22 February 2021
Dear KM community,
Schools and community works would have received the new Living Justice Living Peace Charter which will be officially launched at the Kildare Ministries conference this year.
You will notice that the format is different and that new elements have been introduced, particularly Living Peace as a primary principle. Like biblical justice, biblical peace is to make amends or to make whole or complete with a focus on right relationships. The Hebrew translation, Shalom means completeness. The famous quote by Pope Paul VI, “If you want peace, work for justice”, succinctly illustrates that justice and peace are two sides of the same coin and a just society is at peace with itself because it is whole and no group, no one person feels broken away from the whole.
As a community we strive to encounter people by truly listening and hearing and to be in Shalom with humanity and creation. At the heart of KM’s beliefs and practices is a concern for justice in society and the fair and equitable treatment of people. The Principles of Living Justice Living Peace invites the community “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8), centring our spirituality for justice on the ministry of Jesus. Further it invites us into discipleship as a personal spirituality, as a witness to God’s love and a call to service by walking in solidarity with the marginalized and welcoming all to table fellowship.
As a faith community, members of KM have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of others are not being denied by our own actions or through our own structures and processes. We are committed to help transform society by working for a fair and flourishing world and the Living Justice Living Peace Charter will help us navigate through complex and often multi layered situations. We look forward to the unfolding of the Charter, firstly at the 2021 KM Conference and then as we give expression to it in our daily interactions.
We have begun the Lenten season, our annual season for personal reflection and renewal. Pope Francis has a brilliant knack of being able to speak in the simplest of terms with a profound message. This year he challenges us to fast from actions that are hurtful and diminish human dignity to actions that show kindness, compassion and gratitude.
Pope Francis speaks of a ‘culture of encounter’ encouraging people to not just see, but look; not just hear, but listen; not just pass people by, but stop with them; not just say “what a shame, poor people! but allow yourself to be moved with compassion; and then to draw near, to touch and to say: ‘Do not weep’ and to give at least a drop of life. One cannot do all this and not feel tenderness to the other person.
We hope that the year has started well for each community and with wonder for what 2021 might bring. Having said that, Victorians have just come out of a snap five-day lockdown but at the same time the vaccine has arrived on our shores and ready for distribution. In this post-Covid year, the year of promise that the vaccine will allow us to return to our near-normal lives, let us continue the tenderness toward each other that Pope Francis speaks of, open our hearts to encounter with each other and remember the good lessons of 2020.
I take this opportunity to share with the community that I will be taking a period of Long Service Leave in March. Monica Lang will attend to the bulk of my administrative duties and Jeff Burn is the person to contact in relation to other matters. Renee Oberin will continue to lead the formation programme. I will return at the beginning of term 2, that is, 19th April.