Vatican to tackle homelessness

The Australian bishops have nominated Gethsemane Community founder and leader Sr Myree Harris as their representative at a groundbreaking Vatican conference that will study homelessness.

Sr Harris RSJ will take part in the First International Pastoral Meeting for The Homeless to be held in Rome in November.

Sr Myree is the Founder and Community Leader of the Gethsemane Community, long-term community housing for people with mental illness, intellectual and other disabilities.

She is a member of the St Vincent de Paul National Mental Health and Homelessness Committee and has a long involvement in the areas of homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and disability.

Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, Bishop Eugene Hurley, said he was delighted that Sr Myree had accepted the invitation to represent the ACBC at the Vatican meeting.

"This is the first meeting of its kind sponsored by the Vatican and Sr Myree, with her academic background and hands-on experience in this area, will be a wonderful representative from the Church in Australia," Bishop Hurley said.

"I know that she will contribute a great deal to proceedings and bring home a valuable perspective for us in dealing with the tragic and complex problem of homelessness."

The conference will hear addresses from Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, as well as the secretary of that dicastery, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto.

The program also allows time to hear from conference participants about the situation in their particular area of activity, including the causes and nature of homelessness, government initiatives to address the problem, as well as pastoral activities of the Church in this area.

Sr Myree said she was looking forward to the conference.

"Chronic, long-term homelessness is a tragedy and a challenge that must be addressed by both Governments and Churches," she said.

"It is encouraging that the Catholic Church is sponsoring the First international Pastoral Meeting for the Homeless in Rome this November.

"I look forward to hearing the experiences of delegates from many countries and hope that positive strategies to assist these vulnerable people will emerge from the gathering."

Sr Myree Harris to represent ACBC at Vatican Conference on Homelessness (ACBC Media Release, 12/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishops Commission for Family Life

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13 Jul 2007