Father John Paul Szura O.S.A. of Chicago spent the last two weeks of March in Australia to invite Augustinian involvement in education for peace.
Fr John Paul is the education officer of the NGO (Non-Government Organisation) that the Augustinian General Curia established at the United Nations in New York seven years ago.
With accredited NGO status, the Augustinians are registered as a “peoples’ group” that can offer a two-way communication between official U.N. organisations and the people whom Augustinians serve in over forty countries throughout the world.
Whilst in Brisbane, Father John Paul visited several parishes and schools, among them St Augustine’s College and Villanova College.
Peter O’Connor, Head of Secondary at the newly opened St Augustine’s College, Springfield, said he was pleased the year 8 class had been able to hear Father John Paul speak.
“I think the boys and girls learned a lot about how the UN can operate and what it does in a broader sense,” Mr O’Connor said.
“The media only seems to portray their role as either stopping wars or not stopping wars but Fr John Paul emphasized the charter of the UN was really about people to people contact.
“A lot of their work is in terms of how people in the world interact with each other to try and achieve good outcomes for everyone,” he said.
The Augustinian NGO concentrates on the three broad areas of education, development and human rights.
Being his first time in Australia, Fr John Paul has called this “a hello visit”.
The next stop on his itinerary was Japan, where he would do St Augustine’s the favour of hand delivering a poster they had produced for their sister school in Nagasaki.
He would also continue to spread the word about the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) “Culture for Peace” program.
This program is focused on 7,000 schools internationally, forty-five of them being in Australia.
Released by Catholic Communications Office