From the desk of Father Geoff

From Atheist to Catholic

I’d like you to meet Jennifer Fulwiler.  Jennifer grew up an atheist and was received into the Catholic Church in 2007, along with her husband.  She tells the story of of her conversion in her book Something Other than God.  (You can buy it through Fishpond - $28.92, postage free).  Hear something of her story at (Note: the audio is a little soft).  Another link to a lecture in which she also tells her story can be found at:   In these talks Jennifer talks about her personal journey from atheism to Christianity, and more specifically, to Catholicism.  You can also check out her website:

A Visit to The Shack

William Paul Young's novel The Shack invites us to rethink our image of God.  My homily for the feast of the Holy Trinity takes some ideas from Young's novel.  To watch the homily click here:  You might also like to watch an interview with Paul Young - I used a brief extract from this interview in my homily.  The link to the interview (which lasts for over an hour, but certainly worth watching):

Walking the Camino from Leon to Santiago de Compostela

A number of parishioners joined me in 2014 to walk the Camino from Leon to Santiago de Compostela.  Click here to view a photographic meditation of our pilgrimage: 

A Photographic meditation on Gethsemani Abbey

In 2011 I made a two weeks' retreat at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, USA.  Gethsemani was the Cistercian abbey where Thomas Merton lived, and this year is the 100th anniversary of his birth.  Clink on the link to view my meditation on Gethsemani, including my visit to Thomas Merton's hermitage in the grounds of the monastery.  The background music comes from the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.  Here's the link:


Fr James Martin SJ has an interesting series on the saints entitled "Who cares about the saints?"  Each episode is a brief (about 10 minutes) overview of the life of a saint, such as St Francis of Assisi, or St Ignatius.  But Fr Martin also profiles the lives of other people who are not yet saints, such as Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.  So, have a look:

Our Lady:
St Joseph:
Pope Saint John XXIII:
St Francis of Assisi:
Dorothy Day:
Thomas Merton:
Mother Teresa:
St Peter:
St Joan of Arc:
St Bernadette:
St Ignatius:


Anglican Scripture scholar and bishop, N.T. (Tom) Wright presents an excellent program on the resurrection of Jesus.


A talk by Fr ronald Rolheiser OMI.


Read the introduction to John L. Allen's most recent book:  The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church.  An interesting overview of the papacy of Pope Francis:


I’m currently working on a series of introductory talks on the Bible.  They are designed for people who are unfamiliar with the Bible, or for those who would like a refresher course.  

Talk 1 asks the basic question, “Why do we need a sacred text like the Bible?”  To watch Talk 1, click here:

Talk 2 looks at the importance of story.  Each of us has a story, and our story consists of all the people, places and events that make us the unique individual that we are.  To lose our story is to lose our identity.  To watch Talk 2, click here:

The Christian Bible is made up of the Old and New Testaments.  Talk 3 takes a look at the Old Testament.  What’s in the Old Testament, and what kind of literature are we dealing with?  To watch Talk 3, click here:

Talks 4 and 5 look at the New Testament.  What’s in the New Testament, and who finally decided which books would be included in the New Testament?  To watch Talk 4, click here:       To watch Talk 5, click here:

Talk 6 look at the historical background of the biblical story.  There is no text without context, so what is the historical context of the biblical story.  Click here to watch Talk 6:

Talk 7 offers an overview of the four gospels.  What is a gospel and why were the gospels written?  What's in the gospels?  Click here to watch Talk 7:


TALK 1:  I'm currently working on a series of talks that looks at key New Testament words as we find them in the Greek New Testament.  When we read the New Testament in English we are reading it in translation.  The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, the popular or common form of the Greek language spoken from around 300 BC until about 300 AD.  The Italians have a saying, Traduttore Traditore - the translator is a traitor.  There’s nothing sinister implied in that saying; it cleverly highlights the difficult task confronting any translator.  How do you express in English the full dynamism of a text written in another language, in this case the Koine Greek?  Each talk in this series will look at key New Testament word in the Greek New Testament and try to see how it was used and understood in its original first century context.  Click here to watch Talk 1: 

TALK 2:  The Greek Alphabet.  Since each talk in this series focuses on a key word from the Greek New Testament, it would be helpful to learn the Greek alphabet.  This talk offers a basic introduction to the Greek alphabet, as it would have been pronounced in koine Greek.  Click here to watch Talk 2:

TALK 3:  New Testament Words:  Ἰησοῦς (Iesous-Jesus).   The name Ἰησοῦς (Iesous) is a Greek translation of the Hebrew name Yehoshua.  Our pronunciation, Jesus, comes to us from the Greek via the Latin, Iesus.  Click here to watch Talk 3:

TALK 4:  New Testament Words:  Χριστός (Christos - Christ).  What does the word Christ mean, and what does it mean to call Jesus the Christ?  Click here to watch Talk 4:

TALK 5:  New Testament Words:  Ἀρχηγὸς (Archegos).  A title given to Jesus, but found only four times in the New Testament.  Click here to watch Talk 5:

TALK 6:  New Testament Words:  Tέκτων (tektōn).  In Mark’s gospel we learn that Jesus was a tektōn, a word that most bibles translate as carpenter.  What did it mean to be a tektōn in first century Palestine?  Click here to watch Talk 6:

TALK 7:  New Testament Words:  Mετάνοια (metanoia).  Metanoia is usually translated as “repentance”, but what does that mean?  Click here to watch Talk 7:

TALK 8:  New Testament Words: Παράκλητος (paraklētos).  Jesus is called a Paraklētos as is the Holy Spirit.  We don’t have an exact equivalent in English, which is why some translations use the word Paraclete.  What does the word mean, and what is it saying about Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  Click here to watch Talk 8:

TALK 9:  New Testament Words: εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion).  Our English word Gospel is a translation of the Greek εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion) which means “good news”.  Click here to watch Talk 9:


This talk is an introduction to Christian meditation.  Because we’re constantly thinking about one thing or another, our mind is often likened to a tree full of noisy, playful monkeys.  This form of meditation, using a prayer word or mantra, seeks to still the mind and rest in silence in the presence of God.   Click here if you’d like to learn more about Christian meditation:


When Pope Benedict resigned I prepared this talk about the election of a pope.  Who is the pope, how is he elected, and by whom?  If you’d like to learn more, click here:

Click on the image below to view my latest homily, or go to my Youtube channel to view all my homilies and talks:


Latest News

Archbishop's Pastoral Letter for the Consecrated Life

Copies of Archbishop Fisher’s pastoral letter for the Year of Consecrated Life are available in the foyer of the church.  Alternatively, you can watch the Archbishop deliver his message on Youtube.  Click here:

Social Justice Update

In November we will be organising a “Table Talk” in conjunction with the Sydney Alliance, where we will have the opportunity to meet and listen to a refugee, asylum seeker and an expert including a facilitated workshop to encourage participants to reflect and share their views.  Anyone from the Parish is very welcome to attend and further information will be forwarded as soon as possible.

The Bishops annual Social Justice Statement for 2015-16 has been launched this week and the theme for this year is For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas: Justice for refugees an asylum seekers. For those interested you can access the statement and information on actions we can take at 

Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment

Pope Francis has just released an Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’.  The name of this encyclical comes from its opening words, “Laudato si’ mi’ Signore” (Praise be to you, my Lord).  In the words of this beautiful canticle, St Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home (planet Earth) is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.  “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.”  Pope Francis makes the point that “this sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”  To read Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment (Laudato Si'), click here:


The latest rosters are now available for download.  Go to "Rosters" on the homepage.


The following information about parish demographics is taken from the 2011 national census.  The total number of people living in the parish is 31,512 (36,119 in 2006). 

The Catholic population of the parish is 9,320 (10,036 in 2006) - i.e. 29.6% of the parish is Catholic (up from 27.8% in 2006).  The percentage of Catholics nationwide is 25.29%. 

Other statistics relating to the parish: No religion: 24.79%;  Anglicans: 17.54%;  Orthodox Christians: 2.7%; Other Christians: 9.8%; Non-Christian religion: 8%; Religion not stated: 7.6%.

The median age of Catholics in this parish is 35 years.  There are 3,214 Catholic families in the parish, and 753 Catholics live alone.  Forty-three per cent of Catholics in the parish have a university degree (up from 38% in 2006), and 66% of Catholic students living in the parish attend a Catholic school (down from 70% in 2006). 


All parishioners who have a parish ministry that involves working with children must obtain a Working with Children Check number.  At St Michael’s this means: Catechists, those helping with children’s liturgy, and senior servers.  People who do not have  a WWW check number will not be able to work with children.  Because you work on a volunteer basis, there is no charge.  Paid employees must pay an $80 fee.
Step 1:  This is an online process.  The website that you must go to is: 
Step 2:  Once you have accessed the website, click on “Start Here”.  You go to the “For individuals” section (not “For employers”), and click on “Apply”.  That will open up the online application form which will ask you for your personal details.  It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete the form.  The information you give on this form must match your “proof of identity” document (e.g. your driver’s licence).  In the section, “purpose for the check”, make sure you click “volunteer”.
Step 3:  You will receive an application receipt number, beginning with APP.
Step 4:  You must then go to a Motor Registry Office with your APP number and proof of identity (e.g. a NSW driver’s licence).
Step 5:  The parish must then verify that you have received a Working With Children Check Number.  Your check will be valid for five years.
If you have any questions, please contact the parish office.

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Weekend Mass Times

St Michael's Church, Lane Cove
Vigil (Saturday) - 6pm
Sunday - 9:30am & 6pm

Mary Help of Christians Chapel, Greenwich
Sunday - 8am

Saint Ignatius' Chapel, Riverview
Sunday - 7:30am

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