What a missed opportunity if we do not begin with the heart and extend welcome, care and love to all. Jesus takes this concept even further when he tells his friends that by welcoming a stranger, ‘one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine’, they have welcomed him, and will in turn be welcomed by him into his kingdom. Our understanding of welcome can evolve and grow as we think of new ways to encourage the other, appreciate and respect difference, support and advocate for the other, and to love in Christian ways.
When I first came to my school in first year, I along with all the other first years were welcomed by having a group of fifth years looking after us for the first few weeks. This was very welcoming by the school so we adapted very easily. MD
Faith in a Catholic School is Nourished by the Word of God
What’s in a WORD? We use them all the time. We speak them, we write them, we even sing them; we listen to them, read them, reflect on them. We use them to write poems, tell stories, share ideas. By means of words we report on the things that have happened to us and we come to know what has happened to others. We share ideas, feelings and facts. STOP for a few minutes and try to imagine a world without words. What would be missing in your life that you enjoy, that you perhaps take for granted if there were no words? Take five minutes to write a short paragraph on what a day without words would be like. Now make a list using three words from each person in the class, taken from their written pieces, and from this list make a word cloud. What is your word cloud telling you about words? One of the most important things about words is that they help us to relate to each other, to make known our feelings and thoughts so we can come to know one another. They help us to reveal ourselves.In the Catholic faith tradition a great deal of importance is attached to words and this is because we believe that God reveals himself to us. This happens through our experience and one of the most important ways in which we can reflect on that experience is through the Bible, which we describe as the Word of God. How can the Bible be the Word of God? Does God talk – did he dictate the words of the Bible to someone? No! When we say the Bible is the Word of God we mean that God speaks to us in human words. It came about because a whole range of people over a long period of time were writing down their reflections on the presence or even absence of God in their lives. They thought a lot about what God had done in the past, what he was doing in the present and what they hoped he would do in the future. The communities who preserved these writings believed that they revealed they had come to know the living God – they were inspired by God’s Spirit and so became their Sacred Scriptures.
In this school we use the word of god in our worship and in the prayer room.EB
In a recent book on Catholic education, David Tuohy says that the Catholic school focuses in a special way on the holistic formation of the person. This formation is guided by the vision that each student is a ‘child of God’ who will grow to be an active citizen in the world. The inspiration for the formation is always the person of Jesus who is the centre of the school, and the values of the Gospel should be present in all school activities.
The Catholic school is to ‘assist in the total development of the individual student’ and to help students move beyond mere facts and information to knowledge, wisdom and the fullness of life.
Total development involves Catholic schools helping their students to be …
Aesthetic – to encounter beauty, to see God in all things, art, design.
Creative – to think freely and to dream, create music, study drama.
Cultural – to be critically aware within modern culture.
Emotional – to find personal meaning and experience positive relationships.
Intellectual – to achieve to the best of our academic ability.
Religious – to commit to a life centred on Jesus and his values.
Social – to be positive agents of change, building justice and peace.
Spiritual – to take time out, to reflect, to pray.
Wisdom is important as without wisdom we wouldn’t be wise enough to know about the importance of Catholic Schools Week. RW
One of the ways we express our faith is by worship. When we worship we
respond to God’s love with our whole self, body, mind and spirit.
The following images are common symbols of worship:
Why do we worship God?
• Asking for something.
• Deep love for God.
• Deep respect for God.
• Saying thank you for God’s gift.
• Being sorry for our sins.
“For me this prayer tells me how everybody should be treated equally and it does not matter what walk or race you come from in life. You should always treat everybody with the same respect like Jesus who welcomed everybody into his heart and sat with people from all cultural backgrounds”-DO'C
We help young people to become followers of Jesus, and to find a clear direction in their lives despite all the conflicting and confusing messages that surround them. We try to help first years get through the year.
The way we live our lives tells us something of who our God is and what our faith means to us. The way we are in the world is an expression of our values, of what we believe in. It is a living out of our faith. ‘You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world’ (Mt 5:13a, 14). In choosing to live out of our faith we are choosing to be ‘the light of the world’ for others. To witness to our faith is to begin to express in action what we read in the Gospels. We can bear witness to our faith in many ways by living out the Gospel message – visiting the sick, supporting agencies such as Trócaire, and reaching out to those on the fringes of our community.
We show witness by helping support different projects like The Zambian Immersion Project and fundraising for different Charities.AD
W - worship
At the heart of worship is a meeting place with God, a God who cares for us as a mother cares for her children. Through worship we grow in relationship with God and with one another. Our worship, especially at Eucharist, speaks to the reality of people’s daily lives, the highs and the lows, the ordinary times and the times for celebration. It constantly refreshes our understanding of God’s love for us and his invitation to ‘do this in memory’ is an invitation to live life as Jesus did, continuously reconnecting with the source of life – God.
I - impact
It is sometimes hard to really feel the impact of our faith witness. We are used to pressing buttons to get exactly what we have ordered – a movie, a takeaway, a new jacket. Faith is different. As it is grows within us, the impact becomes more obvious. However, we can still become frustrated at the pace.
T - together
Consider the shape of the cross, one axis leads us to God and the other axis connects us to one another. Faith is about togetherness and relationship. Our faith calls us to connect with God and with one another. Not just the people we like, but all around us. We are called to live out of a sense of the dignity of every human being, without exception. In bearing witness to our faith we must listen clearly to what Jesus has to say about others.
N - now
We cannot press snooze on the faith button! Living out our faith is not something we can postpone. Jesus said ‘I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest’ (Jn 10:10), not tomorrow, or next week, but NOW. Jesus wants us to experience life in the fullness of his love.
E – empathy
Each person is born in the image and likeness of God, with innate dignity. How we listen to people can be a witness of our faith. We must be aware of what we listen through first. Empathy is a way to listen without prejudice, realising a person’s worth. Empathy is not about pity, but real understanding.
S – service
Each of us has gifts and talents. How we use our gifts and talents can give expression to our faith. Our giftedness is a grace from God, a grace we can only fully appreciate in the service of others. Not using our gifts to their full potential is similar to receiving a gift and not opening the wrapping. ‘Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house’ (Mt 5:15 ).
S – solidarity
In standing with those who face poverty and injustice we are bearing witness to our faith. To fulfil our baptismal promises we must strive for a just world where everyone can live lives of dignity, potential and hope. Trócaire, as the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, is a living witness to Christ’s message of justice and solidarity of the world.
The meanings of the letters in Witness do have a lot to do with our school. In school we Worship God during the school masses. We feel the impact as our faith grows as we mature. We celebrate our faith Together alongside our fellow students, We are Now celebrating our faith with Catholic schools week. We all listen and respect each other when it comes to our faith, this is Empathy. We all use our gifts and talents in many ways including fundraising for Zambia and Lourdes in unique ways.