EDUCATION MATTERS: Formation for Mission of Catholic Education Tasmania

By Dr Gerard Gaskin, Executive Director of Catholic Education Tasmania

Working in Catholic education is a rewarding endeavour, but regular opportunities to recharge our energies and refocus our sense of purpose are integral to our success.

Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) held a System Day: Formation for Mission on Friday 12 April, with all educators, staff, parish priests and school chaplains from our 38 schools in attendance.

This crucial day in the CET calendar was facilitated at several sites across the state, and the premise of the day was to explore and strengthen our knowledge of ‘who we are’ and ‘whom do we serve?’ This was achieved through a day of informative presentations, group activities, questions to reflect upon and prayer.

At the heart of education is the human person. At the heart of Catholic education are two persons: the human person and the person of Jesus Christ. Catholic Education and Formation cannot be effective unless all of us know and understand these two persons – ourselves, and those we serve.

As Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’. (Matthew 19:14)

The Formation for Mission day also allowed CET staff to fulfil their Accreditation A, which allows them to work in a Catholic school or system. Catholic schools and colleges are both educating and evangelising communities, giving an authentic voice to the religious dimension of life through the lens of a faith community.

Accreditation A means that all employees are called to share in the evangelising mission of Catholic schools. They collectively strive to meet the challenge found in Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus commissioned his followers to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’. (Matthew 28:19)

CET welcomed Jonathan and Karen Doyle as their guest speakers for the day. They are the founders of Australian organisation Choicez Media, which supports teachers and parents to educate young people in the area of human sexuality and relationships through a Christian lens. 

Choicez Media have developed a program called ‘Respectful Relationships and Consent Education for the Flourishing of the Human’, which will be rolled out across our CET schools this year.

Other key themes explored throughout the day were the challenges faced by the children and young people in our schools and the Christian vision of the human person. Participants enhanced their knowledge of the students they are educating, their educational and spiritual challenges and needs. They were also asked to consider how they address these within their specific roles for the TCEO or a CET school.

The Formation for Mission day helped us to grow in our understanding and appreciation of these rewards and challenges.

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