2019 National Conference

Metropolitan Cathedral Of The Immaculate
Cssa Conference 2019

Fr Frank Brennan SJ

Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Social Services Australia

“The conference was a great success. We were able to showcase St Agnes Parish as an exemplar of Church in mission breaking down the silos and meeting the needs of all in the community. It was a privilege to be with the St Agnes community still mourning the death of Fr Leo Donnelly the previous month.

In these testing times, most attendees left Port Macquarie convinced that ‘Catholic’ good works are indeed still good news for a society hungry for truth, justice and compassion for all, especially those on the margins.”

The Fr Leo Donnelly OAM Oration

At the CSSA National Conference hosted by St Agnes Parish Port Macquarie, we celebrated the work of another pioneer Fr Leo Donnelly and honoured his contribution with the inaugural Fr Leo Donnelly OAM Oration delivered by Most Rev Gregory Homeming OCD, Bishop of Lismore.

Oration Audio Recording

Opening Address – Dr Maria Harries AM, CSSA Chair

Opening Address

Dr Maria Harries AM presented a passionate and informative Opening Address to the participants of the CSSA 2019 National Conference, with a challenging infographic to conclude.

Session 1 – Fr Frank Brennan SJ, CSSA CEO

Session 1

Supporting those on the Margins – Harnessing the collective capability of the Church

One of the greatest strengths we share across the CSSA network is a passion and commitment to serve the poor and vulnerable in our communities. As recent times have shown, we do this in changing and challenging times. How can we hold on to our rich past while evolving for new futures?

Session 2 – Adam Spencer, St Agnes’ Parish CEO

Session 2

The Local Experience – What is possible

Adam Spencer showcased St Agnes’ as an example of what’s possible to achieve in meeting the unmet need. “A Life Less Ordinary” is a window into the inspirational life and example of Fr Leo Donnelly OAM.

Session 3 – Joe Zabar, CSSA Deputy CEO

Session 3

The Church’s service to society – A political perspective

With the upcoming federal election, Joe Zabar shared a reflection on the current political climate and Fr Frank Brennan SJ sat down with three politicians and asked their views of two critical issues.

Workshop 1 – Dr Robyn Miller, MacKillop Family Services CEO

Workshop 1

Safeguarding and national standards in child protection

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has left a clear message about the importance of  leadership and culture in safeguarding children. Catholic Professional Standards Ltd has developed draft standards that apply accross all Australian Catholic entities, integrating the Royal Commission’s work and the national and state-wide standards which have also been developed.

Workshop 7 – Lee Spencer, Appreciate Consultation Services

Workshop 7

Faith formation in leaders

What makes leading in a Catholic organisation different to leading in any other organisation? The answer quite simply is the deep understanding of the explicit faith-based Mission, Vision and Values.

Workshop 8 – Tony Farley, Catholic Commission for Employment Relations Executive Director & Denis Fitzgerald, Catholic Social Services Victoria Executive Director

Workshop 8

Connecting Parish and Community

Parishes are a key part of the Church – that’s where the people are. Many parishes offer services to the community, and many cooperate with social service agencies. But challenges loom large, as some parish communities continue to shrink, and there are areas where linkages with social service agencies are not strong. This workshop will explore the bigger picture of changing demographics of the Church in Australia.

The Inaugural Fr Leo Donnelly OAM Oration


Most Rev Gregory Homeming OCD, Bishop of Lismore

Most Rev. Gregory Homeming OCD, Bishop of Lismore gave a moving Oration in honour of the late Fr Leo Donnelly OAM.

Download Conference Program

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