Listen with the ear of your heart

Across the Diocese of Ballarat from May 26 – May 31, sixty-four schools educating 18,500 students celebrated Catholic Education Week. The theme this year was Listen with the Ear of Your Heart. St Benedict instructed his monks to “Listen by inclining the ear of your heart.” His poetic language is asking us to listen, not just with our ears but with our hearts, to all that comes our way. While we might hear the words with our actual ears, with our hearts we can deeply reflect, discern, and take action if necessary. This theme aligns well with the preparation for the Plenary Council 2020 which has called on the Catholic Church to use 2019 as a year of prayer, discernment and dialogue – to truly listen with the ear of the heart.

Who should we be listening to in these times? How might dialogue guide us on this path? What might the ear of our hearts be calling us to as a Catholic education community?

The tragic events in Christchurch earlier this year, and more recently in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, have opened up a public discourse here in Australia around extremism, racism, violence and freedom of religious practice. We were all heartened to hear and agree with New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, when she said that “violence and extremism in all its forms is not welcome here”. I believe that Catholic education is called to reiterate this view in our schools even more clearly at this time. If we truly believe in the dignity of all human persons, that all of us are loved unconditionally by the Creator, then we must stand in solidarity with those who experience persecution, hatred and extremism and say with conviction that anything that diminishes human dignity is “not welcome here”.

In the journey of discernment towards the Plenary Council 2020, our Church community must truly listen with the ear of our hearts. Following this path allows us to give witness to our deepest beliefs not just in words, but in actions. Catholic Education Week, then, provides a wonderful opportunity for deep listening, for dialogue with our extended community and for events that actively demonstrate Catholic schools as places of inclusion, respect and dignity for all. That is truly something worth celebrating this Catholic Education Week!

We are delighted to announce that the recipients of the Catholic Education Week Leadership Awards for 2019 are as follows:

BDSAC Fullness of Life Award:

CEO Ballarat’s Leading 4 Learning Team – Marg Macdonald, Allan Hutchison and Gina Bernasconi

BDSAC Partnership Award:

South West Languages Cluster – MacKillop ( Network across Portland, Casterton, Coleraine, Edenhope, Horsham, Hamilton, Penshurst) Shannyn McElgunn, Anne-Maree Robinson, John Healy, Kendl Roberts, Maria Patience & Ally Brennan

All awards were presented as part of the Catholic Education Week Dinner on May 31, along with the 30 Year Award Recipients who were recognised in 2019.

We congratulate Marg Macdonald, Allan Hutchison, Gina Bernasconi Shannyn McElgunn, Anne-Maree Robinson, John Healy, Kendl Roberts, Maria Patience & Ally Brennan and thank them for accepting these awards which recognise “the greater gifts” of so many leaders in Catholic education across our Diocese. By recognising educational leaders who are respected and valued in our diocesan education community we seek to honour all educational leaders who strive to serve their communities without expectation of recognition.

Audrey Brown – Director


Vicki Araldi                  St Patrick’s PS, Port Fairy

Antonia Balmer           St Patrick’s PS, Port Fairy

Tony Beggs                 St Patrick’s College, Ballarat

Debbie Bow                St Joseph’s College, Mildura

Jacinta Burge              St Patrick’s College, Ballarat

Howard Clark              St Patrick’s College, Ballarat

Jo-Anne Dash             St Brendan’s PS, Dunnstown

George El-Hage          St Joseph’s PS, Warrnambool

Kathleen Freeman      St John’s PS, Dennington

Michael Goss              St Patrick’s College, Ballarat

Tina Haase                 Ss Michael & John’s PS, Horsham

Joy Harvey                 Sacred Heart Primary School, Casterton

Jillian Hogbin              Catholic Education Office, Ballarat

Leonie Leviston           Lumen Christi PS, Delacombe

Gerard Macklin           Damascus College, Mount Clear

Aniela Marciniak         Loreto College, Ballarat

Peter Morgan              Emmanuel College, Warrnambool

Carmel Noonan           St Patrick’s PS, Koroit

Maria Patience            St Joseph’s College, Mildura

Jill Peters                    St Joseph’s College, Mildura

Shoni Reimert             Catholic Education Office, Ballarat

Andrew Robertson      Damascus College, Mount Clear

Rosemary Rowe         Marian College, Ararat

Jacinta Ryan               Monivae College, Hamilton

Anna Schlooz              Our Lady Help of Christians PS, Warrnambool East

Andrew Seeary           Damascus College, Mount Clear

Jason Spark                St Alipius’ PS, Ballarat East

Mandy Sutherland       St Brendan’s PS, Coragulac

Catherine Van Dyk     St Brigid’s College, Horsham

Mandy Veal                 Catholic Education Office, Ballarat

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