Catholic Education Week 2023
Catholic Education Week 2023 is going to be celebrated from 21-26 May.
‘Let the words you speak always be full of grace’ – Colossians 4:6
How we speak and how we are open to be changed through dialogue, has been subject to deep consideration in many different circles – political, social, ecological, theological. Dialogue opens us to the other, to learn and to change – it is an openness to be moved or influenced and allow for the spirit to be present – this is the invitation our theme offers.
The way we live and act and the words we speak provide insight into the very essence of our individual being. Our use of language, with expression and gestures, brings us into engagement with others. Most regularly this engagement is through conversation or dialogue. For Christian people, sometimes this dialogue may be with the divine.
Grace is the gift of God’s presence in our lives. How we engage, speak and dialogue with others can bring God’s presence into being.
St Paul’s letter to the Colossians was written to a community receiving distorted accounts of Christian conduct and belief. St Paul was urging Christ’s followers to be above the misrepresentations. His words could be seen as inviting people into dialogue about Jesus and the Christian message in the world. We are invited to do that again today by Pope Francis who provides three fundamental guidelines to help us dialogue or speak with grace:
“The duty to respect one’s own identity and that of others, the courage to accept differences, and sincerity of intentions.”
The dialogue that is Catholic education, seeks to undertake a proclamation of the Gospel that also can be understood with all whom we seek to engage so that what is offered becomes intelligible and plausible. Context matters, culture shapes our capacity to hear, to make meaning and arrive at interpretation. The mustard seed is sown, small and fragile as it is, growing with potential to become something far greater than at the time of sowing. Already the relationship exists between the Sower and Earth, knowing what to sow, when to sow, understanding the conditions and working with what the Sower has learned themselves.
Amongst the spiritual dispositions we need, firstly in ourselves is deep listening, a precondition for genuine dialogue. An authentic Catholic identity needs to learn to know its place in a pluralistic culture such as ours, where Christianity is not the religion of the empire, but increasingly a minority speaking from the margins – this may be the recontextualised environment that we seek to evangelise from. One of the challenges for us is to accept joyfully and humbly, this place within our pluralist society. This might be a manifestation of the Gospel images of the kingdom of God of being salt and leaven, a mustard seed and light. (Fr Justin Driscoll)
At the start of 2022 the Congregation for Catholic Education published, The Identity of Catholic Schools for a Culture of Dialogue, a document or instruction that affirms the importance of Catholic education as part of the evangelising mission of the Church and explains the role that all those who work in Catholic Education play in its achievement. The place of dialogue and human exchange.
If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue. We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to. Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building ‘a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter’ and in creating ‘a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society’. … All this calls for the ability to recognise other people’s right to be themselves and to be different.
Dialogue is much more than the communication of a truth. It arises from the enjoyment of speaking and it enriches those who express their love for one another through the medium of words. This is an enrichment which does not consist in objects but in persons who share themselves in dialogue. (Jim and Therese D’Orsa et al. 2019.)
Liturgical Resources for Schools
- Catholic Education Week Liturgy 2023 (Word document)
- Staff Prayer for Catholic Education Week 2023 (PowerPoint)
- Instruction “The Identity of Catholic Schools for a Culture of Dialogue”
30 Years of Service Awards & Diocesan Leadership Awards
- 30 Years of Service Awards 2023
- Diocesan Leadership Awards 2023