Sing-a-longs, chats, morning teas and special visits were just some of the ways students in our Catholic schools reached out to the elderly in their communities during Catholic Education Week (CEW) in Term Three.
Each year during CEW schools are invited to participate in an Act of Kindness and this year schools were part of a special effort to foster compassion and respect for the elderly.
“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.
“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 sought to deepen this experience to exemplify the high regard and honour owed our older citizens,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
CEW Acts of Kindness around the diocese included a Human Library event at Emmaus College, Rockhampton where older parishioners and school community members were invited to the library to sit and share stories of their lives with students; Holy Spirit College Mackay prepared a mini-concert, and made signature cookies and morning tea treats as gifts for residents of St Francis of Assisi Aged Care Home; Preps from St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School in Emerald visited residents at Avalon Aged Care Home and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Biloela held a Grandparents Day.
“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.