- Welcome to Parent Talk
- Face to Face CCSP Council Meeting
- Advocating for Catholic school parents
- Lent, a time to remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us
- Supporting your child after natural disasters
- The Diocese of Lismore 2022 Flood Appeal
- CCSP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee welcomes new members
- The blessings of giving and caring for each other
- New research into Catholic school parents' perspective
- Prayer for Ukraine
- Helpful hints to help protect you and your family from cybercrime
Once again COVID-19 has caused disruption to school life, but the hard work and dedication of schools, parents, carers and children have seen us overcome the teacher shortages and sometimes large numbers of children in isolation.
So as the first school term comes to an end it seems as though we are navigating our way through this new normal.
It is difficult to believe but in the Northern Rivers region once again is flooding. It is such a devasting situation with so many families homeless and having salvaged what they can from their homes only to have lost it all the second time. Please keep those affected by the floods in your prayers and if you can please give generously to flood appeals as even only a few dollars from all can make a massive difference to those that have nothing.
We invited both the Education and Shadow Ministers to speak to Councillors at our CCSP Term 1 Council meeting: The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, accepted the invitation and appeared in person taking questions and listening to the concerns of Catholic parents from across NSW and ACT. The Hon Stuart Robert MP, Acting Minister for Education and Youth, was due to attend virtually but had to attend to the issues of his electorate with flooding and the government response in the Northern Rivers Flood Event. CCSP will continue to advocate strongly for Catholic parents during the upcoming federal election.
This Easter take time with your family and friends, reach out to each other by any means via phone, a handwritten note or in person. We have been through a lot over the last few years and now is a good time to reconnect with those you know who are living alone and feeling vulnerable.
Easter is a time of renewal and hope and now more than ever we are all in need of that. Open your hearts and minds to placing yourself in God’s presence. Praying helps clear our thoughts allowing us to centre ourselves and can calm and help alleviate built up anxieties that we may have. Look up or contact your nearest church to find out when services will be held over the Easter period.
I wish you all a happy and safe Easter whether you are staying at home or travelling away.
Please keep in your prayers those affected by floods.
Chair CCSP, Wayne Davie, welcomed new members and thanked returning Councillors and Diocesan Executive Officers for their commitment and support of CCSP.
As part of CCSP's ongoing advocacy for parents and carers of children attending Catholic schools, representatives from the Australian Government and Opposition were invited to attend and address the meeting. Further in this newsletter is an article about Ms Plibersek's session.
There was a great deal of discussion of how to build community and reengage with parents following two years of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chair of each of the CCSP Working Parties; Reconciliation Action Plan, Political Engagement Strategy, Catholic Identity and Diverse Learning Needs provided a update of the work of their work and invited new members to join the working party. Further updates will be given throughout the year.
Thank you for Giovanni Portelli for the photographs.
Parent Representatives from across NSW and ACT had the opportunity to listen to and ask Shadow Minister for Education, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, questions during the Term 1 CCSP Council Meeting.
Ms Plibersek told the meeting that Labor will make no funding changes to Catholic and Independent schools and will have an "open door " policy for Catholic schools if elected to government at the 2022 election.
Cheryl Murphy from Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle asked Ms Plibersek how Labor would “better support Catholic schools to be more accessible for students with diverse learning needs and support them in their education journey.”
Ms Plibersek responded “this is the most underdeveloped area of school funding”.
You can read a full report in an article in The Catholic Weekly.
By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is a time when we fast, pray and give to others.
A useful resource Special Times in the Church Year has been developed by The Lismore Catholic Schools Parent Assembly. The leaflet contains links to activities for younger and teenage children that families can do together during Lent.
Christine Morrison, Deputy Chair CCSP, from the Diocese of Lismore reflected
'Lent is a time when we give to others and this has been so evident in all the help, donations, prayer support and encouragement that people are providing for those who have lost so much in the recent floods.'
As a parent or carer, you may feel worried about the impact that natural disasters may have on your child. There are several excellent resources available.
The MacKillop Institute have developed some practical tips to help you support children in your care. Children and young people will likely benefit from:
Children need to feel the protection and comfort of their parents or other familiar caregivers. Your child may wish to be held, hugged, physically close to you. Remind them they are loved, important and safe, especially if they are in an unfamiliar environment. Let them know that other adults are doing everything they can to keep them safe.
Try to respond as calmly as possible to your child’s reactions. Try to avoid your child overhearing other people’s distressed conversations or repeated media reporting. Share with them something you do to calm down when you feel stressed (such as taking some slow, deep breaths).
Explain what has happened and, if possible, what will happen next. Answer any questions simply, honestly and clearly, but don’t add any unnecessary or graphic details. Allow your child the chance to talk - which might sometimes be recounting aspects of what happened or wondering out loud about things that may not seem so important or urgent. Give them space to cry and share their worries, sadness and fears. It may be helpful to let your child know you notice and are available by saying something like, ‘It’s been a tough time for us lately. Can you think of anything that might help you right now’? Don’t panic if you get upset, it is okay to cry together. Acknowledging that sadness and loss are shared is an important part of the healing process.
Share with your children the acts of bravery, generosity and kindness that others have shown towards you and others impacted by the disaster. It gives us comfort and hope to know that others care and are offering support in many different ways.
Showing care for others can be empowering and healing. Invite your child to think of ways to help others in similar or worse situations.
Children need love, reassurance, patience, care and time to recover from natural disasters, as do adults. Be mindful of their on-going needs and reactions, and of the important things in life, even once you become busy with rebuilding your lives. Try to find time and space for important conversations about further changes, such as temporary accommodation, the rebuild, or moving communities.
Take care of yourself as best you can, so that you are able to support yourself and your family throughout this difficult time. Once the initial crisis is over, ask for any support you may need. Share the burdens and challenges with a trusted friend or family member, find some time for yourself, and celebrate the small milestones on the journey back to your new ‘normal’.
The Australian Psychological Society has developed a factsheet Helping children who have been affected by floods. Information for parents and caregivers.
If you have older students affected by a natural disaster headspace has a page on their website, headspace has a page on their website.
The Most Reverend Gregory Homeming OCD, Bishop of Lismore offers his message of comfort, support and hope to the people of Northern NSW.
The Diocese of Lismore 2022 Flood Appeal. To donate in Australia, please transfer funds to the account below:
BSB: 037-889 | Account No: 1061 5829 | Account Name: DOL Flood Appeal
To donate from other countries please use this PayPal link. This link can also be used within Australia.
Unfortunately this appeal is not tax deductible. If you are having trouble donating, please email email@example.com.
Message from Pope Francis to the People of the Lismore Diocese
To the Most Reverend Gregory Homeming OCD, Bishop of Lismore
Having learned of the loss of life and destruction of property caused by the heavy flooding in Lismore, his Holiness Pope Francis assures you of his heartfelt solidarity and closeness in prayer to all those affected by this tragedy. He prays especially for the repose of the deceased, the healing of those injured, and for the important work of reconstruction. Commending all to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Holiness cordially sends his blessing as a pledge of strength and Peace in the Lord.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State
The outbreak of COVID-19 had a devastating impact in the Wilcannia community.
Aboriginal Education Workers from the Diocese of Wagga Wagga worked in partnership with Cindy James from the Wagga Wagga St Vincent de Paul Society to send care packages to the families of students attending St Therese’s Community School Wilcannia.
Aunty Mary Atkinson, Aboriginal Education Worker, Diocese of Wagga Wagga, and member of CCSP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee member said
“It was so great to hear from the students of St Therese’s Community SchoolWilcanniaa, the handmade thank you cards with photos, it just fills our hearts will joy and the blessings of giving and caring for each other.”
New research by Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA) aims to capture parent perspectives on issues of concern to help inform future federal government policy.
“We will be gathering evidence nationally on existing and emerging issues of concern for Catholic school families, especially issues that impact on their children’s health, wellbeing and learning,” CSPA chair, Karl Rodrigues said.
“We are keen to hear parent perspectives from a cross-section of families including those with children experiencing challenges around learning and from families with children in remote school settings.”
The research will incorporate surveys, parent/carer interviews and strategic reference group discussions.
“We will be working with our CSPA state and territory members and the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth to undertake this research across Terms 2 and 3 this year,” Karl said.
“It’s an exciting opportunity that will shed critical insights into how to enhance parent engagement in student learning, and will no doubt capture the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on school communities.”
CSPA is the national representative body for parents/carers with children and young people in Catholic schools. Working with Catholic school principals and parents, CSPA seeks to better understand how parents and carers can work in partnership with school staff to benefit the health, wellbeing and learning of students.
Watch out for information how you can be involved with this important project.
We cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like for families just like our own, to live through this destruction and heartbreak.
Prayer for Ukraine
We turn to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Word of God made flesh for us, and we entrust the people of Ukraine to you who once said to your disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (Jn 14:27).
Hear the cry of your people; change the hearts of those who have unleashed such suffering on the innocent; strengthen the resolve of those who are working to bring the conflict to an end; be close to those who have been driven from their homes and from their homeland; heal the wounds of mind and heart inflicted on the children; comfort the frightened and the lost; strengthen the faith of those who are bereaved; give eternal rest and joy to those who have died.
In your own agony on the cross you entrusted your mother to the beloved disciple, and entrusted him and all disciples to your mother’s care (Jn 19:26). It was through Mary’s faith that you, the Word made flesh, came to dwell among us. That same faith strengthened Mary as she stood at the foot of the cross. We pray that your suffering people in Ukraine may know and experience that Mary stands with them, too, in this time of their great distress.
You have given Mary to us as the Mother of the Church and the Help of Christians. With great confidence in the power of her prayer, in accordance with the tradition of your Church, and in communion with our bishop and all the Holy People of God, we consecrate and entrust the people of Ukraine to Mary and ask that our prayers might be joined with hers as we come before you now in hope and in trusting faith.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, and raise up champions of peace, of justice and of healing, so that the weapons of war may be silenced and the people of Ukraine may know the peace that only you can give.
Mary, Mother of the Church, Help of Christians,
Mother of the Ukrainian people, pray for us
It is important to secure your portable devices and protect your sensitive information.
These days we barely go anywhere without our portable devices – be it a laptop for work or study, tablet for your child’s school, or our phone, we have come to rely upon our devices to do many daily activities.
These devices, in combination with the internet, have made activities like banking and shopping much easier, but have also become a target for cybercriminals to steal our personal and sensitive information. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is the Australian Government's lead agency for cyber security. The ACSC’s resource Easy steps to secure your devices and accounts , is easy to read guide to help those around you protect themselves from the most common cyber security incidents.
- Update your devices
- Activate multifactor authentication
- Back up your devices
- Set secure passphrases
You can download the guide to personal cybersecurity here. CCSP recommends all families take the time to secure their valuable personal information.