• 2013 Annual Report Banner
  • Action Area 1 – Faith and Identity


    Religious Education and Catholic Identity

    In 2013 the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) sought to:

    • extend the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity Project initiative into all Catholic schools via the School Improvement Framework
    • build the capacity within schools for visionary leadership of faith communities
    • provide resources for school and parish leaders, teachers and catechists
    • build teachers' pedagogical and content knowledge in religious education to improve student learning through differentiated support.

    Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project

    The Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project (ECSIP) is now embedded in Year Three of the School Improvement Framework. In 2013 the Project incorporated:

    • three days of professional learning
    • a period for online surveying of the parents, staff and students of each of the 63 schools preparing for their review
    • the provision of a detailed report to participating schools by the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium.

    International Speakers Series

    As part of the International Speakers Series facilitated by the CEOM, Professor Didier Pollefeyt, Vice Rector for Education Policy at the KU Leuven, Belgium, gave a number of presentations to groups of leaders and staff from Catholic schools and education offices, including two lectures on 29 May 2013 on the theological underpinnings of the ECSIP:

    Religious belief styles as the building blocks for Catholic School Identity Part 1 and Part 2
    Recontextualisation and the dangers of Values Education in a Christian Perspective.

    These presentations are available on the CECV website www.cecv.catholic.edu.au.

    Professor Didier Polleyfeyt
    Professor Pollefeyt presents his lecture at the Catholic Leadership Centre 


    The RESource website aims to help Catholic educators use the internet to fulfil the gospel imperative: 'Go out to all of the world and tell the good news'. Features of RESource in 2013 included:


    Personal Story 

    Action Area 1 

    Emily Rienks
    Year 12 Student
    Academy of Mary Immaculate, Fitzroy

    In 2013, I was one of 55 students and teachers from the Archdiocese of Melbourne who travelled to Rio De Janeiro for World Youth Day. We spent almost two weeks there going to Masses, gatherings and concerts. We even stayed overnight on a beach with almost three million other attendees, and woke up after a semi-sleepless night as millions of Catholics from around the world were preparing for a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. It was unbelievable.

    I realised that faith and identity are not two separate aspects, but closely connected, as at one event after the other, I witnessed honest and enthusiastic Catholics expressing their convictions. I remember being in a small church listening to the Nigerian Archbishop, who came from a community where Catholics are persecuted for expressing their faith. Standing in front of a predominantly American, English and Australian audience, this man did not shy away or hide his faith, but wore it proudly. It was one of the many profound encounters I had on that trip.

    I strengthened my faith and anchored it as part of my Catholic identity, thanks to my experiences in Rio de Janeiro. A combination of the place, events and people made it so memorable, and even more than that, the camaraderie and experiences we all shared was revelatory. We shared an openness and dialogue about our experiences together that connected us as a group and made an impression on each and every one of us in a deep and personal way.

    • Traces of God in the City of Melbourne, which examined questions that may be stimulated by excursions to various sites in the city (this project was completed in 2013)
    • Twenty five of the best, which looked at the lives of 25 Australian Catholics
    • Liturgy Resource continued to provide schools with a great wealth of liturgical resources.

    In 2013 work began on making RESource ‘mobile-friendly’ for devices such as smart phones and tablets.

    World Youth Day 2013

    World Youth Day 2013 was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The CEOM sponsored 55 students and seven staff from Catholic secondary schools from the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The group was led by staff members from the CEOM who were joined in Rio by the Executive Director of Catholic Education, Stephen Elder. At World Youth Day, students had an opportunity to witness the universal Catholic Church, and to see how they belonged to a wide community. On the Saturday evening, they slept out on Copacabana beach, waiting in preparation to celebrate Mass with the Pope on Sunday morning – with three and a half million others.

    World Youth Day
    Catholic students from the Archdiocese of Melbourne and
    CEOM staff in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day

    Australian Catholic Youth Festival 2013

    The inaugural Australian Catholic Youth Festival was held 5–7 December 2013 and brought together more than 3,000 young people from every Catholic diocese across the country. The Festival consisted of three days of keynote speakers, workshops, music and liturgy, and participants had the opportunity to meet the many bishops, priests, religious and other young people who attended. The Festival theme was, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me’ (Lk 4:18) and participants were asked to consider the challenges of being a young Catholic in an increasingly secular and pluralised world.

    Support for parish catechists

    In 2013, 237 catechists and parish personnel from 49 different parishes participated in 38 days of professional learning. Further support for catechists in 2013 included:

    • direct support via visits, email and telephone contact
    • Education Officers (Catechetics) attended the National Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (the national network continues via eConferences)
    • the Good News for Catechists journal
    • Seeking to Live the Good News, a program for parish Religious Education classes.

    Twenty-three catechists graduated with one or more award presented by the Archbishop at a Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

    Support for Religious Education Coordinators

    In 2013 the CEOM continued to offer professional learning to Religious Education Leaders in primary schools with the aim of developing their capacity to be leaders in faith, formation and in the area of curriculum development. The CEOM also developed a Foundation Statement: The Religious Education Leader the Catholic School to highlight the importance of the role, and to assist schools in their reflections on, and in their development of, local role descriptions.

    In 2013 the CEOM continued to support leaders of Religious Education and Faith Development in secondary schools to help them empower their teachers to provide rich and relevant Religious Education curriculum within a faith-filled environment. Programs in 2013 included:

    • Twilight Forums which offered participants the opportunity to explore current issues
    • a day exploring the findings and implications relating to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations
    • a retreat day.


    Accreditation Number of Applicants
    Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic school 244
    Accreditation to Teach Religious Education in a Catholic School 384

    Applications continued to increase from schools and other institutions to have their in-house courses accredited as part of the completion of requirements of Policy 1.6 for Accreditation to Teach in a Catholic School, with over 360 applications being received in 2013.

    Religious Education Sponsorship

    Religious Education Sponsorship Number of Accepted Applications
    Primary Secondary Total
    Sponsorship for studies towards Accreditation to Teach Religious Education in a Catholic School 107 104 211
    Sponsorship for Further Studies in Theology and Religious Education 11* 11 22

    *The majority of primary teachers sponsored for further study applied for the Masters of Religious Education course at Australian Catholic University.

    Professional Learning

    In 2013 over 1,800 participants (including Catechists) were involved in a range of professional learning programs including:

    • Leading Catholic Identity and the Review Process
    • the Catechist Diploma Course
    • a Retreat Day for Secondary RECs and FCs
    • a secondary Social Justice and Catholic Identity day
    • Exploring Prayer in the Classroom
    • Twilight Theology Forum
    • Inducting the REC into Faith Leadership
    • a number of Formation Programs, including:

    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
    International Speakers Series 171
    Meditation 76
    Formation Programs 120
    Theology Forums 50
    Liturgy Programs 83
    Induction Programs 105
    Catechist Programs 237
    Catholic Identity 661
    Secondary Programs 95
    Teaching and Learning 276
    TOTAL 1,874

    In addition, the Leading for Contemporary Learning in a Catholic School project, begun in 2011, concluded in 2013. Each participating school engaged in 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.