Catholic Schools Week 2014
Sunday 26th January – 2nd February 2014
Catholic Schools: Places of Faith and Learning
was chosen as the theme for 2014 to highlight that all learning takes place in a values context. This means that all education involves an education in values; in other words, education is never simply about transmitting simple facts. During CSW, Catholic schools will celebrate their identity. There are five essential elements that give the Catholic school its particular characteristic spirit or ethos.
- The belief that the human person is made in the image of God and is therefore worthy of respect and dignity. Accordingly, Jesus Christ, God made man, is the exemplar par excellence for the Christian person. At all times in Catholic schools, all members of the school community aspire to treat each other in a way that reflects the origin of the human person. All relationships reflect this fundamental belief.
- The belief that we meet God in the bits and pieces of everyday life. Our daily interaction is the stuff of our relationship with God. We are approached by God in ordinary life. The sacraments highlight this when the ordinary events of life become a privileged moment for our encounter with God. Also on our part, moments of reflection and prayer are part of ‘the everyday’ when we become conscious of God’s care and love for us and our dependence on him. So liturgy and prayer will be part of the life of the Catholic school.
- The belief that we are saved as a community. We are part of each other and it is together that we become the people of God in the world, the body of Jesus Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit – people of ‘a kingdom of justice, love and peace’. The main commandment of Jesus is to ‘love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves’. A key element of the Catholic school will be to learn how to live with respect for one another and with a special care for those who have less or are suffering. So part of daily life in the school will be learning how to form a community of care with an eye to those in the world who are in need or are suffering in any way.
- The fact that we belong to a tradition. Schools form part of the tradition of the Church going back to the saying of Christ: ‘Go teach all nations.’ There is a long tradition of faith-based education in the Catholic Church. The Church has made an enormous contribution to the formation of young people and to society over the years from within the Catholic Christian tradition, from pre-schools through primary, post-primary and third level institutions. In our time it is our duty to be faithful to that tradition and to interpret it anew for the people of this time and for the common good of society.
- The fact that we value knowledge. Knowledge is important to us, to learn about ourselves, each other and the world in which we live. Accordingly, the Catholic school will strive to provide an education of excellence where the acquisition and development of knowledge in all its depth and breadth will be central to the work of the school.
I hope that the celebration of Catholic Schools Week 2014 in your school community will be one filled with
Monsignor James Cassin
Executive Secretary, Council for Education
The following are additional resources to those received in the Resource Book delivered to schools and parishes this week. They are designed to give some help in planning for the celebration of Catholic Schools Week 2014 in the school and in the parish. They include Prayer Services for the beginning and end of the week and one for Grandparent’s Day. There is also a reflection for members of staff and Board of Managements that we encourage principals to print and make available for meetings in the coming weeks.