When people think of Catholic education, nine times out of ten, their first thought is of Catholic school education. This is certainly true and we can be justifiably proud of our Catholic schools.
Our schools embody both an authentic Catholic faith encounter for all, within the provision of holistic education with academic excellence.
‘The Catholic School is embedded in the Church: it is the Church in action, an authentic expression of the Church’s mission.’ (NZCBC: The Catholic Education of School Aged Children).
Archbishop John articulates this in his vision for schools, ‘…that each student is enabled to: “Walk the way of Jesus Christ, Live the life of Jesus Christ, and tell the Truth of Jesus Christ”.’
Our Catholic schools are held in high esteem by the wider education field and deliver well above national expectations. At the core of this success are the people. It is through their passion, enduring commitment, generosity of spirit, giving of their ‘time, talent and treasure’ way beyond the call of duty that these gospel witnesses inspire and enable students to realise their God-given talents.
This passion and commitment is embedded in our belief of the innate goodness, dignity and gift of each person, created in the image and likeness of God, called to realise our full potential.
Catholic schools are a jewel in the crown of Catholic education but, to mix metaphors, there are many jewels embedded in the rich tapestry of Catholic education.
‘The Church has in a special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping all arrive at the fullness of Christian life.’ (Canon: 794.1)
This is about ‘Education and Life-long growth in Faith’ for both children and adults, (Synod 2006). It includes adult-faith formation, faith knowledge and understanding, support of our teachers, parish-based education and courses, formal tertiary study opportunities, Religious Education Curriculum development, and much more. All this is supported by many education bodies and programmes providing Catholic Faith Education.
This issue of Wel-Com provides a general view of Catholic Faith Education, including reference on these and other pages to the NZCBC document and its unfolding and contributions from The Catholic Institute’s educators. Future Wel-Com editions will explore the many other facets of our body of Catholic Faith Education.
Wel-Com, through its comprehensive coverage and articles, is in itself a rich jewel in the provision of ‘Education and Life-long growth in Faith’ for us all. We are many parts of the one body; each part integral to the Church’s mission of bringing and being GOOD NEWS to all.
Jenny Gordon is Vicar for Education, Archdiocese of Wellington.