Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP urged Catholic teachers to be “21st century witnesses to Christ”, at the Sydney Catholic Schools Eastern Region Mass on 21 February.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Randwick was overflowing with teachers for the Mass—the third Mass celebrated by the Archbishop this year for primary and secondary teachers at Catholic schools across the Archdiocese.
Drawing on SCS’s reflection theme for 2018, “Do not be afraid” and their action line, “Be courageous, be adventurous,” the Archbishop said that Catholic education today is “a real adventure.”
“There are many challenges for people of faith and ideals in today’s world. Much that requires courage and a spirit of adventure.”
“As disciples, educators, and leaders, we must have the courage of our convictions today more than ever.”
“That will require that dying to self characteristic of the true Christian, and a willingness to profess the faith courageously and prophetically, even when this is unpopular,” the Archbishop said.
SCS Director, Dr Dan White, congratulated and welcomed the newly graduated teachers and promised them “support and encouragement” from their colleagues.
Following the Mass, Carin Gerard, who is the Librarian at St Aidan’s Primary School, Maroubra, told The Catholic Weekly that her aim for the school year ahead is to impart to students the “joy” derived from learning.
“As a teacher in general, you teach to educate the children and give them a love of learning and to inspire them to reach their full potential. And to get joy from learning,” Ms Gerard said.
Year 6 teacher at St Agnes Primary School in Matraville, Ingrid Oliveira, said her aim this year is to help her students “transition to high school” so they can be “confident and prepared.”
While Gabriel Rulewski from Marist College, Northshore, said helping students “understand that faith in action is really important” would be a priority for him this year.
“If they don’t live what we teach then it’s really just empty,” Mr Rulewski said. “They already know a lot about social justice but it’s just linking it to the Catholicity, to the Catholic teachings, that’s important.”
REC at Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood in Maroubra, Tina Desouza, said she appreciates the “sense of community” at her school and hopes to further “build that community and bring the kids back to church.”
Assistant Principal at Marist College in Kogarah, Mark Woolford, said the best thing about teaching at a Catholic school is “The opportunity to give young people hope for the future, in a world that can sometimes be full of gloom.”
“And to challenge them with the ideal that they can go out and make it a better world,” he said. “That’s what we’re challenged to do as Christians, go out and make it better.”
One of two newly appointed SCS Youth Ministers, Andew Lamalu, said what he loves most about his new role at St Mary’s Cathedral College, is “Just being present to the young people.” He hopes to help students to “Value and cherish their lives.”
“I hope I can be a positive influence,” Mr Lamalu said.