The Ballarat Diocese Social Justice Commission met with Bishop Paul Bird for the fourth time this year. All members were able to attend the day long meeting at St Patrick’s small hall in Ballarat.
Jim Ryan of Colac chaired his last meeting, as Tony Haintz of Ballarat is the new chairperson of the Commission. Also attending his last meeting was David Beaver who is retiring as Director of Centacare. The Bishop commended both on the wonderful work they had done in their positions on the Commission.
Significant planning for 2017 took place as the Social Justice Commission will host a forum on families next year in both Ballarat and Mildura. Several keynote speakers have been approached and workshops are being planned on the issues faced by families e.g. aging, disabilities, drugs and alcohol abuse.
Also planned for next year is a more active participation in anti-poverty week next October. This will hopefully be a joint activity with St Vincent de Paul Society.
The Commission discussed the launch and challenges raised in the latest Australian Bishop’s Social Justice statement, “A Place at the Table” which addresses social justice associated with an ageing population. The Commission recommends that we all look at the 10 steps to Making a Place at the Table. Most of these are very do-able and apply to family members of all ages. Over the next months Vin Dillon will invite families, schools, parishes to consider how each includes and supports the aged members of that group through publishing a focus question in eNews or other Diocesan Media.
The Commission commended the Diocesan Financial Council for their initiative in publishing guidelines for Diocesan ethical investing. These guidelines include climatic sustainability as well.
The Social Justice Commission seeks to support Social Justice groups in the Diocese and members are available to help facilitate, initiate and talk to existing social justice groups.