Teachers’ begin year with Mass

At the beginning year Mass for staff in our parish schools and childcare centers held on Tuesday 28 January Fr Paul welcomed everyone, expressing the hope that they had a good break and were ready for the year ahead. He shared information about changes to the governance structure for Catholic Education in our Parish and in our Diocese, explaining them using the analogy of the traditional Christian family.

Fr Paul’s address

At the beginning Mass for all the staff of the parish’s schools and childcare centres, I welcomed each and every one of the staff, new and old, back and I expressed the hope that they had had good break and that they were ready for the year ahead.

The year ahead is going to be a year of change and challenge for the governance of Catholic Education in our parish and in our diocese. These changes have rightly come about because of our mistakes and failures as priests and teachers in the past and because of that, in order to continue to provide Christ-centred educational opportunities for families in our parish and in our diocese , we have to change.

The first change is that a new company has been established. That company is known as the Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools Limited. This company will be governed by a board of 10 people. 2 priests and 8 lay people. The members of the board have a range of qualifications that they bring to the table – clergy, teachers, accountants, lawyers and administrators and more. All but one of the board live in the diocese and 4 of the board are from Port, Laurieton and Kempsey. One of the 10, Dr Sally Towns, is the first Chief Executive Officer. The first meeting of this board will be in early February .

Once the board of this new company meets and begins operating any changes will be gradual and systemic and it has been promised that each step will be communicated to all of us prior to any change taking place .

Using the analogy of a traditional family of two parents and their children, the way I see how things will work going forward is like this. The new company and each individual parish are entering into a marriage. It pays us to remember that in any marriage there will be successes and failures. There will be good times and bad. There will be the joys and sorrows. As I point out to couples who come to be married each of these things comes to every marriage and every life and so as these changes take place they are to be expected in ours as time goes on.

Also, it is critical to note that one partner is not taking over the other. Both will still share the responsibility on what happens in the relationship. It is very much a partnership so don’t expect one to fade away into nothing.

Each and every school then, in each parish and in the diocese is to be supported and cared for just as any responsible parents would care for their children. Together they form a family, a Christian family.

I made it very clear to everyone that as these changes start to take place there is one thing that will never change. As a Christian family at the very centre of who we are and what we do is Jesus Christ. That is and will always be totally non-negotiable. He is our guide, our friend, our protector, our teacher, our helper, our model and so much more.

So as the school year begins may God bless all those in our parish’s educational endeavours.