Lina’s Project continues in 2018

To build on the work of Lina’s Project – which aims to acknowledge the devastation caused to victims and survivors of abuse, their families, friends and the whole community and seek atonement – the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle will be facilitating two regional events in February and March.

The aim of these regional events is to ensure that people throughout the diocese can take part in Lina’s Project and find some measure of healing and hope for the future. Openly acknowledging the criminal history and cover-ups and seeking atonement is essential to being able to move forward in a positive way as a community.

The audio-visual presentation, that was the centrepiece of the Lina’s Project launch event last September, acknowledges the lifelong impact of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and other church personnel, names both the perpetrators of abuse and those who concealed their crimes in our region, and seeks to beg forgiveness.

The first regional event, with the support of the Chisholm Catholic community, will see the presentation projected onto the façade of St Joseph’s Church in East Maitland every evening from 8pm to 9pm from Sunday 18 February until Thursday 22 February.

As part of this, there will be a barbecue from 6.30pm on Wednesday 21 February. The whole community is invited to attend the barbecue to support victims and survivors and gather in a spirit of recognition, healing and hope. The barbecue will be held on the grassed area near the Therry Centre, New England Highway, East Maitland. After the barbecue people can choose to stay to watch the projection onto the church.

The second regional event will take place in Taree in March. Further details will be available in February via the Lina’s Project website. We will also advertise details of the event in local media.

If you would like to attend, please feel free to RSVP anonymously on 4979 1188 for catering purposes. Any other details or updates will be advertised on the Lina’s Project website as the events draw closer so please keep an eye on the website.

About the launch of Lina’s Project

Lina, a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of a member of clergy in our diocese, conceived Lina’s Project as a way to bring healing to the whole community - a community deeply affected by these crimes. It was Lina’s hope that, by publicly acknowledging the crimes and cover-ups, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle could take a positive step towards atonement with the community.

The feedback received after the launch event was very positive, hopeful and challenging.

As promised at the time, these comments, received both on the night and via a feedback form on the Lina’s Project website, have now been collated and published anonymously.

You can read them by visiting If you would like to add your voice to these comments please use the form on the Lina’s Project website and your comments will be added to those already on the feedback page.

The brave victims and survivors and their families and friends - who attended the launch (or watched it online) - put themselves in a very vulnerable position by being there. However, the feedback from many attendees has been that Lina’s Project has been a positive thing for them and for the community.

However, some found it confronting and distressing. There was also great support from the community which has been impacted immeasurably by the “obscenities”, as Lina referred to them, revealed in the Special and Royal Commissions.

Apologies have been made, but as Bishop Bill acknowledged: “A formal apology can never really be adequate but it still needs to be said over and over.” The Diocese can beg for forgiveness but its actions moving forward will reveal the genuineness of its intent.

At the launch event Bishop Bill committed the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to:

  • consulting with survivors and the community to plan a permanent memorial in the grounds of Sacred Heart Cathedral
  • making 15 September a perpetual day of remembrance and holding events each year on this day to acknowledge victims and survivors in order to work towards healing in the community
  • working with schools, particularly sites of abuse, to plan memorials and events of acknowledgement

Bishop Bill made this commitment so that “the story is not forgotten and our determination that it not be repeated never fades”. These things will also allow the whole community “to listen to each other better and support each other with greater understanding”.

Seeking ideas

If you have ideas or suggestions about a permanent memorial, events that might take place on September 15 or other ideas that you feel will contribute to healing within the community, please share these ideas via the feedback form that is available on the Lina’s Project website.

Consultation with victims, survivors and others will also take place in the coming months. If you would prefer to speak to someone about your ideas, you can contact Jo Isaac on 4979 1188 or Zimmerman Services’ Healing and Support Team on 4979 1390.

Lina's Project will be coming to East Maitland from 18 - 22 February. Click here for more information.

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Joanne Isaac

Joanne is a Communications Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular columnist for Aurora Magazine.

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