Senator Patrick Dodson

Father of Reconciliation

The power of education is to liberate hearts and minds. Patrick’s beautiful expression that reconciliation is relationship means that we must teach and lead our communities of students, staff and parents to openness, dialogue, restoration, respect, healing and celebrating diversity.

Patrick seems to just keep going at a steady pace but all the while sensing and addressing deep concerns in terms of people and cultures, and a purpose and hope. Maybe Gospel spirituality entails the same deep sensitivity and courage to keep going, with real people, with specific decisions, with peoples and cultures, and with a grounded hope we draw from one another.

Fr Frank Brennan

CEO Catholic Social Services

Fr Frank placed significant emphasis on the need to work in collaboration and cooperation as well as developing trusting relationships as we strive to recreate the manger in our own communities. Who are the people in our own communities that we need to seek out and actively develop trusting relationships with? How do we fire our imaginations and strengthen our witness in order to empower our communities?

Bruised but not broken. Fractured but not fallen. There is still a relevance for the church in the modern day.

We now have an opportunity to have an open dialogue with respect and dignity, not shame and fear!

Thank you Frank Brennan for opening a door!

Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Goodwill Ambassador for Education

Kirsty implored us to prepare our young to challenge the politics of fear and selfishness which masquerades as national interest and to challenge the young to turn the privilege they enjoy into a commitment to work for justice and a better world.

The power in EREA schools focusing on justice and solidarity is limitless and defines who we are. The living experience our students receive through a liberating education empowers them to continue our work and to have a greater reach in poverty stricken global communities. Kirsty lives her life through the gospel and is another inspiration for all.

Emma Alberici

ABC Chief Journalist

The statistics presented by Emma are confronting and challenge us personally and communally to engage with these realities within our own workplaces, structures and processes. For me this is a question of personal cultural conversion which will hopefully open the conversations to a broader cultural conversion - community by community. This will be a long journey...

We are challenged to be faithful to radical inclusion and the dignity of each human person. To be a feminist is not to hate men nor to want women to be successful at the expense of men. It is to want to walk in partnership: side by side in all aspects of life. Only this will teach the young ones in our care what it means to be human - fully alive.

Ray Paxton

EREA National Director

What is the agenda for a liberating education? The last three days seem to me to have focused on a yearning for a respectful, safe and inclusive community that cares for God’s creation and God’s people. An holistic ER education does well to leave young people with that sense of care.

We believe that many of our systems of education themselves need liberation. This was so beautifully identified for us by Ray this morning. Education can be bound up by results, easily codified evidence of success, triumphalism and shallow indicators of success, making it easy fodder for those who wish to use it as a political tool.

Dr Wayne Tinsey

EREA Executive Director

And so, what are the gifts that we bring to this mission?

We bring a passionate belief in the young and their capacity to build a better world.

We bring a commitment to national unity; to casting our lots together a one EREA; united with our EREBB brothers and sisters.

We bring our fidelity to the Gospel and its promise of true freedom for all.

We bring our trust in the vision of Edmund Rice as our lens into the Gospel’s deepest priorities.

We bring our commitment to work with and for the Church. A church described by Pope Francis as being 'of and for the poor'.

We arrived here on Friday with great expectations and hopes, open to charting new horizons. Guided by our Congress, each one of us is invited to contribute to the evolving narrative of EREA.

As educators committed to leading for liberation, we are called to build relationships of respect and integrity with all people. May the Congress Spirit moving amongst us, inspire us to walk with others on a pathway of mutual transformation.

Just as the 150 year Treacy celebrations called to the Brothers and the Edmund Rice Movement in May, you have lived these days as dreamers, envisioning a daring, hope-filled future for Edmund Rice Education. Your gift is in seeing anew; your potential is living this dream.

In representative presence and spirit, the Edmund Rice global community is with you on your Congress journey. They also accompany you in seeking authentic ways to live our Charism anew.

We have listened, we have built relationships, we have explored issues together. We now return to our communities energised to embrace the opportunities and challenges ahead.

In the same way that our message sticks lead us anew following the last Congress, these New Horizon stones will be not just a reminder of this wonderful experience, they will be a pebble in our shoe, reminding us of the New Horizons we have determined here.

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