National eConference celebrates the Year of St Paul

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 2-7-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle and Broome campuses facilitated local participation in an international eConference to mark the close of a year-long celebration of St Paul’s life and mission. People from around Australia joined in what has been reported as a landmark event for the Australian Church.

Philosophy and Theology lecturer on the Broome Campus, Sr Carmel Posa SGS, in partnership with the local Diocese, led the gathering there; while Dr Angela McCarthy, and Sr Clare Sciesinski PBVM, led the enthusiastic gathering at Fremantle. Sr Clare will be lecturing at the University on St Paul in 2010.

The eConference entitled: Paul – The Man, the Mission and Message for Today: igniting his purpose and passion, was the initiative of the Broken Bay Institute (Sydney) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. It featured a live webcast of presentation and question panel sessions from highly regarded biblical and media scholars, including Father Brendan Byrne SJ, Sister Michele Connolly RSJ and Father Richard Leonard SJ.

Notre Dame Australia joined with more participants from places as diverse as the Parramatta Diocese (NSW) to Alice Springs, Thursday Island, Wellington in New Zealand, the Philippines, Peru, USA, Canada and Malta who had all registered to participate in the eConference.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, (as quoted in the Broken Hill Diocese media release dated 1 July 2009), sent a message of support to the conference: "The Year of St Paul eConference... will enable Catholic Dioceses across Australia to join together in reflecting on the legacy of one of the most important, yet elusive, figures in Church history.

"I trust the conference will facilitate a productive exchange of ideas for those who share in the Catholic tradition in Australia, and that it will benefit the communities you represent across the nation."

Fremantle Chaplain, Father Gerry Conlan OMI, who participated in the Fremantle ‘branch’ of the eConference said, “Although this eConference provided a unique opportunity for people to learn from, and be nourished by, the life of St Paul, with resources that would normally be shared by only a few, it was bigger than St Paul.

“eConferences will slowly transform our understanding of catholic to a new level--in terms of breaking down distance, connecting cultures and welcoming people of all faiths. Local gatherings that formed the wide-spread community event were very important, because it is through dialogue that the Holy Spirit can nurture into life the seeds planted by the instruments of Fr Brendan, Sr Michele and Fr Richard. I would go further than the Prime Minister and suggest that this eConference is bigger than the Australian Catholic community and, in the true spirit of St Paul, invites all people to the Table.

“The University of Notre Dame Australia extends its congratulations, and gratitude, to the organisers, the Bishops and the presenters for this exciting gift of ministry.”

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138