The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2013 is
Catholic Schools in the Community of Faith: Sharing the Good
The context for our celebration this year is the Year of Faith announced by Pope Benedict, in which he
calls upon Catholics all over the world to take time to reflect upon their faith so that they may deepen their
understanding of and love for Jesus Christ, who reveals to us the infinite compassion of God. In our school we
are not just an organisation or a company; we are in fact a community and what unites us is our shared interest
in teaching and learning based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be a human being. Let us use
this week to reflect upon and celebrate who we are as a community that has its roots in a good news story – the
story of Jesus Christ who came that we might have life in its fullness.
It is very difficult to celebrate good news or exciting events on your own. Where’s the fun in celebrating your
favourite team’s victory if there is nobody with you? We need to gather with others for the things that really
matter to us, and that’s why for two thousand years Catholics have gathered for prayer every Sunday – it is to
celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is a time to remember all the ways we are blessed, to find hope and to
experience the care and compassion of a community that has at its centre an awareness of the presence of the
risen Christ. When we are in school we are busy with work, study and all the demands that are part and parcel
of everyday life. So we can easily forget to make prayer a part of that life and that is why it is important to take
a little time to become aware of God’s presence and to allow the habit of prayer and reflection to become part
of who we are.
Even in our technological era books are very much a feature of school life – whether they are e-books or printed
pages we learn much from the wisdom that others share with us. Through books we come to understand
new ideas and cultures, and gain insights that can change our lives. In recent years, especially since the Second
Vatican Council, the Bible is a book that is being rediscovered by many Catholics. We have come to understand
that the Bible is a place where the human story and the story of God come together. Through its stories, prayers
and reflections our lives are touched by the Holy Spirit who brings us to awareness that the Word of God is alive
and active and is a force for good in our lives leading us leading us to a knowledge and love of Christ.
One of the best images for our community of faith is that of the body – we are the body of Christ and although
we are different, each of us has our part to play, our gifts to use for the good of others. School is a great place
to show how this works in action. We are not just staff who teach and students who learn, rather we are a
community, where each person has a role to play and talents to share, and when we find ways of doing that
the community is made stronger and we all come to a greater awareness of our own worth. This vision is based
on the values that Jesus taught his followers, not just by his words but also by his deeds. During this Catholic
Schools Week and this Year of Faith let us try to be true to that vision.
Today is the Feast of St Brigid and the first day of spring in our tradition. It is a day to be grateful for the many
ways in which we are blessed. Brigid recognised the presence of God in her life in two particular ways: she could
see God in nature and in the poor. Nature points to the wonder, beauty and mystery of the divine presence,
inviting us to learn from its seasons and rhythms. Every spring offers the hope of renewal and speaks of the
God of life who wants to shed light in our hearts. Brigid also recognised that in Jesus, who was born poor
among the poor, God is speaking to us and challenging us to reach out to those in any kind of need and to those
on the margins. If our school community is closed to such people then we are failing to share the good newsthat everyone is invited to God’s table.