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Message from the Archbishop

Dear Brothers and Sisters, In this Year of Mercy, I am writing to all Catholic parishes, schools and agencies and ask your consideration for a special acknowledgement to be afforded to veterans and their families in the Archdiocese during the week 22 – 30 October. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has recently gazetted this as Veterans’ Health Week and wish to promote a theme of “social connection” for veterans to be embraced by the wider community. On Anzac Day the Archdiocese has given due honour and recognition to those who have made the supreme sacrifice, but less attention is […]

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Good News from Veterans Care

Dear  Friends, As you read this we are about to deploy on our second Timor immersion. We have 22 participants and six staff , that will join a similar number of Timorese veterans in country. We welcome to our team Wayne Smith as our Admin Co-ordinator and Merryn Thomae and Bob Breen as Pastoral Carers. Special thanks to Michael and Kirsten for many hours of preparation to get this programme running. Thanks also to Stewart Cameron, Scott Denner and all at RSL Qld for funding this programme. We will be tailoring this trip to have more reflection time and more […]

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An East Timor Experience

Ex-serviceman Dwayne Cashman returned to East Timor, this time as a Tourist Most people go on holiday to lounge about in the sun, but Dwayne Cashman, of Wynyard, took a 10-day tour in East Timor to see how a country had recovered and transformed from its war-torn past. Serving two tours in the country in support against the anti-independence militia in the late 90s, Mr Cashman described a country that was facing violence, lawlessness and general terror. This time around though, Mr Cashman and a group of 20 veterans got to see a developed and functioning country. “A lot of the […]

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Timor Awakening Update

29 Australians and 20 Timorese Veterans completed a joint rehabilitation experience in Timor from 17-28 July 2016. From touchdown at Dili airport, through 960 km of travel in rural areas, and till takeoff 11 days later, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the Timorese. Hundreds of Timorese veterans turned out in every District, and massive community welcoming ceremonies and celebrations every day. Our purpose had been to improve the health of the veterans and their families by having a communal lived experience reflecting on the resilience and rehabilitation demonstrated by the Timorese and shared reflections amongst ourselves. End of […]

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Good News from Veterans Care

As you are reading this, our first Timor immersion is underway! Michael Stone is in Dili working with the Timorese veterans who are hosting us. Kirsten Wells is on her way to Darwin to meet with four Darwin participants and early arrivals from Tasmania, NSW and Rockhampton, and Caitlin Proctor and I will travel with the main body from Brisbane early Sunday morning. We will be farewelled in Darwin by Timorese Ambassador to Australia Abel Guterres, and newly elected Federal Member for Darwin, Army Veteran and good friend of ours, Luke Gosling. In Dili we will be met on the […]

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July Meeting update

Just a quick update on progress and to advise a slight change to our programme on 2 July . We are delighted to have formally welcomed 28 new participants and reserves this week joining our Timor Awakening program, TA2, who will be heading to Timor-Leste18-28 September 2016.  They join 23 who will be departing for Timor on 18 July.  We have been having numerous pastoral engagements with all these folks and its been a delight to see how much appreciation there is for what we are offering.     This letter was sent to VCA from a veteran on 21 Jun16…….I think your program is […]

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Update from Gary

Just sending a quick update following recent events, and to mention our next gathering is at Kookaburra Cafe on Sat 2 July. All members are welcome especially spouses! Our presentation at the Lords Mayors Prayer breakfast went very well. About $10,000 came up in the collection from the 300 present, but so many people were touched by this ministry of compassion, and grateful for what we are doing . We are certainly now on the Brisbane radar! Click here to read my presentation. . The meeting to brief our Timor Awakening participants attracted 42. I’ll let them tell you about […]

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Rebuilding Veterans’ Lives

DEACON Gary Stone and his son Michael arc both defence veterans and passionate about helping our young soldiers return to their families and civilian life. Together, they took on a new challenge last week — calling for greater public awareness about the plight of returning veterans, and seeking financial assistance for their mission through the Veterans Cam Association. “The association started about one-and-a-half years ago, and our mission is very clear. We am determined to save lives and save families,” Mr. Stone, a former army major, told Church, business and community leaders at the 2016 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Pray Breakfast. […]

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New veterans’ rehabilitation program in Timor

Article originally published in the Catholic Leader 14 April, 2016. Written by Mark Bowling New veterans’ rehabilitation program in Timor to combat “health crisis” and increased suicide rates with spirituality HUNDREDS of Australian veterans are expected to travel to Timor Leste as part of a unique rehabilitation program with spirituality at its core. The 12-month program, called Timor Awakening, is taking aim at a “health crisis” amongst young Australian veterans, who suffer from a frightening suicide rate. RSL Queensland has RSL Qld has agreed to sponsor the first 20 participants in the programme which will eventually expand to 200 veterans and […]

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Timor in hearts and minds

Article originally published in the Townsville Bulletin 14 April, 2016 at 8.33am. IN the years after World War II, Australian Sparrow Force veterans regularly returned to Dili in Timor to help locals who supported them in 1942. It’s about 720km from Darwin, the same distance from Rockhampton to Townsville. Mostly veterans of the 2/2nd Independent Commando Company, gunners, engineers, medics and Tasmania’s 2/40th Infantry Battalion, part of Australia’s tragically doomed 8th Division, these men took part in an annual pilgrimage to return to the gallant Timorese a little of the support given to them at great cost. Around August each […]

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