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About Us

Parish Submission to the Bishop’s Synod in Rome

Following a consultation with members of the Parish, this is the wording of a 250 submission requested from all parishes across Australia that will be considered by the Bishops’ Synod being called by Pope Francis in Rome in 2023.

After prayerful discernment and mutual listening, our parish (St Carthage’s, Parkville) urges the 2023 Bishops’ Synod in Rome to consider:
• Inclusive language in liturgy and official Church documents.
• Acknowledging diversity within the Church, including allowing communion to those currently denied through marital status and/or sexual orientation.
• Recognizing women, refugees, the disabled etc. as all revealing Christ’s body.
• Ordination of women (both single and married) as deacons and priests.
• Abandonment of celibacy as a requirement for ordained ministry, as a policy without scriptural foundation.
• Greater participation of the laity in celebration of liturgy of the Word and of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
• Listening to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
• Reasserting catholic social teaching to ensure justice for all peoples suffering from economic and social disadvantage.
• Following Laudato Si’ in caring for sentient beings and promoting bio-diversity as essential for the well-being of creation.
• Recognizing Indigenous spirituality and dialogue with non-Christians as vital for re-energizing the people of God.
Getting there:
• Establishing Parish and Diocesan Pastoral Councils across Australia with 50% female participation, implementing transparency and service, and encouraging synodality as true listening.
• Acknowledging and appointing a new generation of emerging theologically educated lay leaders, working alongside bishops and clergy.
• Providing on-going formation of lay and ordained ministries, redesigning seminary training to acknowledge diversity of ministries within the Church.
• Bishops to provide acknowledgement, apology and trauma-informed care to survivors of sexual and other abuse within religious institutions.

Constant.Mews@monash.edu (Chair, St Carthage’s Pastoral Council, 10-3-2022)

St Carthage’s Church is situated at 123 Royal Parade, Parkville, directly opposite residential colleges of The University of Melbourne


It is a popular parish with academics, current students and alumni of the University. Of course, St Carthage’s Parish welcomes, and

holds/sustains, people from all walks of life. The congregation gathers from 132 suburbs of Melbourne.

The first priority of the Parish is to provide helpful Liturgy and a high standard in preaching.

People of the University must be able to bring their standards of excellence in their diverse fields of study to a community that searches and explores a quest for faith in today’s world.

The congregation of around 1000 people, gathers at three Sunday Masses, each with a distinctive focus be it reflective, family centered, or, a Celebration of the Eucharist for students in particular. The reformation of each celebration’s congregation has altered since the pandemic lockdown period and we await for more certainty around numbers for 2022.

The Parish group has a wide variety of group activities such as St Vincent de Paul Conference, the Feminist Theology Group, the Men’s Reading Group, the Women’s Review of Life and Prayer Group and the Parish Hospitality Group.

The Presbytery and Parish Centre at 30 Bayles Street, Parkville is frequently used by all Parish organisations and is also a place for hospitality.





Sr Joan Healy RSJ

In order to get to know our parishioners, we are encouraging members of the parish to introduce themselves, their interests and connection to St Carthage’s by writing a piece of 500 words (max). If you would like to submit something, or know someone who could be invited to submit something, send a message to Constant.Mews@monash.edu

It is 1989 and Sr Joan Healy RSJ is working at a refugee camp on the Thai–Cambodian border, where she will be based for some time. In this camp, where asylum seekers are restrained by barbed wire and armed guards, she meets a young man—a medic and battlefield surgeon. He speaks to her of the broader needs of the asylum seekers, and of his dream of creating a professional health clinic incorporating Cambodian healers, where the spirit of these people can become strong again. He is 31 years old when they meet. The idea had been that Sr Joan would mentor him, but it is he who mentors her as he speaks of what it might mean to heal the heart and spirit.

Encounters with people like this young man have repeatedly, over many years, demonstrated to Sr Joan the goodness, grace and hope to be found among people living in some of the harshest and most difficult situations. These encounters have shaped and formed Sr Joan, who has been a Josephite sister for 62 years. It is a life, she says, ‘of witnessing the power of God’ acting in the people she’s met and in all the places she’s served.

Born in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north, Sr Joan grew up in a community where parish life and involvement in the Young Christian Workers (YCW) were active, vibrant and ‘second nature’. She remembers standing on the corner of Swanston and Bourke streets in Melbourne’s CBD one night, while waiting for the number 1 tram to Coburg, and thinking, ‘All these people I can see around me and up the hill are totally connected in every way—and God is in the midst of that.’

She studied teaching, worked in a state-run school and, while remaining active in her local parish and YCW, started to think more deeply about those on the margins—‘those who were left out’. The next step was to immerse herself in the lives of those living in difficult and often ‘deeply poor’ situations. They became the places where she’d find people of goodness and grace, and she joined with them in all that they were trying to do ‘to change a hard situation into something better’.

At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Fr Charlie Mayne SJ—rector of the seminary for the Archdiocese of Melbourne at the time—articulated a vision of mission in which the faithful lived among people at the margins, recognising God’s Spirit among them, and joining with them in their struggles for justice and equity.

Inspired by this vision, Joan (not yet a Josephite) went to live in a rooming house and worked in an egg-carton factory among other young women. She was struck straight away by their strong bonds of friendship, their generosity and their patience. While standing in thick, wet cardboard mulch, a team of women would place egg cartons (one per second) on a fast-moving conveyor belt, where the cartons were stamped. She recalls that when she felt tired and in need of a break, the other women would over-fill the machine to create some time for everyone to rest. She was moved by their spirit of generosity.

Still active in the YCW, Joan started an ‘open house’ on Johnston Street in Abbotsford, an inner-city suburb of Melbourne. Young women would ‘pile into’ the one-bedroom boarding house, finding refuge and safety within its walls. Again, in these experiences of walking beside some of the most vulnerable, she witnessed ‘great generosity and goodness’.

‘These encounters have been gift to me,’ Sr Joan says. ‘It has always been about recognising God’s Spirit already at work among these people and joining with it.

‘The YCW gave me the opportunity to begin with Jesus in the Gospel, to share that this whole world could become a kingdom of justice, peace and joy. I had already seen injustice and exclusion, and I longed for this Church that Jesus founded to be welcoming to all, especially those most marginalised; to cease making judgments; to be a place where the most marginal could feel at home.’

During this time, Joan came across a book about Mary MacKillop on a shelf in a library. She thought, ‘This is what Mary MacKillop’s doing. It’s a way of living where you can mingle with people right out there at the margins and find God there.’

These encounters have been a gift to me. It has always been about recognising God’s Spirit already at work among [the marginalised] and joining with it.

Mary MacKillop had written, ‘There where you are, you will find God.’ Reflecting on the fact that Mary McKillop had walked along the same streets that she was walking, the 25-year-old Joan thought, ‘Why not give it a go?’ She joined the Sisters of St Joseph in 1962 and continues to find inspiration from Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s words: ‘Where there is a choice, go first to the most neglected parts of God’s vineyard.’

Joan and Mother Vera

(By Fiona Basile for Melbourne Catholic 13 December 2023)


John Drennan

The year 2021 has marked the 50th anniversary of CCA-Aus (Catholic Concern for Animals – Australia), formerly ACSCAW (The Australian Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare), founded by Marion Craig (1907-2007) in 1971. following its parent body in England (founded 1930s). I have been its chairman from its beginning to the present day.

Born in 1934, five days before St. Carthage’s foundation stone was laid, I have been a parishioner since 1985, but sometimes attended Mass there during 1952-56. Growing up in my family’s Bendigo guest house, and assisting in its work, I listened intently to lengthy tales told by elderly guests born in the 1860s and later years. Thus began my lifelong interest in history, ecumenism, and Aboriginal justice. When I left school, everyone expected I would study to become a professional violinist. Instead, I mainly studied philosophy, following my childhood interest in that field and its relation to theology, history, language, science and education. I have pursued these investigations throughout life, but mainly not in official connection with universities (though I have acquired 23 relevant degrees and diplomas over time). I have extensively researched the history of higher education. I have kept a diary since 1944, filling one A5 page every day since 1 January 1959. Already six times as long as the Bible, it will go to the National Library in Canberra after my demise.

I have travelled extensively, observing especially the manifestations of religion, and teaching in England, Sicily, and Saudi Arabia.  My career was rather disjointed. Much of my life was spent in property management. Many years ago I planned to establish a trust to encourage Aboriginal agriculture/horticulture on (fully owned) land with houses I would donate for Aborigines’ beneficial ownership and cultivation. Regrettably, and incredibly, the intended trust property was severely diminished through the gross ineptitude and mismanagement of “experts” who had been recommended by senior Church persons and who acted in ways diametrically opposed to my instructions.

My special interest and concern is animal welfare, animal justice, and implementing (what is now called) animal theology. I deplore the fact that these occupy such a miniscule space in the Church’s history. There has been too exclusive an emphasis on moral areas that apply solely to humans, ignoring the enormous – and more fundamental – areas of commonality with animals (like soul and sentience), and excessive concern for how kindness to animals enhances one’s own virtue rather than primarily the good of animals themselves. Commendably, the Church now significantly supports ecological awareness and action. But here too there is a strong tendency for the need for animal justice to be subsumed under ecology. Pest animals and those of non-endangered species should equally be accorded rights. Where culling is needed, it should be done as humanely as possible. (I also strongly oppose the violence to property and lack of human concern of some animal activists.) I believe that promoting animal rights is no mere optional extra, but informs the very basis of ethics and theology.


Constant J. Mews

has been a member of St Carthage’s Parish since arriving in Australia in 1987 to take up a position teaching medieval history at Monash University, after studying at the University of Auckland, Oxford University and then for five years in Paris.

Since 1995 until his retirement at the end of 2021, he has been Director of the Centre for Studies Religious Studies at Monash University. He has been a visiting scholar at Paris, Princeton, Virginian and Cambridge. While his principal publications have related to the life and thought of Peter Abelard (The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard. Perceptions of Dialogue in Twelfth-Century France, 2nd edn Palgrave MacMillan, 2008; Abelard and Heloise, Oxford University Press, 2005), he has also published more broadly on the religious and intellectual history of medieval Europe. His interests range from the figure of St Carthage in seventh-century Ireland), to the visionary Hildegard of Bingen and the prolific female writer, Christine de Pizan in the early fifteenth century. He is particularly interested not just in the history of reform movements within the Church, but in broader issues of interreligious dialogue and intellectual renewal.

On 12 November 2021 he gave a valedictory lecture at Monash, of which a summary version is available at

We congratulate Constant and thank him for his many years of teaching, supervision and dedication to Religious Studies in its many forms, here and in many venues overseas.

We now gratefully welcome Constant’s new role as Chair of the Parish Council


Susan Pascoe  Adj Prof  AM

We are blessed to have Susan in the parish, who has been elected as a member of the Vatican Commission on Methodology, planning for the 2023 Synod on Synodality.


Susan Pascoe is Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.  She chairs the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the Community Directors Council, and Catholic Emergency Relief Australia (CERA).  She is a Member of the Vatican’s Commission for Methodology planning the Synod on Synodality, a Trustee of St John of God Health, and a Board Member of Mercy Health. She was a member of the Governance Review Project Team established by the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) which produced the 2020 Report, The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia.   She is currently on a review of Catholic Theological College, and of safeguarding for the OFM Holy Spirit Province.  Susan Pascoe is Principal of Kadisha Enterprises consultancy.

Prof Pascoe was the inaugural Commissioner for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Australia’s first national, independent regulator of charities from 2012 to 2017.  Prior to this appointment, Prof Pascoe was Commissioner of the State Services Authority in Victoria, the body which oversaw good governance and conduct of individuals and entities in the public service. In this role she chaired or co-chaired independent reviews for government.  She was appointed in 2009 as one of three Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Black Saturday Bushfires, after the loss of 173 lives and widespread destruction of flora, fauna and property.

Susan Pascoe’s earlier career was in education.  She participated in state, national and international efforts to improve the quality and equity of education.  She was Executive Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Chief Executive and Chair of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, and a member of the National Catholic Education Commission.  She served as President of the Australian College of Educators, CEO of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. In 2017 Prof Pascoe and Prof Deborah Brennan chaired a review into Early Childhood Education for the Council for the Australian Federation, culminating in the Lifting our Game report.

Prof Pascoe chaired the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, and was a Patron for the Melbourne Parliament for the World’s Religions. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Institute of Public Administration of Australia, and the Australian College of Educators.  Her significant achievements and leadership were acknowledged in 2007 when she was appointed Member of the Order of Australia for service to education through a range of executive roles, and international initiatives to support educators in the Pacific region.  In November 2016, she was awarded the Leadership in Government Award for her outstanding contribution to public administration in Australia.                                                                                                                        susan.pascoe@kadisha.com.au



Mark Perica

Warmest congratulations to parishioner Mark Perica, appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours for services to the law and to industrial relations. Apart from his indefatigable work internationally for the ILO and nationally for worker rights and labour reform, Mark has been a generous and thoughtful contributor to the parish’s growth through work on the Council, on its Constitution and with wise advice.




If anyone has something to share with the whole Parish, please let us know; e.g., autobiography, 25/50 wedding anniversaries, other special occasions. We can add it to “Get to know our Parishioners.”

Email: parkville@cam.org.au, or  Constant.Mews@monash.edu or Telephone: (03) 7036 9393.

The New Parish Crest

The crest was designed to represent various aspects of the Parish life.  The motto, “God’s Providence is our inheritance”, is the motto of

Lismore in Ireland.  The red cross makes an allusion to the emblem of the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  The gold stars of the Southern Cross, a traditionally Australian symbol, are also found on the crest of The University of Melbourne.  The Parish has a long association with both institutions.

The book indicates the Bible and study.  The sparrow is referred to in Psalm 84, “Even the sparrow finds a home”.  The blood and water flow from the Cross as the life of the Church, evoking images of the Eucharist and Baptism.