Spirit in the City

Annual conference on faith, public affairs and culture



Fr Douglas Yousef Al Bazi is a Chaldean Catholic Church priest who become one of the iconic faces of the Christian genocide in Middle Eastern, having been pastor of a parish in Erbril, Iraq, during which time he witnessed the decimation of churches and was shot, imprisoned and brutalized by Shiite militiamen. He created a dedicated ministry for Iraqi Christians who fled regions held by ISIS and established a refugee centre. In 2015, was visited the United States through the sponsorship of the Knights of Columbus and raised much needed awareness of the Christian genocide in Iraq, raising up to one hundred million dollars for Iraqis. Since late 2016, he has been has been placed in Auckland, New Zealand, as the leader of the Chaldean Catholic congregation there, where among other things, he is driving the Project 52, to relocate disabled Iraqi children in New Zealand.

Fr Adrian Sharp is a local of Brisbane, serving as priest of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation.  After finishing high school he entered Pius XII Provincial Seminary, Banyo, in 1993, and ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane in 2000.  He has served as a priest in the parishes of Booval, Burleigh Heads, the Cathedral, Noosa District, Sunnybank, Acacia Ridge, Coomera, Regents Park, and, now, Annerley Ekibin.  From 2010 to 2012 he completed a Licentiate in Canon Law at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada.  In 2013 he became a member of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation, and is currently the Moderator of the Oratory community.  In addition to his Oratory work, he works in the Regional Tribunal for Queensland which is responsible for the processing of marriage nullity applications.  He is an Associate Judicial Vicar to the Tribunal, and also serves as a Judge and Instructor of cases, as well as providing other canonical assistance to the Archbishop.


Father Lam Vu is Parish Priest of St Mary’s South Brisbane, and Parish Administrator of Dutton Park Catholic Parish.  He was born in South Vietnam 1971, the second youngest of nine children in a family that migrated to Australia when he was 8 years old. After completing a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Queensland, he worked for 3 years for an Architectural firm in Tweed Heads and Brisbane, being active in a Vietnamese Youth Group and playing sports. The turning point of his life began in January 1996, when he returned to Vietnam for the first time, where he witnessed real poverty, poor people, lepers and beggars on streets.  This experience led him to prayer and attending daily Mass, where he gained a great sense of joy, peace and happiness in his life. Through this, he heard God’s call and entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in 1999. He professed his First Vows in 2001, was sent to Rome to complete his studies for the priesthood and completed a Licence in Spirituality at the Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in 2008 and was a full-time university chaplain at, University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, Melbourne Australian Catholic University and Notre Dame University

Jan Heath has been involved in the work of evangelisation for 27 years and an active member of Our Lady of the Way parish in Brisbane. She has served on 25 short term mission trips to 30 countries mainly on the continent of Africa. Some of her evangelisation initiatives include the Catholics Returning Home program, Little Rock Scripture Studies, the annual Bible Institute and the Evangelisation Resources Down Under (ERDU) ministry. Jan served for 6 years on the Brisbane Archdiocese Commission for Evangelisation and Pastoral Planning and has supported parishes throughout Oceania with seminars and retreats over many years.


Dr Ryan Messmore is the founding Executive Director of the Millis Institute at Christian Heritage College in Carindale. He has served as President of Campion College, a liberal arts college in Sydney and as a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, the largest research and education institution (a.k.a. “think tank”) in Washington, DC.  Dr. Messmore was also founding Director of Trinity Forum Academy in Royal Oak, MD. The program, which he designed and oversaw from 2001-2006, offers recent college graduates a nine-month residential program of advanced course work in theology and cultural engagement. Dr. Messmore received his bachelor’s degree in public policy and religion from Duke University. He holds master’s degrees in theology and Christian ethics from Duke Divinity School and Cambridge University. He received his doctorate in political theology from Oxford University. Messmore is also the author of the recent book In Love: The Larger Story of Sex and Marriage.


Teresa McGrath leads the Youth Evangelisation Office for the Archdiocese of Brisbane. The Youth Evangelisation Office seeks to support youth leaders through training, formation, resourcing, strategic planning and consultation whilst also promoting greater collaboration and coordination between the various youth initiatives. This has culminated in their latest project called the Catholic Collective, which provides a platform for young people to connect with all youth initiatives across the Archdiocese. Teresa has been involved in youth ministry for over 15 years. This has taken her around Australia and New Zealand as well as to the Philippines and Palau. Teresa’s background is in Business Management and she is currently completing her Masters in Theology and Leadership.


Ora Duffley was born and raised in Athlone, in the heart of Ireland. Thanks to her parents, she received a Catholic education at the local convent school, after which she earned an honours degree in history and Irish folklore at University College Dublin. She later graduated as a teacher. Ten years ago, she moved to Australia and currently teaches a beautiful prep class in Brisbane.
Ora’s Catholic faith has guided her since childhood and led her to become involved in numerous organisations down through the years. It is the Catholic Faith that prompted her to engage in volunteer work both in Australia and abroad in India and more recently in Iraq.


The Australian Sacred Music Association, is dedicated to the propagation of liturgical music throughout the Catholic Church in Australia. This is in the wake of the Church’s universal and urgent call for liturgical renewal and restoration of sacred music, dedicated to ‘the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful’ and the driving principle to ‘clothe the sacred texts’ with beauty and splendour, and to ‘give them greater efficacy’. The association recognises that there is an unparalleled body of musical works now more accessible than ever to be rediscovered through the formation of proficient choirs along with the training and encouragement of congregations in singing their specific parts of the Mass. The sacred music concert at Spirit in the City 2017 will be led by Ronan Reilly, the Publicity Officer of ASMA, drawing together musicians from Brisbane and aboard.