New principals and teachers commissioned and a Papal honour at 2012 Education Mass
|Bishop Anthony Fisher OP commissioned newly appointed principal, Yvette Baird|
|In his address, Greg Whitby said that teachers have a responsibility to ensure the best learning opportunities for every student|
On Thursday 22 March, six principals and 150 beginning teachers were commissioned into their roles of service in the Diocese of Parramatta at the annual Education Mass held at St Patrick’s Church, Blacktown.
Around 1,000 teachers and staff from schools across the diocese and the Catholic Education Office attended the special commissioning ceremony and Education Mass celebrated by Most Reverend Bishop Anthony Fisher OP and concelebrated by the Vicar General, Monsignor Robert McGuckin VG EV, Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Very Reverend Chris de Souza EV and priests and deacons of the diocese.
In his welcome, executive director of schools, Greg Whitby, spoke about the moral depth of teaching and the need for teachers to continually reflect on their practice.
‘Our schools are part of the fabric of local communities and a significant thread woven into the diversity of Australian society,’ said Greg. ‘Every student possesses what Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain refers to as an ‘inner vitality’ and as teachers we nurture that vitality through our relationships with students and our commitment to ensuring the best learning opportunities for every child.’
‘The more we learn about our profession and capabilities as teachers, the more powerful and influential teaching becomes for the young people in our care,’ he said. ‘We are called to be advocates of an education that is life giving and a powerful instrument of hope in today’s world.’
Greg also acknowledged the significant milestone of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Parramatta, this year celebrating 25 years as a system of schools.
‘As with all jubilee celebrations it is a wonderful opportunity to look back in gratitude and forward with great hope, enthusiasm and excitement,’ said Greg. ‘We have come a long way and I acknowledge the work of our first regional director, Br Aengus Kavanagh, our founding executive director, Ann D Clark and former executive director, Dr Anne Benjamin for their leadership and contribution.’
‘Our system of schools holds great promise for the future,’ he said.
In his homily, Bishop Anthony said that teachers have responded to a calling to express their faith in action by supporting the learning needs of young people.
‘You may heard me talk before about teaching as a religious vocation,’ said Bishop Anthony. ‘Students also have a vocation to wonder, to learn, to discern.’
‘Over the years ahead you will, I hope, form young minds that are inquisitive, open, compassionate, courageous. You will help them discern their personal vocation, by helping them see what their gifts and opportunities are.’
‘As we begin a new teaching year I pray that our beginning teachers and new principals, our CEO leaders and all lour staff, our student, their families and our civic collaborators too, will all ‘bear witness’ to the true and good and beautiful,’ he said.
At the conclusion of the mass, Bishop Anthony presented Br Patrick Howlett, principal of Parramatta Marist High School, Westmead with the Papal Award the Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (the Cross of Honour for the Church), which is the highest recognition awared by the Pope to a member of a religious order.
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP nominated Br Patrick for the Papal honour noting his 50 years of dedicated service to Catholic education. At the ceremony, Fr Arthur Bridge, parish priest at St Oliver’s, Harris Park read Br Patrick’s citation to the congregation who gave a standing ovation (see full story).
Newly commissioned principals
|Yvette Baird|| Sacred Heart Primary, Westmead |
|Jeanette Black || St Madeleine’s Primary, Kenthurst |
|Robert Muscat || St Clare’s Catholic High School, Hassall Grove |
|Louise O’Donnell || St Monica’s Primary, North Parramatta |
|Michael Siciliano || Mary MacKillop Primary, Penrith South |
| Marina Hardy || Holy Cross Primary, Glenwood|
|Hospitality students from McCarthy Catholic College, Emu Plains catered the event using their mobile kitchen |
|5 principals and 150 beginning teachers were commissioned into their roles of service in the Diocese of Parramatta|
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