Edition 12: February 2004 Holy Spirit Province, Australia

Greetings all and welcome to this first edition
of Edmund Rice News for 2004.

ERFN09 June 2003 (html)
ERFN10 Sep 2003 (html)
ERFN11 Dec 2003 (html)

The INDEX TO THIS ISSUE follows the editorial

THE MATTER OF MIRACLES is perhaps a vexed subject for many people in the world today. There can be no doubt though that some people in history do rise through the pack and leave a footprint on the face of this earth that is gargantuan. Their example becomes an inspiration to untold millions of others who seek to emulate their example. One of these men was Edmund Ignatius Rice.

We decided to begin this newsletter in a provocative way asking if you are in need of a miracle because, in a sense the Edmund Rice Community is in big need of a miracle at the moment. We need a miracle so that the Canonisation of Blessed Edmund Rice can proceed.

In a recent email to Province and Regional Leaders around the world, the Postulator of the Cause for the Canonisation of Blessed Edmund has urged everyone in the Edmund Rice Family to continue their intercessions to Blessed Edmund. Unfortunately praying to Blessed Edmund to help us pass an exam or win the first prize in Lotto or to find the right job or partner in one's life is not the sort of "miracle" that we're after at the moment. While we do have a lot of confidence that our founder might put in a good word for you for the right answers, the right numbers, the right job or the right person to pop out of the woodwork, the sort of "miracles" that usually get the nod in Rome are of the medical variety where someone experiences a cure for a medical condition that seems to defy our present state of medical knowledge or explanation.

Br Donal Blake publishes a monthly update
of the progress of the Cause. It is useful resources for RE
teachers as well as those who might be seeking resources
for a reflection to begin any Edmund Rice related
activity. Click here for the link!

In his email, the Postulator, Br Donal Blake, makes the point that it is not just a miracle that is needed though. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints seeks other kinds of evidence as well. The first is for evidence around the world that people are praying to Edmund Rice for his intercession in the challenges they are facing in their lives. In other words, is this man truly an inspiration to others? Br Donal also suggests that the Congregation for the Causes is also seeking evidence that "people of different age groups find aspects of the Edmund story relevant to their situation as Christians in 2004".

In this far flung Province of the Holy Spirit down under in the land that was originally named "The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit", we might seem enormously remote from the business of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints – and from any expectation of a miracle occurring here that might lead to the canonisation of one of the great teachers of modern times. Many people in the more affluent, educated, socially sophisticated Western world, including many Catholics, have become somewhat sceptical that God goes around breaking the laws of his own creation and performing magic tricks for our amusement like some circus magician. Some people of course, continue to passionately believe in "miracles" in the sense that God does intervene in our everyday affairs from time to time in supernatural ways.

There's probably already room for a great discussion in your community about the precise meaning we Catholics can draw out of the whole matter of "miracles" – and we would certainly urge those discussions to take place in respectful consideration to the views held by the different parties on each side. We have a slightly different plea in this newsletter however. We do urge everyone reading this newsletter to give some special thought over the coming months to the question of what part does Edmund Ignatius Rice play in your life?

By any stretch of the imagination, Edmund Rice is an inspiring figure simply because of the tens of thousands whom he inspired to follow Christ, serve their fellow men and women, and lift those who were on the margins into the places in society where they did have an equal chance to compete for jobs, for dignity and, as our outback forebears would say in Australia, "a fair suck out of the waterbag, or sauce bottle". Prayer is not just a business of asking for favours and "miracles" though .

Whether it is directly to Jesus, or through the intercession of Edmund Rice, the major reason why we pray is to learn to think how they thought. To learn to use the sort of processes of thinking – and communion with this great Mystery we label as G-O-D – that they used to surmount the enormous challenges they faced in their lives. We all face different challenges today but prayer is a process of learning the mental, emotional and spiritual steps that enable us to face any challenge. Continual reading of the stories of Jesus and of Edmund Rice in a prayerful way is what leads us into the ways of thinking that enabled them not only to achieve so much but to become the very models who inspired so many others.

The Province Leadership Team
(From left around the table): Brs Pat Kelly,
Dean McGlaughlin, Kevin Ryan (leader),
Rod Ellyard and Peter Negus.

Let us intercede to Edmund not so much for "magic tricks" in our lives but that he might teach us how to climb the high mountains that we have to climb physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually in our lives. Let us also pray that God might grant Edmund that sign of supernatural favour that defies our present bounds of human knowledge and which finds favour with the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in Rome.

Finally, the Province Leadership Team have asked us, on their behalf, to wish you all a really blessed year in your endeavours whatever they might be and wherever you might be working in the Province and in remote other parts of the world.

Quick Guide to this issue:

Editorial: Praying for a Miracle

From the Province Leader:
 Christian Brothers issue a
 challenge to lay people working
 in Edmund Rice Ministries

 Province Leader's Letter (full text)

Deputy Leader pleads for
 continuing diversity in Catholic

Indigenous Cultural Festival "a
 huge success"

 Photo essay of Indigenous
 Cultural Festival

Changes to International
 formation programs (TRASNA)


News from around the Province
 •The Pearl Shell
 •Bindoon Bursar "Citizen of
  the Year"

 •Province Resource Team busy
  with formation

 •Edmund Rice Centre wins
  Cullen Award

 •The score is: Africa 1,
  Shanahan 0!

 •Jubilee Celebrations in
  Adelaide and Perth

Reflection: Edmund Rice

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Raising the Bar: Christian Brothers issue a challenge to lay people working in Edmund Rice Ministries

In a very compassionate but strong letter to those working in one of the Edmund Rice Ministries, the Edmund Rice Camps for Kids in Western Australia and South Australia, the Province Leader, Br Kevin Ryan, has signalled that the Christian Brothers are bringing a new measure of spiritual accountability to endeavours that operate under the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice.

r Kevin's letter, follows in the wake of some important research the Christian Brothers have been conducting at a national level in recent years into seeking a better understanding of the needs and aspirations of young people. This research, some of which we have drawn attention to in previous issues* of Edmund Rice Family News, has shown that while there seems to be a deep spiritual hunger amongst young people it is not necessarily being met by the existing programs.

The Edmund Rice Camps for Kids program is a long-running initiative of the Christian Brothers that runs in most provinces around the world where the Christian Brothers work. The camps, usually held in school holidays, provide a holiday for children from underprivileged backgrounds. However, one of their unusual features is that they are largely run by youth leaders and volunteers in their twenties and early thirties. The program is not only designed to benefit the underprivileged younger children but to provide opportunities for personal growth and leadership development for the older youth volunteers who largely run the camps under the supervision of professionally employed youth leaders and some Brothers.

The accountability that the Brothers would seem to be calling for has a two-pronged focus. It is issuing a challenge to the youth leaders and volunteers to take some responsibility for their own spiritual and personal formation – this would seem to be inline with what the young people say they are seeking in the research the Brothers have been doing. At the same time, reading between lines, the letter is indicating that another issue which is emerging is how the organisations in the future will be able to claim the mandate to use the name of Blessed Edmund Rice. This is stemming from matters of governance, staffing and formation that the brothers have been dealing with.

What is also abundantly clear from conversations with Brothers, and members of the Province Leadership Team, is that this present endeavour is not some knee-jerk, back-to-the-future endeavour to impose some "traditionalist" or "conservative" spiritual orthodoxy on young people that was more appropriate in past eras of the life of the Church or of the Christian Brothers. Both through intensive work that has been coming out of the series of international and province congregational chapters in recent years, as well as the research into the needs and aspirations of the young people themselves, it is quite clear that the Brothers are intent on developing and implementing spiritual formation programs that do respond in the language and cultural milieu appropriate to today's young people.

The Brothers have issued a challenge to the young people to take responsibility for their own spiritual development. The invitation is for the young people to enter a conversation and partnership with the Brothers and the wider insights and wisdom of the Church that she has gathered down through the ages concerning our relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and, in the Brother's case, Edmund Rice that the Church seeks to nurture to pass on to future generations.

Br Kevin says in his letter:

We do not always talk about it, but ultimately Edmund Rice Camps is about much more than running camps. If you take on the journey of growth and self discovery (we sometimes call this "formation") which I have outlined as being needed by at least some leaders, you too may "shake" the way our society and our world operates - because you will be looking at it from the "downside up" … as Jesus and Edmund did.

For those who have been in Eddy Rice Camps for a while this may sound a bit like I am "raising the bar". I am, because it is the belief of the Province Leadership Team with whom I work, that it is essential for the future of the Camps.

You will find the full text of Br Kevin Ryan's letter at this link.

As well as the Research Paper by Peter Nicholson that we published in Edmund Rice Family News last June, there are a number of other excellent research, position and formation papers that have been published on the national Edmund Rice website. They are worth perusing by any person seriously interested in youth and personal formation. They can be found at this link.

Deputy Leader pleads for continuing
diversity in Catholic Education

Province Deputy Leader, Br Dean McGlaughlin, has been making quite a splash lately. On Australia Day it was announced that he had been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his service to education. A few week's later when we went to congratulate and interview him for this article in Edmund Rice Network News he came out with such provocative thoughts that we immediately passed them on to CathNews – the daily internet news service in Sydney now reaching an audience of some 120,000 people around the world each month – and that led to him being approach by the Religion Report on the ABC. What Dean has to say in this interview will be of wide interest to all people working in Catholic Education. Following is the original text of the media release we issued to CathNews along with some additional comments.

ne of Australia's leading Catholic Educators, and a recent recipient of an Order of Australia Medal for services to education, Br Dean McGlaughlin, is making a strong plea for Catholic educators to preserve the diversity that characterises Catholic education. In an article to be published next week in Edmund Rice Network News, Br McGlaughlin argues that one of the strengths of the Catholic education system in Australia since its foundation has been the diversity brought to it through the different religious orders.

He sees this diversity as a unique strength that has not only fostered the growth of new ideas and the ability of the Church to respond to the education needs of Catholics in Australia as a whole, he says "the diversity has enabled each school to better respond and adapt to the particular needs of the local community it serves".

   "Catholic education does need to distinguish itself …"    

Br McGlaughlin is speaking in the interview in his capacity as chair of the national planning committee which is structuring the future governance of the 38 Christian Brothers schools around Australia. He made his comments in response to a general question about his overall impression of the Catholic education system we have in Australia today. While generally optimistic about the present Catholic education system he sounds a word of caution against a sense of "bigness and bureaucracy" saying that they tend to lead to an homogenising of education and "Catholic education does need to distinguish itself and so should guard against merely being seen as one large amorphous mass of schools".

He says, "one of my observations is that the most successful schools in both the government and the Catholic system are those that are able to carve, or retain, a unique identity for themselves and do not become lost in a large system. The parent and student community is able to identify in a more meaningful way when a school is able to articulate a unique identity or charism. Schools that are just following some formula from central office are generally not the ones distinguishing themselves either through academic, sporting or social results nor in the sense of self-esteem that is given to the parent and student community as well as the individual student."

Br McGlaughlin says these questions are important and are being addressed by the National Committee he chairs as the Christian Brothers withdraw from active work in their schools around Australia so that "they can better concentrate on the new challenges that religious are called to in serving those at the margins of society in Australia and in other parts of the world".

He notes that the growth of Catholic education in Australia was largely only made possible by the input of the religious teaching orders who were responding to the needs of Catholics when they were the poor and the marginalised in Australian society. This work is now being handed over to lay people thanks largely to the fact that Catholics are now fully accepted as equal citizens in the Australian community and do have access to the public funds needed to finance quality education.

   Diversity – the great asset built into the the Catholic Education system    

"In handing on the governance of our schools to lay boards and staff though," he argues "we need, as a system, to take time out to reflect on the great asset that was built into Catholic Education from the very start through the diversity of the many religious orders. But it's not only the diversity from the religious orders that was built into the system. The Christian Brothers, from back at the time of Edmund Rice, have endeavoured to build school communities that had a uniqueness in terms of responding to the needs of the particular community or sector of the population they were set up to serve." In his comments he pointed to the diversity of different schools run by the Christian Brothers – from some serving almost exclusively indigenous communities, to others serving highly multicultural communities, others serving children right at the margins in terms of social self-esteem and academic aptitude, to those that were endeavouring to lift Catholics into the professions and positions where they could compete on an equal footing for leadership positions in government, business, the arts and religion. The Christian Brothers helped build and staff schools from the most remote communities in Australia to the most densely populated inner suburbs of Australia's largest cities.

He said and asks, "it is important that as we move forward, Catholic educators, and the Catholic community, need to recognise and respect this enormous diversity that is one of our great strengths against bureaucratisation and treating people as numbers. Can we not look to the biodiversity of our planet as a sign of God's intention as to how we organise our human affairs?"

In a comment directed to the particular readership of Edmund Rice Network News he said, "in the Christian Brothers schools around Australia we look to Jesus Christ and Blessed Edmund Rice for our sense of unity. We need to carry that into the future but never forgetting, and respecting, the diversity of talents in the many whom we serve and who seek to lead our many local communities."

   Further to the media release …    

In his interview for ERNN, Br Dean also puts in a strong plea for the special considerations that need to be given to the education of boys. This is perhaps not unnatural given that the original emphasis in the work of the Christian Brothers was with the education of young men. Br Dean though makes the point that modern research and social sensibilities have made it apparent that boys have been "slipping behind" girls educationally in the changed social climate as society has been refining and developing its understanding of sexual identity. He does not see the present problem as some quest to take us back to a more paternalistic relationship between the sexes but to recognise that young men pass through a different maturation process to young women and we do need to tailor the education programs in our schools to recognise these differences. He argues that these differences need to be recognised as much in single sex schools as in coeducational schools where there is heightened competition between the sexes during the years of sexual and personal maturation to adulthood.

Mentioned only briefly towards the end of the media release, in his interview Br Dean was far more passionate in arguing that the diversity that we should endeavour to develop in Catholic Education should mirror the biodiversity that God has built into Creation. He says "It is analogous to the eco diversity of our world which is at its best when its natural diversity is in balance and harmony thereby reflecting the harmony of its creator who is all things to all people – what greater argument could we have for respect for diversity and the value of its contribution to our identity, particularly in our endeavours to carry on the mission of Christ in the world through education in Catholic schools. "

Br Dean will be a guest on ABC Radio National's Religion Report. The broadbast date has not yet been announced but if you keep an eye on the Religion Report website at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/ you should be given some warning. As ERNN understands it, the program intends to investigate the state of Religious Education in Australian schools.

Indigenous Cultural Festival was
"a huge success"

At that time of the year when most of the rest of the Edmund Rice Family has a break, one of our members enters her most frantic part of the year. Marlene Jackamarra is the Indigenous Issues Officer for Holy Spirit Province. For the past five years she has contributed to building the success of the Indigenous Cultural Festival which is celebrated in the Supreme Court Gardens, Perth on Australia Day.

The significance of the festival is that it is held in the heart of Perth as a sort of counterpoint to the Australia Day Lotto Skyworks celebration which attracts something like three or four hundred thousand people around the edges of Perth Water. The Indigenous Cultural Festival runs throughout the day and seeks "to celebrate Indigenous culture, heritage and achievements through visual and performing arts by Aboriginal artists". It also seeks "to promote the process of Reconciliation and progress the journey of healing".

When I met Marlene last week she told me the Festival had been a "huge success" and was positively beaming about the whole endeavour. I began to understand why the next day when I opened a cd-rom of photographs recorging the festival. This is how I explained my reactions on seeing those photographs in the email I sent out to readers to Edmund Rice Network News and to call for articles...

"Let me end with a personal story that I hope might hearten you. Yesterday, Marlene Jackamarra handed me a cd of photos taken at the Indigenous Cultural Festival, Survival 2004, help in Supreme Court Gardens in Perth on Australia Day. This morning I was scanning through those photos in a slide show on my computer. The thing that struck me was not evident so much in any particular slide but in the general sense that I picked up from the 200+ slides I was looking at. The pictures tell a story of the newfound joy and sense of self-esteem that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are rediscovering in their own land. Gone is that self-conscious feeling, even a sense of inferiority, that one often finds in historical photographs of the original inhabitants of this land."

"As Catholics, particularly in Australia, we can have much empathy with that. For much of Australian history since the invasion of the Europeans, we carried a sense of inferiority (or our forebears did). I know my personal family history owes much to the patient work of religious orders, including the Christian Brothers, over a span of almost a century for lifting us up so that we could take our place unselfconsciously with all other people in the trades, in the professions and in the commercial, social, civic, sporting, leisure and spiritual life of our nation. Isn't that what Edmund Rice set out to do 200 years ago – to lift up those Irish kids who felt dispossessed in their own land? This work is never finished no matter how prosperous and socially sophisticated our nation becomes."

"Is not our work to be watching out for those who have fallen between the cracks, and, in our schools, to be teaching the young leaders of tomorrow that the greatest work any man or woman is called to do is to love their neighbour as they would wish to be loved themselves?"

CHECK OUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS YOURSELF: We have made a selection of the best 50 or so photographs from the festival and you can check out for yourself the sense of joy and empowerment that was evident. Click HERE to see the presentation. ...Brian Coyne

The photos accompanying this article have been temporarily removed while some issues of copyright are sorted out.

Changes to international formation

In the last few days we have received this letter from Br Jack Mostyn in Rome outlining changes to the international formation program which was formally known as TRASNA

February 16 2004

Dear Brothers and Members of the Edmund Rice Network.

I am pleased to announce that a new intercongregational and international program for Brothers, Sisters and Lay People exploring the spirit of Nano Nagle and Edmund Rice is to be developed. The Leadership Teams of the three Congregations recently appointed a group of three members to begin the program. The three are: Sr Yvonne Jennings, Presentation Sister; Br Aidan McHugh Presentation Brother and Br Jim Donovan, Christian Brother. This new program will be the replacement for the Trasna Program.

The first meeting of the team of three was on February 13, 2004. They will be inviting laymen and women to this meeting who are on fire with the Charism of Nano and Edmund. Out of this group a mixed team of religious and lay people will form to begin the task of designing the new program.

The Congregation Leadership Team (CLT) and the Renewal Reference Group (RRG) are delighted with this development.

You will be receiving information about this new program as details are finalized.
With best wishes,

Br Jack Mostyn,
Congregation Councillor
Fratelli Cristiani
Via Marcantonio Colonna, 9
00192 Roma. Italia
Visit our website: www.edmundclt.org

“The Pearl Shell” — a local prayer group

THE PEARL SHELL is a small group of people with long associations with various Christian Brothers endeavours who have decided to meet regularly for social reasons and to pray for the various ministries being undertaken in the Edmund Rice Network in WA and SA.

Members of "The Pearl Shell"
visited the Mary Rice Centre
at Trinity College last year
to get to know more about
the work being undertaken
for students with disabilities.

The group would welcome requests for prayer from any of our ministries or other ERN groups. A small statement by email saying what in particular the group would request our prayers would be the way to go.

The group also welcomes new members. An aim is to grow to the point where we need to split into two groups and so spread the prayer base. Each meeting the intention is to take an aspect of the life of Edmund as the point of take-off for prayer. The book by Teresa Pirolla, God is in the Ordinary is a useful aid to this. The group has also adopted a prayer of Mother Teresa of Calcutta for regular use by members. Sharing of our own experience where we experience God in the ordinary events of life is part of the process.

Rod Ellyard, Lawrie Mousely, with
Betty and Alan O’Neill

The contact persons for the group are:
Betty O'Neill on 9446 5451,
email: aboneill@bigpond.com,
Rod Ellyard at Westcourt, 9365 2804,
email: ellyard.rod@westcourt.wa.edu.au.

Bindoon Bursar is "citizen of the year"

CAC Bindoon Bursar, cuts
the Australia Day Cake.

JOHN WILLIAMS was honoured by the local Shire of Chittering on Australia Day by being named "Chittering Shire's Citizen of the Year".

John received the award for the work he has done for community groups including the Bindoon Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade. We are indebted to The Chittering Times newspaper for the photo at right of John cutting the Australia Day Commemorative Cake in the Federation Rotunda at Bindoon. The paper said: "John is known as 'the quiet achiever' and he was nominated for his work with many community groups."

John is also a member of the Edmund Rice Family as he "looks after the books" as Bursar at Catholic Agricultural College, Bindoon.

Also mentioned in the paper was Christian Rodan who was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year Award "for his work with Chittering Landcare, the Bindoon Youth Group and sports clubs. He also won several awards during the year from the Catholic Agricultural College." Congratulations John and Christian.

Province Resource Team busy with formation...

Apart from the usual rounds of Inductions for new Staff, workshops for Longer-Serving Staff and School Boards, the Province Resource Team is to launch a new program called Pathway Home in October. Pathway Home is a residential program designed for staff eligible for Long Service Leave. It will be held at Peace Be Still, Chittering, from October 3rd - 8th. The newly appointed Director of Formation for Holy Spirit Province, Mark McGlaughlin, is paying a visit to Perth in mid February. He will be visiting Perth schools and other Edmund Rice ministries. He will be discussing formation needs of the Province with the PRT and PLT, and Mark will join in some of the PRT programs during the year. The PRT has already conducted a workshop for some 30 Staff of Catholic Agricultural College Bindoon at the very start of the school year. Mark will also meet officials from the Catholic Education Office as the Province is negotiating accreditation of various formation programs, including QAVAH and Pathway Home with CEO's both in SA and WA.

Edmund Rice Centre wins Cullen Award

The Edmund Rice Centre at The University of Notre Dame Australia has been honoured with an Austcare WA Paul Cullen Humanitarian Award. The award recognised the ERC's work in establishing the study course East Timor: Rebirth and Rebuilding Following the influx of East Timorese refugees to WA in 1999, students started providing aid materials to East Timor. This led to students travelling to East Timor on one-month volunteer placements with schools and medical facilities in rural communities. The program has since been expanded into a community development program, with the establishment of the Bakhita Centre in East Timor. The Bakhita Centre is a youth training and education facility with an associated medical facility. Notre Dame associate lecturer Damien Norris coordinates fundraising and project development, and students are encouraged to participate in the project. Notre Dame's Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Tannock, congratulated the ERC on receiving the Cullen Award. "It is very positive recognition of the outstanding contribution made by the ERC to East Timor, its people and its future," Dr Tannock said. Austcare is a non-government, non-sectarian international humanitarian aid agency dedicated to helping refugees and displaced people re-build their lives. The award is named after Major- General Paul Cullen, the motivating force behind Austcare's foundation in 1967.


The score is: Africa...1, Tony Shanahan...0

Br Tony Shanahan
...and you can send
us some new
friggin' pictures too,

It is probably not fully appreciated in the wider reaches of the Edmund Rice Network in WA and SA that the former Province Leader, Tony Shanahan, has been setting something of an example of the religious vocation and has taken himself off to Africa to live in far more primitive circumstances assisting with the formation of the expanding number of novices the Brothers are attracting on that continent. He's also gone back to utilising some of his professional training as a psychologist in this work. He has been sending back some breathtakingly personal and honest accounts by email to the brothers and friends in Australia of his personal journey and also of his reflections on the challenges the Church and the Brothers are facing. Unfortunately we cannot publish all of what he has been writing here simply on account of the space and some of the observations are so frank that they are probably best left, and most valuable, as the shared thoughts between friends. We have no doubt that in time these will be valuable reflections on a diverse host of matters. We do suggest though that if you are really serious about the faith journey and the Church that you find some way to get on the distribution list for Br Tony's emails. Anyway, we are pleased to publish an extended selection from his current four-page reflection which the brothers received about ten days ago. He gave it the title: "and the score is Africa 1, Shanahan 0...". You will find it at THIS LINK.

Jubilee celebrations in Adelaide and Perth...

Seventy people gathered at the new CBC Chapel, Wakefield Street, Adelaide, SA for the Mass of Thanksgiving for Jubilarians Br Michael Flaherty, 60th and Br Peter Negus, 50th. Archbishop Philip Wilson together with Mons. Robert Aitken celebrated the Mass. Bishop Eugene Hurley, former Whyalla PP and Fr Mark Nugent CP, were unable to attend at the last moment. Mons. Aitken is a very long time friend of SA Brothers. The Jubilarians renewed their vows at the Offertory. The Archbishop gave the homily on the readings and in praise of the lives of religious and the Jubilarians. After the Mass all moved downstairs into the Conference Centre for drinks and the celebration meal. Darry Kelly (the Rostrevor Brothers' housekeeper) and helpers prepared the meal. Br. Dean McGlaughlin was MC and Br Kevin Ryan proposed the toast to the Jubilarians. Both Michael and Peter replied in brief speeches, as a short account of the Jubilarians' lives had been included in the Mass booklet. Guests moved about and mixed freely during the evening. SA Brothers were able to attend as the enjoyable holidays at Middleton were over and meetings for the new school had just commenced for some. That guests lingered late into the night was a sign they enjoyed the celebrations and reunions. Both Michael and Peter joined Br. George Thornton, 50th in Perth to continue the Jubilee Celebrations at Aquinas College on Tuesday 27th January.

Over 220 people gathered at Aquinas College for the jubilee celebrations of Brs Michael Flaherty 60th, George Thornton 50th and Peter Negus 50th. Bishop Justin Bianchini concelebrated the Mass with Frs Geoff Aldous, Steven Casey, Pat Cunningham, Paul Fox, Michael Gatt, Michael McMahon and Peter StJohn. Fr Michael McMahon gave a most appropriate homily. Chris McMillan (organist) and Rebecca Bird (soloist) helped make the celebration of Eucharist a memorable one. It was a beautiful evening and the atmosphere in the wonderfully situated Aquinas dining room together with the quality of the meal ensured that it was a night to be remembered. Br Dean McGlaughlin did a splendid job as MC and the three jubilarians were able to give "flesh" to the short written lives included in the Jubilee booklet. The night proved a great celebration for families, friends, Brothers and ERFamily. ...Peter Negus

The icon shows Edmund and Brother Paddy Grace in conversation. Edmund's home, Westcourt, is in the background. The well in the foreground displays the spiral, a symbol of divine presence.


In the life of Edmund Rice

By all accounts Edmund grew up in a happy and comfortable home. As a boy he learnt the skills of farming and played sports.

Two figures loom large in his Catholic upbringing: His mother, Margaret Rice, was a woman of strong faith who showed kindness and generosity to the poor.

Secondly, the wandering Augustinian Friar, Brother Paddy Grace, befriended the Rice family and made a spiritual impression on the young Edmund Rice.

For an Irish Catholic of his era, Edmund was fortunate to receive a good education. He had four years of basic schooling and then, from age 13, attended a type of business school for three years.


Lord, you sent your Spirit to be forver present in your Church.

Help us to treasure the faith of our ancestors – people like Edmund Rice who lived their Christianity openly and courageously. May we draw strength from their example as we live our faith. Amen.

This reflection is taken from Chapter 1 on Growing in Faith in God is in the Ordinary by Teresa Pirola.

And just to be right up to date:

Earlier today, while preparing this reflection, we came across a comment that Pope John Paul made yesterday (18 February) at his General Audience in Rome which seems most appropriate to our series of reflections. The Pope was speaking about the "universal call to holiness" and had this to say:

The expression "people's holiness" refers to what is ordinary, "that is, to the need that those who are baptized to live the Gospel with consistency in daily life: in the family, in work activity, and in all relations and occupations," the Pope said.

"It is precisely in the ordinary that the extraordinary should be lived, so that the measure of life will tend to the lofty, namely, to the full maturity of Christ, as the Apostle Paul teaches," he said.

Holiness is a "primary requirement that must be proposed to all members of the people of God," as only "a community radiant with holiness can effectively accomplish the mission that Christ has entrusted to it, that of proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth," John Paul II said.


Edmund Rice Family News is edited and produced by Brian Coyne for the Holy Spirit Province of the Christian Brothers
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