Welcome back dear friends and colleagues.
Some of you have kindly shared assembles for the Start of the new Academic Year and some prayers gathered from the internetAs we start back it is worth recalling some key principles under pinning Religious Education in our Catholic Schools.
Religious Education in Catholic Schools:
In the life of faith of the Catholic school, religious education plays a central and vital part. At the heart of Catholic education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is expressed and explored in religious education. Therefor religious education is never simply one subject among many, but the foundation of the entire educational process. The beliefs and values studied in catholic religious education inspire and draw together every aspect of the life of a catholic school. We are committed to classroom RE, then, because all pupils have the right to receive an overall education which will enable them, in the light of the faith of the Church, to engage with the deepest questions of life and find reasons for the hope which is within them (1 Peter 3.15). Religious education is, then, the core subject in a Catholic school.
Excellence in religious education, then, will be characterised by a clarity of succinct religious learning objectives and of key content, by appropriate methodologies, rigour, richness of resources, achievement of identified outcomes and accurate methods of assessment. Classroom RE will be a challenging educational engagement between the pupil, the teacher and the authentic subject material.
When classroom RE displays these educational characteristics, then its specific contribution to the life of the Catholic school, which as a whole is a catechetical community, becomes apparent. Then the complementarity of the various roles which contribute to the life of the school is also clarified: the role of the leadership of the school as a catechetical community, the role of the chaplaincy of the school and the partnership in the religious life of the pupils between the school, the parishes and the families. All these have a part to play in the handing on of faith and its expression and exploration in daily life.
The importance of the teacher of RE cannot be exaggerated. We are most grateful to all those teachers who, week in and week out, have contributed to the religious education of pupils in our schools. We recognise the difficulties that are faced in this task, especially in a society like ours which does not encourage the natural religiosity of the individual, nor offer popular support for faithful adherence to the practice of faith. We salute the generosity of our teachers who have brought not only a love of their faith to their teaching but also a deep concern for the well-being of every pupil. We offer them every encouragement and support as they strive to develop their professional expertise in this vital subject. We also salute and thank the senior management teams and governors of our schools for their work in fostering our schools as communities of faith. We encourage them to give every possible support and importance to the RE departments and coordinators. A Catholic school which promotes the best possible teaching of religious education is fulfilling its true purpose.
Start of Year Resources:
Some Assemblies kindly given to us by Sr Marjorie (St Patrick’s College, Keady)