News in Brief
Pope Francis shares message for Lent
In his annual message for Lent, Pope Francis has highlighted the relationship between the Lenten journey and the synodal journey, which he says are both rooted in tradition and open to newness.
Personal and ecclesial “transfiguration” is the goal of the ascetical journey of Lent, and similarly, of the synodal process, Pope Francis wrote in the message, titled Lenten Penance and the Synodal Journey.
Pope Francis takes his inspiration from the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, proclaimed each year on the Second Sunday of Lent, Vatican News reported.
As with the chosen disciples at the Transfiguration, Jesus “takes us with Him to a place apart” during the season of Lent.
“Lenten penance,” Pope Francis wrote, “is a commitment, sustained by grace, to overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross.”
This requires effort, sacrifice, and concentration, which are also requirements for the Synodal Journey and therefore, Pope Francis said, the faithful can say “our Lenten journey is ‘synodal’ since we make it together along the same path, as disciples of the one Master”.
Like the journey of the disciples up Mount Tabor, Pope Francis acknowledged the synodal process can seem arduous and lead to discouragement.
Yet, he said, “what awaits us at the end is undoubtedly something wondrous and amazing, which will help us to understand better God’s will and our mission in the world.”
Homelessness services under threat
The St Vincent de Paul Society has said homelessness services are under threat at a time of surging demand, as fears mount that the Albanese Government will defund hundreds of specialist homelessness support workers around the country.
St Vincent de Paul Society National President Claire Victory urged the Commonwealth Government to continue Equal Remuneration Order funding for specialist homelessness services, which ceases on 1 July 2023.
“Specialist homelessness service organisations face a crisis of uncertainty, job losses and cuts to services if the Commonwealth Government walks away from its responsibility to support Australians facing homelessness,” Ms Victory said.
“This will impact homelessness services’ ability to support the growing number of Australians falling into homelessness amid the escalating cost-of-living crisis.”
‘Ms Victory said specialist homelessness services already turn away 288 requests for assistance per day.
“We know that of those assisted last year, just over 40 per cent experienced family violence and around one-third had a current mental health issue,” she continued.
Governor General visits Good Shepherd
Students at Good Shepherd Primary School in Amaroo received a visit from Governor General David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley this month.
Principal David Austin said during the visit, the pair spoke with young leaders about their experiences of leadership and their responsibilities.
“Two important messages from our talk were leadership is about others – following in the footsteps of Jesus we are called to serve in others,” he explained.
“The other important takeaway was to be an active listener. Being an active listener to those around you enables you to make informed decisions.”
Record number of students in Catholic schools
New Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals a record number of students in Catholic schools and support for faith-based education, according to National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins.
“Ten new Catholic schools opened across Australia over the past 12 months with 1759 Catholic schools educating nearly 794,000 or one in five Australian students and employing over 104,500 staff,” Ms Collins said.
“The latest Census data shows Catholic education remains the major provider of education outside of government, with enrolments growing from 766,088 students in 2017 to 785,396 students last year, and 793,729 in 2022.
“As the largest provider of faith-based schooling in Australia, this growth shows the great importance Catholic school families place on choosing a school that meets the needs of their child and reflects their values and beliefs.
She said the growth shows the value Australian families place on faith-based education.
“It is a timely reminder that school choice is a highly valued component of the Australian education system and parents want an authentic faith-based education for their children.”