Local Catholic school teacher working up a sweat for better home temperatures

By Daniel Nour, 16 March 2022
Aerial top down photo of contemporary houses in a suburb in Australia. Image: ymgerman/Shutterstock.com


Religious Education Coordinator and Catholic school teacher at St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens, Anthony Matthews, has spoken about the importance of an ethic of care of the earth in reaching out to Religious Education teachers last month.

Mr Matthews has described the importance of connecting with like-minded people, even in uncertain times.

“In times of continuous change, small communities mobilise in whichever way they can, to remain connected,” Mr Matthews said.

He went on to explain the impact of rising temperatures on Western Sydney.

“Ensuring that communities adapt to the changing landscape is key to ensuring that our brothers and sisters don’t continue to experience a home that is too hot to live in and a playground that isn’t cool for our kids to play.

“Whatever ways possible, meeting relationally for the common good is essential”

A gathering of Faith in Action Team (FIAT) teachers had the opportunity to listen to his testimonial on Friday 25 February, reflecting an ongoing interest of the Diocese of Parramatta in a spirit of ‘ecological conversion.’

A screenshot of Anthony Matthews speaking to a gathering of Faith in Action Team (FIAT) teachers across the Diocese of Parramatta on Friday 25 February. Anthony developed his skills of community organisation and engagement through training with the Sydney Alliance. Image: Supplied.

In an address on Australia’s climate commitments late last year, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, spoke of the urgency of the need for coordinated action on climate change.

“Scientists predicted long ago that extreme weather events would happen if carbon emissions were not reduced,” Bishop Vincent said.

“These predictions had come to pass with devastating effects such as the bushfires that ravaged eastern Australia less than two years ago.”

For Mr Matthews, who is also a Rugby Union coach, the power to generate positive change begins much closer to home.

Religious Education Coordinator at St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens, Anthony Matthews. Image: Supplied.

“As a coach, I know how important good and healthy conditions are to the player’s performance and wellbeing, on and off the field. Yet I worry that in Summer, these young men will fall ill during their work because of soaring temperatures.

“I also worry about the incredible heat in our homes across Parramatta and the Western Sydney region, and about my daughter’s health in these very difficult conditions.

“Just like scoring a try, working together to reduce local temperatures is a team effort which we can only achieve by working with all players, such as local councillors and community leaders.”

In a video of Anthony Matthews speaking about the power of community organising to other Catholic school teachers, a skill he acquired through training with the organising coalition the Sydney Alliance, he speaks of ‘care of the earth and care of the poor.’ These themes were also addressed in Pope Francis powerful encyclical on climate change, his 2015, Laudato Si: On the Care of our Common Home.

Daniel Nour is the Communications Coordinator for the Sydney Alliance’s Voices for Power movement. Voices for Power brings diverse cultural, religious and community leaders together to build collective power and organise for clean and affordable energy solutions for our communities.


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