Keynote speakers

We are excited to have with us, at our Conference, such esteemed speakers who will engage us from their varied and expansive perspectives, assisting us to reflect upon the signs of the times for our Church in Australia. We hope to stimulate your thinking through these key note addresses, so that you will be affirmed in your ministries, encouraged and inspired as workers in the vineyard.


Hugh Mackay AO

Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and the author of seventeen books, including the 2013 bestseller, The Good Life. His latest book, Beyond Belief, explores the changing role of religion in Australia – a society where 61 percent of the population identify as Christian, 67 percent claim to believe in a God or ‘higher being’, yet only 8 percent attend church weekly. He also examines the rise of non-religious spirituality in the context of our persistent desire for a sense of meaning.

Hugh has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre and an honorary professor at Charles Sturt University and the University of Wollongong. Among other honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School, and the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board.

In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW and Western Sydney universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.


Richard Gaillardetz

Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz is the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College and is currently the chair of the theology department. He received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Gaillardetz has published numerous articles and has authored or edited 13 books. Some of his more recent books include: Go into the Streets! The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis (Paulist Press, 2016) and An Unfinished Council:  Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of Catholicism (Liturgical Press, 2015).

In 2000 he received the Sophia Award from the faculty of the Washington Theological Union in recognition of “theological excellence in service to ministry,” and he has received numerous awards from both the Catholic Press Association and the Association of Catholic Publishers for his writing.

Dr. Gaillardetz was a delegate on the U.S. Catholic—Methodist Ecumenical Dialogue from 2001 to 2005 and served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2013-14. He is married to Diana Gaillardetz and they are the parents of four boys.


Dr Maeve Louise Heaney

Maeve HeaneyDr. Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF is a consecrated member of the Verbum Dei Community and Director, Theological Formation for Ministry, Australian Catholic University, (based in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy) and at Holy Spirit Seminary, Banyo. A musician and composer, she has worked in Spain, England, Ireland, Italy and Australia leading schools of evangelization, spiritual exercises and teaching theology. She writes on themes of theological aesthetics, music and spirituality and is author of the book entitled Music as Theology: What Music has to say about the Word. In 2014 she released her 4th CD: Break the Crystal Frame, with Willow Publishing, Australia.


Geraldine Doogue

Gerladine Doogue croppedWhilst originally planning a career as a school teacher after completing her Arts degree, in 1972 Geraldine applied on an impulse for a journalism cadetship with The West Australian instead. Since then she has thrived on that impulsive decision.

Within the first ten years of her career, Geraldine had carved out a reputation in print, television and radio, including two years at the London Bureau working for the Murdoch group’s Australian papers.

Her entrance into television was unexpected. Whilst covering a story for The Australian, an ABC Television reporter interviewed her for a Four Corners program. When the head office executives saw the interview, they were so impressed with her on-camera presence that they offered Geraldine the Perth compere’s position for ABC Television’s then new program Nationwide.

She soon moved to Sydney to host the NSW edition of the program and established herself as one of the most respected and popular personalities on national television.
Geraldine then worked for a time on commercial radio with 2UE and on commercial television, co-presenting Channel 10’s main news bulletin, before returning to the ABC in 1990. She played a major role in ABC TV’s coverage of the Gulf War. During this period Geraldine was awarded two Penguin Awards and a United Nations Media Peace Prize.

In 1992 Geraldine began presenting Life Matters, a new ABC Radio National program which set out to cover the full gamut of social issues in everyday life. In 1998, she also became host of ABC TV’s Compass program, which looks at issues of spirituality, philosophy and belief every Sunday evening. After 11 years with Life Matters, she moved to Saturday mornings to host a program focusing on international politics, Australia’s role on the world stage, and business, called Saturday Extra.

In 2000 Geraldine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for social and cultural reporting. In 2003, she was recognised with an Officer in the Order of Australia for services to the community and media. In March 2011, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by her alma mater, the University of Western Australia and by Macquarie University.

In August 2014 she released a book published by Text Publishing called The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women in Power.


Archbishop Mark Coleridge

Mark-Coleridge-croppedBorn in Melbourne in 1948, Archbishop Mark Coleridge was ordained priest in Melbourne in 1974.  He served in parishes before studying Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.  He taught Scripture in Melbourne, where he was eventually made Master of Catholic Theological College.  In late 1997, he was appointed to work in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State.  He was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and named Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 2006.  In 2012 he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane where he currently serves.  In 2016 he was also appointed Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.


Mary Jahne

Mary JahneMary is the artist responsible for the design of the Conference logo.

Mary shares with us that she has always loved drawing and other forms of art. As a teacher in Catholic schools Mary has often used her talents in this area, to create banners and booklets for the Parish and Sacramental programs. Mary enjoyed working with the use of symbols and pictures to enhance the liturgical experience for others and herself.

When Mary retired, she published two booklets on Black Line Masters for use in Schools and Parishes.

Mary then started working in patchwork, applique and quilting. This enabled her to make a larger form of artwork, which Mary finds very interesting and absorbing. Over the ensuing years Mary has made many banners and artworks for Schools, Churches and private homes.