In one of Catholic Education’s first face to face gatherings since the start of the pandemic, invited staff from Catholic schools and colleges throughout the diocese came together for the 2022 Catholic Identity Gathering held in Rockhampton last week.
Those attending commenced the three-day program with a very moving welcome and Acknowledgement of Country at the Emmaus College Yarning Circle at dusk, complete with a fire ceremony and dances performed by Emmaus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, followed by a visit to the College labyrinth.
The program included keynote sessions from Australian Catholic University academics, Associate Professor Robyn Horner and Dr Teresa Brown as well as workshops, breakout groups and excursions to local school and parish sites.
Sessions focussed on experiences of Encounter and Dialogue, practicing Dialogue, and discovering Prayer in Catholic Schools which generated lively and engaged discussions according to Catholic Education Assistant Director: Mission, Kellie Jenkinson.
“The perspectives explored by Assoc Prof Horner and Dr Brown certainly created conversation and authentic engagement as participants examined various scenarios and activities through a revitalised Catholic Identity lens,” Mrs Jenkinson said.
“Participants were very keenly looking at specific teaching approaches and ways to integrate their learnings in the classroom and with their communities,” Mrs Jenkinson said.
Catholic Education Director Leesa Jeffcoat said the gathering aimed to assist in the delivery of one of the key strategic priorities for Catholic Education informed by the Enhancing Catholic School Identity (ECSI) project.
“Since 2015, Catholic Education in the Diocese of Rockhampton has participated in the ECSI research project led by Professor Dr Didier Pollefyt from KU Leuven (Catholic University Leuven), in Belgium” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“The research identifies that Catholic schools are called to encourage their students to explore the links between the richness of the Catholic faith tradition and their personal experiences and cultural contexts.”
“The gathering addressed a key strategic priority for Catholic Education in response to the research project, that is, to ‘promote authentic contemporary expressions of Catholic identity’, or, to enhance the Catholic identity of all our schools, to ensure that we remain true to our Mission,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
Participants also took part in a Taizé Prayer led by Sr Annette Arnold rsj, a guided tour of St Joseph’s Cathedral led by The Cathedral College Deputy Principal: Mission Claire Stitt, and various workshops over the three-day program.