Catholic Schools Week 22-29 January
Theme: Walking Together in Faith and Love
A Catholic school, and by extension, a Catholic education, is not just about ideas, or courses or even subjects or syllabi but, is more about people. People and individuals must not just be important but central to Catholic education. Students come from different backgrounds, with different personalities and have different experiences but each one is made in God’s image.
A Catholic school is a community of pupils, teachers, parents, and the Patron. The real or lived values and ethos of the school are not just what is in the Mission Statement on the wall but reflects the actions of all those in that school community.
A Catholic school must treat all its students equally, must value all the different talents and abilities of its students equally and, if it were to be biased at all, like Christ, it should be biased in favour of the weak and marginalized. Seeing the face of God in the face of each other prompts us to act as we would want Christ to act with us!
In addressing this point, I also must mention the teachers who teach in our schools, who know and who respect their students, who acknowledge difference and who support, not just academically, the students’ many and varied abilities and gifts. Our teachers are integral to the mission of the Catholic school, and they have our thanks and our admiration. The voluntary work of Board members must also be acknowledged. Their dedication is further evidence of the esteem in which such Catholic Schools are held in local communities.
Many of our Catholic schools were founded by religious Congregations and Orders such as the Presentation, Loreto and Mercy sisters and the Presentation and Christian Brothers and were founded in fulfilment of the corporal works of mercy, to instruct and, in so doing, to feed, to clothe, to open doors and to train and enable a new generation for a new world and provide new opportunities. That is the contribution made by, and the consequence of, a Catholic education. The three schools in Christ the King parish are inspired by the Presentation charism, being founded by Presentation Sisters and Brothers.
To conclude, one could do worse than to quote Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Mercy Sisters: ‘The function of a school is to fit its students for life, without unfitting them for eternal life’, she said. A good education, a Catholic Education is not a preparation for capitalism or a narrow narcissistic and selfish view of life but rather one of compassion, service, respect and using one’s talents and opportunities. In today’s world, that is no mean achievement. May that good work continue to be done in Catholic schools throughout the country and may it be appreciated, valued, and celebrated.
Recent Deaths: We pray for Teresa Ahern, St Anne’s Park; Finbarr Coleman, Connolly Rd; James Long, O’Connell Crescent who have died. We sympathise with their families.
Recessional Hymn: Now thank we all our God