Eucharist – Commissioning of Staff in Catholic Schools 2010
On Monday, 8 February, the staffs of many of Catholic schools in the southern region gathered in St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth, for the first of the four annual commissioning Masses for Catholic school staffs. The principal celebrant was Archbishop Barry Hickey and he was assisted by priests from the parishes that are serviced by the schools represented at the Mass.
Archbishop Hickey spoke about the history of the development of the Cathedral and highlighted how the Cathedral represented the work of three centuries of architects, designers and builders from the first part, built in the late nineteenth century, to the sanctuary, which was built in the 1930s and joined to the original building. It was left for more than 70 years in an incomplete state until work commenced in the 21st century on providing a more suitable way of joining the two previous builds. The Cathedral carries its history in the form of new structures rising out of the older forms. New materials, an abundance of natural light, and a wider nave add to a sense of spaciousness that is wholly appropriate for our main place of worship in the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Hickey reminded the congregation that Catholic schools exist to challenge those who participate in Catholic education “to challenge each other to seek truth and justice for all, especially the most vulnerable.” He stated that this would be the focus in Catholic schools in Western Australia for 2010. The prayers, readings and songs carried this emphasis. So also did the prayer of blessing, which he prayed over new staff. They assembled at the foot of the sanctuary. He prayed that they be given enthusiasm, compassion, wonder and awe, tolerance and unconditional love. At the conclusion of the blessing given to them by the rest of the congregation, each new staff member was presented with a scroll welcoming them to their role in Catholic education.
One of the enjoyable aspects of these liturgies is the opportunity to catch up with former staff members, which happened after Mass in the underground car park that was constructed as part of the refurbishment of the Cathedral. Some staff members visited the reflection garden outside the Cathedral to be photographed near the plaque acknowledging our College as part of Catholic education in Western Australia.