Mission Report – April 28, 2016
April 27, 2016
St Patrick’s College Ballarat is a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice Tradition. This is a statement that we repeat often because it expresses many dimensions of our mission.
We are part of the Ballarat community
We are a Catholic community
We are a school community
We are part of the Christian Brothers’ history of school communities
We are part of the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) community
It is the third point that I wish invite you to reflect upon today. To aid in this reflection is a passage from the document A Catholic School, published by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education in 1977. It is a bit wordy but worth the effort.
25. To understand fully the specific mission of the Catholic school it is essential to keep in mind the basic concept of what a school is; that which does not reproduce the characteristic features of a school cannot be a Catholic school.-
The general purpose of a school-
26. A close examination of the various definitions of school and of new educational trends at every level, leads one to formulate the concept of school as a place of integral formation by means of a systematic and critical assimilation of culture. A school is, therefore, a privileged place in which, through a living encounter with a cultural inheritance, integral formation occurs.-
27. This vital approach takes place in the school in the form of personal contacts and commitments which consider absolute values in a life-context and seek to insert them into a life-framework. Indeed, culture is only educational when young people can relate their study to real-life situations with which they are familiar. The school must stimulate the pupil to exercise his intelligence through the dynamics of understanding to attain clarity and inventiveness. It must help him spell out the meaning of his experiences and their truths. Any school which neglects this duty and which offers merely pre-cast conclusions hinders the personal development of its pupils.-
This passage rewards careful re-reading and reflection to draw from it a rich personal meaning. For the moment I wish to highlight one point to give further focus for our conversation:
St Patrick’s College is to be found in the -‘personal contacts and commitments which consider absolute values’.
The life of our school is the rich tapestry of human relationships that evoke the bonds of shared commitments that are worthy of our human community. As we read the stories and information in The Crest this is what we encounter: people enjoying the company of each other and striving to live by the values that will lead us to grow as individuals and a community. The common thread of shared commitments is in the joy of the classroom, the sports field, the band room, the solemn marking of Anzac Day, the sustained efforts of fundraising for the Edmund Rice Day Walkathon, the maintenance of our grounds and buildings, the encounters of the College Shop and Canteen, and the list goes on and on to include wherever people meet in our community.
A school is a place of formation through the creation of shared commitments. We are then able to turn to the riches and depths of our Catholic tradition to encounter those commitments that will truly satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts. And there we find our loving God who has been with us in all our adventures.