About Catalyst for Renewal

In July 1994, ten Catholics met over lunch in a private house in Sydney to talk about renewal in the Church. The discussion continued over the second half of 1994, so that by the end of the year the name Catalyst for Renewal had been chosen and our mission stated in the following way:

“We are believers who are attempting to establish a forum for conversation within the Catholic Church of Australia Our aim is to prompt open exchanges among the community of believers, mindful of the diversity of expressions of faith in contemporary Australia. This springs explicitly from the spirit of pope John XXIII and Vatican II: “Let there be unity in what is necessary, freedom in what is unsettled, and charity in any case.” (Gaudium et Spes, n.92)”

Catalyst for Renewal was incorporated as an Incorporated Association in 1996.

Over the subsequent years, Catalyst for Renewal has successfully pursued its mission, establishing forums for conversation including:

  • Spirituality in the Pub (initiated at Paddington in Sydney in 1995);
  • The Mix (1996 – 20nn);
  • Catalyst Dinners;
  • Forums, including Bishop’s Forums;
  • Q & A in the Crypt;
  • Reflection Mornings and Retreats.

Within Catalyst, we use the word ‘conversation’ with specific meaning. As expressed by Michael Whelan SM, “That meaning is derived from the word’s etymology, which it shares with two Latin words, conversari, meaning “to dwell,” “to keep company with” or “to abide,” and convertere, meaning “to change,” “to convert,” “to alter,” “to refresh” or “to turn.” The first of these two movements – the conversari – is a movement towards the other. I, as a given subject take the initiative and make a choice to be with you in some positive and creative way. The second – convertere – is a movement towards myself. I, as a given subject, open myself to discovery and change in and through this encounter… Our future depends on our ability to engage each other in conversation.”

Today Catalyst continues to support over 20 SIP venues across NSW and Victoria, Dinners, Forums and other opportunities for spiritual reflection and conversation. We also auspice the Rosemary Goldie Lecture. Information about our activities will be found throughout this website.


Profile of Catalyst, date unknown

Financial and Operating Information:

Catalyst for Renewal is a Charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not For Profit Commission – ACNC, and under NSW legislation. We submit annual reports to the ACNC and refer you to that website for further information.

We welcome any donations with great thanks, but we do not have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, ie donations to Catalyst for Renewal are not tax deductible.

Audited Accounts 2018

Annual Accounts 2019

Management Report 2019

Annual Accounts 2020

Management Report 2020

Annual Accounts 2021

Management Report 2021

Annual Accounts 2022

Members’ Handbook

To access the Members Handbook click here.


Marea Donovan

1996 – 2003

2008 – 2011

Jan Brady

2003 – 2005

Denys Goggin

2005 – 2008

Kevin Grant

2017 – 2020

Bob Birchall

2017 – 2023

Denise Playoust