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Mission and religious education

Enhancing Catholic identity

A strong Catholic identity ensures the work of Brisbane Catholic Education schools and office communities remains Christ-centred while encouraging a diversity of authentic expression.

In 2016, Brisbane Catholic Education launched the Strengthening Catholic Identity Position Statement, which outlines the organisation's future direction in this area and which will inform the development of a Strong Catholic Identity Strategy Map to be released in 2017.

Fourteen new schools joined the Brisbane Catholic Education Leuven Project, bringing the total number of schools that have engaged in this project to 38 since commencement in 2014. This project assists schools to explore and better understand how their Catholic identity is expressed in work and practice and to support these schools to strengthen their Catholic identity.

During the year 12 principals from the Archdiocese of Brisbane engaged in a two-week intensive study course in theology at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium to explore and unpack the theology underpinning the Leuven Project and deepen their understanding of a contemporary Catholic school identity. These participants are now using this new knowledge to conduct conversations about how the Leuven theory and theology can be applied to Catholic education into the future.

A collaborative partnership was established with the Australian Catholic University to deliver a live­-in residential program that targets assistant principals. This program provides an Australian-based opportunity for those in leadership to engage with the Leuven theology and methodology, and to deepening the theological capacity of leaders across the system.

To support schools to reflect and live out their Catholic identity in every facet of day-to-day work and life, a Catholic identity website providing a resource hub was developed. This hub brings together Brisbane Catholic Education's strategic material, practical tools and resources related to the Leuven Project as well as information and guides on projects under the broader organisational initiative Strengthening Catholic Identity.

A revised Religious Life of the School Self Reflection Tool was released which uses a three-point scale to enable school self-assessment in this area. The tool is an important element of the school planning process, providing a lens through which schools may audit and further develop their religious life.​

School spotlight: Above, Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School students Eden and Reuben Fox and Naira and Marley Bujeja show off the mural which helps promote the Catholic identity of their school. Click on the image to read more.

Integrating faith, life and culture

​Brisbane Catholic Education's 2016 Masterclass Series focused on Catholic school identity, providing opportunities for staff to hear outstanding scholars and educators in the educative and religious dimensions of Catholic education. Four internationally renowned speakers shared their wisdom:

  • Professor Stephen Bevans, a priest in the Society of the Divine Word and Professor Emeritus of Mission and Culture at the Catholic Theological Union Chicago, delivered a presentation in Brisbane on 29 April titled: God of mercy, People of mercy: The Church's mission in a year of mercy.

  • Professor Thomas Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, delivered three presentations during May in Brisbane and Toowoomba titled: Deepening the Catholic Identity of Schools; System identity: What makes us Catholic?; and Deepening the Catholic identity of schools: Education from and for faith.

  • Professor Trevor Cooling, Professor of Christian Education at Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom, delivered two presentations in Brisbane in July titled: Is there such a thing as Christian pedagogy?

  • Father Sean McDonagh, an Irish Columban missionary, eco-theologian and author based in the United Kingdom, delivered a presentation in Brisbane in November titled: Eco-theology and Laudato si'.

Shaping educational practice and community ethos

The formation of staff is critical to the mission of Catholic education. Eight schools participated in the Catching Fire Staff Formation program, making a total of around 110 schools to have joined the program since it commenced in 2007. This program supported the individual spiritual formation and community culture of staff across Brisbane Catholic Education schools. Powerhouse of Leaders AR.jpg

Students from 38 Brisbane Catholic Education and Religious Institute schools participated in the 2016 Powerhouse of Leaders event, an inspirational day of spiritual formation and leadership. This event provided 400 young student leaders with an opportunity to come together to be inspired by contemporary leaders. 

Twenty pilgrims from Brisbane Catholic Education schools and offices journeyed to the 31st World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Participants learnt about aspects of the Church, from ancient traditions to new teachings and perspectives on issues including stewardship of the earth and caring for the poor and marginalised in society.

On returning the pilgrims shared their experiences with students and staff in their own schools and across the Brisbane Catholic Education community of schools.​

Supporting learning and teaching in religious education

Over 90 Brisbane Catholic Education and Religious Institute schools and colleges engaged in the religious education validation process during 2016. This three-year program of work has now ensured that all Archdiocesan schools have a documented, high quality Religious Education Program developed in accordance with the Archdiocese of Brisbane's Religious Education Curriculum.

To further enhance professional learning opportunities for Religious Education teachers six Religious Education films and supporting materials were designed, developed and released for use by assistant principals religious education and other school leaders. These resources provide schools with a self-directed learning opportunity around aspects of the Religious Education Curriculum, including Catholic approaches to scripture, church history and Christology.

For nearly 20 years, the Religious Education Accreditation Program (REAP) has been foundational for new teachers and has grown to encompass multiple pathways into tertiary study and to cater to staff in a variety of roles across the organisation. During 2016 a review was undertaken to measure the effectiveness of the program against the Brisbane Catholic Education strategic priorities. While the review found the program to be effective, some minor changes will be made for 2017. These will include making more explicit connections with Brisbane Catholic Education priorities and better tailoring resources to meet the learning needs of secondary teachers.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101