Students empowered to create change at Social Justice Statement launch
27 Oct 2023
More than 60 secondary students from Catholic Schools Diocese of Parramatta (CSPD), gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes, Seven Hills in October for the annual Social Justice Statement launch for students.
Each year the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) issues a major Social Justice Statement reflecting on the current, social, economic and ecological challenges. The 2023-2024 statement is titled: Listen, Learn, Love: A New Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Held in partnership with the Diocese of Parramatta’s Mission Enhancement Team (MET) – Peace, Justice, Ecology Team, the launch was attended by Year 9 students with guest speakers including Bishop Vincent Long and Executive Director of Schools Jack De Groot.
The aim of the launch was for students to gain a better understanding of what the social justice statement is and to work together to consider how they can take action in their schools.
Released in August 2023, the statement reads:
At the heart of this year’s Social Justice Statement is a call for all the People of God to embrace a new engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, an engagement which involves a commitment to listen to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters and brothers and to learn from them. This listening and learning and the actions which flow from them must be grounded in a spirit of love if there is to be a change for the better.
“This statement is very different from those in the past. Much of the preparation was spent listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in major cities and regional areas. From Canberra to the Kimberleys, Sydney to Wadeye in the NT, and Melbourne to Cherbourg in Queensland,” Bishop Long said at the official launch in August.
“One of the objectives of this statement is that we want Catholics to understand that Catholic Social Teaching and Catholic social action are not simply theoretical and academic exercises. We hear what God is saying to us about justice by being with our sisters and brothers on the peripheries of society.”
At the student event, Executive Director of Schools Jack de Groot spoke about reconciliation and encouraged students to feel empowered by their opportunity to create change.
“I think back to my experience of being a fifteen-year-old and the thing that mattered to me about Catholicism and Christianity was about doing something practical in the world and that has continued throughout my life because faith is about action,” said Jack.
“Our school communities are led by students who want a just society, who want to make firm amend, not to be stuck in saying ‘sorry’ but understanding it so that we move to action,” he said. “Social Justice statements are about the Australia we will create and it is about you being empowered to create it.”
In reflecting on her experience of the day Catherine McAuley Westmead student Aaliyah Johnston, said she felt strengthened in her resolve to see change.
“We spoke about empowering the voice of all people no matter their race or beliefs,” she said. “I connected with the painful stories of Indigenous people which I heard at the launch and believe the Social Justice statement to Listen, Learn, Love can create a more united and strong community where justice can be met and we can learn from our mistakes.”
Year 9 student Jake Meredith from Emmaus Catholic College Kemps Creek added that listening and sharing resonated with him.
“The day was a great day to learn about what we can do better to help,” he said. “It is a really good opportunity to hear others' opinions and listen to their stories.”
For St Clare’s Catholic High School Hassall Grove student Reuben, the message was simple, “We can make a change.”
30 Nov 2023
Well done to the top 25 students who collected the most house points this year. A well deserved morning at Zone Bowling. Also a further congratulations to Bennelong who won the 2023 House Cup 🎳🏅
29 Nov 2023
The Year 10 SRE (Special Religious Education) program for 2024 ends [today] with a Christmas celebration at Beresford Road Public School. All SRE teachers at the primary school enjoyed a well-deserved party after a year of fortnightly catechesis sessions. We are so grateful to Patricia and Tricia for their selfless support of this program here at Greystanes.
27 Nov 2023
Over the weekend of November 25th and 26th, six Year 10 students represented St Pauls and NSW at the Australian International Model Solar Challenge in Hobart. For the challenge, the team had to construct a model solar car, create a short video where they showed the building and design process for their car and complete an engineering questionnaire. The weather on Saturday was constant rain and very low light levels but solar cars will run in low light levels - they just go slower when this happens. The team won one race and lost one on Saturday. Sunday saw the easing of the rain but now the winds were the issues. The team won two races and lost two races. They were knocked out before the quarter finals. The team were outstanding ambassadors for the College on both days. We are still awaiting the results from the videos and the engineering questionnaire. A huge thanks to Miss Hutchins and Mr Sciberras for travelling to Hobart with the team. Thanks to Mrs Thewlis, Mrs Moujaes and Mr Lavery who came to support the team over the weekend. Thanks to Mrs McCann and Tracey from Personalising Shop Wetherill Park for organising our team shirts.
24 Nov 2023
Today, 6 Year 10 students along with Mr Sciberras and Miss Hutchins are off to Hobart to represent St Paul’s and NSW in Australian International Model Solar Challenge. St Paul’s was granted a wild card entry after SunSprint at UNSW on October 21st. The boys rebuilt a car and made a video in the last three weeks. We wish the boys the best of luck.
22 Nov 2023
Congratulations to Joshua Abdilla and Orlando Lonie whose Body of Work has been selected to be included in ARTEXPRESS, as part of the 2023 HSC Showcase season. From the 8660 students who submitted Bodies of Work in 2023, only a small percentage of student artworks were nominated for consideration. A minute percentage of these were then selected to be shown in Artexpress. Both Joshua and Orlando were successful in making it through to inclusion in Artexpress. This is a brilliant achievement for both Josh and Orlando. Their work will be exhibited at Tamworth Regional Gallery, Ngununggula, Southern Highlands Regional Gallery , Cowra Regional Art Gallery and Virtual Exhibition VX in 2024. Congratulations again to Justin whose work was also nominated and the entire Visual Arts Class at St Pauls Catholic College who worked very hard throughout the year which was reflected in their final submissions. Well done!! 🎨🧑🏼🎨🖼️
21 Nov 2023
As part of their PDHPE unit of work titled 'The Risky Side', Year 8 spent the day at the Beach, engaging in activities on how to keep themselves safe when hitting the Australian surf. The Boys braved the cold, rainy conditions and took the opportunity to learn new skills that will assist in an emergency at the beach. 🏖️ 🏊♂️⛱️
10 Nov 2023
St Paul’s outreach program to the Philippines (Sharing our “gifts”) St Paul’s Catholic College shares our gifts to others by donating second hand books to Cabarrus Catholic College and Binulig Elementary School located in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, Philippines. This is the 2nd year that we have shipped boxes of used books to Cabarrus Catholic College. With support from our REC, Faaae Uape, our students Luke Falzon and Kristian McCann helped pack the boxes for shipment overseas. We thank Forex Cargo for the discounted rates they give us every year for this worthy cause. The Dean of Cabarrus Catholic Collegel, Dean Reynato Divinagracia said that they welcome our books gladly as “it has rekindled the love for reading” amongst their students. They are very grateful and appreciative of the “treasure” that we share with them! 📚📖📚📖
09 Nov 2023
We are thrilled to announce that three of our Visual Arts students have earned Art express nominations for their outstanding Body of Works. Nominated works are those that have been identified as excellent examples of student investigations of artmaking practice. We congratulate Joshua Abdilla, Justin Nguyen and Orlando Lonie on their remarkable achievement. 🎨🧑🏼🎨
08 Nov 2023
Thousands of young Western Sydney students have declared a resounding ‘YES’ to ensuring a sustainable Australia for all after a successful three-day Youth Eco Summit at Sydney Olympic Park.