Bishop Vincent inspires us to reach out to those at the periphery

On Wednesday 25 January, The Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen, Bishop of Parramatta addressed more than 400 Catholic Education leaders from across the Diocese. With characteristic grace and humour, Bishop Vincent delivered a stirring challenge to schools to go to the margins in service of the most vulnerable members of our communities. 

Bishop Vincent reflected on Pope Francis’ recent correspondence to the American President Donald Trump. The Holy Father wrote: ‘Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.’

Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta leaders were urged to ensure that the same message of concern for the poor and vulnerable drove their leadership at a school and community level. Bishop Vincent’s compelling vision for Catholic Education is grounded in a Gospel vision of radical inclusion. Every school is called to personify Christ through care for the outsider. 
Bishop Vincent and Greg Whitby at the System Leadership Day
Bishop Vincent and Greg Whitby at the System Leadership Day

At a practical level, Bishop Vincent highlighted the need for Catholic schools to be accessible and to exist for the marginalised. Leaders heard that there is a pressing need for Catholic schools to revisit and reaffirm the shared commitment to the preferential option for the poor. Bishop Vincent called for the recognition and removal of barriers to inclusion, particularly for those most loved by God, vulnerable people living on the fringes. 

Bishop Vincent then spoke about the meaning of Catholic leadership, once again directing educators’ attention to the margins. Leaders were reminded that Pope Francis emphasises that proximity to the people is the mark of the Church. In leading from the margins, a Catholic leader must identify with the poor and afflicted and fully embrace the vulnerability of being with the people. 

In conclusion, school leaders and communities were called to move beyond the comfort zone and reach out to the margins. This is particularly important as we live the Gospel in a secular world. As Bishop Vincent highlighted, it is at the margins and with the weak that we will find the presence of beauty and love of God. 
Posted By Catholic Education Diocese of Parrmatta at 25/01/2017 1:49:24 PM

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