Catholic schools play a key part in the work of the diocese. The pastoral plan, “Called to work in the vineyard of the Lord”, (2005) refers to them. The Pastoral plan include a strong commitment to the growth of communities. More children are in the communities of our Catholic schools than are active in parishes.
Canon Law 793 §1 states: “Parents and those who take their place, have both the obligation and the right to educate their children. Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means and institutes which, in their local circumstances, can best promote the catholic education of their children”.
What do Catholic Schools do?
Catholic schools share the vision of the Catholic Church:
- Provide the best learning for each child to reach her/his potential;
- give the best context for young people to engage in worship and Christian action;
- have headteachers who witness as prophet and priest, anointed to the service of school community;
- have community members, i.e. staff, who lead worship and model Christian life and values;
- provide learning opportunities about faith: evangelisation and catechesis;
- are the place where children and young people engage daily with their faith: worship, witness of staff, opportunities to reflect, pray and put their beliefs into practice;
- Education develops the potential of each person. We share responsibility for the education of our children and young people: ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.
The Documents of the Second Vatican Council give clear and unequivocal support to the role of Catholic schools and their staff:
“The Church’s role is especially evident in Catholic schools. These are no less zealous than other schools in the formation of culture and in the human formation of young people. It is, however, the special function of the Catholic school to develop in the school community an atmosphere animated by a spirit of liberty and charity based on the Gospel. It enables young people, while developing their own personality, to grow at the same time in that new life which has been given them in baptism…..Thus the Catholic school, taking into consideration as it should the conditions of an age of progress, prepares its pupils to contribute effectively to the welfare of the world of men and to work for the extension of the kingdom of God, so that by living and exemplary and apostolic life they may be, as it were, a saving leaven in the community.
Possessed by charity both towards each other and towards their pupils, and inspired by an apostolic spirit, they (teachers) should bear testimony by their lives and by their teaching to the one Teacher, who is Christ. Above all they should work in close cooperation with the parents.”
Documents of Vatican II vol.1: Christian Education: Gravissimum Educationis pp. 732-733, § 8
The Documents of the Second Vatican Council assign responsibility to the Catholic communities to support their Catholic schools:
“The sacred Synod earnestly exhorts the pastors of the church and all the faithful to spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools to become increasingly effective, especially in caring for the poor, for those who are without the help and affection of family and those who do not have the Faith.”
Documents of Vatican II vol.1: Christian Education: Gravissumum Educationis pp.734-735 § 9
The documents recognize the work of Catholic Schools in the formation of young people:
“Education is, in a very special way, the concern of the Church, not only because the Church must be recognized as a human society capable of imparting education, but especially it has the duty of proclaiming the way of salvation to all men, of revealing the life of Christ to those who believe, and of assisting then with unremitting care so that they may be able to attain to the fullness of that life.
The Church as a mother is under an obligation therefore, to provide for its children an education by virtue of which their whole lives may be inspired by the spirit of Christ.”
Documents of Vatican II vol.1: Christian Education: Gravissimum Educationis pp. 729-730 § 3