On Monday the Catholic dioceses of Australia celebrated 200 years of Catholic Education. The Honorable Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia sent of message of congratulations:
200 years ago, Fr John Therry answered the call to educate the youth of Parramatta. From that small beginning of 31 students began a great work that now spans 1,755 schools, 100,000 staff and 777,000 school students. On this anniversary, we remember all who have been part of this heritage, including Fr Therry and Australia’s first saint, Mary of the Cross. We recall on this anniversary, the good days and the bad, the successes and disappointments; joys and sufferings; as well as the faith and community that has enabled Catholic Education to make this significant contribution to our national life. In doing so, we also recognise the clergy, religious, lay men and women, parents and parishes who have contributed so much. I send my best wishes to everyone celebrating this bicentenary.
Millie, Maddie and Keanu represented our school with Erika and Sheryl Blowes. “I loved everything. I enjoyed meeting the new Archbishop. I loved the music and the band. I didn’t have a favourite thing. I loved it all!”
Last Sunday Christians celebrated Pentecost, the time when Jesus’ followers were filled with the Holy Spirit. The colour red and fire are associated with the Holy Spirit. However, I recently saw an image of the blue/green hues of phosphorescence used to represent the coming of the Holy Spirit. Phosphorescence occurs all around the world when microorganisms are agitated in the water. It is quite often seen as waves crash on the shore or as water is churned by a boat.
Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13 described a time when he was flying a Banshee jet fighter at night over the Sea of Japan in combat conditions, which means no lights on the aircraft carrier where he was supposed to land. His radar had jammed, his homing signal had gone, his cockpit instruments had shorted out and he was looking at the big, black ocean and had no idea where he was. At that moment he looked down at a long, green trail, like a carpet stretching out before him. It was phosphorescence, churned up in the wake of a big ship; it was leading him home.
How frightened Jesus’ followers must have been! Their leader crucified, then risen and back amongst them. Then he leaves but assures them that he will send a helper to them. And so they waited together. When they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were able to speak in different languages and became courageous and passionate witnesses. The Holy Spirit was leading them home, to become the people that God wanted them to be.
Just as the Holy Spirit led John Therry 200 years ago, we are called to become the people that God wants us to be. The Holy Spirit given to us in the Sacrament of Confirmation can lead us home.
Assistant Principal Religious Identity and Mission