Through Baptism, Jesus’ followers receive the power of Jesus to love as he does. To grow in Christian love, Christians need to be nourished by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. The Eucharist nourishes all spiritual gifts, including those of Baptism and Confirmation. It is these gifts that we take out to the world.
Jesus calls all present during Mass to offer their lives, together with his, to God the Father. This includes their prayers, works, joys, hardships, sufferings, difficulties, temptations and successes. Because of the suffering of Jesus, the Mass is the greatest of all the prayers people can offer to God.
To the extent that the followers of Jesus pray, worship and live as he taught, his power grows stronger within them. No one can live as a Christian without this spiritual power. Jesus commanded that all who believe in him receive Baptism:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… (Matthew 28:19)
Baptised Christians share in the priestly mission of Jesus in a particular way by living and working as he did.
CASE STUDIES: TRYING TO LIVE AS JESUS DID
BRIGIDINE SCHOOLS IN VICTORIA AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Students in Brigidine schools across Victoria and South Australia undertake religious education programs that aim to deepen knowledge and understanding of what it means to live a Christian way of life. One of the Core Values for an education that is Brigidine is ‘Image and practise justice and service’. An educating for justice program, the Justice and Democracy Forum (JDF), operates in all Brigidine schools using the following charter as inspiration:
- The Jesus of the Gospel calls us to justice in daily life
- We need to work together to make things better
- Collaborative effort is more effective than individual effort
- We have the capacity to make a difference in ourselves and in our world
- Meetings will be an opportunity to exchange hopes and ideas
- There will be opportunities for discussion, dialogue, action and reflection
- Make a commitment to attend meetings regularly during the year
- Be part of the process of trying to relate what we say to what we do
- Support each other in the group
- Be non-judgmental when listening to the ideas and experiences of the other group members
- Give up some of our own time
- Be willing to take appropriate action
Student JDF groups are mentored by teachers who seek to challenge young people to explore what it means to live justly. In this they are inspired by the example of St Brigid and the founder of the Congregation of St Brigid, Bishop Daniel Delany.
St Brigid was renowned for her hospitality and generosity to all she encountered. She had a special love for the poor and vulnerable of her time. ‘From the beginning, Brigid’s ministry was associated with deeds of hospitality and compassion, and down through the centuries St Brigid has become a wisdom figure to the Irish people.’ (Kildare Ministries: Enkindling the Fire, ‘Vision and Values’, 2011) Brigid’s dual monastery in Kildare was famous throughout Ireland.
Bishop Daniel Delany lived in Ireland in a time of great upheaval and unrest, a time of rebellion against tyranny. In addressing the needs of Ireland’s impoverished people in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, ‘he gathered groups of women to help him introduce education to the people as a means of empowering them and enlivening their faith.’ (Kildare Ministries: Enkindling the Fire, ‘Vision and Values’, 2011). Bishop Delany took St Brigid as his inspiration to educate the poor and vulnerable of his time.
In placing the Brigidines and their works under the patronage of St Brigid of Kildare, he insisted that he was not founding a new congregation but re-founding the ancient Order of St Brigid, and thereby committing the sisters to a hallowed tradition of hospitality and service to all comers. (Kildare Ministries: Enkindling the Fire, ‘Vision and Values’, 2011)
The following are extracts from Kildare Ministries: Enkindling the Fire, ‘Vision and Values’, 2011 focus on the centrality of Eucharist:
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Cor 10:17)
In Cogitosus’ writing … Brigid is presented as a woman captivated by the fire of the gospel, a person of immense energy, compassion and generosity.
The centrality of Eucharist in the Catholic tradition, and in the legacy of Daniel Delany, who showed by example and exhorted the early sisters to come to the Eucharist in their need, is upheld in Brigidine schools.
To be Eucharistic people today is to be like Jesus, with a focus on the needs of others, the needs of the world, with eyes looking outward in search for ways to bring the reign of God closer in the world.
ST JOSEPH'S ECHUCA
St Joseph’s College is a dynamic, welcoming and hope-filled school that promotes excellence and equity, so that all students can become confident and creative learners. Steeped in our Catholic and Brigidine heritage, we have provided quality education and a vibrant community for the families of northern Victoria and southern New South Wales since 1886. This year we are 125 years old.
The College motto ‘Strength and Kindliness’ derives from that of Bishop Daniel Delany of Kildare (Ireland), who founded the order of the Sisters of St. Brigid in 1807. St. Brigid, who lived in Ireland in the fifth century, was a woman of great initiative and faith, and her sense of compassion, social justice and generosity were legendary. We are inspired by our Core Values to:
- Be faithful to our Catholic heritage
- Welcome all people, especially the most vulnerable
- Celebrate all that is good with joy and gratitude
- Engender a love of learning, hope and a sense of purpose
- Image and practise justice and service
Social Justice Projects At St Joe’s
We image and practice justice and services.
At St Joseph’s College we are strongly committed to social justice projects that work toward creating a better society for us all.
In 2011, we have four main groups focusing on a range of Social Justice Projects:
Year 11 Justice and Peace Leaders
So far this year they have been working on raising an awareness of Asylum Seekers in Australia. They held a Butterfly Morning Tea which was a girls activity. Girls were invited to participate and to listen to a guest speaker. The guest speaker was a young woman from Iran. As a follow up to this students in Year 9, 10 and 11 groups were invited to take part in a workshop, two weeks later, on simulating what it would be like to be an asylum seeker.
Year 11 Justice and Democracy
Students in the Year 11 Justice and Democracy Group are part of a larger group of students in Brigidine Associated Secondary Schools who are willing to spend regular time together to:
- Reflect on their roles as students in a Christian school working for a just and democratic society
- Exchange hopes and ideas about aspects of their lives concerned with justice and democracy
- Support the idea that good citizenship flows out of reflection on what it means to live in a just society
- Grow in leadership and
- Engage in some action (either as a group or an individual)
This year Justice and Democracy students have been involved in a wide range of services to our school and wider community. They work with groups on Retreat Days. They have prepared the Shrove Tuesday pancakes and the Sausage Sizzle on Foundation Day. Students have also taken part in the J & D Forum Camp in Templestowe earlier this year.
This year St Joseph’s College will be hosting the Seminar Day on the 26th of July and the focus of the day will be an immersion into the Aboriginal culture present in our local community.
Years 9 and 10 the JIM (Justice in Motion)
This group comprises students from Years 9 and 10 in 2011.
They are made up of two parts and at times this will claim a variety of students. There is the Social Justice Focus Group and then an arm of this group forms the St Joseph’s College Vinnie’s Group.
Students in the Vinnie’s Group participated in the Young Vinnie’s Conference in March of this year, held at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne.
These students also participated in the Sandhurst Justice Matters camp where they took part in a variety of workshops based around Refugees, Fair Trade and a variety of others. The first week of Term 3 will see the JIM students collecting for the Vinnies Winter Appeal – we usually raise around 2,000 items to donate to our local Vinnies. In Term 4 we raise Christmas foods and presents for both Vinnies and the Salvation Army.
Years 7 & 8 JAG (Justice Action Group)
The Years 7 & 8 Group will be involved in the Caritas ‘Be More Challenge’ in 2011. Our focus this year has been the Climate Challenge. JAG students had a workshop earlier in the year on ‘Be More’. In June of this year they will be working with ‘Pat’ from Earthsong on other elements of environmental concern before embarking on the Climate Change Challenge which is being hosted by Be More and Caritas beginning in August.
Our Fire Carriers
At St Joseph’s College we reach out to all people.
Our focus over the last couple of years has been building community links with our local Aboriginal community. We currently have 39 Aboriginal students at our school. This gives us the highest enrolment of Aboriginal students in a Catholic school in Victoria and we are very proud of this.
There are two main groups of students who participate in ‘Aboriginal Perspectives’. We have our Reconciliation Group who oversee our Reconciliation Covenant and work in promoting the goals of the covenant throughout the school. So far we have written the covenant, we had a special morning tea to welcome our Koori families, we have held a Cultural Immersion Day, we prepared a National Sorry Day Liturgy and we have attended the Sandhurst Reconciliation Week Mass at the Cathedral in Melbourne. Later this year our teachers will be undergoing PD in best practice teaching and learning for Aboriginal students.
The second group, although linked to the first is our Fire Carriers Group. Fire Carriers are Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education. A group of students is elected annually in the same manner as other school representatives. The Fire Carriers represent the wider body of students on our Reconciliation Group and act as leaders for the rest of our school community. We currently have nine Fire Carriers.
KILBREDA COLLEGE, MENTONE
We are all pencils in the hands of God. Students at Kilbreda College have many opportunities to undertake God’s work.
In 2004 as part of Kilbreda College’s Centenary, the decision was made to visit East Timor. In East Timor, our nearest neighbour, we would have the chance to share the benefits of education with others. Since then, students and staff have spent time in East Timor and we were delighted to have a number of our Timorese friends visit us as part of World Youth Day. Each year the students undertake a walk-a-thon to raise money for our projects in East Timor.
In 2011, four past students went to work in Ghana. They are at Achiare Children’s Home which houses and educates 35 students. The College Newsletter 2 June 2011 lists some of the projects they will undertake with the funds donated by the students. Clotheslines will be repaired, new water tanks will be installed and every child’s healthcare card will be renewed.
Students also engage in the Building Bridges Interfaith program. In 2009 the students opted to work with Blazeaid for a day. The Chapel has the addition of a burnt fence post donated by the farmer who students worked for.
Each day through Community Service students have a chance of understanding environment renewal through the Foreshore Program, engaging in a swimming program with students with special needs or working with elderly citizens through meals on wheels or visits to local aged care facilities.
As peer mediators and leaders students support one another every day.
And finally, the Justice and Democracy Forum has committed itself to raising awareness of social justice issues. This year it is looking at poverty and the ways it may be addressed.
For Reflection and Discussion
Discuss the following statement: ‘Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.’ (CCC 783)
Develop and implement practical ways to continue the mission of Jesus in the school, community and global context.