Villa Maria Catholic Homes was proud to launch the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2016-17 at one of its aged care communities recently.
St Catherine’s Residential Aged Care, in Balwyn, hosted a liturgy for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne (CAM) to launch the statement on, September 15.
This year’s statement highlights the significant contribution older people continue to make to the life of the community and recognises the important role they play in society.
The statement says that as more Australians are living longer, we should celebrate the great success story of our ageing population and as a fair and compassionate nation, foster solidarity among all generations.
“Australians must protect older people who are most vulnerable to hardship and who are at risk of feeling they area burden on society,” says Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
The joint CAM and VMCH justice statement launch included a liturgy led by Melbourne Auxilary Bishop Mark Edwards OMI and Episcopal Vicar for Social Services Fr Joe Caddy and more than 40 residents at St Catherine’s also attended.
Prayers were read by some of the residents who live at St Catherine’s Residential Aged Care and students from St Bridget’s Primary School in Greythorn read prayers of the faithful.
The service was also attended by VMCH Board Chairman Bill Scales, Acting Chief Executive Officer Michael Dillon, Residential Services General Manager Geraldine Webster, Director Catholic Social Services Victoria Denis Fitzgerald and St Bridget’s Parish Priest Fr Dennis Rochford.
VMCH Board Chairman Bill Scales said it contained some important messages.
” It’s a timely message, it’s an important message and I’m so pleased that it happened here at St Catherine’s,” Mr Scales said after the launch.
“It’s critically important that we understand that everybody in society has a role to play, everybody has a dignified life to lead and what the church is reminding everybody, both those in the secular community as well in the religions community is about the human dignity of people as they’re ageing.”
VMCH Acting CEO Michael Dillon also applauded the Bishops’ decision to highlight older Australians in this year’s statement.
“We welcome the Bishops’ emphasis on older people, and the statement’s recognition of the increasing aged population, the role they have to play in Australian life either through employment or engagement at a community and the need to support them during hardship,” he said.
VMCH Residential Services General Manager Geraldine Webster, praised the timing of the statement.
“It is a privilege to provide care and support for older people in our community and with Australia’s population aged over 65 years expected to double over the next 40 years, the need to offer them compassionate, high-quality support and care is more important than ever before,” she said.
The 2016-2017 Social Justice Statement, titled: A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an ageing society’ can be downloaded from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website: http:www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/