Redfern – a message shared

The gospel message that was lived in the community of Redfern was shared with the world beyond. I first met Ted Kennedy in 1970 when he came to Queensland to give a pre-ordination retreat. That encounter changed my life.

By living in Redfern Ted had begun to view the world from the perspective of the excluded. When he shared the gospel from that perspective old beliefs were destroyed and new ones were born. After seven years of study, during those few days, the gospel lived in a way I had … Continue reading

Ted Kennedy

When we first came to Sydney from Adelaide in 1968 several of our friends gave us advice about the Catholic Church in this city. In particular:

  • to understand the Sydney Church read Tom Kenneally’s Three Cheers for the Paraclete; and
  • make sure we get to know Ted Kennedy, if we wanted to see the Church as it really can be.

… and a dedication …

Many years ago I spent a little time in Thailand. I had gone there to try to enter, at least in some small way, into the extraordinary inner peace and serenity which, years earlier, I had experienced when, for the first time, I had entered a Buddhist temple. Now, several years later, among the many temples I visited in Bangkok was one which specially intrigued me – Wat Phra Keaw – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. According to my guide, this particular temple had been built at the time of King Mongkut.[1]

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Redfern & Ted Kennedy

The Man and the Philosophy

As is often the case, the philosophy comes before the philosopher. If the thoughts and words and actions of the person are such that they touch the very essence of our conscience and spirit, then we are led to seek the source of the wisdom. If we see around us people living the philosophy and sharing the great gifts of God’s presence in their lives, then we are drawn closer by their example to the source of the inspiration.


A reflection on St Vincent’s Redfern since 1976

Praying the psalms in the chapel of the old convent building amidst the shouts of desperation emanating from the drunken chaos of the lives of people in the darkness below is a memory that stays with me to this day. This was the world of poverty and tragedy which Mum Shirl invited me to share. I was then a naïve 21 year old Marist Brother. This was a world I knew nothing about. It was at once frightening and welcoming, depressing yet energising. While Mum Shirl was around I felt safe, as though things could … Continue reading

Redfern Parish Community

The thing about St Vincent‘s Parish is that it is not a “parish” which can be understood as an area within which Catholics living there are served. Perhaps Redfern is more adequately described as “community’, for a community is a group of people bonded together with a certain focus. Members are not necessarily connected geographically.