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Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv addresses the Catholic Social Services National Conference in Melbourne (CSSA/Fiona Basile)

At the National Catholic Social Services Conference, Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, stressed the need for solidarity in the face of growing individualism, especially highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Catholic Social Services Australia.

Delivering the conference’s keynote address last Thursday, Bishop Long invoked Pope Francis’ insights, suggesting the pandemic offers a “Noah moment” to rediscover human connections – to God, each other, and creation, underlining the lesson that “no one is saved alone”.

He urged a shift towards prioritising the common good and acknowledged the Catholic Social Services Australia’s advocacy efforts against income inequality.

His message was a call to action for community support and dignity for all, aiming for a society where everyone can lead fulfilling lives.

In his closing remarks, Bishop Long urged attendees to be the “light of the world” that shines on the darkness around us. He encouraged a faithful and creative discipleship, even in an increasingly post-Christian society.

This sentiment of the common good was echoed by panellists from various Christian denominations tasked with exploring the topic “Our Common DNA”.

In the discussion moderated by CSSA executive director Monique Earsman, panellists Claerwen Little (UnitingCare Australia), Robyn Sampson (BaptistCare) and Paul McDonald (Anglicare Victoria), each shared their commitment to serving communities. The services provided by faith-based agencies not only meet practical needs but also foster a sense of belonging.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter A Comensoli responded to the panel’s discussion, offering reflections from his perspective, and thanked the panellists for their contributions to uplifting communities around Australia.

The National Catholic Social Services Conference concluded on Friday.


 Catholic Social Services National Conference to Explore Working for the Common Good in the Age of Individualism (CSSA)