The emerging story of faith formation opportunities across the Diocese

Marking four years since the inception of the role of Education Officer, Formation for Mission, 2018 has seen a number of achievements in Faith Formation across the Diocese.

The first cohort of early career teachers completed the three-year “Doorways” program. This program aims to provide newly appointed teachers with an opportunity to encounter the person of Christ, experience the Church as a positive expression of Christ’s mission in the world and to appreciate the power of personal witness to this mission.

The Dominican retreat program for San Clemente was written and delivered; pilgrims completed The Aussie Camino; a trial local Camino experience for Maitland-Newcastle was undertaken; thirty individual school retreat programs were conducted introducing staff to a variety of church encyclicals and letters, Vatican documents and spiritual practices, with a heavy emphasis on prayer and scripture; a pilgrimage to Ireland was completed, a retreat program for support staff and Education Officers was undertaken and there was a continual exploration of Indigenous Spirituality.

A significant focus for the year has been on leadership, recognising and acknowledging the link between Catholic School Identity, Faith Leadership, Leadership Formation” (Neidhart and Lamb, 2016) and the reality that leaders, staff and families may equally sit as people “injured, as drifters or dissenters” (Richard Gaillardetz, 2018) by, from or to faith.

As part of this focus involved the development of a second part to the threeyear induction program for newly appointed Assistant Principals and Principals called “We are Called and We Are Challenged”. This program requires leaders to intentionally engage with a vision of leadership beyond the corporate. It highlights the pivotal importance of “God conscious” leadership.

Part one connects the ecclesial and secular purposes of the catholic school. Part two, “Sentinels,” unpacks five central themes which emerge from church documents related to Catholic Education since Vatican II. It also addresses and presents a case for the challenge of critical belonging in the church for staff and for families.

This is grounded in the work of systematic theologian Richard Gaillardetz and is central to the question of ensuring the unique and distinctive character of Catholic schools with authenticity.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.