Catholic education of school-age children - electronic version ISBN 978-0-473-27170-1

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Catholic education of school-age children - electronic version ISBN 978-0-473-27170-1

The Catholic Education of School-Age Childrenof the Mass and the reception of Jesus in the Eucharist who, through the Holy Spirit, is thesource of every charism.54. A school for young Catholics is first and foremost Catholic. It may have a particular charismderived from its founding religious order or its history. That charism will rightly play animportant part in shaping the school’s particular identity. It must be remembered howeverthat the charism is not the totality of the school’s identity. Rather it is a lens through whichthe school’s Catholicity should be seen. The charism must highlight in every way the school’sCatholic identity, and not relegate it to a secondary place.55. In the same way a school’s focus on the saint of its name or founding religious congregationshould not obscure the primacy of the relationship with Jesus Christ which it is the school’sduty to foster. The young adult is first and foremost a disciple of Christ, and should not bedescribed in the first instance as the follower of a particular saint or founder by the use of ageneric name for the students. Inspiration may be taken from the life of a saint, but the focusmust be on Christ.56. There has been little emphasis at the national level on Catholic character activities outsidethe religious education programme, the latter having attracted most of the energy andresources. Schools have largely been left to develop and manage these activities themselves.We consider that a mechanism or structure is needed to enable the clarification of objectivesfor these formative activities, the sharing of effective practice, and the provision of support.The Religious Education programme57. The disciple’s journey begins with a personal encounter with God, and progresses to desiringto “grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching”. The disciple isdrawn into “a new life characterised by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christianwitness…” 23 .58. Over the last two decades a great deal of resource – human and financial – has been putinto the religious education programme in Catholic schools. The emphasis on the religiouseducation programme has been nationally driven, with the programme being standardisedacross all schools. Schools are required to use the curriculum resources provided by theNational Centre for Religious Studies (NCRS), which have an imprimatur. This requirementwas implemented in order to ensure that the resources which teachers use in the teachingof religious education are theologically sound, and to a certain extent, to assist the manyteachers of religious education who are under-qualified.23 Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Catholic Educators of the United States, 200813