The inaugural Congress was represented by the community of EREA and Church. They were called to gather, share and exchange their gifts. The Congress was about giving life to the charism within our mission as part of Church.

This inaugural Congress was held in Melbourne from 7 to 9 September 2012.

Over 240 delegates from all of its 48 schools across Australia, the Christian Brothers and their co-workers in Oceania, North and South America, Europe, Southern and Central Africa and India as well as partners from Diocesan Catholic Education, Religious Orders, Catholic Tertiary Institutions and Associate Schools gathered to share the story through looking back, looking in and looking forward to a future full of hope.

Delegates were involved in an experience of listening, reflecting and sharing in order to discern significant signposts for the future within the context of the Touchstones of its Charter of Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice tradition. The Congress experience was enhanced by the challenges emanating from the Indigenous story so beautifully crafted by renowned singer Kutcha Edwards.

Guest speakers included:

  • Brother Julian McDonald, Deputy province Leader of the Christian Brothers Oceania Province who shared the Brothers story in Australia from the arrival of Br Patrick Ambrose Treacy in 1868 to the present day of EREA;
  • Mr Jack De Groot, Chief Executive Officer Caritas Australia who challenged delegates in exploring the “Call of our times from a world view” and how that call might influence EREA into the future;
  • Mr Robert Fitzgerald, Productivity Commissioner Australia who has had multiple experience in the Social Service, Not-for-profit and Children’s Welfare organisations throughout Australia relayed his “Call of our times from an Australian view” as it will impact on EREA;
  • Sister Cyril Mooney, a Loreto nun, Past Principal (1979 to 2011) Loreto Day School Kolkata India and who has worked in India since 1956 serving the poor children to provide dignity through education and now an education consultant to the Government shared her breadth and depth experiences to explore contemporary initiatives that may impact on EREA;
  • An International Panel of guest delegates from Geneva, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Tanzania and Ireland shared the “Call of our times from an International view” and what might transpire from other continents to Australia; and
  • A Young Person’s Panel consisting of 5 former students from EREA schools who offered their “Call of our times from their own perspective” given their most recent experiences and provided inspirational encouragement serving the young into the future.

Ritual, reflection, discussion and discernment were the inclusive processes in which all delegates were engaged making a significant contribution to help guide the future direction of EREA.

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