By Amanda Murthy
“Always remember that the Lord entrusts His Church to us.”
“It is always good for us to remember that before the Church is our Church, it is the Lord’s Church that we belong to, and one that we are called to rebuild.”
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB addressed Perth Catholic Educators during the first Catechists Conference, held on 1 and 2 August.
The conference presented by the Catechists Service for Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), involved 2 full days of workshops lead by over ten speakers, catered to educators of the after-school religious program.
American theologian-lecturer Fr Thomas Scirghi SJ was the keynote speaker, and headed a workshop titled ‘From bath to table: A Christian is born.’
Other speakers include University of Notre Dame University (UNDA) Senior Lecturer Dr Angela McCarthy, Rt Rev Abbot John Herbert OSB, Justice Ecology and Development Office (JEDO) Director Carol Mitchell, Rev Dr Joseph Parkinson and Dr Peter Christofides.
Archbishop Costelloe continued his address by thanking the catechists for their commitment, dedication and faith shown in bringing the message of Christ to children and young people, something he said the Catholic Church in WA is lucky to have.
“I’d like to think that all our catechists are something of an army who are out there in the trenches helping to rebuild our Church, by sharing the beauty and richness of our faith and the promise with our young people.”
Archbishop Costelloe then encouraged those present to find the time to pray, reflect and discuss the very question posed by the Plenary Council, “What do you think God is asking of Australia today?”
Acting Executive Director of CEWA, Dr Debra Sayce, along with Mr Tony Giglia gave a presentation on the importance of the Plenary Council, prompting the attendees to listen to what the spirit is saying.
The passing of light by all attendees, accompanied by a reflective prayer and song session, led to the blessing and lighting of the conference candle by Archbishop Costelloe, symbolising the commitment of catechists to their role.
Catechist Service Team Leader Dr Pina Ford who took on the emcee duties for the duration of the conference, said the conference achieved its aim of being informative, lively and hosted hands-on workshops.
“It was nice to see catechists from all around Perth come together to share their faith and knowledge.
“The moving prayers, insightful talks, the energy, inspiration and practical aspects of the workshops, as well as the variety of topics, were all of benefit to the attendees,” she said.
“The presentation on the Plenary Council and its relevance to us, and not forgetting how blessed we were to have Archbishop Costelloe open the conference and for him to acknowledge us, Catechists who make a difference, was rewarding to hear.”
The conference concluded with a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton.