Director's message

As Catholic educators, we are naturally optimistic. Not only because of what we see each day in our students, but because of the hope we have in the good news of Jesus Christ. But our optimism doesn’t mean we can’t see opportunities to innovate and improve. In fact, the belief that every student is capable of improving in their learning while growing in their faith is at the very heart of our mission and moral purpose.

Achieving this mission demands our relentless determination and a restless energy for continuous, lasting improvement because while change is inevitable, improvement is a choice. This makes the task of deciding where to focus our determination and energy vitally important. The Congregation for Catholic Education reminds us that “the Catholic school lives in the flow of human history”.[1] This reality means that while we must always keep our eyes fixed firmly on the horizon, we must remain attentive to the experiences, stories and immediate needs present in our school communities.

As you engage with Lighting The Way, I hope our commitment to taking an authentic and co-created approach is clear to you. Each of the focus areas in this plan is the result of deep listening to our students, teachers, families, clergy and other partners. They have been refined by extensive analysis, discernment and consultation, and informed by quality research. Together, they provide an outline of the priorities we see when we examine the contemporary challenges and opportunities before us. Through their outcomes, guiding direction and improvement indicators, they describe what we want to achieve, how we intend to build on our strengths and past progress, and—importantly—how we’ll know we’re making a positive impact.

By design, this plan does not attempt to present every possible action we could take. Instead, it concentrates our attention, freeing us to be precise with our energy and efforts. In a beautiful prayer, Prophets of a Future Not Our Own, the author suggests there is a sense of liberation in realising that we cannot do everything. This prayer is said to reflect the ministry of Saint ​​Óscar Romero and the deep commitment he had to Christ and the people he was called to serve. This same commitment can be found in every Catholic school across the Diocese of Wollongong. 

The Australian Catholic Bishops, in their pastoral statement to mark two centuries of Catholic education in this country, stated that the extraordinary success of Catholic education has not occurred by chance.[2] I couldn’t agree more. By their very nature, Catholic schools—through the work of passionate and dedicated teachers and support staff—are constantly shaping the future for our students and our society. They “plant the seeds that will one day grow [and] water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise”.[3]

As a community of Catholic schools, we have a unique ability and responsibility to look squarely at the realities and challenges of our times and boldly proclaim a better alternative, one that is grounded in the wisdom of the Church and that continues to offer hope, life and freedom to all who embrace it. I am confident that guided by this plan we will continue to realise our mission, ensuring every student has the opportunity to encounter Jesus, to grow in their faith and learning, and to flourish in a safe environment where they are known, valued and loved as person and learner. 

Peter Hill
Director of Schools
Diocese of Wollongong

1 CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION, The identity of the Catholic school for a culture of dialogue (29 March 2022), 18. 
2 AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE, 200 Years Young: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Australia (18 February 2021).
3 JOHN CARDINAL DEARDEN Prophets of a Future Not Our Own (November 1979).