Pope Francis brings city to a standstill

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you are well rested, excited and ready for the year ahead.

I welcome all the teachers and their families who are here on exchange for the 2019 school year and hope that their experiences are both enjoyable and worthwhile and that they get the opportunity to experience the beauty that Australia has to offer.

Also, to all of our teachers who are returning after spending a year abroad, welcome back and we look forward to sharing your experiences and stories.

I am currently in Panama City attending World Youth Day along with 65 other pilgrims from the Broken Bay Diocese. Panama is a fascinating city steeped in history with a mix of cultures and languages. The city is abuzz with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from every corner of the world making this a colourful and exciting event. Flags, costumes, uniforms and songs can be seen and heard as the pilgrims move around the city making friends and exchanging gifts. Australia held its event a number of years ago with over 750 participants from every state and territory attending, along with archbishops, bishops, priests and sisters.

Pope Francis arrived yesterday bringing the whole city, roads and traffic to a total standstill as his motorcade made its way from the airport through the city. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets to welcome him with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Holy Father.

I am enjoying the opportunity of meeting and talking with teachers from schools in both the Sydney, Parramatta and Canberra Dioceses who are also here as pilgrims.

As we return for Term 1, make it your goal to inform new members of staff and any non members about the advantages and importance of joining the Union. I invite you all to attend your chapter and sub branch meetings and make this the year that you become more active. You are all most welcome.

Remember to keep in contact your organiser or contact the IEU office for any assistance required.

I look forward to working for you again throughout 2019. Enjoy Term 1.

Chris Wilkinson