The Parramatta Way of Safeguarding is now one of the first things you see when you visit the Diocese of Parramatta’s head office, the Bethany Centre in Parramatta.
It is in such a prominent position, said Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, because of the importance of the issue to our Church.
“We can’t be a vehicle for the Good News if the safety of children and vulnerable adults is not paramount,” he said.
The Parramatta Way of Safeguarding talks about love, accompaniment, acknowledgment, acceptance, trust and respect. The words, which were developed by a representative group of community members from the Diocese are framed in a spectacular artwork developed by Indigenous artist Brett Groves who was born and grew up in the Diocese in Mt Druitt, before developing a successful career in design and art.
Related: The art behind ‘The Parramatta Way’
Bishop Vincent blessed the artwork which depicts the waterways, mountains, parishes and the energy of the people of the Diocese on Wednesday 8 June, during Safe Parishes Week 2022.
The artist described the energy in the painting as an integral part of the work. “The energy of the people coming together will support us on the road ahead,” he said.
Having indigenous art to support the words of the Parramatta Way of Safeguarding was important, said Bishop Vincent.
“This is a beautiful piece and connection to Country,” he said about the art which he also noted was bringing the Diocese into harmony with the indigenous heritage of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. “We are richer because of the wonderful stewardship of the lands in which our Diocese sits by the indigenous people.”
Fr Peter Williams AM, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia in the Diocese hopes that the prominent display of the artwork in the Bethany Centre will have a ripple effect out to the parishes and agencies of the Diocese. He would like to see them also display the Parramatta Way on their premises.
“The Parramatta Way is a reminder of how important it is to always have safety and Safeguarding as top of mind, and embedded into everything we do,” he said. “I’d like to see it displayed as widely as possible – it’s an action that can show how, as a Diocese, we are united in our approach to Safeguarding.”
“This wonderful artwork naturally draws you in, and the words gently guide you into how we should all think about each other, and particularly the vulnerable, adults and children in our faith communities.”
“As Catholics, we are led by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as dignity, respect, solidarity and equality.
“And we can all understand what is expected of us through the wonderful verse from Micah which is the foundation of The Parramatta Way:
“’This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.’”
You can see the Parramatta Way and a video about the artwork’s symbolism at safeguarding.org.au
To enquire about obtaining a copy of the Parramatta Way of Safeguarding for display contact firstname.lastname@example.org
See photographs from the blessing of the Parramatta Way of Safeguarding artwork on Wednesday 8 June 2022 below.