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Celebrating Catholic Education Week 2023

19 August, 2023
Students from Holy Spirit College, Mackay, enjoy a sausage sizzle breakfast with the College community during Catholic Education Week.

Queensland’s Catholic Education Week 2023 (23 – 29 July) saw communities in the kindergartens, primary schools and colleges that comprise Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton (CEDR), join in statewide celebrations honouring their distinctive mission.

Students from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Barcaldine, visiting community businesses delivering handmade dove ornaments as part of their Acts of Kindness during Catholic Education Week.

Under the theme Communities of Faith, Hope and Love, over 20 000 CEDR students, staff and volunteers in regional, rural and remote centres from Mackay to Bundaberg and west to Longreach joined with 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.

Catholic Education Week celebrates what is at the heart of a Catholic school, according to CEDR Director Leesa Jeffcoat. “It’s a time to focus on our Catholic identity and the unique role of Catholic schools in their local communities. We were able to reflect on our beliefs and values and deepen our understanding of what it means to be part of the Ministry of Catholic Education within the Catholic Church and share that more widely with our parishes and communities.”

“Specifically, we focused on celebrating the religious dimension of a Catholic education where we seek to be true witnesses to Christ’s message of hope and love for the world, to be the face of Jesus to those we meet in our everyday lives.  It’s an opportunity to be explicit about who we are, what we believe in, what we hold dear and the way we seek to live our lives,” Miss Jeffcoat said.

This year’s Diocesan Catholic Education Week Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Rockhampton, at midday on Thursday 27 July, and was livestreamed to Catholic school communities across the Diocese.

Catholic Bishop of Rockhampton, Bishop Michael McCarthy, presided at the Mass which included a special presentation to this year’s Diocesan Recipient of the statewide Spirit of Catholic Education Award, Deputy Principal: Mission at The Cathedral College, Rockhampton, Claire Stitt.

In congratulating Mrs Stitt, Miss Jeffcoat also acknowledged all 31 award nominees from the Diocese for their outstanding contribution to Catholic Education and for making a real and lasting difference in the lives of students and their families. “We, in Catholic Education, are abundantly blessed to have such committed and dedicated people in our kindergartens, schools and colleges.”

Acts of Kindness were a real feature of Catholic Education Week with staff and students undertaking creative and meaningful activities in service to others including delivering baked treats to local businesses and community services, 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.

“As always, sharing Acts of Kindness was the most anticipated aspect of Catholic Education Week. It’s something that is loved by all our communities, the opportunity to do something for someone and the sense of joy and happiness that always follows,” Miss Jeffcoat said.

Miss Jeffcoat paid tribute to students, parents, families, teachers, staff members, Board and Parents and Friends members, volunteers, priests and religious, and parish and community members for their great contribution to, and ongoing support for, Catholic Education.

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

Students and teachers from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Biloela attending the diocesan Catholic Education Week Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Rockhampton.