Our Diocese of Rockhampton has been very privileged to participate in the Bishop’s Inservice Days around each of the regions of our vast Diocese. Our Bishop, Michael, the Leadership Team of the Catholic Education Office, special guest presenters and locals provided opportunities for all school staff and other Catholic agencies in the Diocese to spend time contemplating the theme of Mercy. It was inspiring to see so many people work together to make these days happen. The behind the scene organisation was amazing and the list of the many generous people who helped is just too huge to name.
I thought I would share with you some pertinent points that Bishop Michael made in his address and that I think we need to hear again.
Bishop Michael uses a quote by Cardinal Walter Kasper from his book Mercy – “We must be clear about one thing- a Church without charity and without mercy would no longer be the Church of Jesus Christ.” he then asks of us, “How does this happen?”
Bishop Michael goes on to thank our priests, our school leadership and staff, the ministries of Centacare, aged care, hospitals, the staff and volunteers of St Vincent de Paul, our retreat centres, the Religious Sisters and Brothers “who all radiate the mercy of God”. This is how it happens – through our everyday activities, through our ordinary aspects of life which are done with love and compassion.
I would also like to remind you of the admiration and thanks that Bishop Michael shared with us on those days . He said:
“Dear teachers; as your Bishop,
I admire the way you look after families who are going through incredible hardship through drought.
I admire the way you support one another through a parish crises.
I admire the way you keep hopeful and happy as enrollments dwindle.
I admire you when you work together to support each other as teachers and as human beings.
I admire you when you assist the child with learning difficulties.
I admire you when you are forgiving of a parent who doesn’t always approach you civilly.”
It seems apparent to me that we are indeed a Church of Jesus Christ – showing charity and mercy in our schools and lives.