Read the full text of the address by Bishop Leo O’Reilly to the JMB/AMCSS 22nd Annual Conference entitled Catholic Education: Vision for Life and Service to Society’


Bishop Leo O’Reilly is Bishop of Kilmore and Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Education

Management bodies for Secondary Schools

The Joint Managerial Body (JMB) represents the Boards of Management of over 400 Voluntary Secondary Schools in the Republic of Ireland.

The JMB is the umbrella body for the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools (AMCSS) and the Irish School Heads’ Association, which represents the Protestant Schools in the State.

The AMCSS was established in 1987. Organised on a regional level with 10 regions, the Board of Management of each member school is represented by its Chairperson and Secretary (who is also the Principal) at the Regional Meetings of the AMCSS.

Keynote address by Bishop Leo O’Reilly

JMB/AMCSS 22nd Annual Conference
29 April 2009Hotel Europe, Killarney, Co Kerry

Click on link to download full text – “Catholic Education: Vision for Life and Service to Society”


  • Your commitment and achievement in the education and formation of the young … [is] crucial for the life of the Church in Irish society into the future
  • The new realities of decline in the practice of the faith in homes, the advent of a diverse, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, and the increasing influence of a culture of secularism make it necessary to take stock of where we are in Catholic education
  • As Catholic educators what we offer society must be about much more than what can be measured by examinations or listed in league tables
  • We must consciously aim to influence society through the students we educate
  • Education has a particular role to play in building a more united and peaceful world
  • Because of the historical evolution of the education system at second level, we tend to attract the more academically inclined students. Given this historical tendency we have to take extra care to ensure that our policies and practices are such as to encourage and welcome students of all backgrounds and abilities to our schools
  • The vision [for Catholic education] is rooted in faith and takes its inspiration from the person and the teaching of Christ
  • To say that faith in Jesus and in His presence in the Church is a key component of effective leadership in a Catholic school clearly has many implications for Boards of Management, for Principals and for those in key positions of leadership in our schools. There are implications about ongoing formation for such personnel, the qualities and qualifications desirable in candidates for such posts
  • There are some who would distinguish radically between information (Religious Education) as content, and formation (Catechesis) as socializing people into Christian identity. The reality is we need both and they complement each other
  • This is not to say that the task of formation in faith is the sole responsibility of the school. Formation is a community centred task and demands a coalition of parish, family, and school
  • The challenge remains to commit ourselves anew to live out the ideals of Catholic education in the day to day life of schools, so that our pupils may act with justice and integrity in an imperfect world when they are adults themselves
  • Living out the ideals of Catholic education in the day-to-day life of the school will involve three Ws: Witness, Worship and Welfare
  • Catholic schools are characterised by an atmosphere of pastoral care and a deliberate attempt to create community
  • As bishops we have the responsibility for holding the ethos of Catholic schools. I assure you of our unfailing support now and in the future