2016 NCEC CONFERENCE: Archbishop gives credit to Christ-centred education in Australia; describes it as a gift we must protect
Mass for the National Catholic Education Commission Conference was celebrated by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga – who was visiting Perth for the Conference - and co-celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bishop Justin Bianchini, Bishop Gerard Holohan, Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ and assisted by Permanent Deacon Mark Powell. Photo: Jesse Roberts
By Caroline Smith
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has last week described Catholic education in Australia as a precious gift that must be protected, with Christ placed at its centre.
During a Mass for the National Catholic Education Commission Conference on 21 June, Archbishop Costelloe urged teachers, other staff and congregants to remember the importance of Jesus and His teachings in their work.
“The greatest challenge facing the Church today and, therefore, the greatest challenge facing Catholic Education, is to start afresh from Christ,” he said.
“We must return Jesus Christ to His rightful place at the heart of every aspect of Catholic education, and we must return Catholic Education to Him, offering it to Him as a gift of which we can be proud, confident that it is, to the very best of our ability, exactly what He wants it to be.”
The Mass was held at St Mary’s Cathedral and was celebrated by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga – who was visiting Perth for the Conference - and co-celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, Bishop of Broome, Bishop Christopher Saunders, Bishop of Geraldton, Bishop Justin Bianchini, Bishop of Bunbury, Bishop Gerard Holohan, Melbourne Auxiliary Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, Bishop of Port Pirie (South Australia), Bishop Greg O'Kelly SJ and assisted by Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of Perth, Deacon Mark Powell.
Archbishop Costelloe said the Conference was a time to reflect on the value of Catholic education, and its benefits, not only to students but to society as a whole.
“We have rejoiced in these days, and will continue to rejoice in the days ahead: in the strength, professionalism, and remarkable outreach of our education efforts,” he said.
“Together, we offer a precious gift, a true treasure, not only to our young people and their families, but to the society of which we are a part.
“Behind the statistics are real flesh and blood people with hearts and minds to be opened to the wonders of God’s creation and the greater wonders of God’s love for us made visible in Jesus Christ.”
However, it was essential that the community should not become complacent about this gift but protect it with care, he added.
“It is, of course, a gift given to us, not only or primarily for ourselves to rejoice in and celebrate but, rather, so that it can be offered, in all its integrity, to those for whom it is ultimately intended: the children and young people who have been entrusted to us by their families,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“Today, then, let us once again commit ourselves to guarding the treasure entrusted to us, relying on the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
“Let us love and respect and nurture our children, offering to them the very best we have. And, above all, let us create for them the spaces, the opportunities, the environment, in which they can encounter the One who is, for them and for all of us, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”