Homily: Sandhurst Schools Education Board, 2013

Mass and Dinner
13th November.

Wisdom, we are told, is easily found by those who seek it. Truly an appropriate reminder, as we gather to celebrate a year of wise leadership of our schools in the Sandhurst Diocese. Whilst gratefully acknowledging the quality and commitment of our educators,  together we share the role to  encourage all those involved in education in the Diocese to ensure that our schools are truly Catholic in their identity and life.  As we continue to work towards this goal, our aim should be that  our schools  become centres of the new evangelisation and so enable our students to achieve high levels of religious literacy and practice.

We all know that this task of education is never easy.  The psalm we have just read emphasises the need to act justly for all, especially the poor and needy. The noble goals of scholarship and education can become especially powerful instruments of hope to those caught in personal struggles, moral confusion and fragmentation of knowledge. The history of this nation includes many examples of the Church’s commitment in this regard. The Catholic community here in the Diocese of Sandhurst has in fact made education one of its highest priorities. This undertaking has not come without great sacrifice over the years by many priests, religious and laity. We owe a debt of gratitude to those whose deep faith has paved the way before our time for Catholic Education.

Consider these ungrateful nine lepers written about in St Luke’s Gospel. They were a type of the Jews, who, through their pride and ingratitude, lost the kingdom of heaven.  However, the one who came back giving thanks was a Samaritan, who, like a faithful keeper of entrusted goods, preserved the kingdom by his humility and thankfulness.  I guess there is a lesson there, that we are called to be faithful keepers of Catholic education and thus we should beware of any pride and ingratitude that might surface from time to time in our workplace, and be ever mindful of the need to foster and model the virtues of humility and gratitude.

Society in general has high expectations of Catholic educators. Dear friends, as CEO and school board members, this places upon us a responsibility and offers an opportunity. More and more people – parents in particular – recognize the need for excellence in the human and religious formation of their children. If we pray for wisdom and grace to carry out our responsibilities, we can depend upon the sufficient grace of Christ to meet our needs, so do not be daunted by the tasks ahead.

May I express a particular word of encouragement to strive to ensure that you and those with whom you work, redouble your efforts in your wise leadership of education and  become daily more appreciative and indeed deeply grateful for the gift of faith.