Opportunity’s knocking for formation in schools

My role of Education Officer in Spirituality and Formation emerged in 2015 from a recommendation in the review of the Teaching of Religion in Secondary Education in 2012.

The philosophy underpinning the role is grounded in the Catholic Schools Office Vision Statement: At the heart of everything, there is always Jesus Christ. My role aims to provide opportunities for staff across 56 Catholic schools and the CSO, to engage in an exploration of the mystery and the grandeur of God in the world. The programs form the heart of an emerging framework which hopes to provide encounters with the person of Jesus in a regular, systematic and relevant way.

A snapshot of a ten-week period has me on retreat almost weekly with school/s or running specific retreat program/s aimed at targeted groups. The “Doorways Retreat” for beginning teachers and “We are Called” for newly-appointed school executive members are two examples. Working with school executives to develop a strategic and purposeful plan for Formation in Mission for the schools is also a large aspect of my work, as is delivering formation at staff meetings, researching and writing further programs.

I am privileged to accompany people on their faith journeys, to witness some of their sacred moments. I do not take God to them, they already have God.

This role can only exist because of the commitment of Bishop Bill and the CSO to the importance of the formation of all staff, to nurture the nature and purpose of Catholic education.

One significant obstacle to formation is the lack of an appropriate place and space in the diocese where retreats can be held.

My vision for this role is twofold: the development of a formal Formation for Mission Framework which captures the diverse formation opportunities which are beginning to emerge, and the investment in key personnel across schools to nurture and grow simultaneously the magnificent spiritual inheritance currently in our schools, at a time of great challenge in the Australian Church.

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