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Queensland’s 304 Catholic school communities are looking to discover new horizons as they celebrate this year’s Catholic Education Week from 29 July to 4 August.
The theme for this year’s celebration is Discovering new horizons, drawn from the words of Pope Francis at World Youth Day in 2016 when he told young people that to live a Christian life they would need ‘a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths’.
Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Lee-Anne Perry said the week of celebration was a time to focus on the achievements of Catholic schools across the state.
“From the far north to the southern and western borders our schools will be celebrating the distinctive ethos of Catholic education,” Dr Perry said.
“Once again this year we are heading outside the southeast corner for our official launch and we’re excited to be hosting the event at St Anthony’s Catholic College at Deeragun in the Diocese of Townsville.”
Townsville Catholic Education Executive Director, Jacqui Francis said the schools of the Diocese were excited to be involved in the event.
“There is a real buzz around our schools. Students from Mount Isa, Proserpine, Ingham, Charters Towers and a number of small regional locations will be participating in the event,” Jacqui said.
“As hosts of the state-wide launch in Townsville, our students are encouraged to feel connected to the Queensland Catholic Education community during this important celebration of the mission of our Catholic schools.”
Dr Perry said Catholic Education Week highlighted the many shapes and sizes of Catholic schools, from small rural schools to large metropolitan colleges, from boarding schools to flexi-schools for disengaged students.
“They are all unique, but they are also bound together by a common mission to make a difference in the lives of students, and in the wider community, by challenging young to reach their full potential as compassionate, contributing, life-giving members of society,” she said.
Celebrations around the state will include Masses and other liturgical celebrations, parent and grandparent days, school activities focused on this year’s theme, and visits to community facilities such as aged care homes and childcare centres.
Catholic Education Week is also an opportunity to recognise those staff and volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to Catholic education.
The Spirit of Catholic Education Awards, including the Aunty Joan Hendriks Reconciliation Award, are presented to seven recipients whose contribution to Catholic education goes above and beyond the expectations of their various roles.
“The awards recognise some of our 19,000 teachers and school staff but also some of our wonderful volunteers who make such a difference in our schools,” Dr Perry said.
“This year’s recipients contribute in a variety of ways in their school communities but they have in common an unwavering commitment to Catholic education and it is marvelous to be able to recognise and thank them for that.”
For details of the Spirit of Catholic Education Award recipients visit www.catholiceducationweek.com.au/aw