The fifth edition of the Mission: one heart many voices conference, held for the first time online and presented to a worldwide audience, was an outstanding success with over 500 participants actively involved and engaged in exploring the challenges of living the gospel and leading mission in Australia and globally.

The conference was held over three days, with an extra session organised by young people also included in the program for the first time. Catholic Mission partnered with Catholic Religious Australia to present the conference.

“The Mission Conference has shown that the Holy Spirit continues to call us as a Church into renewal,” says Peter Carroll FMS, president Catholic Religious Australia and Provincial of Marist Brothers, Province of Australia. “Presenters and participants alike brought an energy and passion to be co-responsible in the service of a prophetic, Mission-centred church.”

For the first time, the conference was presented digitally, with great success.

“The organising committee are delighted by the success of the online platform and the participation of delegates and presenters” says conference director Danielle Achikian. “The overall feedback has been extremely positive.”

Senior Australian of the Year, Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu, Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, opened the conference, focusing on Dadirri, an inner deep listening and quiet still awareness.

Dr Miriam-Rose invited participants to contemplate what they see, feel, and hear around them.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, also presented at the conference, speaking about leadership in mission.

His words, urging participants to “get involved in a personal encounter”, resonated.

“The challenges for the church in the modern world will not be solved by the ecclesial bureaucracy or head office but by the personal encounter at the church door, the school gate, the shopping centre,” says Catholic Mission National Director, Fr Brian Lucas.

“We cannot but continue to speak about what we have seen and heard as we take the gospel to the world as it is today.”

Other keynote speakers at the conference included prominent author Hugh Mackay, human rights activist, broadcaster and former Socceroo, Craig Foster, CEO, Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd, Ursula Stephens, NSW Aging and Disability commissioner Robert Fitzgerald, and Lyndall Brown RSJ with a discussion focusing on communal discernment.

For the first time the conference included an extra day-long session organised by young people around things they care deeply about, with special discussions focusing on Mission in the world and climate change, Women in Leadership, and Uluru Statement from the Heart and a voice to parliament. Ambassador of Australia to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, was a keynote speaker on the final day of the conference.

The sixth edition of Mission: one heart many voices will be held in 2023.