Head of Mission Caritas Australia.
My ministry as Head of Mission Caritas Australia is quite different to any of my other ministries and yet incorporates so many aspects of my former roles. Caritas Australia is the international and development aid agency of the Catholic church in Australia. The vision of Caritas “to end poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity” complements our Josephite charism.
As an educator with many years’ experience in secondary and tertiary education and having spent time in East Timor setting up a Secondary teachers College with the Jesuits, I draw on both my education and missionary experience at Caritas.
There is no typical day in my ministry at Caritas as the tasks are varied. As I write this I am in Melbourne preparing to go to our Melbourne office near the cathedral to work with a team on writing for Project Compassion 2020. Most days are spent in the office at Alexandria in Sydney but there is also travel within Australia to meet with the diocesan directors, justice educators and resource teams.
As Head of Mission I have a responsibility for strengthening the Catholic identity of the agency. Staff working at Caritas are very committed to the ideals of the agency though not all are Catholic. I therefore induct new staff into their roles through ensuring that the Catholic Social Teaching, which is the foundation of Caritas, is clearly understood. This also involves ongoing formation of staff by arranging weekly staff prayer, retreats, reflections and workshops.
During Lent I attended launches of Project Compassion in Hobart and Brisbane as well as speaking at Masses and schools around Sydney.
Some time is spent on the selection and interview panels for new staff. I also meet with various teams operating out of the National Office. Caritas works in 24 countries and employs many local staff. From time to time the international staff come to Sydney to join the national staff for conferences and formation. It is always inspirational to hear of the work of Caritas Australia in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Myanmar Timor, Bangladesh and through the Pacific.
Being part of Caritas is a most worthwhile ministry as Pope Francis says that Caritas is “an essential part of the Church” and that it “institutionalizes love in the Church.” In this year of Chapter I would like to think that I can assist through “Raising the Powers of Love” at Caritas so that we meet the challenges of our mission.
Jo Brady rsj
Photos courtesy of Sr Jo Brady. Used with permission.