Dates: 21-23 February 2024
Location: Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002
Tickets: $385 CSSA and CSSV Member Special Early Bird Offer!
Catholic Social Services Australia and Catholic Social Services Victoria are pleased to present the 2024 Catholic Social Services National Conference.
This Conference aims to strengthen and advance our shared work in Catholic social services as part of the social mission of the Church – connecting with colleagues across social services, health, parishes and education. It provides a moment to share expertise, and take pause to think and imagine our place within a broader mission. You might be a youth worker. An executive director. A volunteer. A pastoral associate. A graduate social worker. A retired Religious. A governance professional. A seasoned veteran of social justice. Whoever you are and what role you play – if you want to be inspired, challenged, and be part of values-driven sector committed to nothing less than positive social transformation – this conference is for you.
This conference desires to contribute to creating true communities out of a common effort for the common good.
Conference keynotes, plenary sessions and workshops will include focus on our theme and provide a grounding for all attendees to take back thinking and practical ideas to their own organisations and contexts.
The 2024 Conference provides an opportunity for future leaders (<30) to participate via a two for one ticket. Leadership, governance and program staff will all benefit from the program.
For Pope Francis, everything is interconnected and justice is ecological, inclusive of both social and environmental justice. All our relationships are sustained within our common home. A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
No matter our differences, we share a common humanity. There is more that unites us than divides us. People have shared needs for thriving – social, spiritual and material needs. It is important that we hold the opportunity to build relationships and cooperation with others who see the world differently, and in a spirit of solidarity find ways to support each other — no matter age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, political beliefs, race, religion, nationality or marital status — so that all may flourish.
Now is a time for reinvigorating the politics of the common good. The Common Good and the “greater good” can be confused. They are very different. The utilitarian approach of “the greatest good for the greatest number” exists in contrast to the principle of human dignity which lies at the heart of a Catholic ethic. All people are inherently valuable and unique. This requires that we do not reduce them to a mere statistic.
The common good incorporates the principle of a preferential option for the poor. This “is an uncompromising and unequivocal taking of sides in a situation of structural conflict. It is not a matter of preaching to some people rather than to others, or a matter of being generous to the ‘under-privileged’, or a judgment about the personal guilt of the rich, or even, in the first instance, a matter of life-style. It is the assertion that Christian faith entails, for everyone and as part of its essence, the taking of sides in the structural conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed” (Albert Nolan OP).
The 2024 Conference provides an opportunity for future leaders (<30) to participate via a two for one ticket. Leadership, governance and program staff will all benefit from the program. We look forward to seeing you there.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop Vincent is the Bishop of Parramatta and Chair of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service. He arrived by boat in Australia as a refugee. He is a Conventual Franciscan friar and studied for the priesthood in Melbourne. He holds a licentiate in Christology and Spirituality from the Pontifical Faculty of St Bonaventure. He was elected Superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005. He served as Assistant General in Rome from 2008 until 2011, responsible for the Asia-Oceania section of his Order. He was also previously Episcopal Vicar for Social Services in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Bishop Vincent is the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese born bishop in Australia.
Dr Julie Edwards, OAM
Julie is CEO of Jesuit Social Services, having joined the organisation in 2001. Julie has over 40 years’ experience engaging with marginalised people and families experiencing breakdown and trauma. She is a social worker, family therapist, and a grief and loss counsellor. Julie has a Masters in Social Work and has completed a PhD in organisational identity. Julie has served on a number of government and philanthropic committees that work to promote a more just society and contribute to the health and wellbeing of members of our community.
Professor Mark Considine AM
Mark is regarded as one of Australia’s most respected and highly cited public policy specialists with a career spanning academic research and applied policy work for government and civil society organisations. He is currently Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne. He has previously been the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Provost of the University of Melbourne His research areas include governance studies, comparative social policy, employment services, public sector reform, local development, and organisational sociology. His recent book The Careless State — reforming Australia’s social services is a significant contribution in both critique of social services markets and in finding new approaches to these service systems that are failing many disadvantaged Australians.
Ms Claire Victory
Claire has spent 29 years in various roles and capacities with St Vincent de Paul Society, and was its National President from 2019 – 2023. She is trained in law and after a number of years in legal practice is currently Director of Industrial Policy & Practice at the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch). She believes that most people are essentially good, but that we need strong government and a strong sense of community to ensure that the dignity of all people is respected.
Ms Kasey Chambers – Executive Director, Anglicare
Dr Robyn Sampson – Acting Executive Director, Baptist Care
Ms Claerwen Little – National Director, UnitingCare
more to be announced soon
To be announced
Day One: Wednesday, 21 February 2024 – ‘Commonality’
|Starting at 1.30pm with Registration|
|2.00-3.00pm||Welcome and Opening Liturgy – Smoking Ceremony|
|3.00-4.00pm||Keynote Address: Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv – What makes us human? What is essential to flourish?|
|4.00-5.30pm||Panel Discussion: – Unlocking our shared DNA: Reflections from Major Church|
– Ms Kasey Chambers (CEO, Anglicare Australia);
– Dr Robyn Sampson (Acting CEO, BaptCare)
– Ms Claerwen Little (CEO, UnitingCare Australia)
Moderator: Monique Earsman, Executive Director Catholic Social Services Australia
|7.00-9.00pm||Conference Dinner and Mary MacKillop Oration: Ms Claire Victory|
– Going back to our roots – what grounds us today in our shared work?
Day Two: Thursday, 22 February 2024 – ‘Commons’
|Times: 9.00am – 6.00pm|
|9.20-10.25am||Keynote Address: Dr Julie Edwards OAM – The role of social services and their work on the commons|
|10.50-11.45am||Panel Discussion– Reflections on the Australia we want to be|
Moderator: The Hon James Merlino
|12.00-12.45pm||Panel Discussion – Responding to changing times: The possibilities of leading and collaborating across sectors|
|1.30-5.00pm||Interactive workshop sessions (more information coming soon)|
Day Three: Friday, 23 February 2024 – ‘Common Good’
|Times: 7.30am – 2.00pm|
|7.30-9.00am||Breakfast Briefing – Reconciliation and the path forward|
|9.15-10.45am||Keynote Address: Professor Mark Considine AM – Service Systems for the Common Good: Where are we headed?|
|11.15-12.15pm||Panel Discussion – Service and Programs that inspire: Celebrating the common good|
Call for Papers
There is now an opportunity for those who wish to present a paper or workshop at the upcoming CSS Conference to make a submission for consideration.
The Conference theme Commons, Commonality, Common Good invites discussion on creating true communities out of a common effort for the common good, with a focus on the intersections between ecological and social justice. Does your organisation have a new program or innovative way of working that you’d like to share that connects with these themes? Are you working on some interesting research?
We’d love to hear from you!
Expressions of Interest will be closing on 1 December 2023.