News Blog

Faith with Rob Peers

December 18, 2023

Rob Peers is our Workstream Lead for Digital Enablement.

Rob has served in Broken Bay as a principal at St Patrick’s Asquith (2006-13) and Our Lady Star of the Sea Terrigal (2014-2020).  

What does faith mean to you? 
For me, faith goes beyond the “head” and is more about “the heart”. Whilst there is an intellectual aspect to what I believe, faith is how I “feel” about that. My Catholic faith has been a constant companion in my life. It calls me to know and love God who is very concerned with my life – but also concerned about the impact of my life on others. During times of struggle, like many – my faith has been tested, but over time my faith is something I have become more and more comfortable with.  My faith informs my beliefs, which in turn feeds into my life values and actions.

Have you had a pivotal faith experience in your journey? 
For many years I was privileged to be a Catholic school principal in two Broken Bay schools. Although rewarding, at times the work was exhausting. I re-call a particularly exhausting time (when I was holding out for school holidays) when a parent and family in our community came to me with nowhere to turn. Without going into their detail, it became clear to me that I was being called by God to put aside my own tiredness and intervene to change the course of this family’s life. It was the faith of this family’s mother that inspired me! She articulated her passionate belief God was intervening through me. Liaising with a number of refugee advocate and Catholic agencies, the family navigated a path through a very tumultuous time and are now proud and successful Australians.

How has being a part of a Catholic community influenced your identity? 
There are times this is explicit: I am very proud of my Catholic faith – and proud to espouse this. My worshipping community at St John Fisher Tumbi Umbi (part of the Wyong Catholic Parish) is a reassuring constant under the leadership of our wonderful Priests Fr Raul, Fr Alex and Fr Teody. Moreover, it is the embedded influence of my Catholic community that impacts me. Notwithstanding I am very imperfect, my decision making, rhetoric, world view, and daily interactions with others I believe are all byproducts of my faith and community’s influence.

What is something that you learnt in your faith journey? 
Over time I have come to believe that God’s plans are not always my plans. Those who know me well will attest it is my nature to try and plan, design, and strategise whether in my work or personal life. But as I look back on my most pivotal times, I have come to realise the most satisfying and fulfilling things that have happened to me, have occurred quite separately to efforts on my part – they are clearly the work of God. Some of my most profound encounters, have not been of my planning, despite my attempts to be “in control”.

How has working in Catholic Schools Broken Bay impacted your faith story? 
I find the people, ethos and lived experience of CSBB to not only reinforce my Catholic faith, but help enliven it. I feel immersed in witnesses to our faith at every turn: Whether in a constant exposure to our Bishop who clearly works to bring Christ closer through his personal exchanges, the extraordinarily talented staff in our Catechesis and Evangelisation Workstream, or the daily interactions with our staff in schools. More than anyone, it is our students, for whom we are all here for that has the most powerful impact on me. Created in God’s image, encountering our students in schools, in their innocence and joy, I am constantly inspired. These days this is more challenging as I am more removed from students than my days working in schools. I do however have the privilege of school visits – and get to experience the face of Christ in the little ones I come across which is a beautiful privilege.

How do you share your faith? 
One way is that I try to be explicitly Catholic during the many opportunities that come my way: My workplace makes that easy. As an example, we pray the Angelus each day at 12 noon, and I take the opportunity to join my co-workers as we pray that beautiful prayer together. In my personal life, I find myself engaging at opportune times with family, friends and even distant acquaintances. Sharing my faith is certainly not a “hard sell” effort, and often I’m asked questions about my practices which serve as a great opportunity to share my faith in ways that are inviting and non-threatening.

What does Christmas mean to you? 
Christmas is such a wonderful time of celebration. The hope and joy of the birth of Christ is so visible, and this manifests itself on so many fronts: The Christmas Eve Children’s Mass in my local community at St John Fisher is always full of spirit. I lead the Music Ministry each year at that Mass, and the excitement and anticipation of the congregation is palpable. Like most, I then spend some much-loved time with family on Christmas Eve and the next day.

How will you celebrate Christmas this year with your family? 
My wife Lisa and I are blessed with four beautiful children, three of whom are now adults and live with their own families elsewhere. Every two years we all gather at our home, including with our beautiful grandson, to spend time with each other (this Christmas is our “on” year). Our family, despite the tyranny of distance, are all very well connected, and I thank God for this. I’m sure we will indulge in far too much Christmas fare, and after a few beverages in the afternoon, it’s not uncommon for the Karaoke machine to be cranked up. (Pity my children all hate my music selection and singing!!!) Secretly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.