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Parish and school relationship explored

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Pastoral associates and assistant principals (Religious Identity and Mission) came together last month to explore ways of supporting and enhancing the relationship between the parish and the Catholic school as part of the Adelaide Archdiocese’s renewing program.

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The gathering was an opportunity to introduce the draft document Being Church Together: A Theology, Vision and Guiding Principles for the Parish-School Relationship which is being developed as a collaboration between Catholic Education SA and the Office for Renewing Parishes.

The document was developed at the request of Archbishop Philip Wilson and will form the basis of a consultation process with parish and school communities which concludes at Easter next year.

CESA coordinator of Religious Education, Michael Vial, said the document was mindful of “a theology of church in which the Catholic parish school is understood as part of the parish” but also spoke to the current realities of the communities of people respectively associated with ‘the parish’ and ‘the school’.

“It offers a theology, vision, guiding principles and examples to these communities to support a growing and quality relationship within the parish,” he said.

“It also seeks to offer a language and understandings of the terminology of ‘parish’ and ‘Catholic school’ that support the relationship and build a common identity while honouring unique roles.”

While acknowledging the vital role of the family to the life and mission of the Church, the scope of this document was primarily focused on the relationship of the parish and the Catholic school.

The document is aimed at the leadership groups of the parish and the Catholic school as well as other agencies connected to the Church’s presence and mission, members of the parish worshipping community, members of the school community and families.

Mr Vial said the Church was being challenged by Pope Francis to go to the peripheries and as the document states, “children and families on the peripheries are often present in Catholic schools”.

“In this way, Catholic schools are a gift to the fundamental mission of the Church…the challenge is to open the Church door, step out, to be with and to welcome”, the document says.

Mr Vial said each parish and school was invited to reflect and discern together practical ways to make the vision of the ‘Church being one body of Christ with many parts’ a greater reality with the help of the Holy Spirit. They would be invited to provide feedback during 2018 and early 2019 about how the document can be improved, and share how the document has been used and what have been some outcomes of this engagement.

Chancellor Heather Carey said the gathering at The Monastery, which was attended by about 40 people, was a great introduction to the document and the responses during discussions were very encouraging.

Further information is available through the CESA Religious Education Team ph 8301 6659.

 

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