Friday 15 September 2023

Director of Catholic Identity & Mission

  • Faith Formation Days
  • Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • Faith Formation Days
  • Uluru Statement from the Heart

Faith Formation Days

August saw the final Faith Formation days for the year, including events for our Yrs. 8 and 10 Students. The Year 8’s walked to Maribyrnong Park Bowls club where they engaged in a range of engaging and thought-provoking activities that encouraged students to reflect on their gifts and how they might share them with others. Students also discussed how they might recognise and celebrate the gifts in others. Each student created a bracelet for themselves showing one gift they can offer the Ave community.

The Year 10 students attended their Faith Formation Day at the Moonee Ponds Bowling Club, where they engaged in a range of activities that encouraged the students to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and how our College is working to look after our environment. This included a reflection on the importance of the encyclical, Laudate Si’ from Pope Francis, who reminds all people of their call to be agents of change. One of the activities included students discussing and planning how they would care for our common home.

Each of the Faith Formation Days ended with a liturgy in which the students participated in reflecting on how they can live out our Franciscan charism in how we treat each other and our world.

Uluru Statement from the Heart

Over the next few weeks, we will be seeing and hearing more about the upcoming referendum on the proposed ‘Voice’ to parliament. I had a privilege recently to attend a workshop run by a First Nations person from Jagera country, on how we might discuss this in our schools and with our young people. I learnt that the Uluru statement as ideally meant to be listened to, rather than read. At our recent Staff Faith Formation Day, as part of our prayer to begin the day, we listened to the Uluru statement from the Heart. I have included below links that can be used to do this and find out about the history behind the Uluru statement.

Br. Damian Price, a Christian Brother based in Brisbane has written three thought provoking pieces on his blog that give both a Catholic and personal perspective on the voice. The link to his blog is also placed below. This is a little of what he has written.

On October I will be voting ‘Yes!’

I suppose over forty years of teaching I have learnt something about people. I have certainly learned about my own fragility and feet of clay – my many faults and failings. But if there is one thing I have learnt, especially working with young people, is that people have a voice, and they want it to be heard.

In my professional career I can count probably twenty occasions when the young people I was working with rebelled or carried out a guerilla campaign against the school leadership. I am told that the hardest war to win is the guerilla campaign where the enemy appears out of nowhere, dressed like the ordinary day to day citizens, attack a target and then disappear back into the crowds of smiling passers-by. What I have learned is that almost always there is a root cause for the unease, the rebellion or the need to wage war. Sure, sometimes that root cause is simply the adolescent journey and the need to find their own identity and sometimes it is a herd mentality.

But often the root cause was voicelessness. When the young people felt imposed upon, when their voice was not heard nor respected. There is an old dictum, “Nothing about us without us!”

That dictum is so true. It has so much power within it. One of the principles of Catholic Social Justice teaching is subsidiarity. Subsidiarity simply refers to the practice of decision-making being made at the local level, at the level which directly affects those involved. We all know the powerless (and voiceless) feeling when some unseen person or power in some boardroom or government office makes a decision that directly affects US on the ground.

We all long to be heard - Encounter The Heart

Link to Br Damian Price’s blogs: Blog - Encounter The Heart

Links to listen to The Voice:

Midnight Oil - Uluru Statement from the Heart (Read by First Nations collaborators) - YouTube

Uluru Statement from the Heart Background - Rachel Perkins - YouTube

Mr Patrick Hogan
Director of Catholic Identity and Mission