By Matthew Lau
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has last week encouraged students from across Perth to follow the prime example of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
Archbishop Costelloe was speaking Wednesday 6 June during the official launch of his 2018 LifeLink Day for Primary Schools.
Some 500 people, including principals, teachers and student representatives from more than 75 primary schools attended the event at Newman College, Churchlands.
Together, Catholic schools and CEWA have raised more than $1.8 million for people in need through the LifeLink Day initiative since it began 20 years ago.
Archbishop Costelloe explained that the Catholic Church exists to “help people grow to know, to love, and to serve God by following Jesus”.
“Jesus described himself as ‘a Good Shepherd’, and was very practical about what being a Good Shepherd means. One of the things he said is: ‘I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep, and they know me’,” the Perth Archbishop said.
Archbishop Costelloe encouraged Catholic schools to utilise the 2018 LifeLink Day launch as an opportunity to show a “practical demonstration of faith”.
“It’s one of the things that Pope Francis is always saying to us; don’t just talk about helping people, actually be with people – because just being with them is a help already.
“One of the things that happens when you’re with people and you get to know each other, is that they begin to trust you – and if they begin to trust you, then they will want to be with you; because we all like to be around people who we can trust.”
Archbishop Costelloe then took out his crozier to indicate to the pupils what the bishops’ vital role is as primary exemplifiers of the Good Shepherd.
“All of us at different times will find life a bit difficult. The shepherd wants to recognise that someone is in need, and is determined to do something about it.
“It’s a hard job to be a really Good Shepherd all the time. One of the good things about being disciples of Jesus is that we know that we don’t have to do this on our own, because we’ve got Him to help us,” Archbishop Costelloe emphasised.
“He helps by His good example, He helps us by the fact that he’s actually present in our lives, and He helps us through the fact that he gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit to strengthen us when we’re just finding it all a little bit too hard.”
Last year, Perth Archdiocesan primary and secondary schools raised $127,280, exceeding the target set by Archbishop Costelloe.
Catholic Education WA Acting Executive Director, Dr Debra Sayce said the support schools give to LifeLink Day is a clear example of “discipleship in action”.
“By doing so, you demonstrate that your education and development as leaders and future leaders is given the strongest foundation when based around serving God and serving others,” Dr Sayce expressed.
“I hope we meet the challenge of Archbishop Tim and Bishop Don [Sproxton] on achieving our target goal, but it is in the spirit of what you do and why are you do it that is far more important.”