My sisters and brothers in Christ and to all people of goodwill in the Diocese of Wollongong,
Grace, peace, and a very happy Christmas to you and your loved ones.
I recently had the joy of leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land—a wonderful time of prayer, reflection, and connection with God. In pondering the Christmas mystery of Emmanuel, God with us, I am drawn back to my experience in the land that was truly the cradle of our faith. In an unremarkable little town, far from the centres of power, a child was born whose life, death, and resurrection would change the course of history.
As I stepped into the cave that, as tradition holds, was the place where Jesus was born, I was overcome by the humility of our Saviour King. This cave would not have been adorned by the smell of incense or the shimmering of gold. Instead, on that first Christmas day, the incense was the fragrance of a flock of sheep, and the gold was the adoring gaze of a mother and father who had fled their home for fear of losing their lives. Standing in the cave where a feeding box for animals held God himself, I was overwhelmed.
This celebration of the coming of Jesus should remind us that, in a certain sense, every day is Christmas and an opportunity to welcome Emmanuel—God with us—into our lives. We do not need to be afraid nor concerned that we are not “fitting” for him, for surely, “A God who became so small could only be mercy and love” (St Thérèse of Lisieux).
Therefore, with St Ambrose of Milan, I invite you to, “Open wide your door to the One who comes. Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart to see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the sweetness of grace. Open your heart and run to meet the Sun of eternal light that illuminates all people.”
And let us join together in prayer for those places in our world, particularly the Holy Land, mired by hatred and violence.
May the one we call Prince of Peace bring peace to our world and the heart of all humanity.
Happy Christmas and the blessings of Christ’s love.
Yours in Christ,
Most Rev Brian G Mascord DD
Bishop of Wollongong 19 December 2023
Account means the account held at your financial institution from which we are authorised to arrange for funds to be debited.
Agreement means this Direct Debit Request Service Agreement between you and us, including the direct debit request.
Business day means a day other than a Saturday or a Sunday or a listed public holiday.
Debit day means the day that payment is due.
Debit payment means a particular transaction where a debit is made, according to your direct debit request.
Direct debit request means the Direct Debit Request between us and you.
Us and we and our means the Catholic Development Fund.
You means the customer(s) who signed the direct debit request. Your financial institution is the financial institution where you hold the account that you have authorised us to arrange to debit.
Debiting your account
By submitting a direct debit request, you have authorised us to arrange for funds to be debited from your account according to the agreement we have with you.
We will only arrange for funds to be debited from your account:
As authorised in the direct debit request; if the debit day falls on a day that is not a business day, we may direct your financial institution to debit your account on the following or previous business day. If you are unsure about which day your account has or will be debited, please check with your financial
Changes by you
If you wish to stop or defer a debit payment you must write to us at least 5 business days before the next debit day.
This notice should be given to us in the first instance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient clear funds available in your account to allow a debit payment to be made.
If there are insufficient clear funds available in your account to meet a debit payment:
you or your account may be charged a fee and/or interest by your financial institution;
you or your account may be charged a fee to reimburse us for charges we have incurred for the failed transaction;
you must arrange for the payment to be made by another method
Please check your account statement to verify that the amounts debited from your account are correct.
If you believe that there has been an error in debiting your account you should call us on 1800 047 703 and confirm the details in writing with us as soon as possible so that we can resolve your query quickly.
You should check:
with your financial institution whether direct debiting is available from your accounts offered by financial
your account details which you have provided to us are correct by checking them against a recent account statement; and
with your financial institution before completing the direct debit request if you have any queries about how to complete the direct debit
Warning: if the account number you have quoted is incorrect, you may be charged a fee to reimburse our costs in correcting any deductions from:
an account you do not have authority to operate; or
an account you do not
We will keep any information (including your account details) in your direct debit request confidential.
We will make reasonable efforts to keep any such information that we have about you secure and to ensure that any of our employees or agents who have access to information about you, do not make any unauthorised use, modification, reproduction or disclosure of that information.
However, we may use your contact details to provide information about the fund. Should you wish this not to be the case, please advise the fund in writing.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.