Saturday. I woke up, my wife was reversing out of the driveway taking my daughter to physical culture classes.
A load of washing on and off to the park with my youngest son. Returning some hours later to put the washing out.
I kissed my wife goodbye as she took our daughter to netball and I returned to the park with my eldest son. Just before dark we would return, clothes off the line and it was dinner time.
Feed the dog and off to a club, restaurant or friends place for dinner.
Home to bed.
What a magnificent day.
Saturday. I wake up to hear my daughter guiding young students through their physical culture lessons via Zoom.
Sitting with my wife and a coffee, we discuss what an amazing daughter we have.
Breakfast with our sons and we chat about their week and on goes the load of washing. Then we rush for a position on the lounge in the dining room as the sun shines through the adjacent window and creates the best spot to read for a while.
The clothes go out and it’s 10.55am. My daughter prepares to take her own physie class. My sons are on their devices and my wife continues to read.
I am off to my computer as last week, my spiritual director informed me of these meetings, that she believes, reflect quality adult learning.
As a member of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Mission Team working on the Diocese’s Draft New Curriculum, I am excited about all forms of learning.
I have viewed the stimulus presentation at the Saturday Sessions and am wondering how Lisa Bright from the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office and organiser of the Saturday Sessions, has chosen a stimulus so pivotal to my life.
The group welcomes each other in our breakout rooms. Something special is happening as one of my breakout room members is an ex-student of mine and his joy is contagious. Another small group member works in education and her smile seems to cover the entire screen.
Our final group member sits patiently awaiting his turn and as he introduces himself his wisdom oozes from his entire being.
We return to the larger group for our discussion questions for the day and off we go again to a breakout room.
How could this be? It became obvious that the stimulus for the week was not chosen by Lisa for me but was pivotal to the lives of all who had chosen to enter the Saturday discussion meeting. Lisa had been guided by the Holy Spirit to include a stimulus that inspired us all. This was something special. This was a direct experience of the Holy Spirit in community.
As I listened and became attentive to those in my small discussion group, I could hear the Spirit directing me to share Br David Steindl-Rast’s TED Talk with the Religious Education Coordinators of my 10 schools.
I was then awakened to the importance of gratefulness for a stage five Learning Cycle “Is the Universal Call to Holiness Realistic?” The video was embedded into the Canvas Learning platform for students to engage with next term.
I am sure this will not surprise anyone that a recent Gospel reading that week was the story of the vine and the branches. As I reflect now on the Saturday Sessions, I see the vine extending its branches. I see a community brought together not by the chaos of the pandemic, but by the powerful opportunity created by the Pastoral Planning Office during a time of great change.
But what will become of our Saturday meetings when children’s sport again consumes our day?
Bruce Carr is a member of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Mission Team.
Saturday Sessions is an initiative by the Pastoral Planning Office, Diocese of Parramatta. It offers online conversation and group sharing for anyone who has a desire to grow and share faith.
People are invited to come together to share thoughts in response to a video or audio piece that they have been given to watch or listen to prior to the conversation. A different speaker and topic is offered each week and offers a perspective on life and faith.
Participants are encouraged to take this initiative into faith communities as another way to be creative in love and respond to such a time as this. Contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.