2022 Renewal Week - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

This week, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) staff came together for a series of Renewal sessions. As a Catholic organisation, these events allowed team members to put time aside from our schedules and pledge ourselves to ‘Care for our Common Home’.

This annual event coordinated by the CEDP Mission team takes its theme from the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Social Justice Statement, “Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor”. Staff have the opportunity to reflect on key community issues, and then strategise about how to lead on change.

An opportunity for learning, engaging in conversation and reflecting on our own faith and actions, this year’s Renewal Week was a valuable opportunity for every staff member to commit to a greener, cleaner, sustainable and more caring future as individuals and as representatives of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.

Renewal Week follows on from the Diocese of Parramatta’s devotion to a Laudato Si’ Action Campaign, named for Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology. This is a commitment to a seven-year journey toward achieving seven Laudato Si’ Goals, to care more deeply for God’s creation and our sisters and brothers in need. A collective aim which schools, parishes and central office staff are striving to achieve.

As part of this campaign, a dedicated action team was assembled under the guidance of Bishop Vincent Long to drive practical change and ensure a real difference in the community and society. Bishop Vincent also leads the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Commission for Social Justice.

“I am committed to taking action on a Diocesan level”, said the Diocese of Parramatta Bishop in the Campaign’s Launch video. “We have signed on to the International Laudato Si action platform and we will undertake an assessment to identify where action is needed most”.

“We invite all of you to do the same especially the people in our Catholic schools, parishes and organisations” added St Canice’s Primary School Katoomba student Grace, with much passion.

Under the scenic date palms of Prince Alfred Square in Parramatta and listening to a guided meditation, one of the first activities helped us to be in tune with our natural surroundings, taking the time to reflect and be reminded of the simple beauty of nature (and to not take it for granted).

We were later invited to share our personal experiences of climate change, no longer an abstract, futuristic or geographically distant challenge.

We heard stories of pain, grief and immense loss from colleagues who experienced the catastrophe of the Blue Mountains bushfires and the 2022 Floods. These testaments were a powerful reminder that climate change is real and it’s happening now.

How could we not hear the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” in these tragic events? In the words of Pope Francis, we were led to take “swift and unified global action”.

Our first step in our collective seven-year Laudato Si’ commitment was a challenge. Could each of us dedicate one month to achieving one Laudato Si’ goal, whether that be adopting sustainable lifestyles such as using public transport, recycling or engaging in ecological education? We were also encouraged to learn more from First Nations people. This could include following CEDP’s Reconciliation Action Plan in looking to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, the first cultivators of this land, in informing our own practice as stewards of God’s creation.

A joint Renewal Liturgy for staff followed on Friday 10 June at Commbank stadium to reflect on what has been a transformational week for CEDP staff.


View and download photos from this event

Written By

Taylor Hodgson

Taylor Hodgson
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

  • 10 Oct 2022

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