Australian Prisons Evangelized Through Internet


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SYDNEY, Australia, NOV. 4, 2009 ( The Gospel message was sent through the Internet today to isolated places, even prisons, in a global e-conference organized by the Australian bishops.

A press release from the bishops' conference reported that thousands of people, including convicts from Sydney's Long Bay Correctional Centre and Silverwater Correctional Centre, tuned in to the online conference to learn more about the Gospel of Luke.

Through the Internet, individuals joined the global network of participants from across Australia, as well as Rome, Great Britain, the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, the United States, the Philippines, Korea, Fiji and New Zealand. They were able to listen to the talks and send in questions by email, which were then answered throughout the day.

The conference, titled "Come to the Table," is the second of its kind, following the successful online presentation on St. Paul last June.

The events were organized by the bishops' conference along with The Broken Bay Institute.

Bishop David Walker, member of the Bishops' Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, hosted the conference in his diocese of Broken Bay, Australia.

He explained that these activities are meeting the need for accessible, quality, adult faith formation.

"We know from the feedback we received from the St. Paul e-conference that while everybody recorded a positive experience, those who were especially appreciative were those who were isolated and were not usually able to access such high quality speakers," the prelate affirmed.

The director of The Broken Bay Institute, Gerard Goldman, stated that the organizers were "delighted" to include the prisoners.

"This is a wonderful faith formation opportunity for them and for many others," he said, "and we hope to be able to build on this outreach in the future."

Speakers included Archbishop Mark Coleridge of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, and Sister Elizabeth Dowling of the Sisters of Mercy. Lay people also presented a panel discussion on the application of this Gospel to their lives.

The sessions are being offered for free online access on The Broken Bay Institute Web page.