United We Stand, Mass to inaugurate CatholicCare Victoria

The merger consolidates the resources, deep expertise and leadership skills developed by each of the diocesan entities and draws on a combined 184 years of experience in delivering excellent services.  It will provide child, family and youth services; family relationship services; school counselling and pastoral care services; refugee services, social housing, employment and advocacy services across the state. 
When the merge was announced last year, Bishop Shane Mackinlay was excited by the prospect, “It will allow us to build on the strengths of each organisation and make those strengths and expertise more available,” he said.  
The decision to merge the three agencies in to one state-wide entity was made by the bishops of Victoria with the aim of delivering a broader range of services to Victorians across the state. “This decision was made by the Bishops after several months of consultation, due diligence and planning with the boards of each organisation,” said Bishop Shane.  
Founding Chief Executive, Agnes Sheehan, spoke prior to the Mass, praising pioneer social workers Norma Parker and Connie Moffit, whose “vision for an integrated and coordinated approach to Church social services moves even closer to reality”. 

“They recommended an integrated approach to working with families in need and the Catholic Social Services Bureau was established [in 1935] – the first of its kind in Australia.” 

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli was the principal celebrant at the Mass, held at St Anthony of Padua Parish in Melton South. It was concelebrated by Bishop Shane Mackinlay, Bishop Paul Bird CSsR of Ballarat and Bishop Greg Bennet of Sale.  

One hundred and fifty staff, board members, clergy, volunteers, benefactors and people served by CatholicCare gathered from across Victoria to attend the Mass. CatholicCare staff based in offices at Bendigo, Shepparton, Echuca, Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham, Maryborough, Mildura, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Warrnambool and East Melbourne also joined the Mass remotely.  



Photo below: Bishops of Victoria and Directors of CatholicCare Victoria.  Bishop Shane Mackinlay and Ms Rhonda Lawson-Street of Sandhurst are on the left.  Photograph courtesy of Fiona Basile.

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