The decision by Bishop Anthony Fisher OP of Parramatta in New South Wales (pictured at right) to introduce a daily prayer to Mary in all schools of his diocese was enthusiastically endorsed by a leading Catholic educator in that state.
“It’s great to see what happens when you get … some great RE leadership … We just spent about 40 years trying to make everything ‘groovy’ and ‘relevant’ and waved bye-bye to a generation of young people,” said Catholic educator Jonathon Doyle who founded the nationally popular Choicez program for educating youth in the Christian understanding of vocation, marriage and sexuality.
Over 43,000 students and 4,500 staff in Catholic schools as well as Parramatta Catholic Education Office and Chancery staff in the Diocese of Parramatta will pray the Angelus at noon each day as a sign of ‘unity, reverence and dignity’.
“While the Angelus will only take a few minutes to pray each day, it is an important reminder that there is more to life, much more, than the toil of everyday routines,” Bishop Fisher said while launching the initiative at Parramatta CEO’s leadership day.
The Angelus recalls the Incarnation and dates back to the 12th century with St Anthony of Padua encouraging the practice of reciting the Hail Mary three times a day. It was in the 16th century that the prayer’s form known today, marked by the ringing of church bells, was fixed.
Bishop Fisher also launched new social outreach and fundraising guidelines for schools titled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ and announced a 2013 review of Religious Education in Catholic schools in the diocese.
Executive director of schools, Greg Whitby, said the three initiatives were critical to the future.
“Religious Education, prayer and social justice are pillars of evangelisation and formation in schools,” he said. “We need to ensure our Catholic schools provide authentic formation experiences for the young people in their care.”