Mission... At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, "the only son of the Father... full of grace and truth," who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever&.We must therefore say that, in catechesis, it is Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, who was taught -- everything else is taught with reference to him -- and it is Christ alone, who teaches... (Apostolic Exhortation Catechesis Tradendae, p. 8-10)
What is our Religious Education Program about?
Each of us working in Catholic schools is called to be Christ's spokesperson, enabling Him to be present through us! The role of the Religious Education Consultant is to support all the stakeholders in our school division to fulfill this mission. In Catholic schools we work together with the family and parish to help young people mature into Disciples of Christ.
For someone who is new to the Catholic school system, an understandable question is what makes the schools Catholic? There is much that distinguishes Catholic schools, which students and their families can readily observe.
Religion classes: a course specifically designed to help students better understand, and connect with, God, Jesus and
Prayer services: religious celebrations occurring at specific points in the school year
Liturgical Calendar: a calendar designed around the life and death of Jesus Christ and the major events of the church
Religious symbols: posters, icons, and art work, etc, used to help tell the story of Jesus Christ
School names: schools are named to tie into our faith, tradition and understanding
Prayer: daily prayers over the intercom or in the classroom as well as special prayer for specific events
Retreats: varying in length from day to possibly overnight, used to supplement/strengthen what is taught in religion
Faith-related professional development days: which may be district-wide or school-based and designed to help
strengthen the faith development of the staff in Catholic schools
Chaplains and chapels: chaplains are school designate(s) who helps support teachers and students in faith formation
while chapels are specific locations in Catholic schools used for special prayer and/or small
In addition to the above items, the following are critically important dimensions of Catholic schools:
- Teachers strive to integrate their faith with their teaching and interactions with everyone
- A faith conviction that each child and person's dignity comes from being created in the image of God, is promoted throughout Catholic schools
- Our school Division's vision statement of "Seeing Christ in Everyone" challenges us to embrace every person as someone of immense worth and potential
- The Biblical values of respect for the common good and justice for all are guiding principles that those working in our schools are encouraged to adopt
- Teachers work towards giving witness to their Christian faith by sharing their faith journeys and leading students in prayer and a life directed to the needs of those who are oppressed or destitute
- God, who we meet most fully in Christ, is proclaimed in word and deed according to the ability of each person working in our division to do so
- Schools actively work at connecting with the parishes by attending mass at the church or having parish priests visit the schools
- Many of the schools support the sacramental preparation done at home and through the parishes by having retreats on the themes related to reconciliation and confirmation
- All of our schools examine how they can improve the way they live out and give expression to their Catholic identity.
- We see our homes, schools, and parishes as interconnected entities working together to teach, live, and celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ
- The school system, then, needs the children enrolled in our schools and their families to support the Catholic values, beliefs and activities mentioned in this document
- Our publicly funded Catholic schools are an immense treasure: they support our children on their faith journeys and help their families and parishes lead them with and to Christ