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 Religious Education and Life of the School

Vision for Religious Education

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The Vision for Religious Education emphasises the complementarity of the two dimensions of Religious Education and articulates a school’s aspirations for students in terms of their religious literacy and faith formation. In that sense the Vision begins with ‘the end in mind’.

 
The schools and colleges of the Archdiocese of Brisbane aspire to educate and form students who are challenged to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and who are literate in the Catholic and broader Christian tradition so that they might participate critically and authentically in faith contexts and wider society.
 
The Vision for Religious Education appropriately aligns with the goal for learning and teaching as articulated in the Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) Learning and Teaching Framework (2012):
 
As a Catholic Christian community we educate all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ as successful, creative and confident, active and informed learners empowered to shape and enrich our world.
 
The Vision for Religious Education challenges students to be a religious voice in the world. The vision gives greater prominence and a renewed orientation to the critical interpretation and evaluation of culture.
Through vibrant and engaging Religious Education, students become active constructors of culture rather than passive consumers. In this way, students are challenged to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. Pope john Paul II (1984) reminds Catholic schools to:
 
Develop your culture with wisdom. Ask culture what values it promotes, what destiny it offers, what place it makes for the poor and the disinherited, how it conceives of sharing, forgiveness, love.
 
Religious Education seeks to develop the religious literacy of students in light of the Catholic Christian tradition, so that they might participate critically and authentically in contemporary culture. Students become religiously literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently in and for faith contexts and the wider society.
 
Religious literacy should not be confused with religious knowledge. The Vision describes students who can articulate their faith and live it in an open and authentic way. Religious literacy encompasses a set of ongoing activities and interactions among people. These include ways of talking, acting, creating, communicating, critiquing, evaluating, participating, ritualising, theologising, worshipping, reading, reflecting and writing with others in a variety of religious and secular contexts.
 
For religious educators, this Vision is framed within a broad and expansive understanding of life that goes a long way beyond education as an end in itself.
 
 
Jesus Christ is the centre of this Vision. While knowledge and understanding of religious concepts is important, the truths and beliefs to which a student adheres must have some consequence in their life. Effective Religious Education requires teachers to be more than consumers of the tradition.
 
Through engagement with both dimensions of Religious Education, students are challenged to be cultural agents in light of the Gospel; authentic witnesses to the mission of Jesus Christ in the world today.
 
 
 Religious Life of the School
 
 
 

The Guidelines for the Religious Life of the School (RLOS) assists school communities in the Archdiocese in the development of faith of their members by providing a lens through which their religious life may be viewed and developed. These Guidelines assist school communities to engage in practical ways in implementing the Vision Statement for Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, particularly its call to Teach, Challenge and Transform. The RLOS document outlines four components, each with three elements, in the religious life of a school.

Religious Identity and Culture

The school embeds, communicates and lives its particular ethos and charism through such ways as:

  • using symbols
  • incorporating prayers
  • celebrating days of religious significance
  • displaying the school’s vision and mission statements

The school builds authentic Christian community through such ways as:

  • Celebrating the cultural diversity of the school
  • acknowledging connections with the wider church community
  • welcoming encouraging and supporting participation of families in the life of the school

The school creates and values a sense of the sacred through such ways as

  • Establishing and maintaining sacred and reflective spaces in classrooms and around the school
  • providing professional learning for staff on religious art and iconography
  • using the natural environment to enhance a sense of the sacred

Prayer and Worship

The school nurtures the Christian prayer life of its community through such ways as:

  • Teaching and using a variety of traditional prayers and devotions for individual and communal use
  • Scheduling time to allow for prayer and worship across the school
  • Immersing students in perse experiences of prayer e.g. meditation

The school celebrates liturgy and sacraments through such ways as:

Providing formation for staff, students and parents

  • Arranging the physical environment and providing resources for full and active participation in liturgy and sacrament
  • Providing opportunities for the celebration of the sacraments within the life of the school
  • Children and staff attend Mass weekly.
  • The school plays an integral part of the Sacramental development with members on the team

The school recognises and ritualises the sacredness of everyday life through such ways as:

  • Ritualising life events e.g. rites of passage, beginning and end of year, times of grief and loss
  • Including prayer rituals in the day to day procedures and routines of school life
  • Inviting parental involvement in prayer rituals
  • Acknowledging traditions in prayer culture. E.g. Angelus bells are rung each day at 12.00noon.

 

Evangelisation and Faith Formation

The school fosters the call to live the gospel through such ways as:

  • Reflecting the life and message of Jesus Christ through routines and practices e.g. hospitality and outreach
  • Establishing policies, practices and structures that promote inclusion and a sense of belonging to a Christian community
  • Presenting the gospel message in engaging ways
  • Incorporating the MJR programme in the school.

The school nurtures the spiritual formation of each individual through such ways as:

  • Providing faith formation experiences for students, staff and parents
  • Providing opportunities to express spiritual awareness through the creative arts
  • Celebrating the religious unity and diversity within the school community

The school witnesses to the wider community through such ways as:

  • Building collaborative relationships with the parish and local Church
  • Participating in the life of the local community e.g. service organisations, youth ministry, aged-care
  • Engaging with students from other schools to give witness to the beliefs and values of the Catholic tradition

Social Justice and Action

The school practises justice within its own community through such ways as:

  • Identifying, implementing and promoting policies, structures and practices that respect the rights and dignity of all members of the school community
  • Applying Christian stewardship to the resources and environment of the school
  • Establishing just processes of discernment and critical judgement when making decisions

The school acts for justice through such ways as:

  • Implementing policies and practices within the school that nurture a generosity of spirit
  • Reviewing and monitoring the complexity and expense of experiences offered by the school in light of catholic social teaching
  • Engaging with student initiated and/or local justice projects as part of the curriculum
  • Providing for active involvement in supporting social justice initiatives.

The school consciously reflects on its action for justice through such ways as:

  • Incorporating practices of review and critique in relation to current actions for justice within the school community
  • Building a reflective component into school social justice practices, celebrations of significant events, and prayer life