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  • Catholic Education Week - Showing Faith in Action

    From April 26 to May 3 schools in the Diocese will be celebrating Catholic Education Week and this year’s theme is Faith in Action. 

    Catholic Education Week is celebrated in each Diocese in Victoria at different times but usually in the first half of the year. Whilst the timing of the Catholic Education Week celebrations varies around the dioceses, the goals are the same. Catholic Education Week provides an opportunity to communicate and celebrate the distinctive mission of Catholic education. It is an opportunity to promote not only the great work being done in our schools to a wide audience but also to showcase our specific Catholic ethos. 

    This year’s theme of Faith in Action ties in with the worldwide Year of Faith (11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013). During this year Catholics around the world are called upon to experience a conversion; to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism and during this year Catholics are called to open it, again walk through it and rediscover and renew their relationship with Christ and his Church. 

    Catholic Education Week is a time when principals and staffs in schools are encouraged to open their doors to, and celebrate with, not just their own school community but the wider community of prospective students and families, local State and Federal politicians, the media and general public. The annual Leadership Eucharist and Dinner, to be held this year on April 24 at Traralgon, celebrates and acknowledges the leaders who are actively working in Catholic education in the diocese and awards teachers in our schools who are seen to embody the spirit of Catholic education.  

    The theme of Faith in Action is a reminder to us all that it is not enough just to be familiar with the message of Christ. Our faith must be translated into deeds. Jesus’ ministry was an active one, grounded in Scripture and actively realized through his words and his relationships with all whom he encountered. Catholic schools encourage young people to put their faith into action through formal community service programs and their everyday interactions with others. Social justice activities are a core part of student learning in Catholic schools and students are encouraged to learn about and come to understand the nature of injustice as it exists in our world today. While fundraising is one form of response to some of the financial injustice that is evident, fundraising alone is not sufficient.  Supporting those whose needs are greater than our own frequently means becoming involved in community service rather than just fundraising efforts, which, while admirable, can be one step removed form the reality of other people’s lives and the disadvantages that are prevalent. Social justice activities can never be a replacement for formal religious education classes and liturgical celebrations, however. Rather, the activities show a movement from prayer, reflection and learning to active involvement in the world around us. 

    Sam de Brito, writing in the M Magazine of the Sunday Age recently, featured an experience he had while stopped at a set of lights. An elderly person on a walking stick was trying to negotiate a pedestrian crossing, with the driver of a turning car obviously keen to complete the turn and get moving again. In reading the article it was easy to feel the tension of the traffic and the anxiety of the elderly person, unable to move any faster and most probably knowing the lights were going to change before the other side of the road was reached. De Brito noticed a younger person on the crossing deliberately slow down and walk behind the elderly one, seemingly shepherding the person across whilst holding the turning cars at bay. All of this was done without letting the other pedestrian know it was hapening. Faith in action?