Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) has launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a practical plan to make a difference to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. With 80 schools across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, this move will enhance the support that CEDP schools provide to the community.
CEDP is one of the largest employers in the region with almost 5000 school and office-based staff. Many of these staff gathered to launch the RAP at Parramatta’s CommBank Stadium where Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta led staff in prayer and commended the initiative with a focus on taking action towards healing.
“Pope Francis has a vision for a synodal church, with everyone listening to each other, learning from each other and taking responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel. It is in this spirit that I commend this Reconciliation Action Plan to you as part of our ongoing commitment to creating a Church that has at its heart a commitment to healing and renewal,” Bishop Vincent said.
Acting Executive Director Christine Howe says that the RAP is a significant step for the organisation committed to ensuring that Aboriginal students and their families flourish through education.
“Catholic schools have a responsibility to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people towards reconciliation,” Christine said. “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the development of this important plan, including a working group of CEDP staff in partnership with our Jarara Indigenous Education Unit, community leaders and Elders, and, of course, Reconciliation Australia. We are so pleased to finally be able to share the final plan with the rest of our staff and look forward to working together to bring our reconciliation vision to life.”
Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine welcomed CEDP to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program.
“Your commitments in your Reconciliation Action Plan enable Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta to deepen its understanding of its sphere of influence and the unique contribution it can make to lead progress in reconciliation,” Ms Mundine said. “You are now part of a network of more than 2000 corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations that have made a formal commitment to reconciliation through the RAP program.
“It is clear that education plays a powerful role in progressing reconciliation in Australia. It is the key to broadening perspectives and cultivating understanding of reconciliation.”
The Jarara Indigenous Education Unit played an important role in the organisation of the RAP launch, connecting with local Elders, key stakeholders and partner organisations. Based in Mount Druitt, CEDP’s Jarara Indigenous Education Unit leads much of CEDP’s support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families. It was established approximately 20 years ago and is the only dedicated Aboriginal Education team within a Catholic school system in NSW.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.