It is now Monday evening and I have not even begun to pen my weekly message. Such is the state of things when you take some leave and then return to a mountain of emails, and also a number of people who wish to connect with you during the day. I realise that many of you know this reality, and ponder the pace of life and the notion of an integrated life.
Everybody seems to think that I should write about going to World Youth Day. I’m inclined to believe it would be more useful to write about it while I’m there, or even afterwards, but perhaps there’s something to be said for laying out my expectations, hopes and foreshadowings. People seem to think so. By the time you read this, I and the other 70-odd pilgrims will be about to depart.
For many families, this first week of school holidays in NSW heralds a welcome break from the regular routine and provides some time out for some ‘R&R’. Many grandparents will be looking after their grandchildren and, I trust, realising their significance in helping to form these young people. Allen and I will have three of our grandchildren with us for a few days at the end of the week.
Allen and I have kept warm this weekend by lighting our fire and keeping it stoked. There is something wonderful about being inside on cold winter days and looking across the room at the red flame and glow of the embers of a fire which keeps the space comfortably warm. Of course much of the house is closed off and to enter those rooms serves as a reminder that winter is upon us. Today as I looked at our rose garden, I thought that winter does provide us and the plants with a rest time. Growth of our plants and lawn slows and therefore the demands of the garden are lessened. So I do hope that you are able to take advantage of this more restful ‘inside’ time of the year while remaining warm.
Whatever it is that sets Catholic schools apart from others, it should be the focus they have as followers of Jesus Christ and as adherents to the message of the Gospels.
The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) recently sent a series of questions to the Coalition and to the Australian Labor Party, providing the parties with the opportunity to outline how their policies will support students and families in Australian schools, including Catholic schools. Today, the NCEC has released the following which summarises the parties' responses.
Here I am, back from a couple of weeks away, and grateful that John Donnelly, Melissa Fenech and Helene O’Neill took on the role of communicating with you on the ‘stuff’ of the diocese on Tuesdays. I enjoyed reading what each had to say from their respective roles in our diocese and I hope you appreciated the many ministries to which we are committed on behalf of all of you. Parishes are the places where we connect with people and in different ways, John, Melissa and Helene reflected that reality.