Today marks the national (virtual) launch of the Bicentenary of Catholic Education in Australia. National Catholic education Executive Director Jacinta Collins said the bicentennial celebrations recognise the enormous contribution of Catholic schools in Australia.
“Over 200 years Catholic schools have educated millions of Australian students,” Ms Collins said. “We have grown alongside the government sector in ensuring the education of generations of young people, and have contributed to the development of individuals, local communities, and the economic and social fabric of this nation.”
“Australian Catholic schools have a long and proud tradition of delivering high-quality, faith-based education. Our graduates have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution in business, civic and public life, sport, performing and creative arts, community services, and all facets of society.
“The bicentenary is an opportunity to celebrate those who have served in Catholic education since its earliest days; the contribution of religious institutes, clergy and lay people in the foundation of schools in cities, rural and remote parts of Australia; and the continuity of this mission with the leaders, staff, families and the wider Church community today. We look forward with great hope and faith in the future of Catholic schools by continuing to respond to our mission of meeting the educational and spiritual needs of young people and our communities.”
“As we celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in Australia, we recognise and pay respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians and first educators of this land. They have educated their children for tens of thousands of years and make a significant and valued contribution to our school communities and the cultural and spiritual heritage of Australia.
“We also acknowledge that throughout our 200-year history we have not always lived up to our mission to safeguard the wellbeing of the children and young people in our care. We recognise these failings and are committed to ensure Catholic schools are safe and life-giving places for all students.”
A national prayer has been written and was launched at the NCEC Virtual Symposium in October 2020. It is available on the 200 years website.
A pastoral letter on Catholic education was released by the Australian Catholic Bishops at the national launch of the bicentennial celebrations today by Chair of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. The pastoral letter is attached below.
Throughout the we will keep you updated with news and events for the celebrations within the Diocese of Lismore as well as national events.