• Publications 2012 Annual Report
  • Action Area 1 – Faith and Identity


    • Enhance our Catholic identity.

    • Build communities of faith and hope.

    Read more about the Faith and Identity Strategic Direction. 

    From the nature of the Catholic school also stems one of the most significant elements of its educational project: the synthesis between culture and faith.
    The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millenium, #14

    Religious Education and Catholic Identity

    The Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) in 2012 has sought to extend the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity Project (ECSIP) initiative into all Catholic schools via the School Improvement Framework (SIF); build the capacity within schools for visionary leadership of faith communities; provide resources for school and parish leaders, teachers and catechists; and build teachers' pedagogical and content knowledge to improve student learning through differentiated support.

    Religious Education Conference

    A major highlight of 2012 was the Religious Education Conference – Enlivened by Grace and Hope – held on 25–27 July at the Australian Catholic University (ACU), Fitzroy. Over 350 delegates participated in the event, which featured keynote speakers Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv DD, Professor Dr Mathijs Lamberigts from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and Janet Buhagiar, Director of Social Policy, Northern Territory Government (2010 Australian Young Business Woman of the Year). The Conference Eucharist was celebrated by Archbishop Hart in St Patrick's Cathedral.

    Conference workshops were arranged in such a way that a variety of perspectives were addressed at each workshop session. These included: Leadership, Secondary Religious Education Curriculum, Primary Religious Education Curriculum, Art and Religious Education/ Theology, Scripture for Students, Parish identity/ the Parish today, Music, Technology, Social Justice, Inter-religious Dialogue, Meditation, Storytelling, and Aspects of the Catholic Identity project.

    Genuine comments of participants indicating appreciation of support could be summarised by an extract from a conference reflections response:

    ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me feel I am supported in my REL (Religious Education Leader) role. I am proud to be a Catholic; proud of my role and look forward to hopefully making a difference ... Congratulations on a job extremely well done.’

    RE Conference 

    Religious Education Conference

    Enhancing Catholic School Identity

    The Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) strategy is now embedded in Year Three of the School Improvement Framework (SIF). In 2012, the strategy incorporated three days of professional learning; a period for online surveying of parents, staff and students of each of the 83 schools; and the provision of detailed analysis of survey results to participating schools by the KU Leuven, Belgium.


    Personal Story 

    Ria Greene 

    Ria Greene
    Religious Education Coordinator
    St John’s Regional College, Dandenong

    The education of young people at St John’s Regional College is about creating a bridge in the compulsory classroom setting and creating ongoing links for their future. As teachers, we are responsible for laying the foundation for the students’ learning and creating links beyond the school gates.

    We provide opportunities for students to reflect on prayer and liturgy, through Jesus Christ, and a perspective of what we do and why we do it. Jesus is at the centre of what we teach and it is our role to keep the scripture and the Catholic tradition real and relevant for young people.

    One example of practical education is the Cornerstone program, where students volunteer two hours of their time on a Tuesday night. Eight Year 11 students and several teachers commit to the program for a term, and have an evening meal with people who may suffer from mental health issues or have substance abuse problems.

    Students provide a friendly face, playing pool with the men, wash dishes or chat to people who need company. Through the program, students can live out the Gospel in a practical way and serve the needs of the local community. Students recognise that they are dealing with people in their local community, not communities in faraway places; people on their doorstep who are reaching out for assistance.

    Another example of the continuation of links from school to after-school is St John’s version of World Youth Day, which is held every four years to coincide with the main event. For three days, students past and present come together to share in prayer, meals, dance and workshops. It creates connections for past students to continue the link with their former school and be part of the college community.

    Year of Grace

    With the Year Of Grace beginning in 2012, the CEOM developed a collection of Year of Grace resources to support schools in their celebrations and in contemplating the face of Christ. These resources included the Year of Grace School Liturgy, weekly prayers, and images of Christ through the centuries.


    In 2012 the the Traces of God in the city of Melbourne project was developed as part of the RESource website. The initiative aimed to examine questions that may be stimulated by excursions to various sites in the city such as the Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Liturgy Help website continued to be made available to schools through RESource and the CEVN website. This is a unique service that gives schools easy access to a great wealth of liturgical resources, including the full lectionary and the Roman Missal, and assists them in planning Masses throughout the year.

    Professional Learning

    In 2012 a total of 1,403 participants (including Catechists) were involved in a range of professional learning programs including: Leading Catholic Identity and the Review Process; Catechist Diploma Course; Retreat Day for Secondary RECs and FCs; Social Justice and Catholic Identity – Secondary; Exploring Prayer in the Classroom; Twilight Theology Forum; Inducting the REC into Faith Leadership; and Formation Programs: A Question of Faith; Context of a Catholic School – A Teacher’s role; The Jewish Jesus and Gospel Portraits; Morality and Justice.

    Professional Learning
    Course Category
    Number of Participants
    Conference 332
    Meditation 103
    Formation Programs 129
    Theology Forums 29
    Liturgy Programs 83
    Induction Programs 31
    Catechist Programs 295
    Catholic Identity 236
    Secondary Programs 58
    Teaching and Learning 72
    TOTAL  1403 

    Support for parish catechists

    Parish catechists working with Catholic students beyond the Catholic parish school participated in 16 professional learning programs which included two sustained programs: the 10-day Catechist Diploma Course and the 4-day Certificate in Coordination of Parish Religious Education Programs. The Good News for Catechists journal continued production in 2012. Seeking to Live the Good News: Year 4, a program of 32 lessons for parish Religious Education classes, was also produced.

    Religious Education Sponsorship

    In 2012 there were 121 primary and 18 secondary teachers engaged in accreditation courses under CEOM sponsorship. Courses offered were: Graduate Certificate in Catholic Studies, Graduate Certificate in Teaching Religious Education and the Graduate Certificate of Religious Education. In addition, 13 primary and 9 secondary teachers accepted sponsorship for further studies in Theology and/or Religious Education at a Postgraduate / Masters Level. There were 170 new applications from teachers seeking sponsorship for Accreditation Studies in 2012, a 33 per cent increase from the previous year.


    In 2012, there were 177 teachers newly accredited to teach in a Catholic school, 121 applications for accreditation to teach in a Catholic school were declined and 375 applications from schools and other institutions to have their in-house courses approved for accreditation purposes were successful. There were 359 teachers who were accredited to teach Religious Education, with a significant number of these from the primary sector, 51 applications for accreditation to teach Religious Education in a Catholic school were declined.

    Accreditation Applications 2012 Processed Successful Unsuccessful
    POLICY 1.6 – Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic School 299 178 121
    POLICY 1.7 -  Accreditation to Teach Religious Education 411 360 51
    Applications from schools and institutions for approval of local programs 355 347 8
    TOTAL  1,065  885  180 

    Leading for Contemporary Learning in Catholic Schools Project 2011–2013

    There were 106 leaders of learning from primary schools across the Archdiocese enrolled in the Leading for Contemporary Learning in Catholic Schools Project in 2012. The Project aims to build the capacity of teachers to design contemporary curriculum and learning in their own Catholic school communities. In 2012 each participating school was developing an evidence-based inquiry to support the development of the identity of the learner and the Catholic learning community within the context of the contemporary world. The Project, funded through the Australian Government Quality Teacher Program (AGQTP), intends to support schools in the implementation of the Archdiocese of Melbourne’s teaching and learning framework Learning Centred Schools: A Sacred Landscape.

    Support for Religious Education Coordinators

    In 2012 the CEOM continued to support Religious Education Coordinators (RECs) in primary schools. It offered professional learning with the aim of developing their capacity to be leaders in faith, formation and in the area of curriculum development.

    In the secondary area the CEOM has continued to support all leaders of Religious Education and Faith Development to help them empower their teachers to provide rich and relevant RE curriculum within a faith-filled environment. Twilight Forums offered participants the opportunity to explore what it means to be a leader in the Catholic school. A Christian Meditation Forum was conducted by Father Laurence Freeman, the Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, exploring ways to bring the simple practice of contemplative prayer into school communities. In November Monsignor Greg Bennet lead 15 Religious Education Coordinators in a prayerful retreat day. A program for new Religious Education Coordinators and Faith Development Coordinators was also offered to develop the expertise of new and emerging leaders in this area.


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