The aim of the Religious Studies department is intrinsically linked with the school motto as from the mission statement: “To unite all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).
In putting the motto into practice, the department is participating in the mission of the Church, conscious of the important part it has to play in supporting parents and parishes in handing on the Faith to the next generation. Through Baptism the young person is given a new identity:
- as a son or daughter of God the Father
- a brother or sister of Jesus
- a temple of the Holy Spirit
- and a member of the Christian community.
Enabling the growing child to realise their identity is the task of Christian Education. This takes place in the home (family catechises), in the school and in the parish (through the liturgy and especially the celebration of the Eucharist).
Parents, as stated in the baptismal ceremony, are the first teachers of the Faith. Both parish and school can only really be effective in their roles if they build on what is provided in the home. The commitment of parents is the first and most effective influence on our young people. It may be however, that at times both the parish and more especially the school may have to supply what is lacking.
It is very important to note that the Religious Studies department does not supply the totality of what is called the Catholic ethos of the school. The passing on of this ethos by the school is bigger than the work of just the Religious Studies department. This is the reason why this ethos must be manifest across the whole-school life and curriculum. In this way the mission statement recognises that the whole-school community should be involved in prayer and worship and other activities that enhance the spiritual life of the school. The department’s role is to lead and inspire in this regard. In the same way, opportunities for the celebration of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation and participating in retreats and days of recollection are the responsibility not just of the department but of all members of staff with responsibility for the moral, social and personal development of the young people in our care.
At the same time, the Religious Studies department has a specific and obvious role in supporting and encouraging each student in their individual journey of faith. The department seeks to supplement the religious teaching at home and in parishes to provide each student with a sound knowledge and understanding of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and relate what is taught to their lives in the multi-faith and multi-cultural society in which we live.