Haere Mai, Welcome.
Catholic education and Catholic schools lie at the heart of the mission of the Catholic Church which, in every time and place, is to make known to all peoples the Good News of salvation made present and accessible to us through the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why the "Special Character" of a Catholic School in New Zealand is described identically for each school in these words:
"This school is a Roman Catholic School in which the whole school community, through the general school programme and in its religious instructions and observances, exercises the right to live and teach the values of Jesus Christ. These values are as expressed in the Scriptures and in the practices, worship and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, as determined from time to time by the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese."
At the beginning of this third Christian millennium we were all invited, in the words of Pope John Paul II, to "put out into the deep" (Luke 5: 1-11). Pope John Paul II reminded us (in his Letter of 6th January 2001, "At the turn of the new Millennium") that, "these words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm, and to look to the future with confidence, because: 'Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever' (Hebrews 13:8) ".
The Catholic school's "community" importantly includes its parents, students and staff, but equally it includes the Bishop, priests and religious and the whole Diocese of Christchurch and the parish in which the school is located, or the parishes which contribute students to it. Together, we make up the family of the Church in this place.
The Catholic Education Office's influence on educational outcomes within Catholic schools and parishes is somewhat indirect. We are not a provider of education to students in classrooms or parish Sacramental/Religious Education programmes. We are, in the main, a provider of leadership & training, support & development, for those who are actively engaged leading Catholic schools and parishes and educating students in classrooms and parish Sacramental/Religious Education programmes.
Our role is based on three main areas of influence. We aim to provide:
- professional and personal development opportunities,
- resources, and
- pro-active leadership, guidance and support
for those engaged in the educational mission of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Christchurch. For example, we provide:
- In-service Religious Education courses for teachers at all levels.
- In-school support for teachers of Religious Education.
- Certificate in Catechetical Studies for student teachers.
- Diploma in Religious Studies (Stream: Religious Education) for teachers.
- An external Special Catholic Character Review and Development process for schools.
- Study Awards for the Australian Catholic University's Master of Educational Leadership.
- Study Awards for the Australian Catholic University's Master of Religious Education.
- A Parish Primary Religious Education (PPRE) programme and support for parish leaders of PPRE.
- The Sharing in the Life of Christ (SITLOC) programme and support for parish leaders of SITLOC.
- Resources for Catholic Faith Exploration in parishes
- A Children's Liturgy of the Word (CLOW) programme for parishes.
In all these endeavours the Catholic Education Office seeks, through its policies, budget, advice and relationships, to promote a holistic model of education for the schools and parishes it serves.