Diocese mourning Bali bomb victims

The people of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are shocked and saddened by the news of Saturday night's bombings in Bali which have impacted heavily on the New South Wales Hunter community.

CLICK HEREA Statement from the Diocese issued yesterday reports that around nine families holidaying together in Bali were directly affected by the bombings. These families are known to many in the diocesan community through their active involvement in a number of Catholic parish and school communities.

"On behalf of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, we offer our prayers of sorrow, support and hope to the victims, their families and friends affected by this tragedy. Many of the victims are known to Catholic parishioners of the City Pastoral Region, which comprises the parishes of Newcastle, Hamilton, Tighes Hill/Carrington, Broadmeadow, Mayfield-Mayfield West and Stockton ," said Mrs Teresa Brierley, Vice Chancellor of Pastoral Ministries in the diocese.

"In the Catholic tradition, Mass is celebrated daily. The affected communities have been praying together since yesterday and will continue to do so throughout the coming weeks. Many people were told about the tragedy while at Masses throughout the diocese yesterday.

"When tragedy strikes a community, people have a need to gather to ritualise their grief and demonstrate their support for those directly affected, whether here or in Bali.

"In this situation when the local families return to Newcastle the parish and school communities will discern with them the most appropriate ways to offer prayer and support."

During the next few days the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will offer counselling and support services to affected individuals, parishes and schools through its agencies, Centacare Newcastle and the Catholic Schools Office.

According to Mr Peter Leuenberger, Assistant Director of Catholic Schools in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, "A number of our school communities have been affected. Initially, we will be supporting the most directly affected with the offer of counselling. Further outreach will take place next week as students return to school after the holidays."

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle provides pastoral, health and aged care, social welfare and educational services for the community in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Hunter and Manning areas.

Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald reports on support organised for at least 50 devastated students from St Francis Xavier College.

The college was the common link between most of the 50 Newcastle people holidaying in Bali when the bomb blasts tore through the two tourists spots. At least 10 families had co-ordinated their trips so their teenage sons, many who had started kindergarten together, could spend the school holidays surfing under the watch of adults.

The principal of St Francis Xavier, Brother Hubert Williams, said counselling was being organised for the students, parents and relatives.

Brother Hubert said he had been told 11 of the students from the Bali group had returned to Newcastle yesterday.

A teacher at the school, Julia Lederwasch, was in Bali as part of the Newcastle group with her husband, Dietmar, and their daughter, Aleta, 21, who is a university student. Aleta was recovering from shrapnel wounds in Royal Darwin Hospital yesterday, with her mother, who suffered minor injuries, by her side. Mr Lederwasch was returning home.

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle responds to Bali Bombings (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle 3/10/05)
A quiet prayer as school mourns together (Sydney Morning Herald 4/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Melbourne archbishop says don't let Bali anguish breed hate (CathNews 13/10/03)
Bali anniversary focus on anti-terrorism education (CathNews 10/10/03)
Australians honour Bali bomb victims (CathNews 21/10/02)

Bali attacks: Police hunt suicide bombers' accomplices (AsiaNews.it 3/10/05)
Indonesia's Muslims condemn Bali terrorist attack (AsiaNews.it 3/10/05)

4 Oct 2005