Next year we will be offering a First Nations Immersion to Lake Mungo to our Year 10 and Year 11 students. We are excited to be partnering with the travel company Red Earth. Red Earth was established in 2011 and their mission is “to connect people with remote Indigenous Homelands in a safe and meaningful way, and to provide economic opportunity, sustainability, and empowerment to those who live there.”
During week 4 of this term information about the immersion will be presented to our current Year 9 and 10 students. A parent information evening will be held in the middle of November. Look out for more information in your emails.
By Rachel Roche- Director of Identity
The Catholic Church has recently completed the next challenging steps forward in a national process of discernment, listening to what the Spirit is saying in the hope to renew the Catholic Church in Australia. The First Assembly of the Plenary Council saw nearly 280 members drawn from all Catholic dioceses in Australia, meeting online to discuss various Agenda questions from the 3rd to 10th October 2021. This was the first Assembly of the Plenary Council to be held since the second Vatican Council. This process began in 2018 by initiating dialogue and listening to one another’s stories of faith, followed by entering into further listening and discernment in 2019 to create themes for the agenda for the Plenary Council’s recent assembly. The Second General Assembly is scheduled for July 2022.
Having entered into the online options for participation via entering into some of the live streams, masses, podcasts and daily updates there was an overwhelming openness and courageous dialogue of truth-telling about facing the realities of our past in regards to the royal commission into child abuse and recognising the pain of those abused. There were yearnings for the Church to listen to its First Peoples contributions to the Church liturgically, to embrace its liturgical diversity of faiths and recognise an intercultural church. At St Joseph’s we have begun to enter this space through our 2021 theme to ‘Live the Golden Rule in the year of St Joseph’, acknowledging the many faith traditions that live this acknowledgment that we are all called to treat each other as we would like to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
There was evidence of the enriching diversity of the members represented across the dioceses of Australia in the online interactions and commentary. Common threads that I saw arise could be described through the words of, wisdom, honesty, love, walking together in hope and that everyone has a voice, even though some are still waiting to be heard.
To sum up, I share a reference from a summary of the final Mass at the conclusion of the Plenary Assembly from Archbishop Coleridge. ‘On the final day of the assembly in concluding his homily, Archbishop Coleridge mentioned that the person facilitating his small group’s discussions during the first assembly had been a midwife, who had likened the journey of discernment to bringing a child to birth. “The process is slow, painful and messy, but in the end it is wonderfully fruitful and joyful as the baby is born,” he said. “Beyond the maelstrom of this week and all that lies ahead may the Church in Australia come to know the fruitfulness and joy which the Holy Spirit brings from all the pain and mess, because nothing is impossible for God.” Archbishop Coleridge.
It is hoped that we draw inspiration from listening to the Holy Spirit at work in the diverse group of the Plenary council members from across Australia and we too are all called to continue our own journey of prayer and discernment as we look forward in hope to the renewal of the Catholic Church in Australia. Especially, as we prepare to send out our 2021 Year 12 students into the community, may they continue to keep their faith alive, and be nurtured by the Touchstones of Justice and Solidarity, Inclusive Community, Gospel Spirituality, Liberating Education encompassing the values of an Edmund Rice Education.
Plenary Council: https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/
At a state level, you may start to see in your local Parish newsletters, websites or Facebook notices a series of consultation processes taking place led by Bishop Peter Comensoli titled, ‘Take the way of the Gospel’. This mission focuses specifically on the realities of our local Church here in the Archdiocese of Melbourne at a pastoral, spiritual and practical level. It's about how we might work together co-operatively with the priests and people of the Archdiocese in strengthening and reinvigorating our parish communities as well as more effectively reaching out with enthusiasm to the communities in which we live. You are welcome to get in touch with your local parish priest and parish leadership teams and explore ways that you might assist them in ensuring that all the lay faithful are invited into this discussion at the local level. ‘Take the way of the Gospel’: https://melbournecatholic.org/about/take-the-way-of-the-gospel
By Mary Malone- Religious Education Coordinator