EREA Congress 2018


Educators from one of Australia’s largest Catholic school bodies have committed to helping their students and staff “seek new ways to be the inclusive, compassionate face of Christ in the world," at their five-yearly gathering in Melbourne.

This recording captures the Welcome to Country and welcome addresses by Vicki Clarke and Ray Paxton. It includes the outline of the Congress Processes and its Connection to Strategic Directions. The Introductory Rite is given by Kevin Hennessey CP together with the Congress Narrative lead by Congress Facilitator Leoni Degenhardt.

The power of education is to liberate hearts and minds. Patrick’s beautiful expression that reconciliation is relationship means that we must teach and lead our communities of students, staff and parents to openness, dialogue, restoration, respect, healing and celebrating diversity.

Patrick seems to just keep going at a steady pace but all the while sensing and addressing deep concerns in terms of people and cultures, and a purpose and hope. Maybe Gospel spirituality entails the same deep sensitivity and courage to keep going, with real people, with specific decisions, with peoples and cultures, and with a grounded hope we draw from one another.

Fr Frank placed significant emphasis on the need to work in collaboration and cooperation as well as developing trusting relationships as we strive to recreate the manger in our own communities. Who are the people in our own communities that we need to seek out and actively develop trusting relationships with? How do we fire our imaginations and strengthen our witness in order to empower our communities?

Bruised but not broken. Fractured but not fallen. There is still a relevance for the church in the modern day.

We now have an opportunity to have an open dialogue with respect and dignity, not shame and fear!

Thank you Frank Brennan for opening a door!

Kirsty implored us to prepare our young to challenge the politics of fear and selfishness which masquerades as national interest and to challenge the young to turn the privilege they enjoy into a commitment to work for justice and a better world.

The power in EREA schools focusing on justice and solidarity is limitless and defines who we are. The living experience our students receive through a liberating education empowers them to continue our work and to have a greater reach in poverty stricken global communities. Kirsty lives her life through the gospel and is another inspiration for all.

The statistics presented by Emma are confronting and challenge us personally and communally to engage with these realities within our own workplaces, structures and processes. For me this is a question of personal cultural conversion which will hopefully open the conversations to a broader cultural conversion - community by community. This will be a long journey...

We are challenged to be faithful to radical inclusion and the dignity of each human person. To be a feminist is not to hate men nor to want women to be successful at the expense of men. It is to want to walk in partnership: side by side in all aspects of life. Only this will teach the young ones in our care what it means to be human - fully alive.