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School leaders ‘called’ as collaborators in the world of Catholic Education WA


A Celebration of the Eucharist took place at the Chapel of Michael the Archangel, Catholic Education Centre on 23 November. Photo: Matthew Lau.

By Matthew Lau

The education of our young people is a vocational mission of the Church entrusted by the Lord, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB reminded Catholic educators last week.

Bishops and school principals of Western Australia convened for a Commissioning Mass on Friday 23 November at the Chapel of Michael the Archangel, Catholic Education Centre.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe was the principal celebrant, joined by Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton, Bishop of Broome Christopher Saunders, and Bishop of Geraldton Michael Morrissey.


Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB blesses a crucifix the Chapel of Michael the Archangel. Photo: Matthew Lau. 

Together, the prelates commissioned and blessed Dr Debra Sayce as the new Executive Director of CEWA.

“Bishops, with the support of your counsel, guidance, prayers and advice, I accept the mission of leading Catholic Education Western Australia,” Dr Sayce confidently affirmed.

Crucifixes were then presented to 26 WA principals who either are new to their role of leadership or are taking leadership in a new school.

In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe spoke about the intrinsic link between education and faith.

“Catholics know instinctively that we’re not meant to find our way to God independently from everybody else,” the Archbishop of Perth stated.

“We’re meant to go to God together, and to help each other find our way together – that’s absolutely at the heart of a Catholic school because we are dealing with the formation of young people.”

Disciples, he said, look beyond themselves and beyond each other to someone else for inspiration and assistance.

“That someone else, of course, is Christ. So unless Christ is actively present and recognised as the heart of every Catholic school community, then there’s something vital missing.”


New and transferring principals of WA were commissioned at the conclusion of Mass on 23 November. Photo: Matthew Lau.

Archbishop Costelloe reiterated Pope Francis’ notion that the mission of the Church in today’s world is to be “a healer of people’s wounds and a warmer of people’s hearts”.

“What a wonderful summing up of what a truly Christian community looks like,” he continued.

“No-one should come into a Catholic school community and go away more wounded than they were when they first came. No-one should come into a Catholic school community and go away with hearts that have grown colder, rather than hearts that have grown warmer.

“How could we be anything other than people who want to help each other and others find their way to communion with God?” Archbishop Costelloe added.

“As long as we know what God is asking of us and [be] ready to commit ourselves to continuing the journey, then we can be confident that we are becoming the Catholic Education system in WA that the Lord is calling us to be; then we are becoming the Church in WA that the Lord is calling us to be.”