In 2022, the CEDP mission team has an exciting new working model that has been created to develop a synodal approach to their work.
“The time has come for us to resolutely implement [a] participatory, inclusive and collaborative model in our diocesan and parish structures…. a new culture of humility, responsibility and service. It is not a top-down, centralized approach… Rather, it is a synodal church at all levels, where everyone listens to each other, learns from each other and takes responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
With 80 schools across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta helps over 43,000 children and young people grow in learning and faith each year. A group of dedicated, faith-filled educators work together as a mission team to develop partnerships with school communities and diocesan agencies at all levels; listen and learn from each other.
Through humility, responsibility and service, in 2022 the mission team aims to grow in accompanying others for mission work within the Diocese of Parramatta.
Supporting Bishop Vincent Long’s vision for Catholic education in the Diocese of Parramatta, the mission team focuses on accompanying students, schools and staff. This includes professional learning opportunities in scripture, pedagogy, curriculum, and theology; training for school and administrative staff; religious leadership and Catholic identity. As the community expects, there is also a focus on providing meaningful social justice opportunities, including supporting the work of the Catholic Mission, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Caritas Australia and Other Catholic agencies and organizations with a strong local presence such as Jesuit Refugee Services and Maison d’Accueil.
Quality professional learning and resource development are essential elements in ensuring the continued high standard of religious education in local schools. In order to create professional learning opportunities for staff, the mission team will continue to develop partnerships with academic experts and institutions.
Mission Director Monica Officer is passionate about providing opportunities for her colleagues to grow both spiritually and academically.
“We want every child and every colleague to grow in understanding of the Catholic faith by belonging to our communities,” Monica said.
“Spiritual development opportunities are also an important aspect of how we support students and staff on their journey of growth by providing high-quality resources and programs for staff that foster an encounter with the Holy Spirit and allow deep listening with the ears of the heart.”
The CEDP mission team is committed to developing religious leadership in local schools by engaging with staff at all stages of their service, from beginning teachers to principals. Religious Education Coordinators have a special role to play in supporting the religious life of their communities.
In 2022, the mission team will aim to continue to help build the Catholic identity of our learning communities across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains through ongoing encounters and dialogue with their rich traditions and their diversity.
It is the goal of the Mission 2022 team to support Bishop Vincent’s vision, that all students come to know Jesus, love his teachings, and follow in his footsteps. They will seek opportunities to engage with diocesan agencies and parish communities to help students in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains grow in faith, learn and thrive.
This article originally appeared in the Lenten 2022 and Easter/Fall 2022 edition of the Outlook Catholic Magazine. You can read the magazine here.