Mission Report – July 30, 2015

July 29, 2015

This week representatives of Catholic primary and secondary schools from across the diocese gathered at Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School in Wendouree to discuss the Catholic identity of schools. The day was led by Prof. Dr. Didier Pollefeyt and Mr. Jan Bouwens from the The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium (KU Leuven). In co-operation with Catholic schools across Australia they have been developing a new empirical methodology to frame, assess and enhance the identity structure of Catholic educational organisations. It is called the Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project (ECSIP).

What does all this mean?

In the briefest possible way, it means that we should all be actively discussing three essential questions.

  1. Who am I?

  2. What are the purposes of Catholic education?

  3. What is the role of a Catholic school?

What is your answer to these questions? Where do we find the time and place to share our answers with others as we seek to have the answers that match our hopes for our students? These questions bring to light the personal commitment required to give life to St Patrick’s College as a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition. Through our pursuit of truly worthwhile answers to these questions we open the identity and future of St Patrick’s College to our best efforts, inspired by the Holy Spirit. By collaborating openly in this never-ending task we strive to grasp the great responsibility we have in educating the young men of the College. We will hear more about this project soon but further information can be found at www.schoolidentity.net

Also this week the College Mission Team was able to spend time with Fr Cameron Forbes, who has immersed himself in study of Catholic liturgy. Fr Cameron spoke of how the liturgy is the public prayer of the Church and is always attractive to our hearts through its beauty. Both the public unity and beauty expressed in liturgy participate in the act of creation: we are responding to God’s free and loving gift of creation with our own best effort to create an act of praise that expresses our thankfulness for all we have received. One sign of a successful liturgy is our experience of -being somewhere else- that allows us the space to fully respond to the love that God has for each of us. Liturgy is at the heart of our Catholic identity.

Both these events serve to remind us that education is not a passive activity with responsibilities we may out-source to others. Education is always personal, collaborative and serious, but it begins and ends with the joy that only God’s love can offer. Our task is to become people capable of accepting such a great gift.- –