“The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason to hope. Our hope is in the life and the promise of Jesus Christ, and this is what we invite our students to encounter” — Peter Hill, CEDoW Director of Schools
On a night of Eucharistic celebration, the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) community gathered for our annual Education Mass at St John Vianney Co-Cathedral, Fairy Meadow.
The inspiring occasion, filled with uplifting music and a moving cultural dance by Aboriginal dancers from John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow, also marked the official launch of the organisation’s new strategic plan, Lighting The Way 2023+, which was presented to the Bishop of Wollongong, Most Rev. Brian Mascord DD during the Mass.
Staff and students from the four diverse regions of the diocese were joined by Bishop Brian and invited guests, in a strong statement of unity and spirit that embraces the liberating power of Catholic education.
The Mass, celebrated by Bishop Brian and concelebrated with clergy from across the diocese, was a particularly memorable occasion for the diocese’s seven newest principals – Katie Brown of St Paul’s, Moss Vale; James Bryce of St Michael’s, Thirroul; Kaylene Duffin of Holy Cross, Helensburgh; and Brad McAllister of John Therry, Rosemeadow; Anthony McElhone of St Thomas Aquinas, Bowral; Gabbi Tobin of St Patrick’s, Port Kembla; and Katrina West of St Michael’s, Mittagong – who, accompanied by students from their school, were formally commissioned and blessed. A blessing was also offered to all new CEDoW staff in the congregation.
In an inspirational homily, Bishop Brian reminded those present to be the face of Christ to those whom they teach and encounter.
"Our purpose is to welcome people who choose a faith-based education for their children, and help them to know and to experience the overwhelming love that God has for them," he said. "We are called to be invitational in all we do. We are called to invite people into our schools so that they can experience and share faith with us, not experience a sense of rejection because they do not fit into a box."
Bishop Brian’s sentiments were echoed by Mr Hill who affirmed that the mission and moral purpose of Catholic education is to “light the way through faith, learning, and wellbeing.”
“Within these three simple words [Lighting the Way] we find the light that is the inspiration we receive" — Peter Hill, Director of Schools
"We see this dimension of the mystery of God in our Catholic schools when they are characterised by trust, imagination, inclusivity, understanding and meeting people where they are at,” he said.
Grounded in the wisdom of the Church which continues to offer hope, life, and freedom to all that embrace it, LTW2023+ encompasses five focus areas:
- Formation in the Catholic Tradition
- Student learning and wellbeing
- Belonging in a connected community
- System support for the core work of teaching
- Ensuring Catholic schools continue to thrive
Each focus area is the result of deep listening to students, teachers, families, clergy and other partners — a true result of many heads, hearts and hands, working together towards a common purpose.
“If we are to read the signs of the times, and respond strategically with real impact that makes it through the classroom door, I believe we must also draw on the eyes, the soul, and the knees that light the way for the students in our schools," said Mr Hill.