“Each individual person is created in the image and likeness of God and is called to grow in wisdom and understanding with God and all of creation. In the formation of the human person, Catholic schools aim to create authentic learning experiences for all people and to nurture the capacity of each learner in a way that is authentic and life-giving”.
(Catholic Diocese of Wollongong, Learning and Teaching Framework)
A Community of Disciples on Mission – HEAD, HEARTS AND HANDS
At St. Joseph’s Catholic High School we are a community that is learning, growing and serving. We are inspired to walk with our students to achieve their very best in every aspect of their life through our broad Religious Education Program. For our faith to make sense it needs to be practiced, and so as a school we are working to develop these three significant dimensions of our faith – head, heart and hands. We do this through our thinking and reasoning, through our experiences of God in everyday life and through our service of God and others. In short, we are striving to be a ‘Community of Disciples on Mission’.
Our broad Religious Education program at St. Joseph’s provides academic rigour from Year 7 through to the externally assessed Year 12 HSC Studies of Religion courses. We provide numerous opportunities for real engagement with our faith and the celebration of our Catholic Life and Identity. We also provide a diverse opportunity for students to engage with mission and to make a real difference in our local, national and global communities in supporting numerous social justice initiatives.
Our Religious Education Program includes:
- Quality teaching and learning utilising modern pedagogy.
- A Religious Education Curriculum that is engaging and relevant.
- Meaningful liturgies, assemblies and faith experiences.
- A range of social justice and community service initiatives.
- Reflection Days and Retreats for all students.
- Parish and Diocesan Youth Ministry opportunities such as Twilight Retreats.
- Guest Speakers who educate and provide inspiration for our students.
- Opportunities to put our faith into action.
Inspiration from Pope Francis:
Developing a deeper sense of mission as an expression of our Catholic identity is core to the teachings of Pope Francis. The term new evangelisation refers to the message of God’s love for us as always the same, however, the delivery and engagement of this important message needs to be creative, relevant and new. Rising to the immediate challenges of the new evangelisation and ensuring that Catholic schools authentically present the face of Christ to the world remains an ongoing priority. This requires significant formation of staff at all levels and explicit support for programs and initiatives aimed at embedding vocational commitment to the poor and marginalised as a core expression of our Catholic identity and adherence to the life and teachings of Jesus. We take great inspiration from Pope Francis and the teachings of the Church on being a Christian in this modern world.
Leadership from Our Wollongong Diocese:
Our Wollongong Diocesan Pastoral Plan speaks of the joy that comes from “co-responsibility” where all the members of the People of God strive together to be ‘Bearers of Christ’s Love’. This vision for Catholic Education is one that we as a school community share within the Diocese of Wollongong. It is only through the combined co-responsible efforts of clergy and laity, families, parents and all staff, that we will achieve our mission. Our Diocesan Director, Mr Peter Turner writes ‘there can be no greater reason for rigorously planning for the future of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong than the well-being of an individual child’. Catholic education is a significant contributor to the broader evangelising mission of the Church, and this vision for St. Joseph’s High School sits within the overall Diocesan Pastoral Plan we are all called to implement. As a teaching staff, we are empowered and supported to provide these many opportunities through our Religious Education Program.
Our Religious Education Program:
At St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, our Religious Education Program seeks to incorporate and develop each of these dimensions:
- Dynamic Faith – Centred in Jesus Christ and expressed in lived relationships, prayer, liturgy, formation and social action.
- Transformative Learning – That is authentic, purpose-filled, and intellectually rigorous, leading to growth in wisdom.
- Engaging Catholic Identity – That is in communion with the faith, life and culture of the parish, diocese and universal Church.
- Quality Teaching – That is inspirational, learner-centred, data-informed and focused on a learning gain for every student.
- Holistic Pastoral Care – Including a concern for individual and community wellbeing in safe and supportive environments.
- Empowered Leadership – That is knowledgeable, skilled and courageously responsive to the signs of the times, for both staff and students.
- Prophetic Solidarity – With Indigenous Australians, the poor and those on the margins of our society.
- Collaborative Partnership – With students, parents, caregivers, staff, clergy and other Church, educational and community agencies.
- Wise Stewardship – Care of and for human and material resources that is ethical, prudent, needs-based and ecologically sustainable.
- Faith In Action – Providing faith experiences that are relevant, engaging and meaningful, leading us to put this faith into action; into social justice, and essentially into mission.