Parish Expectations for Principals in working to build our Parish Communities.
There are many facets that make up our parish communities in St Gregory the Great and St Kevin’s Parishes with our three schools (St Charles Borromeo, St Gregory’s, St Kevin’s). When it comes to running our schools and integrating with the broader parish, our school principals give so generously of their time to our schools and parish to ensure our school communities and parish are always supported. It is easy to take advantage of their generosity and grace and become unreasonable in our requests, in my requests.
Consequently, I have discussed with Michelle, Miranda and Gabee some guidelines around what constitutes a reasonable expectation for their participation, beyond the operation of their school.
Between myself and various parish bodies we have been seeking attendance by the principals at meetings and functions including: the Sacramental program (School and Catechist), Safeguarding Committees, Parish Pastoral Council, Parish Finance, Sunday liturgy, joint parish meetings, parish forums, plenary council gatherings. In addition, some parishioners have shown some upset when the principals don’t attend every single Mass at which the school children are active participants. Once I looked at this with them, it is evident that our principals cannot reasonably be present for all these things and still be effective within each school as principal and then also have balance with the other aspects of their lives. In light of this, we have agreed that, while not exhaustive, the following areas are a priority:
- Meet with me on a fortnightly basis
- Ensure that the sacramental program is effectively supported (without expecting principals to be present at all sacraments)
- Be an active part of the Parish Pastoral Councils
- Contribute to Safeguarding. this can involve attending meetings, but no more than once a term.
- Provide each other with advice when needed
- Help me ensure the faith formation of staff and students
Our principals will of course continue to work with the broader parish and with me to ensure that the schools and their parishes work together in all sorts of ways that form part of the daily life of the schools (e.g., helping with arrangements for a multicultural day). Each of us is committed to the principles set out by Archbishop Peter seeking to ensure that we all work together to further the Mission of Jesus Christ to bring people to Jesus, seeking always to build and strengthen and grow the whole parish community but without expecting the schools to take on our role.
Fr Charles Balnaves
Parish Priest St Gregory the Great Doncaster and St Kevin’s Templestowe
Large enough to provide, small enough to care
Growth, Hospitality and Service in Christ