More than 300 teachers and school staff gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday 20 February for the official commissioning Mass for newly graduated teachers. Organised by Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools, the annual Mass is an opportunity to bless the new graduates as they embark on their first school year as teachers.

One of those new teachers is Daniella Romano, who has recently begun her teaching career at Annunciation School in Brooklyn. Teaching Foundation and Year 1, Daniella says she’s realised a long-held dream to teach and hopes to make a lasting impression on her students.

In the short time she’s been in the classroom, Danielle says she can already see how much the children are learning and developing. ‘In the last week or so, they’ve just learnt so much already and we haven’t even really sat down and done much class work. But the simple things like unpacking their bags, knowing how to open their lunchbox, close containers—that’s all because of a teacher.

‘Watching them grow and develop, it’s amazing.’

Daniella draws inspiration from her own Catholic education and believes in the values that it instils in children. ‘That’s something I really resonate and connect with. Those values that kids are going to learn through religious education will carry them throughout their life journey.’

As she begins her teaching life, Daniella said she hopes to instil a love of learning in all her students. ‘You know, you always think back to your primary school days and you always remember how those teachers made you feel, even learning experiences you did or you were a part of.’

Those values that kids are going to learn through religious education will carry them throughout their life journey.

‘They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and I honestly love my job. I love being around the kids, probably because I’m a big kid at heart as well. You know, getting down to the level, getting to muck around with them, getting to know them as well, who they are, where they’ve come from, hearing all their stories, I honestly couldn’t ask for anything else.’

Tuesday’s Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli with concelebrants including Bishop Anthony Ireland, Fr Michael Gallacher JCL (MACS board member), Fr Tony Kerin (Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Region), Fr Mark Reynolds (Episcopal Vicar for Catholic Schools) and Fr Michael Buck (Chaplain, Australian Catholic University). Music was led by the student choir of the Academy of Mary Immaculate.

In his homily, Archbishop Comensoli encouraged the teachers to reflect on the simple but powerful pattern of prayer that Jesus teaches in the Our Father.

‘The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ way of praying, came to us in the middle of his great Sermon on the Mount—the sermon that began with the Beatitudes and ended with the Golden Rule.

‘At the centre of this greatest of Jesus’ teachings sits the pattern he gave for all prayer. “Our Father” … How often have you said this prayer, that the Lord gave us as the pattern for all our prayer?

‘I would hope it is said by you each day, and I would encourage you to say it with your students each day.’