Child Protection Sunday

9th/10th September, 2017
Matthew 18: 15-20
Throughout this past week ( 3-9 Sept), National Child Protection Week has invited all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and well-being of young people. This week, now its 27th year, supports and encourages the safety and well-being of Australian children and families. This year the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect has focused on the theme ‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children.’ As the Association proposes, this theme emphasizes the importance and value of connected communities in keeping children and young people safe and well. Communities in which children are seen and heard, where participation is valued and where families can get the support they need are stronger communities which contribute to keeping children safe and well.
The National Committee for Professional Standards, a committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops and Catholic Religious Australia, has subsequently put before us the theme, “See Me, Hear Me” for this Sunday when we commemorate the importance of the safety of children in our community of faith. With what commitment do we take notice of our children’s safety? With what responsibility do we seek to ensure that our communities are places of safety for them?
Children are the delight both of our families and our communities. When we gaze upon a child we are caught intensely between an immediate experience of the present and heightened expectation of the future, between a “fulfilled moment and the beginning of a new day.”
In every child, God waits for us to stir again within us the sense of new beginnings, of fresh possibilities, of awakening hopes. Every child is the sign of life’s hope of ever new beginnings. They are the future in anticipation.
With a listening heart, our heart that sees and hears, we are called to enter into conversation which might become a means of conversion, a different way of acting. The Royal Commission, itself, in its own commitment to change society, has sought to do this by listening to the accounts of more than 1400 young Australians about their own experience of safety. It has been revealed that change for the greater protection of our most vulnerable will occur only as we respect them, ask what they are going through, watch what others are doing regarding them, listen to what they are trying to tell us, do what we are supposed to do for them, inform them about danger, and stand up and speak out for them. In doing so we maintain our most treasured within a strong experience of connection, within the nurturing bonds of community – the calibre of the truly Christian community about which the Gospel of Matthew proposes to us today.
(Part of the Sermon prepared for – Child Protection Sunday) ‘Let the little children come unto me – the light of our lives’ May our Parish be a safe community. Amen

Dean Peter