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Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Wojciech Grzech and Chris Ellison with some of the scholarship recipients. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

The KSC Education Foundation Inc has this year celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The scholarship ceremony, on Monday 5 December, was held in the Tannock Hall at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle campus with special guest, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB speaking extensively about the fruits of the Fifth Plenary Council and its impact on Catholic Education.

The KSC Education Foundation was established in 1992 by members of the Knights of the Southern Cross (WA) and aims to support faith education in the Catholic education system. This has primarily been achieved through the annual scholarships to those teaching and giving witness to the Catholic faith in the Catholic education system.

In 2019, the Foundation commenced its support of the In Altum program, a leadership development and faith formation program for students at UNDA, designed to help students develop spiritually so they can serve the Church in a meaningful way.

This year, the Foundation also offered the Grace Doctoral Scholarship for a research project that would benefit Catholic education in Western Australia.

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Grace Doctoral Scholarship recipient Taylor Glass (left) with Wojciech Grzech. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

In his speech for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe drew reference to the convening of the 2012 Year of Grace, explaining that it was conceived as an invitation to the whole Church in Australia to go on an extended retreat.

“The concept [of the Year of Grace] was based on two key principles which I am convinced remain central to the ongoing work of implementing the decrees of the Plenary Council,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.

“The first was that the challenges, difficulties and opportunities facing the Church in Australia were so many and so complex that, in order to begin to address them properly as disciples of Jesus, we needed to pause, reflect, and rediscover the basics of our Christian faith as we live it and believe it within the Catholic Community.

In a sense, highlighted Archbishop Costelloe, it was an invitation to do what the Second Vatican Council had taught: to come to grips with what Vatican II called the hierarchy of truths – to rediscover, in other words, what is most central to our identity as Catholics and to re-evaluate everything in the light of that.

The second key principle, he continued, flowed on from the first.

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Knights of the Southern Cross WA Executive Officer John Walczak with UNDA Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell, KSC Education Foundation Chair Wojciech Grzech and UNDA Chancellor Chris Ellison. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

 “It is the recognition that the most central aspect of our identity as Catholics is that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.

The bishops saw in the letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, which Pope Saint John Paul II wrote to guide the Church as it entered the third millennium, explained Archbishop Costelloe the key to this.

“Pope John Paul II is speaking of the fundamental task of the Church.

“He asks a very important question and then makes a very bold statement. The question, a rhetorical one, is this: Is it not the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make his face shine also before the generations of the third millennium? The bold and even confronting assertion which follows is this: Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face.

This, said Archbishop Costelloe, was the basis of the Year of Grace.

“It was an invitation to the whole Church in Australia to acknowledge our need to return Christ his rightful place in our lives as individual Catholics, and to our lives as Catholic communities of faith.

“And already here, given that this basic impulse was also at the heart of the Plenary Council which emerged as a result of the Year of Grace, we discover one of the major directions for Catholic Education to attend to – or, more accurately, to continue to attend to: to return Christ to his rightful place in every dimension of Catholic Education.

Speaking at the anniversary and scholarship ceremony, KSC Education Foundation Chair Wojciech Grzech thanked those in attendance, and explained that between the three initiatives, the Foundation is building faith, developing practical skills and supporting a deeper understanding of the role of Catholic education in our society.

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UNDA Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell with KSC Education Foundation Chair Wojciech Grzech and UNDA Chancellor Chris Ellison. Photo: UNDA/Supplied.

“As Pope Francis has reminded us in 2013 at a meeting with youth of Umbria, ‘The church’s mission is twofold: to awaken faith and to transform the world according to God’s plan,’” Mr Grzech said.

“That same year he also emphasised - in an address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation - that “what we especially need in these times are credible witnesses who make the gospel visible by their lives as well as by their words’.

With the initiatives that we support, our hope is that the Education Foundation is going some way to furthering the church’s mission in a tangible way,” Mr Grzech said.

Mr Grzech concluded by acknowledging the work behind the scenes of UNDA, CEWA and the Knights of the Southern Cross (WA), to provide administrative support for the Education Foundation.

“Not only this year, but for the last 30 years,” Mr Grzech emphasised.

In addition to the tuition scholarships, the Foundation also presented the inaugural Grace Doctoral Scholarship to PhD candidate Taylor Glass.

Taylor is an associate lecturer in Philosophy and Theology at Notre Dame and his research focuses on the work of Fr Luigi Giussani and the role of Catholic Education.