Christmas Greetings from Catholic School Education Leaders and Youth Ministry Leaders

WelCom December 2019 New Zealand Catholic Education Office Each year has its own highlights and challenges. For NZCEO we have enjoyed the adventure of participating in the OIEC* Catholic Education…

WelCom December 2019

New Zealand Catholic Education Office

Paul Ferris, Chief Executive.

Each year has its own highlights and challenges. For NZCEO we have enjoyed the adventure of participating in the OIEC* Catholic Education Convention in New York in June this year where we were part of a world-wide family of over 70 million students in Catholic schools. 

We have continued to lead a major piece of work on the attendance-dues scheme and we have looked to see that it remains fit for purpose for the next few years. This has involved many hours of consultation and discussion with stakeholders but it has provided genuine engagement around the purpose and justice of our schools’ system. 

NZCEO has worked to get two new Catholic integrated schools approved. We have reviewed the legislation and wording relating to integration agreements and we have managed a number of staff changes following promotions and retirements. 

We are very aware of the excellent work done in our schools by our principals, teachers, students, boards and parents. Catholic schools remain a key part of the Church’s work in evangelisation and it is their focus on excellence that encourages parents to support the network. We wish all those involved a restful break and a joyful Christmas. 

*The OIEC (Office International de l’Enseignement Catholique, the International Office of Catholic Education) International Congress 2019 was focused on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and on the contribution of Catholic schools to teaching the values of solidarity, humanism, and the safeguarding of the common house.

Diocese of Palmerston North

Nick Wilson, Pou Ārahi o te Mana Whānau Mana Taiohi, Diocesan Young Catholics Team Leader.

Ngā mihi mahana o te Kihirimete!

The Mana Whānau Mana Taiohi Diocesan Young Catholics Office has had another busy year. Young people involved in sacramental programmes, Young Vinnies, Caritas, Missionz, retirement homes, soup kitchens and the list of what’s good goes on! The Young Catholic Leader Programme is happening soon, then LifeTeen Summer Camps in January where 400 young people are going to celebrate being Catholic! Pope Francis has released an epic encouragement in Christus Vivit (CV) for young people to embrace their relationship with Jesus and the Church. The first line – ‘Christ is alive! And he wants you to be alive!’ (n.1) captures the imagination and allays the natural scepticism of the young who challenge, rage, embrace and even, at times, dismiss the Gospel truth. Maybe a good parish New Year’s resolution could be to better accompany and disciple them as they return from these events? The Christmas miracle is that Jesus was born – that solitary life has impacted the world more than any other. So, come let us adore him, and enable others to make him known and loved not just this Christmas season, but in every season!

Ngā mihi o te tau hoū ki a koutou katoa!

Archdiocese Vicar for Education

Jenny Gordon, Vicar for Education, Archdiocese of Wellington.

Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou,

‘Care for each other and care for our common home for a better world’ were prominent themes in 2019 with many inspiring and hope-filled initiatives by our schools. The tragic mosque shootings in Christchurch united us in our disciples’ call ‘to love one another as I have loved you’. Manaakitanga, welcome, inclusion and tangible aroha are at the core of our Catholic schools. The triennial Catholic Schools Day celebrations reinforced ‘care for others’ with schools dedicating the day to providing service to community groups.

Our Catholic schools are vibrant communities of faith and learning with opportunities for students to ‘know, love and serve God’. The annual O’Shea Shield competition between the 17 colleges in the Wellington and Palmerston North Dioceses showcases the fruits of Catholic education with inspiring and talented students. A similar primary school ‘Scripture Alive’ competition was held with the schools in the Wellington South and Holy Trinity Parish and Kāpiti-Mana area. A celebration of our cultural diversity was held at Holy Cross, Miramar.

‘Care for our common earth’ is growing momentum in our schools with many initiatives and practices around ecology, sustainability and the student-led, climate-change movement. In Cardinal John’s letter to this year’s school leavers he says, ‘You bring hope, vision and courageous leadership to our world’. His words are also a true reflection of all who work in Catholic education bringing the ‘Good News’ to our tamariki and whānau. It is with deep gratitude that we honour these people. 

May all be enriched and renewed through these joyous seasons of Advent and Christmas and abundantly blessed in 2020.

Ngā manaakitanga.

Education Team, Diocese of Palmerston North 

From left: Pauline Balm, Candice Adams, Jane Dravitski, Teresa Edwards.

Kia ora koutou, 

Warm greetings from the Education Team at the Diocese of Palmerston North.

We are blessed to have a group of schools in our diocese who work collaboratively to ensure they are faith and joy filled and where our tamariki encounter Christ. 

Thank you for all that you do to ensure we are one vibrant faith community. 

As a diocese we are moving forward in unity and the education team are excited to provide formation that is responsive to the needs of our schools. We feel privileged to accompany you. 

The holidays are a time to rejuvenate, renew and spend time with whānau. Enjoy every minute. 

May this season remind you of the Hope, Joy, Love and Peace found in Christ. May we be grateful for the blessings in our own lives and respond generously to the needs in our community. 

Ma te Atua koutou e manaaki. May God bless you all. We are looking forward to accompanying you in 2020.

“We are a team of Catholic educators working to empower the ongoing transformation of authentically Catholic Schools within their faith communities through advice, support, challenge and professional formation”
‒ Our Statement of Purpose.

Archdiocese Young Church Ministry Team

Archdiocese Young Church Ministry Team (l-r) Chris Duthie-Jung, Marian Lima and Danielle Webb. Photo: Supplied

2019 saw us farewell our team member Isabella McCafferty northward and welcome Danielle Webb and Marian Lima. The now-usual Life Teen Summer Camp began things and plans are well in hand for a double-sized version this January. There is a very real sense of growing engagement with our parishes as ministries with young people emerge and grow. It has been great to reconnect with our Tasman parishes and we look forward to being more of service in the top of the South in 2020. Young Catholic Leader camp looms large for us with 80 plus Year 12 students signed up to prepare for their New Year as student leaders. Parish Life Teen, Focolare, Challenge 2000, ICPE, YAFA (Youth Allowed Faith Aloud), Berrigan House, Youth For Christ, and so many other others have richly blessed us all! Check out and don’t forget that Christmas is about a young person – we need them! Meri Kirihimete!