In this Year of Mercy I hope you are mindful that this Wednesday, 21st September, is International Day of Peace. This day was established in 1981 and is observed each year, corresponding with our Spring Equinox. I first became aware of this day when I was Religious Education Co-ordinator at St Joseph’s College, Tweed Heads. Its motto was Peace through Justice. This school was established in 1993 and had no connection with a religious congregation or an associated charism, so we chose our motto as our way of being.
Once again the weekend is upon me and I contemplate my message in the light of the Integrity in the Service of the Church formation which I was part of on Saturday, along with the canonisation of Mother Teresa and the upcoming Celebration of Religious as part of the 150 Year celebration of our diocese.
You would have to admit that the past week has been a big week for the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, for those who have appeared before the Royal Commission, for the broader community and most especially for those who have been harmed by the perpetrators of child sexual abuse and a system which failed to act.
On Sunday night at the Cathedral, we experienced the joy of being joined by about 20 children for our singing at Mass. Their parents formed part of the congregation along with others who were there with their young families. These children were clearly excited to be there and to learn some of the words and indeed actions to our responses and hymns. Their parents were delighted at the joy which exuded from their children. In my experience children do not have any difficulty with religion or in expressing their faith as something beyond us.