Partnerships for Peace and Compassion
It may be hard to imagine how Fr Claude Mostowik MSC could do more to build partnerships in social justice advocacy, but he’s aiming to do even more as the new Justice Network Coordinator of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA).
Fr Claude is also the Director of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre. He also works at the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education where he began the publication Just News and more recently as researcher for Just Comment. Concurrently he is President of both Pax Christi Australia and the Peace and Justice Commission of the NSW Ecumenical Council.
On his first week at the CRA office, Fr Claude is already busy, discussing with CRA staff about his current involvement with other advocacy groups, sharing news articles, cartoons and memes that have caught his attention, discussing a trip to the Philippines for a mining protest and international mining conference – all while learning the sundry details of a new workplace.
His energy and enthusiasm seem to be key in the way he engages with a vast network of advocacy groups, as well as taking on partnership roles in the following: Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines, Community Justice Coalition (prison reform), Iran4Democracy, the Animation Committee (Campbelltown), Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes Social Justice Committee, NetAct (coalition of social justice, education, and welfare), Acceptance Australia, Edmund Rice Centre, Pacific Calling Partnership, Love Makes A Way and, until recently, Stanford House and Gethsemane Community.
He sounds surprised when one remarks on his ability to build relationships. “They were never skills that I thought I had. I’m not really a good organiser.”
“But in relating to people and experiencing the joy that there are so many people, not necessarily even religious, who care and want to leave this world better than they found it, this is where I find hope."
He sees the role of CRA Justice Coordinator as vital in providing resources to congregations in the ministry of justice, peace and integrity of creation, as well as helping advocacy groups find opportunities and common ground. He is grateful for the groundwork laid by Sister Suzette Clark RSC, his predecessor at CRA who was elected into the leadership team of the Sisters of Charity.
“No doubt, the networking, resources, supporting, which has engaged me will continue in the name of Catholic Religious Australia,” he said. “The many organisations and the work of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education where I have been working for some 10 years will also feed into the work here at CRA.”
“Certainly, I would hope to network with people on the ground in religious congregations and it seems to me that there is a coherence of thinking and acting in terms of the people that we wish to relate to. But the people that we all need to touch are the same ones that Jesus wanted to reach. “
Fr Claude’s passion for social justice is rooted in his family background and the charism of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. “My passion has always been about working with people and being concerned for those in difficulty. It might go back to my family and the difficulties they had when they arrived in Australia from war ravaged Europe.”
“Living the ‘spirituality of the heart‘, the basis of the charism of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, is important, and I hope that I am responding to make God’s presence embodied in my relationships with people,” he said. “This is the work I wake up for.”
To join the CRA Justice Network, contact Fr Claude Mostowik MSC at email@example.com or phone CRA at (02) 9557 2695
To read Fr Claude’s writings and more reflections, commentary and resources, visit the Justice Network on the CRA website: http://catholicreligiousaustralia.org.au.
Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) is the peak body for leaders of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life resident in Australia. Their membership comprises more than 180 congregations of Sisters, Brothers and Religious Priests living and working in all states and territories.
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