The Ann D Clark lecture is an annual event for Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta. Yet as a result of COVID-19, the chance to hear from Reverend Tim Costello this week was three years in the making. Rev. Costello, one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures, delivered a stirring and memorable address that was well worth the wait!
Rev. Costello focused on how we can make the world we share fairer through ethical leadership. He spoke about the Gospel as an alternative story, and the power of faith to make meaning. “What is the world as it ought to be?” he asked. “That world comes from telling the alternate story of the Gospel that Catholic educators are committed to”. This powerful message has synergy with Diocese of Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long’s vision for radical inclusion and call for Catholics to go “into the deep”.
With humour, Rev. Costello shared that he was almost raised Catholic except that his late father’s passion for cricket led to a conversion to the Baptist faith! Taking listeners from scenes of Chinese meals from childhood to challenging Vladmir Putin on faith and political repression, referencing Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Rev. Costello’s address was engaging, authentic and extremely affirming of teaching as vocation.
The impact of teachers on Rev. Costello’s own vocation was clear, including an encounter with his Year 9 teacher that led him to a life dedicated to justice through working to eliminate global poverty. “That teacher changed my life,” Rev. Costello said. “Never underestimate the impact that you as a teacher can have on young people”.
The event was attended by staff from both the Catholic Education Office and many of Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta’s 80 great schools across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. St Monica’s Primary North Parramatta Principal Lisa Crampton delivered the formal thank you to Rev. Costello. Lisa thanked him for the acknowledgement of the need for the work of teachers to be more highly valued. She shared a moving statement about the way that staff see God in their students, parent and carers and colleagues. “We care, we love and we stay,” Lisa declared, evincing a strong commitment to living the alternative story of the Gospel through the counter-cultural Mission of Catholic education.
St Nicholas of Myra Primary Principal Anita Knezevic was excited to have attended the event after having read Rev. Costello’s short inspirational text, Hope. Reflecting on the address, she spoke about feeling blessed. “Tim so eloquently stated ‘when your bliss intersects with the world’s needs; this is when you’ve found your passion.’ This comment resonated with me I often reflect on how privileged I am that I get to share my faith in my day-to-day work with the joyfulness and spontaneity of seeing and talking with children throughout their school life in different learning and faith experiences.”
From the beginning of 2023, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta will be known as Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese Ltd and have a new incorporated governance model centred on a Board. It was terrific to welcome Emeritus Professor Marea Nicholson AM, who will serve as a Director of the Board, to this important annual event. Other special guests included Diocese of Parramatta Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Very Reverend Peter Williams, Fr Brian Lucas and Councillor Nathan Zamprogno representing Hawkesbury Council.
About Reverend Tim Costello
Reverend Tim Costello directs Ethical Voice and is one of Australia’s most respected community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics.
For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia (WVA). He then completed over 2 years as WVA’s Chief Advocate.
Currently, Tim remains as Executive Director of Micah Australia and continues to place the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. He is also Senior Fellow for the Centre for Public Christianity. He remains spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which campaigns for law reform to prevent harm from poker machine gambling.
In 2006 Tim was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year, in June 2005 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO); in 2004, was named Victorian of the Year; and in 1997 was named as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.
About Ann D Clark
The Ann D Clark Lecture is held annually in honour of past Executive Director, Ann D Clark. In 1987, Ann was appointed as founding Executive Director of Catholic Education in the newly established Diocese of Parramatta. She retained this position until her death on 27 January 1997. Each year, CEDP hosts the Ann D Clark lecture in her honour.
Watch the 2022 Ann D Clark lecture in full here or below:
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.