Fr Frank Brennan speaks to Aquinas College staff during a formation day
FATHER Frank Brennan challenged staff at Aquinas College, Ashmore, to “get their hands dirty!" when it came to Social Justice issues.
Fr Brennan, who is chief executive officer of Catholic Social Services Australia, led a formation day with all staff where he explored contemporary Catholic understandings of Social Justice and the importance of developing these principles as a Catholic college community.
The day began with the Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic leading college staff in a vibrant Mass before he delivered an engaging keynote address entitled “Head, Heart and Hands - Getting our Hands Dirty!".
The day concluded with a workshop in which Fr Brennan delved deeper into some the themes addressed in his keynote address.
Principal Peter Hurley said Fr Brennan touched on and urged staff to be “people of action".
“We sometimes need to view life from 'the other side of the river' and seek opportunities for inclusion, equality and non-discrimination," Peter said.
Assistant Principal for Identity and Mission Joe Alexander said Fr Brennan both charmed and challenged participants with his considered thoughts, sharp intellect, broad experience, gentle nature and his obvious wisdom.
Joe said the day provided a launch pad for clearer focus on exploring issues of social justice across the college for the 2019 academic year.
He said Fr Brennan's message was simple but so gently delivered.
“If a school or community is to be truly Catholic it must be inclusive, give equal dignity to all, and fight for the human rights of all.
“He challenged us to be prepared to “cross the river" and to make our college a 'bridge' of healing and common understanding.
“He also challenged each one of us as people and as educators to play our role in building a more just world."
Curriculum Leader for English Anne Wood said Fr Brennan brought to the table the controversial big-ticket items of Catholicism, such as gay marriage, Indigenous inequality and Climate Change.
She said with a gentle guiding hand, he challenged staff to re-evaluate their own biases and reflect on different viewpoints.
“His measured approach packed a deceptively powerful punch and has had an immediate impact on the way I approach divisive issues in my English classroom.
“We were incredibly blessed to have him visit our school," she said.
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101