Joining thousands of Australian pilgrims, I had an empowering experience at World Youth Day (WYD) held in Lisbon Portugal from 1-6 August. It was a unique opportunity to connect with young Catholics from all corners of the globe, as well as those from our own dioceses and schools, and catching up with colleagues from a range of different states.

As Pope Francis said, WYD is a chance to encounter Christ, deepen our faith, and feel God’s unconditional love for all of us. I felt truly honored to be part of this incredible journey and am filled with hope and joy for the future of our Church.

After the conclusion of WYD, I journeyed onto Fatima with a group led by Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Danny Meagher, in pilgrimage with many attendees of WYD. Fatima is, and continues to be, an important pilgrimage site for Catholics. It is also of personal significance to me, having been named after St Jacinta Marto, one of the three children who witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima in 1917. 

This week, I attended the Centre for Independent Studies education roundtable, engaging with Professor Mark Scott AO and other educators on the four critical reforms highlighted in the recent Teacher Education Expert Panel report.

Key discussions centered around strengthening initial teacher education programs for beginner teachers, improving the quality of practical experience, discussing strategies to attract more mid-career entrants and strengthening the link between higher education provider performance and funding. 

While this is critical work, Catholic education is progressing a range of strategies and initiatives at the local, state and national levels to build the teaching profession, strengthen initial teacher education, and utilise teaching undergraduates to support teachers in the classroom in innovative ways.

Jacinta Collins
National Catholic education executive director

Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools executive director Dr Edward Simons, national Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins, and Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne executive director, stewardship, Tim O’Leary with Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli at World Youth Day.