Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockhampton have been invited to honour the elderly in their communities as part of this year’s celebration of Catholic Education Week which runs from July 28 to August 3.
“We need to hear their stories and know their past. They are our living treasures and valued and cherished members of our community,” Rockhampton Catholic Education Director, Leesa Jeffcoat said.
Miss Jeffcoat said each year during Catholic Education Week schools aim to participate in a simultaneous act of kindness or outreach and this year schools will be part of a special effort to foster greater compassion and respect for the elderly in their communities.
“Our school communities participate in regular outreach to the elderly through visits to aged care homes, special invitations to school events for grandparents, great-grandparents and senior parishioners and during Catholic Education Week this year schools will seek to deepen this experience to exemplify the high regard and honour owed our older citizens,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“As Catholic schools we share in the mission of the Catholic Church. Part of that mission is protecting the dignity of life in all forms and a greater respect and care for those in need, including the frail and elderly,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“The debate around end of life care and the periodic spotlight on euthanasia requires that we as Church continue to provide a perspective that upholds the value of life at all stages, and that the value of life does not diminish with age or physical or mental capability,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
Miss Jeffcoat referenced comments from Pope Francis’ about the Church’s regard for the elderly where he states, ‘The Church regards the elderly with affection, gratitude, and high esteem. They are an essential part of the Christian community and of society: in particular they represent the roots and the memory of a people. You are an important presence, because your experience is a precious treasure, which is essential if we would look to the future with hope and responsibility.’
“By engaging in dialogue, building relationships and deepening connections with our elderly we hope to honour their story and appropriately recognise their standing in our schools, parishes and wider community and heed with gratitude their wisdom and experience as we follow in footsteps already forged,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
Catholic Education Week is celebrated by 20 000 staff and 149 000 students in Queensland’s 306 Catholic schools and colleges to celebrate and promote their distinctive mission and ethos through a range of activities, liturgies, awards and celebrations.
This year’s state launch will be held at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Rockhampton, hosted by Catholic Education, Diocese of Rockhampton on Wednesday 31 July which will feature Mass and presentation of the 2019 Spirit of Catholic Education Awards.