Edition 7 : October 2002

Greetings all and welcome to this spring edition of Edmund Rice News for the Bicentennial Year.

ERFN05 March 2002 (html)
ERFN06 June 2002 (html)
ERFN08 Mar 2003 (html)
ERFN09 June 2003 (html)


Quick Guide to this issue:

Special Report: Why the Christian Brothers are involved in HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Ministry

  The new Province Leadership Team
Editorial: A time of restructuring...

A Passion for Caring for the Earth
  Br Peter Faulkner's work

Eddie Rice Camp Leaders' Formation
Death of Everest conqueror
Moving across with Trasna
Br Kevin Paull's book
Treasure Hunt at Clontarf
New Retreat at Trinity
Br Ray Parker's story
Who do you turn to when
  you want an audience with the Pope?

Why the Christian Brothers are involved in
  the HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Ministry…

Edmund Rice Centre UNDA News
Our cover photo from Tardun
Reflection: Edmund Rice
To add your name to the email list
  click here

Introducing the new
Province Leadership Team

On 1st October the new Province Leadership Team formally took over responsibility for Holy Spirit Province. They are pictured above at one of their many planning sessions prior to the takeover.

Br Kevin Ryan (centre in the above photo) takes over from Br Tony Shanahan as Province Leader. Brs Path Kelly (far left in photo) and Peter Negus (front) help Kevin maintain some continuity as they have all served on the previous Leadership Team and have a good understanding of the issues facing the Congregation and the Edmund Rice Family. Joining them are Dean McGlaughlin (second from left) and Rod Ellyard (far right).

Moving on to explore new territory after their stint on the leadership team are Br Tony and Br John Marks.

The Province Resource Team is introducing an exciting new program for staff members of Christian Brothers Schools and those with some years of experience in the Edmund Rice Tradition.

  • It will be a 5-day residential program in peaceful surroundings for about 15 people.
  • From Monday, 29 September to Friday, 3 October 2003
  • Open to participants from WA and SA
  • A time to review, refocus and seek balance in life

If you would like to know more contact the PRT members:
Br Gerry Faulkner
Br Terry Casey
(08) 9365 2815.

  Edition 7: Oct 2002

A time of restructuring...

In this interview with Brian Coyne, Province Leader, Br Kevin Ryan, reflects on the challenges he sees the Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Family facing as he begins his six-year term as Province Leader.

BRIAN COYNE: Br Kevin, six years will take us nearly to the end of the first decade of the 21st Century ... where do you see the Edmund Rice vision and community will be by then? What are the chief challenges you see coming into this time?

Br Kevin Ryan cfc
KEVIN RYAN: I'd better qualify everything I'm going to say by saying our team is just getting together. So what I am saying here are the opinions of Kevin Ryan rather than the whole team.

What is coming out of the Congregational Chapter, our Province Chapter and the conversations over the last six years seems to be a call for a substantial restructuring of the Congregation over the next six years. That will be both in the developing areas of the Congregation, especially in Africa, but also across to the first world areas where all of us in religious orders have been struggling with the meaning of religious life. I think the second area that would run hand-in-hand with that is that the Congregational Chapter has really focused back on what being "brother" is. This is opening up the agenda. The current Brothers need to be re-exploring that and we need to be deepening our spirituality and prayer life. We also need to be sharing our spirituality and prayer life with others outside of our community. I think we need to be vigorously promoting the idea of Christian "brotherhood" and "being brother" to others into the future. I think we are on a journey of re-foundation in the first world. Now, exactly what that means, and how we need to go about it, is yet to be explored.

In many ways I think we as Brothers are in a similar position to where our predecessors were in 1868 when the Brothers first came to Australia. The Irish Brothers at that time had to work out what Christian "brotherhood" meant in Australia and how they needed to express it. I think we are having to do that again. We are exploring what Christian "brotherhood" means in the new circumstances we find ourselves in at the beginning of this new century.

BC: I notice in Br Tony Shanahan's report of the recent Chapter that one of the most moving parts of the experience appears to have been some frank sharing of the meaning of living in community? Was that surprising to you?

KR: No, I think that's something that's been happening for sometime. That was the sort of thing that was happening at the Congregational Chapter too and we had more opportunity there as that was spread over 4 weeks and our local Chapter was compressed into one week. I think what happened locally and internationally is a result of the more honest self-assessment and sharing of our prayer, spirituality and hopes – that's been going on over the last six years. It came to fruition in the Chapter.

BC: How do you see the prayerlife of the Edmund Rice Family as having changed since you joined the Brothers? Do you also pick up a different sense of what we are seeking when we pray – in the past it tended to be a bit like "praying for miracles – to pass this exam or win the footy match or the head of the river" today we pray so that we can "tune in" to what God wants us to be doing in our lives, what we ought to be doing as a community? How do you see it – has there been a change in the spirituality?

KR: There has been a significant change in the spirituality of the Christian Brothers in general terms. It needs to be said that not every community and every Brother has changed or, what I mean, is not every person expresses it in the same way or, better still, every person expresses it in their own way. I think it's clear that since 1984 our Constitutions have called us to integrate our active life with our prayer life. So there has been an apostolic spirituality evolving and developing that is leading to a better integration of our spiritual life and our working life.

So, yes, I think there has been a significant change and I think that has led us to a better sharing of our faith life. Of course, there are things we still need to treat as personal and private but in general terms we have been better able to share with one another in our prayerlife the good things and the difficult things – the challenging things – the things we need to learn about or learn from that have been occurring in our working life. There has been much more openness about it both at the human and faith dimension. So, yes, I think there has been a significant change. And I think we've been changing not only within the Brothers but across the broader Edmund Rice Family. It's been a bit of a two-way process – two-way learning if you like. We've learned from our Edmund Rice Family confreres and we've also led them to reflect on their spirituality in a different way.

BC: Do you think there is likely to be any further major movement in the shift out of schools or are you going into a period of consolidation?

KR: I think there is a significant amount of work to be undertaken with a whole range of people to develop a new trustee body or bodies to govern what are known as Christian Brothers Schools but are fast becoming known as Edmund Rice Schools. There will be continuing very significant work in that. Now, I think if Brothers want to stay in schools, directly or indirectly, that would be very strongly affirmed. I think how we think about and stay in education ministry now is somewhat different from how we spoke about it twenty years ago. I think we've refocused on what are the needs of today and how can the Edmund Rice story speak to the needs of today. So I think it'll be a both/and. We'll be encouraging Brothers who want to stay in education to stay there, and those who have interest and talents elsewhere will be encouraged to apply themselves where their talents are best suited.

What I see as unchanging is the core mission of those working in the Edmund Rice charism which is to be working for the betterment of all people, but particularly those on the margins, especially through education. While the great challenge that the Brothers originally faced in Australia of helping all Catholics – who were marginalised compared to other sectors -- has largely been achieved, there are now others, refugees and migrants, indigenous people, kids in deprived situations who have great needs. As the Australian Catholic population has matured, so have the brothers in a sense. Originally most of our work in this country was in primary education. In the last third of the twentieth century it was increasingly focused on secondary education. Today we are moving increasingly into fields of tertiary, post-compulsory and adult education as government funding has become available to allow lay people to move into the areas which our predecessors in both the male and female religious orders pioneered.

A passion for caring for the earth...
Br Peter Faulkner's work with Catholic Earthcare

PERHAPS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE of the new fields that the Christian Brothers are moving into can be found in the person of Peter Faulkner. Peter has been a Christian Brother for almost as long as he can remember. For something like 35 years he taught science (Chemistry and Geology) in the Brothers' schools in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

Back at the end of the 1980s he was among the first group of Catholics with an awakening conscience that the Church ought to be involved in the environmental and sustainability debate. In fact he was so passionate about the matter that, with a small group of others, he was responsible for the Adelaide Archdiocese doing something about it in a formal way. In 1989, the Archbishop of Adelaide established the first Catholic Earthcare Commission. Peter was a founding member of that Commission.

In the years since he has worked tirelessly in the cause of raising awareness within the Catholic community, both locally and nationally, of the responsibility we all have as a human community to these responsibilities we need to have for the elements of God's creation outside our self-centred human concerns.

Br Peter Faulkner cfc
A few month's ago this awareness raising paid-off when four Catholic Bishops climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge to officially launch Catholic Earthcare Australia – a national initiative of the Australian Catholic Bishops. The 21 members of CEA are drawn from every State and Territory. In the past few weeks the Bishops released their 2002 Social Justice Sunday Statement, "A new earth – the environmental challenge", and over a quarter of a million copies of this were circulated as a supplement in the Spring issue of Australian Catholics.

Peter thinks the Church needs to be a bit humble in regards to its work in this area. He told ERFN "as someone quite truly said, 'The Church arrived on the environmental scene half an hour late and out of breath'. That's a wonderful way of putting it. We have to be beholden to those secular and humanist groups – individuals and groups like David Suzuki, Rachel Carson and Greenpeace. We have to be very much in praise of them and very contrite that we didn't kick off first. We should have. We had all those wonderful traditions way, way back – St Francis himself, Patron of the Environment. Before him the Benedictines, and of course earlier still the Scriptures – Genesis, Job (Chapter 38!). So the contriteness is important."

He does feel though that we are beginning to make up some of the lost ground, particularly now with the full backing of the Bishops and the Pope himself has become an articulate spokesman on our earthcare responsibilities. He sees the interest of Catholic and Christian groups in the drive to develop an Earth Charter at the international level following the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 as an excellent development. This final wording of the Earth Charter was agreed in March 2000. It is similar to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights which was made in 1948. Peter thinks the Earth Charter is an even better document because, he wrote recently, "[it] aims not just to preserve the Planet Earth's eco-systems but to commit to justice, democracy and fairness and peace."

Peter says his own interest in the subject was aroused gradually. "I've always been interested in science – geology and chemistry – and I think scientists can see more clearly than anyone else the limits of our planet. They can see that we are using resources at a vastly greater rate than they can be replenished. So I've just had a passion for educating people and showing people that our present high standard of living in the Western world is not sustainable at the rate we are going."

In 1992 after returning from his last teaching stint in Broome he studied Environmental Geology at Adelaide Uni and Creation Spirituality at Flinders Uni at around the same time. He urges all of us to integrate as much concern for our environment into our spirituality and prayerlife as we do for our concerns for ourselves and our personal future. He says, "we seem to have forgotten that line in the Noah story in Genesis where God set the rainbow as the sign of his convenant 'with you [Noah], and with your descendants after you; ALSO WITH EVERY LIVING CREATURE TO BE FOUND WITH YOU: BIRDS, CATTLE, AND EVERY WILD BEAST WITH YOU … EVERYTHING THAT LIVES ON THE EARTH.' [Gen 9: 9-10 – Emphasis added.] We seem to have left that bit out for hundreds of years!"

The most satisfying 'prac work' Peter has done since leaving his laboratory was in going to Oak Valley, west of Maralinga, and testing plant and equipment at the Aboriginal settlement with a Geiger Counter and Scintillometer. Their water tankers and storesheds had come from the original Maralinga Village and the people were concerned about radiation levels.

If you would like to find out more about the work of Catholic Earthcare and other initiatives, Br Peter has recommended the following websites. In addition he edits a quarterly magazine which is distributed to every school and parish in SA called Planet 3.


NOTE: The Franciscans are providing grants to Catholic parishes and schools and indigenous Catholic communities considering undertaking a local, community-based, sustainable environment project. For more information see the Franciscan website above. The St Francis Earthcare Grants range between $500 and $3,000.

Br Peter Faulkner's thoughts
on the Earth Charter

When the Earth Charter was launched on 29 June 2000 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, its mission was stated this:"To establish a sound ethical foundation ... and to help build a sustainable world based on:

  • Respect for nature
  • Universal Human Rights
  • Economic Justice, and
  • A Culture of Peace."

The principles of the Earth Charter can act as a reference document against which company policies and practices can be reviewed. For example the international planning/design firm of Hassell has set up an Ecologically Sustainable Development Group in each of its offices along Earth Charter Lines. It is hoped other major companies will follow their example.The Council of Griffith University (Brisbane) has embraced the Earth Charter principles.Many local Councils have made tentative forays into Earth Charter workings.Judi Moylan, Federal MP for WA, has utilised the Earth Charter as the best available set of criteria for developing "norms" for ethical investment. This is a great first! Education? The sky is the limit and the creativity of young people is boundless.

Peter Faulkner cfc
Member, SA Committee for Earth Charter.

Archbishop Bathersby...

[From left}: Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba and Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome, with executive secretary of the Bishops’ Committee for Justice Development, Ecology and Peace, Dr Michael Costigan (in the background) at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Archbishop Bathersby described the formation of Catholic Earthcare Australia – a national body that will advise the Bishops’ Committee for Justice, Development, Ecology and Peace on environmental issues – as one of the "truly significant events in the life of the Catholic Church in more recent times".

It seems entirely appropriate, he said, that here in Australia in response to the Pope’s request, "we should be launching Catholic Earthcare Australia as an attempt to enlist Catholics in this further aspect of evangelisation and to educate people about the depth of vision demanded of those who would follow in Christ’s footsteps".

In his homily, Archbishop Bathersby, who is chairman of the new body, made reference to the "incarnational" link between God and creation, which was recognised by St Francis. "This [link] makes Catholic Earthcare Australia absolutely necessary for Catholics, and indeed all Christians, if we are to promote faith in God, as well as enhance the quality of life in our world for all people – especially for the poor and little ones of the world who so often are powerless in trying to prevent the life-destroying forces that, often unthinkingly, sometimes deliberately, devastate our planet for the benefit of a few, and for the long-term suffering of generations yet to come," the archbishop said.

"The diminishment of life in this universe in any way, in some way diminishes our capacity for knowing God because faith and life are deeply linked."

Catholic Leader Report and photo

Eddie Rice Camp leaders meet at Camp Kelly, Dwellingup

"Formation for the Future"...

The formation of the young people who lead the Edmund Rice Camps for Kids is being undertaken across the nation. Development Officer for Edmund Rice Camps (WA), Richard Mavros, has provided us with this update on the program run at Camp Kelly, Dwellingup, recently…

JESUS IS A MAGNIFICENT VISION of how the world could be and how we could live. At the core of His message was the news that it is up to each of us to bring this about. This means that it is up to each and every one of us to grow into the kind of people that will help bring about a better world.

Back Row: Br Tony Shanahan, Adrian Trott, Susan McGuane, Clare Vander Zanden, Br Gerry Faulkner.
Middle Row: Peter Nicholson, Peter Hoole, Catherine Wheeler, Eleri Johnson, Kylie Hellwig, Br Kevin Ryan, Kathleen Separovich.
Front Row: Ash Little, Renae Kinsman, Kate O’Donovan, Br Terry Casey, Tanya Scorda.
Behind the Camera: Richard Mavros, Br Pat Kelly.
Unfortunately for most young people there is very little in their lives that prompts or challenges them to grow, to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. People need experiences that challenge them to alter the way they think about themselves, their family, friends, community, environment, their God and their Spirituality. Ultimately such experiences prompt us to consider making small changes to the way we live. So, the big question…

"What is going to prompt/assist people to embark on this journey?"

It is the search for an answer to this question that is driving a consultation process around Australia. You won't hear or read that question anywhere, it has been re-phrased into professional speak :

"What are the ‘Formation’ needs of young adults today?"

This question has been asked all around the country over the last few months. Peter Nicholson has assisted the staff of the six Edmund Rice Camps around Australia to run a consultation with groups of young adults. ERC in Perth held their consultation over a weekend in August. A dozen volunteers and several Brothers spent the weekend at Camp Kelly in Dwellingup discussing these important questions and contributing their ideas into this process.

ERC Staff and volunteers are excited by the genuine readiness to commit time, energy and money to ensuring that young people within the Edmund Rice Network have access to appropriate 'formation' opportunities. Within the Edmund Rice Network is a belief that the 'search for Self and God' is wrapped up in issues of social justice and work with the marginalised in our society.

It is hoped that over the next few years countless young adults will be able to access appropriate opportunities that prompt them to not only develop their views, but to actually consider making small changes to they way they live their lives. This consultation represents the important first steps in a process aimed at achieving these radical goals.

An unexpected farewell to Aquinas stalwart Ray Brown
Everest conqueror dies while jogging

Long time teacher at Aquinas College, Ray Brown, unexpectedly died a few week's ago while jogging with friends in Kings Park. Ray had brought great distinction to himself and his community through his adventuring nature and particularly his climb of Mount Everest. This is how Grahame Armstrong reported Ray's story in the Sunday Times two days after his death...

RAY BROWN, the only West Australian to have climbed the world's tallest mountain, has died suddenly at 51. Mr Brown collapsed and died while jogging with friends in Kings Park on Friday.

Students and teachers at Aquinas College—where Mr Brown was a housemaster and taught continuously for 24 years — were in shock yesterday. Friends and family came together at Aquinas, reflecting on Mr Brown's short but packed life.

He was a very competitive man who took up marathon running and mountaineering in his 40s, for no other reason than the challenge. He ran marathons in Nepal and Antarctica, a half marathon in Japan and climbed some of the world's highest mountains in Nepal, Pakistan and South America.
His wife Liz mused yesterday on the irony of his sudden passing.

"At the times he went away (on mountaineering expeditions) I just always knew he would come back," she said. "You don't expect it when he's just going for a run with his mates. I still think he's going to walk in the door."

The day before his fateful jog through Kings Park Mr Brown celebrated his 51st birthday.

TOP SPOT: Ray Brown
on top of the world

His wife had baked him a Kahlua birthday cake and put one candle on top.

"He was boasting how he was one again . . . that his life was just beginning," she said.
Mr Brown was born in Hastings, New Zealand, on September 5, 1951. He trained as a teacher in Auckland and moved in 1978 to Perth, where he took a position at Aquinas.

A friend and colleague of 20 years described him as "inspirational". "He was a perfectionist with everything he did," the friend said. "Those who knew him were not surprised when he made it to the top of Everest. He was so determined and tenacious."

Mr Brown had returned recently from an expedition to climb K2, in Pakistan. It is the world's second highest mountain and is often said to be technically more difficult to climb than Everest. The attempt was thwarted by bad weather.

FOOT-SLOGGER: Ray Brown pounds the pavements during a training session in Perth.

A saddened family friend reflected on a life cut short: "He took up running at an age when most people are thinking about long lunches," the friend said.

"He went for a run every Friday . . . it's hard to believe when you consider 30 per cent of those who get to the top of Everest don't come down again."

Mr Brown is survived by his wife and two sons, Ross, 21 and Scott, 19.

With thanks to the Sunday Times for permission to reprint this story.

News from all around Holy Spirit Province...

Moving Across with Trasna

The WA participants photographed at their meeting
with previous Trasnerites.
L-R: Mark Sawle, David Fong, Donella Brown, Chris Cole,
Cathy Tesoriero, Ray Kosovich, Don McNamee, Joe Audino,
Dennis Kelly. Front: Mark Walawski

SIX PEOPLE FROM THE PROVINCE have been immersed in the Trasna 2002 personal renewal program sponsored by the Christian Brothers, the Presentation Sisters and the Presentation Brothers. It is held over four weeks in August each year in Ireland.

Trasna is a Gaelic word that means "movement across". At the heart of the Trasna program, the individuals are invited to "move across" spiritually and undertake a radical transformation in how they think and act. The course takes participants through a contemporary understanding of the charisms of Edmund Rice and Nano Nagle. They are invited to reflect on their own personal life story and contribute to the development of the new community story that is growing out of the founders' stories, the individual stories of the participants and those they come in contact with through their ministries.

Attending this year were Adela Lock and Gerry McCarthy from Rostrevor College and Joe Audino (Aquinas) Don McNamee (CBC Fremantle), Mark Walawski (Edmund Rice Camps WA) and Dennis Kelly (Principal, Orana Catholic Primary School). All attended under the Edmund Rice Scholarship programme except Gerry and Dennis who combined their own funds with professional development funds from the respective State Catholic Education Offices.

To order your copy of "Beyond Dreams in Stone"

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ORDER COPIES of Br Kevin Paull's book, "Beyond Dreams in Stone" you can do so by downloading the order form on the Holy Spirit Province website: http://www.westcourt.wa.edu.au/ORDERFORM.htm. You'd better get in quick though if you still want a hard cover copy ($55.00) as they're almost gone. There are still pleny of soft-cover copies though at $33.00. Postage is $5.50 extra for WA and $8.80 extra for other States. (All prices include GST.) Alternatively send your cheque and mailing details to Noelene Trenorden at Westcourt: PO Box 1129, BENTLEY DC WA 6983.

Treasure Hunt at Clontarf an enormous success...

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT ... well a bit of hubris doesn't go astray – it was actually a bright sunny morning when a group of hardened treasure huntersgathered at the haunted grounds of Clontarf to solve the über-creepy mystery of Billy Gunn's buried treasure. Also on board were the weather-beaten Tardun Old Boys. They "spiced-up" the adventure with their tales of murder, skull-duggery and peg-legged escapades.

After presenting the group with the 200-year-old map of "Clontarf Isle", it was on – we set the booty-hungry kids loose on a quest for clues, each one more cryptic than the last. Yet soon the hunt was to take a turn for the worst. The group came across a grisly discovery – the bones of Billy Gunn himself! After enlisting the aid of Detective Colombo to check the crime scene for further clues, the final resting place of the treasure was revealed. It was under the stump of a once mighty tree. And then all the morning's hard work paid off: a small, dirt-encrusted chest was lifted from the ground. It contained a wealth of ancient doubloons and regal jewels. Then we chowed down on a hearty feast and had motorbike rides.

Thanks to the Kids Club Action Group from the Eddie Rice Camps for Kids and to the Tardun Old Boys who made the whole thing possible.

New Retreat Program works well at Trinity...

AT THE END OF TERM TWO HOLIDAYS twenty Year 12 Trinity students participated in a very successful Kairos retreat -- the first for the College.

For a number of years, Director of Campus Ministry, Br Rob Callen has dreamed of establishing the Kairos retreat program in an Australian school after experiencing it in America.

Fortunately for Br Rob and the retreatants, the College administration decided to help turn his dream into a reality by inviting two experienced staff members from Bellarmine College Prep -- a Jesuit High School in San Jose, California -- to travel to Perth to introduce the program at Trinity. They were accompanied by four ex-student leaders and two Bellarmine students who wanted to participate in the retreat.

"The result was overwhelming," said Br Rob. "I felt great personal pride in the way the Trinity boys participated. I really felt that my role as a Christian Brother had a real significance."

Br Rob related that one of the students had told the group that the retreat was the most profound experience of his life. Many students reported that it was best thing they had done. The retreat was a very intense and challenging time for the students. Over four days they explored four themes: Who am I? Who is Christ? Who is Christ for me? And What am I going to do about this?

Pictured outside Tuppin House, Guilderton were the
members of the first Trinity Kairos Retreat.

"For a number of Year 12's, this was definitely uncool," said Br Rob. "And it was particularly difficult for those who volunteered to be the first group -- and give up holiday time as well. This required a lot of courage and a real act of faith."
One of the strengths of the Kairos retreat is that it is student led. Four of the key leaders were young American students who had participated in Kairos in Bellarmine and who volunteered to travel to Perth to lead Trinity's retreat. Two of these students - the "Rector", Geronimo Desumala and the "Assistant Rector", Jake Casey actually ran the retreat.

A key feature of the process of the retreat was the work done in the four small groups, each with a student leader and an adult leader. This was a very powerful model. Another feature was that all talks were thoroughly prepared by the student and adult leaders.

Br Rob explained that the Kairos retreat program that is proving so successful in a number of American Catholic schools grew out of the Cursillo movement. "It is very much an encounter experience which relies on the personal witness of peers and adult leaders. Anyone who has done Antioch or Marriage Encounter would be familiar with the style of program."

Following the retreat, there will be follow up sessions so that the enthusiasm and spirit of the retreat will not be lost. Br Rob's hope is that Kairos will be a key feature of the spiritual experience of senior students at Trinity.
The College is now planning for other Kairos retreats with student leaders drawn from those Year 12s who participated in the first Trinity Kairos.

Br Ray Parker's moving story...

Br Reg Whitely published this moving story about Br Ray Parker in the first edition of the ERF South Australian News. Br Ray died recently on a trip home to England.

Br Ray with one of his students
at Bindoon.

RAY's STORY IS AKIN TO A THEME FROM A DICKEN'S NOVEL. Ray was sent to Australia as a little 'orphan'. He eventually joined the Brothers as a laybrother, and the Brothers became his family. So ERF took on a special meaning for Ray. His was perhaps a hard and sad life without parents and siblings to love. When Ray went overseas late in life he discovered an uncle, who told him that his mother was still alive. It was an announcement that had a tremendous emotional impact on Ray. He made a decision. He wrote to his mother. Ray told her he had booked a flight to England and would be arriving at Heathrow on a certain date and on a certain flight. If she wanted to meet him he would be dressed in clericals and would be easily picked out. If she didn't want to meet him he would understand. On arrival at Heathrow, as people in the lounge drifted away Ray, who could see no one to match his mother, started to become a little forlorn. It was then that he noticed a little old lady peeping out from behind a pillar. He went over and asked her if she was his mother. She said she was! A loving reunion took place with the son she had given up fifty years before. Recently Ray returned to England to be with his mother. Ray did not tell the Brothers before he left he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He just went as if for a holiday. Ray collapsed on the Tuesday and died on the Sunday. It was so sudden and such a great shock to all who knew him. Ray, before he died, had found the human love he longed for in life. He surely now is within the Heart of Him whose love is both human and divine. May he rest in peace .

Who do you turn to when you want an audience with the Pope?

In the recent first edition of the ERF South Australia News, Reg Whitely presented an interesting profile of Br Stanis McGuire who, for a long time, was the man in Rome one turned to when you wanted to get an audience with the Pope.This work is now undertaken by Br John Baldwin, another Christian Brother from Holy Spirit Province. The following is the Reg's write-up on Br Stanis.

IT HAS BEEN SAID that the stories and lives of the Brothers are something quite unknown to the members of the Edmund Network; they remain an 'in-house' business. Perhaps we need to know our own locals better. Here is one such story about an Adelaide Brother, Br Stanis McGuire, who became known and honoured by both Pope Paul VI and John Paul II. For many years he was the person one interviewed to obtain an audience, and had to attend most of them. Now that he is retired his successor, Br John Baldwin, (Rostrevor) continues to carry on the prestigious work.

Stanis' uncle, Paul McGuire, was well known as a diplomat, particularly as the Australian Ambassador to the Vatican. A visit to CBC library shows the honour in which this old boy is held. Stanis joined the Brothers as a laybrother, working on the farm attached to the Novitiate at Minto in NSW. In a short time he was noted for being both a chef and a very knowledgeable farmer. The dairy and pig studs that he built up became well known throughout the state. Stanis became the first laybrother ever to be appointed a superior of a community.

He was next asked to go to Rome to run the farm attached to the newly acquired property for the Brothers' headquarters. The Brothers on the CLT soon noticed that this humble man had extraordinary talents (he had always been the perfect diplomat, perhaps inherited from his uncle). He was quick to learn Italian to perfection - besides becoming an expert art critic, lecturing to the tertians and others in Rome. Soon he was asked to help out at the office for audiences, not knowing that before long he would him- self become 'the Pope's man' and that the Swiss Guards would throw a smart salute for 'Meester McGuire'.

After about 30 years Stanis retired from this work. Immediately Iona University in America invited him to become the visiting lecturer on art for a twelve-month period. Stanis is now stationed in Rome, where he is the community leader in one of the houses. He sometimes returns to Adelaide to visit his family.

Edmund Rice Centre at Notre Dame News...

THE EDMUND RICE CENTRE at the University of Notre Dame has recently moved to newly renovated premises. It's the former Cleopatra Hotel.

Staff and students at the Edmund Rice Centre has been working with Leeuwin Care – East Timor since April 2000. They have been solely responsible for facilitating the invitations and transport of our students and staff to the respective East Timorese villages where we have lived during our immersion programs. In an attempt to further our relationship with our partners in East Timor and the communities that have hosted us, we are supporting and seeking assistance for the following projects and initiatives undertaken by Leeuwin Care and our friends in East Timor.

The people and Church of Letefoho, a village in the mountains two hours from Dili, have given four hectares of land for which to build a Youth Training Centre - The Bakhita Centre. This Centre will be established as a showcase for appropriate and substantial technologies and will include model tourism facilities for training East Timorese people in tourism related activities. As well as this the Centre will provide recreational and sporting facilities, computer facilities, and accommodation for youth groups visiting from country areas of East Timor.

The Cutet Orphanage has almost 100 orphans. Every one of these children has a terrible story to tell. These kids depend on handouts from local subsistence farmers to survive. With no family and no land to inherit, a good education is vital. To guarantee their survival and their future the orphans need $200 per child per annum. This money will give them a reasonable level of food, education, shelter, clothing, immunization, etc, to equip them to become contributing members of and leaders for East Timor's future.

The militia destroyed the three Ainaro schools in 1999 and now the community relies on one small school to educate over one thousand students. They are now facing an alarming problem with student enrolment expected to increase next year. The Parish of Ainaro hopes to build four additional classrooms, in particular for the primary school, which now only has two rooms for approximately four hundred children.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE PROJECTS please visit the Edmund Rice Centre website: http://purple.nd.edu.au/erc/projects.html

Tell the rest of the Edmund Rice Community what’s happening in your sector. Send your stories to Pat Kelly or Brian Coyne. If you have photos, logos or graphics all the better.

Special Report...

Why the Christian Brothers are involved in
the HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Ministry…

Br Damian Walsh

AS THE STORIES OF THE EDMUND RICE FAMILY NEWSLETTER keep emphasising, the Christian Brothers today are branching out into all sorts of new areas of need -- keeping alive the vision of Edmund Rice to serve those in deep need. Damian Walsh is one brother in Perth who has found a special calling to be working with those infected with HIV/AIDS. In this article written especially for ERFN, he explores the Edmund Rice vision and its practical implementation in this new area of pressing social need.

EDMUND RICE WAS MOVED BY THE SPIRIT to open his heart to the poor. He opted to help raise the self-esteem and life prospects of the desperately poor of Waterford via the means of education. Edmund and his early followers however did not limit themselves just to the classroom. Visits to prison and care of those suffering from cholera also were tasks undertaken by Edmund.

Today, every day, somewhere in the world there are over 15,000 new HIV infections. 70% of these are in Sub-Saharan Africa (a special concern to St Patrick's Province) and 16% in SouthEast Asia (should this percentage cause a special concern to those living in Western Australia?). Men, women and children who are stricken by a virus which will change their lives and the lives of their loved ones forever. In the 12 months to 31 December 2001 there was a total of 45 new notifications of HIV in Western Australia – 36 men and 9 women. In the period 1997 to 2001 the rate per one hundred thousand of population in Western Australia those living with HIV has risen from 46.7 to 58.6 (the present rate in South Australia is 53.2). In the same five year period the national rate per one hundred thousand has moved from 110 to 112.

John Paul II, in Tertio Millenio Adveniente describes this time of entering the new millennium as a time to deepen our faith and strengthen our witness. We are called to "open wide the doors of our hearts to Jesus" through personal conversion, building communities of faith and healing, continuing our efforts to create a more just and peaceful world in the midst of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Each of us is on the same journey as those people we encounter each day, that is, all of us have a need to be encouraged to let go, to let go of our fears, our need to control and embrace what is binding us. This embracing of our fears leads to the embracing of life. In the spirit of the first disciples who were filled with the Holy Spirit, we are called to be prophetic voices on behalf of so many people throughout our city and the world who feel isolated, marginalised and afraid as they live with HIV/AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Centre presently provides a service to the people of the city and environs of Perth and further afield as need dictates. The combination of services and support provided by the Ministry is quite unique in Australia.

Show your PRESENCE...

World AIDS Day
Ecumenical Service
Friday, 29th November
St Andrew's Church

"Live and Let Live"

Although numerous supportive therapies are available to challenge human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), no cure exists. Those with HIV disease must confront the reality of living with a complex, chronic illness. Even the treatments that are meant to extend life and enhance the quality of life serve as a constant reminder of the seriousness of HIV and AIDS.

The focus of the pastoral care offered at the Centre is that of Presence. The provision of meals and other activities of the Centre are merely the tools by which the pastoral caring takes place. The exploration of what the person is experiencing, what the person believes and values, how the person relates with other people as well as the recognition that each person knows the way somewhere within himself or herself allows the pastoral worker to honor the lived experience of the person.

There is an obvious air of welcome hospitality that pervades the Centre. The pastoral workers have an easy rapport with the clients and an openness that invites people to see the Centre as a place of care and healing. The clients see the Centre as a place where people in the same situation as themselves can obtain mutual support.

Commemorative Plaques in the HIV/AIDS Pastoral Centre Garden

The Centre provides an accepting non-judgmental, caring pastoral support to men, women and children infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. A philosophy of wholeness and one of complementarity permeates the ministry. Volunteer therapists provide such complementary therapies as massage and reiki. The pastoral team at the Centre is supported by a number of volunteers who help by provision of transport, cooking meals for the drop-in lunch and some basic cleaning and gardening in and around the centre. The outreach aspects of the Ministry see the full-time pastoral team involved in providing a listening ear to people in their own homes, hospitals and when requested within the prison system.

As a Christian Brother I see the work of Edmund coming alive in this ministry to people living with HIV/AIDS. The challenge is to continually question as to whether or not, and how, I am that caring, hope-filled and compassionate person that Jesus called for. Edmund opened his heart to the poor of his day and challenged his society to recognise those poor boys that needed special care and support. How can I, as a follower of Edmund, challenge my society to respond with compassion to another group who are in just as much need for care and support?

The HIV/AIDS Pastoral Care Ministry in the Perth Archdiocese began in February 1989. In November 1991 the Pastoral Care Centre in Burswood opened. Almost from the inception of the Centre there has been a history of Christian Brothers being involved as volunteers one way or another at the Centre. Damian Walsh was appointed as Director of the Centre in November 1999.

To add your name to the email list:

This year the hard-copy edition of Edmund Rice News will be published four times but the email edition will be published six times. The hard copy edition is for archival purposes and for community reception areas and for those who do not have access to email. It will contain a summary of what is published in the email edition. Costs are largely what dictate this editorial change. It costs us literally cents in distribution costs to send out an email edition to as many people as we like. Each hard copy edition costs in the order of $1 per copy for distribution.

We do need to build up our email database. To make sure you receive the email edition in colour send your email address to briancoyne@viastuas.net.au. Let us know if you would like to receive the full email in html format – i.e. with all photographs and graphics – or a text message directing you to a website where it can be viewed through a web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

Our cover photo from Tardun:

Our cover photo comes from the Christian Brothers Agricultural School, Tardun. Tardun is a Junior High School (Yrs 8-10) situated about 450km north of Perth. The photo is available on their website <<http://www.wn.com.au./cbas>>along with a selection of other photographs showing school and farm life in this little bit of paradise.

The painting of Edmund Rice
with his daughter, Mary,
is from
an exhibition on the
national Edmund Rice web site
by Tasmanian painter, Br Hugh
Sharpe of Hobart
on Canvas (27x66) cms. 1996.
Hugh Sharpe, cfc]


From a letter Edmund Rice wrote in 1810 to his lifelong fring, Brian Bolger...

“One thing you may be sure of,
that whilst you work for God,
whether you succeed or not,
He will amply reward you.”

No hardship, personal insult or disappointment could deter Edmund Rice from pursuing his mission to assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Think of a young person in your own life who needs you to believe in him or her, no matter what.

Spend some time reflecting on how God sees this young person's Goodness, Brokeness, Giftedness. Aski Edmund Rice to pray with you for this young person for whom you care so deeply.



This reflection is taken from Chapter 9 on Perseverance in God is in the Ordinary by Teresa Pirola.


Edmund Rice Family News is edited and produced by Brian Coyne for the Holy Spirit Province of the Christian Brothers
Vias Tuas Communications, 7/63 Stirling Highway, NEDLANDS WA 6009 Tel: 9389 9829
email: briancoyne@viastuas.net.au web: http://users.bigpond.net.au/viastuas

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