I am often asked about what older members of the community or those with busy full-time occupations can do to further causes of justice in Oceania. There is a way of entering into the public debate in an effective and time limited fashion. Not all of us are able to be involved in protest marches, pray-ins, sit-ins or other more public stances. However, any one of us with even a limited grasp of technology and a facility for putting words together can find ways to get our message heard on any issue that we might be passionate about.
--Br. Bob Wallace
Last Friday I went to the St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre in North Melbourne.
We went into one of the classrooms to check out its condition –there was an ESL class underway for refugees, classified as unaccompanied minors, whose only support is the ability to attend this school.
I was surprised that they were a bit older than I expected. It also hit me unexpectedly strongly that these are the REAL people the awful political debate is about.
The way in which the Christian Brothers work together with the Indigenous people of Australia is expressed in the artwork by William Parmbuk and by the protocols prepared by those working in ministry to the Aboriginal people.
The former Provinces of the Christian Brothers in Oceania have, for some time, had outreaches to Developing Nations.Oceania Brothers have been in China since the 1930's, Papua New Guinea since the 1950's, in the Pacific Islands, Africa, Timor Leste and the Philippines.
The Christian Brothers have always been willing to move to where they were most needed. Indeed, in the lifetime of Edmund Rice, when Australia and New Zealand were themselves developing nations the Irish Brothers came here to educate and instil Christian Principles into the young men of these nations. When there were enough Brothers they spread to other parts of the region where the need was greater.
Edmund Rice chose education as the main way through which he would serve God and the most disadvantaged people of Waterford. He inspired others to join him in this work. Soon his Brothers developed a system of Catholic Schools which spread to every continent.
Schools in the tradition of Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers operate over several national and educational jurisdictions. While all these schools in Australian are governed by Edmund Rice Education Australia, those in other countries have other management structures.