Some talking points with Fr Richard Leonard SJ
We recorded a number of short videos with Fr Richard Leonard SJ where he talks about the context of the modern Catholic schools. These videos are useful for formation and conversation starters for meetings involving staff, parents and school boards.
In watching this video consider how your school is travelling with regard to the Church’s Cardinal Values (Justice, Fidelity, Self Care and Prudence) and the Christian Values of Mercy and Hospitality. What is your school community doing well? What might need some work?
Fr Richard suggests five areas for a school board to consider:
- Being welcoming and inclusive
- Care for the individual
- Connecting with Jesus
- Excellence in learning, and
- Becoming men and women for others
Many of our schools were founded by Religious Orders which brought with them a distinctive Charism – a context, history, a focus and a particular take on faith in the world. But we should not forget the purpose of charism is to serve Christ. Charism is great but it needs to feed into the life of the Church.
Church attendances are dwindling but our schools have never been more popular. What’s happening? A contextual discussion that includes the impact of the recent Royal Commission.
Catholic schools get great results but perhaps their more important role is in forming character in our students. What did Plato say about character? Compassion, integrity and service – key outcomes of a Catholic education.
How’s this for a list – an inclusive community, respect and dignity for all, setting up a lifetime of learning, compassion for the poor, empowering our students to achieve their full potential.
Are we joyful witnesses of faith – can we tell our faces to smile? Proclaim the good news. Let’s not lose sight of the good works of the Church.
The best outcomes occur when the home and school are saying the same things for the same reasons. Why are we against the ‘happiness industry’? Is there more faith out there that we give credit for?