A powerful prayer life throughout 2020 led Berala parishioner Ivica Kovac to a unique new role as a Sydney Catholic primary schools’ Family Educator.
“Encouraged by two priests, I was praying to St Joseph; I wanted to do something more,” Mr Kovac, who comes from an equipment rental business background, said.
Sydney Catholic Schools has welcomed 16 new Family Educators
Ironically, this was before Pope Francis had announced a Year of St Joseph (8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021) in honour of the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph being named as patron of the Universal Church.
“St Joseph, such a humble, wise, loving man and a most powerful intercessor,” Mr Kovac said.
“He is the most wonderful role model for all boys and men of all ages with all his titles – my favourites are ‘Terror of Demons’ and ‘Patron of a Holy Death’ – and is so relevant and needed now in 2021.
“If we look at who was at his side when he died on earth, it was Jesus and Our Lady, Mary; just wow!”
“Family Educators of the future must be courageous to share the truth in love always, because only this can truly set us free. Love and truth are one, inseparable!”
As part of his new role as a Family Educator at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School Earlwood Mr Kovac will help connect families with the religious life of their school and Parish communities.
Asked how he hoped to do this, he said: “Being the Year of St Joseph, I hope to offer the community the wonderful opportunity to complete a 33-day consecration to St Joseph.”
“With each Wednesday being dedicated to St Joseph I hope and pray that we can introduce praying the Memorare to St Joseph every Wednesday at every Sydney Catholic school,” he further remarked.
“We all need purpose, direction and support (love) as people, regardless of age and gender.”
“We need to understand that we are loved by a loving God and made in the image and likeness of Christ,” Mr Kovac said.
“This is truly the Good News and one that needs to be proclaimed daily to all.”
His Faith journey
Mr Kovac’s core values had been obvious to him for a long time, but it was wife who pushed him to take the plunge and find a career that was aligned with his Faith.
“It’s (this) something I never planned to do,” he recounted.
Yet, it was a natural fit.
“After starting voluntary pastoral work and catechesis with families, children and young adults eight years ago in my spare time, primarily within the Croatian community but also at my local parish St Peter Chanel St Joseph Parish Berala, I was amazed to see many people respond positively to Christ’s message of love and repentance,” Mr Kovac said.
“Being Catholic is a way of life, rather than something I just do occasionally, privately or when I just attend Mass. It is who I am.
“My (family) weekly diary is built up around attending Mass (Eucharist) every Sunday morning, honouring the day of rest as a family. Everything else is secondary.”
Mr Kovac’s tip/s for encouraging a reluctant pray-er?
“The opposite of faith is fear, which is commonly why many don’t pray. It’s a battle between good and evil, and casting fear is a common tactic used by evil to keep us from praying,” Mr Kovac said.
“Fear will cast doubt in you. It will fill your schedule with endless tasks so that you are so busy drowning out anytime you thought you had for prayer, and so on. In the words of Christ, ‘Be not afraid.’”
Family Educators act as liaisons between their appointed Sydney Catholic school and Parish communities, working on and creating invitational events, information sessions and activities that aim to:
- connect families with the religious life of the school and the parish;
- provide further support to families in the development of their child – spiritually, socially and educationally;
- promote Catholic mission and identity;
- promote a welcoming, vibrant faith community.