Diocese Celebrates Catholic Schools Week

Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese invites everyone to see first-hand the many good things happening in their 18 parish schools during Catholic Schools Week during 3 – 10 March 2019.

‘Seeking the True, the Beautiful and the Good’ is the theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week, and Director of Mission and Religious Education, Dr Gerard O’Shea, explains the meaning behind the tagline.

“Any sound education must pay close attention to the needs of the person being educated. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, the consensus about the deepest desire of the human heart – the search for the True, the Beautiful and the Good. The integrated pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness underpins everything of value that our school system offers,” Dr O’Shea said.

Dr O’Shea said that those who work in Catholic schools, whether or not they belong to the Catholic faith, share this perspective in virtue of their common humanity.

“In presenting the religious dimension of a Catholic school, there are further dimensions to be added. Truth will lead us to a truth beyond our intellectual capabilities – faith. Beauty will be perfected by the incomparable harmony and perfection to be found in God – it is the wellspring of hope. Human goodness will be enabled by God to go beyond itself to the most perfect kind of supernatural love.”

The search for the True, the Beautiful and the Good, is the fundamental desire inscribed in every human heart,” he said.

Director of Catholic Education, Mr Anthony Gordon said, “Catholic Schools Week is one of the most exciting weeks of the year. Our schools share with their local communities the wonderful learning that is taking place. It is also an opportunity for the community to see the strong values that are offered to each student in a Catholic school. As this year’s theme suggests, our students are being prepared to live lives of goodness, in service to others, always striving for justice and truth and appreciating that beauty is found in God, in nature and in all those we encounter.”

“Our dedicated teachers have the opportunity of demonstrating that the best contemporary teaching that personalises learning for each of our students is occurring in our classrooms. The use of technology to assist student learning is also a feature of our schools with every student having access to a Chromebook.”

“Our schools are looking forward to welcoming as many visitors as possible next week and I encourage all parents, grandparents and members of the community to see all the good things happening in their local Catholic school.”


Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic School Leaders travelled to Forbes for a Principals Conference on 29, 30 & 31 May 2018.

Three new Principals were warmly welcomed to the group, Jessica Armitage, Principal of St Mary’s Hay, Regina Goodridge, Principal of St Joseph’s Peak Hill and Bill Mulcahy, Principal of St Patrick’s Brewarrina.

Former principal of St Mary’s Hay, Nick Baird, has also been welcomed to Holy Family Parkes as has former principal of St Patrick’s Brewarrina, Sharon Ferrari, who has relocated to St John’s Trangie.

A highlight of the conference was the commissioning of all Wilcannia-Forbes Principals. During a special Mass held on Tuesday night, Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green inducted the group of 18 Principals, before giving them his blessing and presenting each principal with a principalship candle.

“It was a truly beautiful ceremony and such an honour for our school leaders to have Bishop Columba celebrate the Mass and witness their commitment to being living witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ for all,” Director of Catholic Education Mr Anthony Gordon said. “The beautiful candle symbolised that each Principal is united to the mission of the Bishop, the Diocese and its parishes. This unity was represented on the candle by Bishop Columba’s coat of arms, the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – patron saint of our Diocese – and a cross naming all the parishes of Wilcannia-Forbes.”

Another highlight of the conference were the mini showcase sessions which gave principals a chance to share their school’s approaches to, ‘School and System Improvement/Quality Instruction.’

The Deputy Director of Catholic Education, Mrs Mary-Ellen Dempsey, couldn’t be prouder of the teaching strategies being put in place in Wilcannia-Forbes classrooms.

“I am very impressed by the level that Principals have embraced the professional learning on “Quality Instruction Practices,’ delivered by world renowned educator Dr Lyn Sharratt. During their presentations, principal’s highlighted evidence of implementation and evidence of impact on both student outcomes and teacher development.,” Mrs Dempsey said.

Mr Gordon said the dedication of Wilcannia-Forbes Principals’ is of a very high standard. “Our Principals are leaders who are able to ensure that all of our teachers and staff share leadership responsibility in providing the best, evidence-based approaches to the teaching of their students,” he said.

“Our Principals’ care and love for their school communities was on display in their showcase presentations. There was also a sense of inspiration and excitement as we listened to the different ways that teachers are using evidence-based approaches to meet the local needs of students across the Diocese, “Mr Gordon said.

“The professional learning for teachers and leaders in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes is outstanding and its effect can be seen in every classroom in every school,” Mr Gordon concluded.

If anyone is interested in working in the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese, please feel free to contact the Catholic Education Office on (02) 6853 9300 or visit the CEO website www.wf.catholic.edu.au


Most Rev Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Anthony Gordon to Director of Catholic Education in the Diocese, and warmly welcomed Mr Gordon to the Catholic Education Office on Monday.

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green said: “Anthony comes to Forbes with a wealth of experience in Catholic Education and we are delighted to welcome him to the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese.”

Mr Gordon, who has relocated from Sydney to Forbes with his wife Paula and three young children said: “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Columba for the honour of serving this great Diocese which has a proud history of nurturing faith and learning in the young people across our parishes and schools.”

“Forbes is a beautiful town, and my three-year-old daughter was ecstatic when she discovered a pony living in a paddock a few houses down on our street. We arrived last Tuesday and after spending all week unpacking we were introduced to the ‘Sweet Three Vintage Van,’ which provided a lovely way for us all to relax and unwind.”

Since 2011, Anthony has held the role of Learning Leader: Mission, Catholic Education in the Diocese of Parramatta. Prior to this Anthony has fulfilled leadership roles in Sydney Catholic Schools as Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator and Faith Formation and Evangelisation Advisor. He has also worked as a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology and as Chaplaincy Convenor at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Anthony has experience as a classroom teacher and Religious Education Coordinator. He holds the qualifications of Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Graduate Diploma of Education and Masters of Religious Education.

The recruitment process to appoint a new Director of Catholic Education was supported by Reach Human Resources and Mr Gordon was selected from a strong field with advice from a selection committee that included Rev Don Gunn, a parent representative and other leading professionals.

“Anthony’s experience in Catholic Education Leadership and his strong family values will position Mr Gordon well in dealing with the challenges of our vast diocese,” Bishop Columba said.

Mr Gordon will be replacing Mrs Mary-Ellen Dempsey who has held the position of Acting Director of Catholic Education since April 2017. Mary-Ellen will be returning to her position of Deputy Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.

“I would like to thank Mrs Mary-Ellen Dempsey for the outstanding service she has offered to me, the Diocese and Catholic Education as Acting Director of Education over the past seven months.”

“Mary-Ellen’s leadership of Education reflected the very heart of her ministry. Mary-Ellen has been, for us all, a pillar of strength in challenging and changing times,” Bishop Columba said.