Social Justice Teacher Network Day

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21 October 2016

To celebrate the release of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ 2016–2017 Social Justice Statement ‘A Place at the Table’, a Social Justice Teacher NetworkFr Joe Caddy speaking on the 2016-17 Social Justice Statement Day was run to discuss the ways that teachers can implement programs with their students to fulfil the Church’s social mission.


Mr Fadi Elbarbar, Social Justice Coordinator at St Monica’s College, Epping, reflected on the event:

As a Social Justice Coordinator, it is great to have the support of the Office for Justice & Peace. The Social Justice Teacher Network Day is a highlight of the support offered by Mark Clarke and his office. This year, the goal was to specifically invite coordinators of Justice and Mission in order to give support to one another. 

Every aspect of the day had justice in mind and this was made obvious from the outset, not just because the coffee and tea we enjoyed was Fairtrade, but from Mark Clarke’s very special acknowledgment of country, that went beyond simply acknowledging our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, butSocial justice teachers event spoke about the injustices they have faced and our duty to commit to reconciliation. 

Speakers for the day including Megan Bourke of Caritas Australia, Sister Carole McDonald of ACRATH, Adrian Agpasa of The Benenson Society, Felicity Walter of St Vincent de Paul Society, and Nick Savaidis of ethical clothing brand, Etiko. Further to this, we had the pleasure to hear from Father Joe Caddy, Executive Officer of CatholicCare and Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Catholic Social Services. 

 Father Joe spoke at length about the 2016–2017 Social Justice Statement and its importance. Sharing many stories with us from the heart, Father Joe helped us think of ways of bringing this document to life over the next 12 months for our students and for our local community. Father Joe fielded many tough questions from the audience of leaders and was inspirational in the way he shared so much with us. 

 The other highlight of the day was the time spent on sharing resources, experiences and frustrations with one another. A good two hours of the day was dedicated to sharing great initiatives that we run at school and the impact that this has on the children we serve. This included time listening to an exemplar panel of Social Justice coordinators from around Victoria, who highlighted a little bit of what they do. Their stories led to a vigorous discussion of the need for a resource-sharing platform, currently being explored by the Justice Education in Catholic Schools committee. 

I think I speak on behalf of all in attendance that the day was one of phenomenal sharing, giving and reflection. 

The Social Justice Statement for 2016–17 can be read here.