More than 200 participants from across Australia attended the 2018 Catholic social services national conference, Hearing Healing Hope, from Wednesday 21 February to Friday 23 February, at the Catholic Leadership Centre, in East Melbourne. The conference brought together Catholic social service agencies from all over Australia, including some representatives from the health, education and business sector. It focussed on the Church’s delivery of social services, looking at the implications for us as individuals, for our Church organisations and for our Catholic sector, parishes in particular. 

Conference updates, photographs and highlights were posted on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag: #HearHealHope
  • Joe Zabar on economics for a flourishing society
  • Geraldine Doogue's Mary Mackillop Oration
  • Robert Fitzgerald on responding to child sexual abuse
  • The role of parishes in service to the community, by Bob Dixon
  • The call of Laudato Si by Jacqui Remond
  • The changing landscape of Catholic social services, by Denis Fitzgerald

Publication of Hearing, Healing, Hope: The Ministry of Service in Challenging Times


Hearing, Healing, Hope: The Ministry of Service in Challenging Times builds on the reflections and challenges of keynote speakers, workshop leaders and engaged participants at the Catholic Social Services national conference held in Melbourne in February 2018.

"Hearing, Healing, Hope brings work together as a basis for further reflection and makes it available to people gathered around a board table, for example, or to an executive team, or a group of staff new to an organisation," stated Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Click here to order a copy.

It includes an array of inspiring, practical and useful resources for all involved in Catholic social services, nationally.

Book contributor Elizabeth Proust says: “So, with more accountability, more onerous responsibility, and often less funds, this space requires dedicated people who not only understand their own organisations and the sector but also understand the community and the global factors at work, which will change and disrupt what we are doing”. 

In her chapter, Darlene Dreise sets a challenge: “Each of us is therefore called to work towards the unknown possibilities to be revealed through the true flourishing of the original peoples of this land”.


13 November    5.30pm                 Melbourne, Cardinal Knox Centre - Download event flyer, here.

15 November    5.00pm                 Warragul, Sion Centre - click for details

22 November    5.00pm                 Perth

29 November    6.00pm                 Sydney, Notre Dame, Darlinghurst - details to be confirmed



18 October         2.00pm                 Brisbane, Francis Rush Centre - click for details

19 October         12.15pm               Toowoomba, St Vincent’s Private Hospital - click for details

24 October         2.00pm                 Canberra, McGilvray House, Braddon - click for details

A great launch by Paul Bongiorno in Canberra on 24 October of 'Hearing Healing Hope', the book of proceedings of our Catholic Social Services conference this year. The book contains insightful contributions on the ministry of service in challenging times. Paul reminds us in his chapter, 'There was no escaping the brutal context of this year's national conference of Catholic social services. No matter the good work that the Church's many agencies and volunteers in parishes do, they have all been tarnished by the overwhelming evidence of failure accumulated' by the royal commission. As Phil Glendenning reminded us, 'You won't hear the gospel at the centre, go to the fringes.' Paul gave due praise to the workers in our agencies who do so much to assist the poor and marginalised out of reach from government and beyond the reach of the 'for profit' providers. These workers 'give meaning to the saying often attributed to St Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel and sometimes use words.' Photo: Paul Bongiorno, Dr Maria Haries AM, Patrice Scales and Fr Frank Brennan SJ.

Previous Conferences and Leadership Forums

2017- 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2009