From Lego projects to recipe sharing, Sydney Catholic Schools’ Family Educators are leading the charge to help families stay connected to their school, parish and neighbourhood communities this lockdown.

“Now, more than ever, while we are physically separated, we need to feel connected,” says Sydney Catholic Schools’ Education Officer: Church Engagement, Mouna Roche, a sentiment that’s echoed by her colleagues, Elsa Manu and Bernadette Bridle.

Mrs Roche said the Family Educators’ ‘Be a light in lockdown’ initiative encourages Sydney Catholic Schools’ students, along with their families, to complete a series of activities that aim to create a sense of social connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative is based on the gospel verse Mathew 15:6: “Let your light shine.”

“This is an opportunity to be a light for others in simple ways” – Elsa Manu


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.

Mrs Roche said the pastoral care aspect of the Family Educator’s role was more important now than ever, as people felt the physical, mental and financial effects of isolation.

Students lighting a candle at church“We’re so conscious of the fact that so many of our school communities are hurting, either being unwell with COVID-19, or are struggling financially or with the pressure of working and learning from home,” Mrs Roche said.

“Then there are those families who’ve never had to worry about money and now do because both parents have been stood down from work.”

“Now, more than ever, while we are physically separated, we need to feel connected” – Mouna Roche

“We need to live the Gospel by being a light to those in our communities that are living through the darkness,” Mrs Roche said.

“Rather than providing them with a prescriptive program, we’ve got an umbrella of initiatives that look at ways they can be a light in their family, school community, parish community and in their neighbourhood.”

“This is an opportunity to be a light for others in simple ways” – Bernadette Bridle

Mrs Roche invites students and their families to follow these simple tips, among others, to ‘Be a light in lockdown’ and remain connected to others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Drop a handwritten note into your neighbours’ letterbox, offering to assist with any errands they need help with. It may be as simple as picking up bread and milk, dropping off scripts at the pharmacy, or weeding their garden.
  2. Share your favourite lockdown recipes or have a virtual dinner party, inviting other families to cook the same meal and eat together via Zoom.
  3. Hold your own ‘Are you OK during lockdown’ day. Set aside a day where all families in your social circle are encouraged to call someone and ask, ‘Are you okay?’
  4. Go for a family walk or bike ride to light up your local area. Give thanks for God’s creation and reap the health benefits of being active outdoors.
  5. Be a light in your parish and make a card or write a letter to a parishioner who lives alone and may be missing their parish family. Your parish priest may also be able to guide you to parishioners who may need this light during lockdown.