising law there, he moved with his family to New Zealand, completing a doctorate in international and administrative law while working in commercial law firms. In 2009, he moved to Australia to join the Jesuits. He was ordained a priest in Auckland in 2016, before travelling to Ottawa for 2 years to study a licence in canon law.  


G. Music is God’s idea
Sing to the Lord, the document on music created by the Bishops of America states that, “God has bestowed upon his people the gift of song.  God dwells within each human person, in the place where music takes its source.  Indeed, God, the giver of song, is present whenever his people sing his praises” (STL 1).  God’s presence is found when we sing our praise, as music is a language of hope, unity and devotion. This breakout session will explore how prayer and music are linked and how music can be used to enhance Liturgy.

Audrey Brown and Susan Crowe both work for Catholic Education in Ballarat.  They are involved in their parishes in the ministry of music and in RCIA.  Audrey and Susan believe that music plays an essential role in prayer and liturgy – particularly in the rites of the RCIA process.  

H. Sharing the Mission
In 2019 Kim spent 11 months volunteering in India and Timor-Leste.  This experience changed her life and many lessons were learnt.  Perhaps the biggest learning of all for Kim was that “it isn’t necessary to cross the seas to make a difference”.  We can and do make a difference in the ‘everyday’ moments of our lives.  Through our Christian Baptism, we are all called to be ‘Missionary’; we all share in the mission to spread the Good News in our homes, our workplaces and our parish communities. 

Kim has been involved in Catholic Education for over 23 years, with 18 of them as Principal.  Currently Kim is Co-Principal at St Columba’s Primary School, Ballarat North.  Kim’s involvement in parish life is extremely important to her.  As well as being a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, Kim is also one of the Plenary Council Parish Co-ordinators, assisting with the facilitation of the Listening and Discernment encounters and a member of the team facilitating Alpha, a parish evangelisation program.  Ignatian Spirituality is an interest of Kim’s.   She is currently studying to become a Spiritual Director through Kardia Formation’s Heart Wisdom Program and also involved in CLC (Christian Life Community).

I. Heart Wisdom
In this workshop you will hear about and experience an approach to spirituality - ‘heart wisdom’ - which seeks to be attentive and responsive to a person’s interior experience thus opening mind, body and spirit to the enabling grace of God.  ‘Heart wisdom’ seeks to help a person grow in relationship with God as Mystery in all things, at the same time as nurturing a deepening personal sense of identity, vocation and mission.

Dr Julie Mitchell PhD is a spiritual director and lecturer in Education in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.  She was formed as a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition at Kardia Formation, a spirituality centre in Melbourne.

Registrations here through





We are the Catholic Church in the Ballarat Diocese
we gather in the name of Jesus from the Murray to the sea
in interwoven faith communities. Spirit filled
we celebrate and share our journey
reaching out to nurture all God's people.

Diocesan Vision Statement 2005

All Enquiries

PO Box 576
Ballarat, Victoria 3353

Phone +61 3 5337 7111

Where to find us

Catholic Diocese of Ballarat
5 Lyons Street South
Ballarat, Victoria 3353