March 2022 Newsletter



Option 1:    EMAIL newsletter–This will be our default option going forward. If you’re already receiving this newsletter via email, you don’t need to do anything. If you’re reading this in hardcopy, please send us an email to so we can update your details.
Option 2:  POSTED hardcopy–We’re happy to keep sending you the newsletter by post, but we’d need a small donation to cover postage. If this is what you prefer, please let us know either by phone 9328 8113, email, or write to us at 25 Windsor St Perth 6000. If you have already contacted us in 2021 to let us know, you don’t need to do it again, we have already noted your preference.

If we haven’t heard from you by the time we send out the next newsletter, unfortunately we’d have to stop sending you one. To avoid this, please do contact us!


The year 2021 was a special one for us. We started the year with a new coordinator, and we ended the year with a celebration of our 40th anniversary. Below are a few photos from our day of celebration in December 2021, and also a reflection from our coordinator Joe on his first year with us:

This year has been a big year for the Emmanuel Centre and Catholic Deaf.  My first year as Co-ordinator has been full of surprises and lots to learn. I have been supported by the Diocesan hierarchy and a great team here at the Centre.  The support coming from the Clergy has also been fantastic. Our new Committee of Management is full of really well qualified people. The Diocese is going through some big changes and as part of the Diocese we have not been exempt from change.  COVID, National Disability Standards along with Federal Governance requirements have led the Diocese to prevent services overlapping.  Due to this the beautiful house Barbara built has been handed over to IdentityWA (formerly CatholicCare) who specialise in the area of disability accommodation.  We have also lost the school building due to structural and safety issues. All the things that have been sent to try us in many ways, have made us stronger and more determined to make a difference.  We have endeavoured to follow the philosophy of a self-help model which is what the Centre was built on and it’s working. Christ is at the centre of what we do and building on a lived faith is important to the people here at Emmanuel.  We have been doing a lot of research and consultation to enable us to best utilise our resources.  Examples of this work are; Deaf nights on the last Thursday of the month.Mental Health Group masses and group gatherings.Parent Groups for children with disabilities starting early 2022. The ideas that are coming to us have been great.  It is clear we can’t do everything but we can make a difference in what we do.  Your support through this year has been a real blessing and I would encourage you to keep it up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Story from People living with Hearing Loss: COVID and the Community

(by Eric Martin)

Imagine trying to navigate the world of COVID directives and health mandates without being able to hear what everyone is saying or struggling with the vocabulary to make clear sense of the scientists’ findings or the politicians’ statements. Imagine not being able to communicate clearly with people at the shops to find out why there are gaping holes in the aisles where the products that you need should be.

This is the situation in which many people from the Deaf Community find themselves as COVID-19 begins to make its presence known in WA and reflects the experience of Deaf people across Australia over the last two years.

Geoffrey Scott, an Emmanuel Centre employee and volunteer of over 30 years, says that Covid has stopped him from doing many of his normal activities, such as swimming, playing water polo or going to parties. He has found it isolating and has kept away from friends and family during the pandemic.

“Hearing people tend to ignore Deaf people when out. People are too busy to stop and try to talk anymore, there is less and less time to talk with someone who is serving you at the shops and that has become even more normal now with everyone in masks,” said Geoff.

“For example, one thing that surprised me was seeing the shortages in the shops – I went to buy cat food and the shelves were empty. I had to watch the news, with captions on, to find out about the trains and trucks had been stopped coming across from the Eastern States due to the floods.”

During the height of the pandemic, Deafness Forum Australia felt compelled to issue a statement about the importance of accessible communications, highlighting that one in six Australians who live with a hearing loss that impacts their daily lives, “experience communication issues that make it hard to interact with other people and that these issues can result in loneliness, anxiety, and depression.”

“We face challenges with social distancing and the use of face masks which impedes lip reading,” the statement says.

And to compound matters, many specialist communication providers, such as the National Relay Service (NRS), are operating with reduced levels of staff due to the impact of Coronavirus on their workforce and have advised that “people who communicate in Auslan using the Video Relay service will experience longer than usual wait times to have their calls answered.”

“Yet just like everyone else, the Deaf community has been meeting up online, in the virtual space, chatting on Facebook and Messenger, which is still the best way to catch up at this time,” said Geoff.

“I have been lucky to be in contact with friends who have kept me updated, also, working here at The Emmanuel Centre means that Joe (the coordinator) has been helping to keep me up to date with the changes to what I need to have for work. For example, the team at work have helped me access my Covid Vaccine Certificate through MyGov, which would have been very difficult to find by myself.”

One positive that has emerged from the crisis is the overwhelming popularity of Fiona Perry and the other Auslan interpreters working with Premier Mark McGowan at each of his press conferences, and according to Geoff, this has had a profound impact, not just on his and others’ ability to follow the news on TV, but also by encouraging widespread awareness of Deafness and a focus on communication amongst hearing people.

“The interpreter has been really helpful in understanding what has been happening on the news and Deaf people see it as a big positive for them, she has encouraged lots of people to become more interested in Auslan,” he said.

“Her work has really helped to put Deaf and Hearing people on a level playing field, this kind of equality is great to see. Sometimes I can still miss what she has signed, and sometimes they use different signs for words than the ones that I know, but overall, it has really helped me to follow the news.”

MONTHLY DEAF Spiritual Fellowship

Since last year, Emmanuel Centre has been hosting a monthly deaf group get together, combining spiritual fellowship with the sharing of a meal and a social gathering. We took a break during the Christmas/ New Year period and we started again on 24th February 2022. Everyone is requested to bring a plate of finger food to share, with coffee/tea and softdrink provided by us. If you know any deaf person who would be interested in this, please let them know. They could RSVP to us at


We are sure that you are aware of the escalating number of people in our community experiencing mental health issues. To help tackle this issue, for the last ten years, Emmanuel Centre has offered a limited number of scholarships for a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course. Over that time, we have observed that having people trained for each parish not only helps the leadership but also provides more support for the people with mental health issues as well as their families

Training in the Mental Health First Aid Course teaches adults how to assist people who are experiencing a mental health crisis or are developing a mental health problem. Participants in the Mental Health Course will learn the signs and symptoms of these mental health problems, where and how to get help, and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective. MHFA is not a counselling course. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis is resolved.

Just as many of us have completed Red Cross First Aid and CPR certification, Mental Health First Aid follows a similar model and is designed to train lay people how to recognize indicators of mental health problems, how to talk appropriately to individuals experiencing mental health problems and how to make appropriate referrals for additional resources.

Once the parish representatives have completed their course and receive their certificate, they become part of a network of Catholic Mental Health First Aiders in the Archdiocese of Perth. We invite all members of the network about once every quarter to Mass followed by a social gathering where we share our work, our challenges, and our plans. The last one we had was at the Redemptorist Monastery, North Perth (photos below) and the next one we’re having in March 2022 will be at the Undercroft of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

If anyone is interested to be a Mental Health First Aider for their parish, you could register your interest with us at and we will contact you when we have the next batch of Mental Health First Aid training.


Our regular weekly program is going strong thanks to our activity coordinator Shannon who always work hard to provide our members with creative, and fun activities for everyone to do!

We have had some membership change this term. We are sorry that one of our regular members has not joined us this term, but we are happy to have our other regulars back and we welcome our new member too. Here are some photos to show what we’ve been up to this term.

TIMETABLE for the rest of Term 1

(Please check as services may change due to COVID)

February 28th 9:30 – 10:30am: Pastel Clouds 11-12:30pm: Cooking/Spinning/ Gardening         1-2pm: Boardgames/ ColouringMarch 1st 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: Free Painting 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games         1-2pm: Outdoor Games
March 7th PUBLIC HOLIDAY 9:30 – 10:30am: 11-12:30pm:         1-2pm:March 8th 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: “The Beach” 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games         1-2pm: Outdoor Games
March 14th 9:30-10:30am: Mosaic 11-12:30pm: Cooking/Spinning/ Gardening         1-2pm: Boardgames/ Colouring/ Free ChoiceMarch 15th 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: “Vehicles” 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games         1-2pm: Outdoor Games
March 21st 9:30-10:30am: Mosaic cont’d. 11-12:30pm: Cooking/Spinning/ Gardening         1-2pm: Boardgames/ Colouring/ OutdoorsMarch 22nd 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: “Still Life” 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games         1-2pm: Scrapbooking
March 28th 9:30-10:30am: Key Wind Chime 11-12:30pm: Cooking/Spinning/ Gardening          1-2pm: Boardgames/ Colouring/ Indoor GamesMarch 29th 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: “Landscapes” 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games         1-2pm: Outdoor Games
April 4th 9:30-10:30am: Easter Egg Bath Bombs 11-12:30pm: Cooking/Spinning/ Gardening 1-2pm: Boardgames/ Colouring/ Free ChoiceApril 5th 9:30-10:30am: Painting (Geoff) Topic: “Easter” 11-12:30pm: Cooking/ Dancing/ Indoor Games 1-2pm: Outdoor Games

A reflection on COVID

by Joe O’Brien (10/02/2022)

The impact of COVID cannot be overstated

It impacts on our lives

On our ability to communicate

It requires us to change the way we do things

Most of all it requires us to think

If we are to love our neighbours

We need to think about how we treat them

How they would want to be treated

COVID requires thought

Requires us to realise that to protect those who are entrusted to us

We need to take care

At times they won’t like it

They may rail against it

Our boundaries protect them

Jesus was no push over

He was tough

He knew what he wanted and paid for it with his life

Out of love

He doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle with his help

Let us lean on Jesus as we walk the COVID path.

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