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Catholic schools celebrate their WHY

09 August, 2022
Students attending the Catholic Education Week Mass at Holy Family Church, North Rockhampton recently.

Queensland’s Catholic Education Week 2022 (24-30 July) saw communities in 39 kindergartens, primary schools and colleges that comprise Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton (CEDR), join in statewide celebrations honouring their distinctive mission.

Under the theme Communities of Faith Hope Love, over 20 000 CEDR students, staff, volunteers and family members in regional, rural and remote centres from Mackay to Bundaberg and west to Longreach joined their counterparts from around the state to participate in a range of celebrations including liturgies, award presentations, special assemblies and gatherings, fun activities as well as outreach to the wider community.

It’s a time to celebrate our ‘Why’, according to Catholic Education Director Leesa Jeffcoat.

“In Catholic Education Week we focus on the unique role of Catholic schools in the community where, through our Catholic identity and the religious life of the school, we seek to be true witnesses to Christ’s message of hope and love for the world and to assist all in their lifelong search for meaning,” Miss Jeffcoat said. “The specific religious dimension of Catholic schools gives our spirituality solid ground and a real depth. It links and ties us to people and places and things and ultimately to the God who created us and loves us. It gives our spirituality strength and substance. It’s our Why.”

Continuing on, she said, “It leads us to really appreciate the blessing of vibrant and dynamic communities within our Catholic kindergartens, primary schools and colleges where our students experience high quality teaching and have the opportunity to reach their goals in life. It calls us to reach out to those in our parishes and wider communities to say thank you for their support and, inspired by Jesus’ example, to look for opportunities to help others in need through our acts of kindness and social justice.”

Led by Fr Matthias Ogwo, this year’s CEDR Catholic Education Week Mass was celebrated at Holy Family Church, North Rockhampton on Wednesday 27 July, and was livestreamed to Catholic school communities across the diocese.

Following Mass, Emmaus College Deputy Principal, Helen Howell, was acknowledged as our CEDR recipient of the statewide Spirit of Catholic Education Awards for 2022.

Miss Jeffcoat said acts of kindness were again a real feature of the week-long celebrations with staff and students undertaking creative and meaningful activities in service to others including delivering baked treats to local businesses, connecting with the elderly and those isolated in the community, participation in charity drives such as the Vinnies Winter Appeal and simple acts like delivering written affirmations to staff and classmates. “Without a doubt, this is the aspect of Catholic Education Week most loved by all our communities, the opportunity to do something for someone and the sense of joy and happiness that always follows.”

Miss Jeffcoat paid tribute to students, parents, families, teachers, staff members, Board and P&F members, volunteers, priests and religious, and parish and community members for their great contribution to Catholic education over many decades.

“All are important and cherished members of our Catholic Education family for whom we are most grateful,” Miss Jeffcoat said.

Emergency Services personnel read stories to students at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Biloela, during Catholic Education Week as part of celebrations with the wider community.