Catholic Schools Week 2019 began yesterday and will run until next Sunday 3 February on the theme ‘Catholic Schools: Celebrating the Work of Our Local Catholic Schools’.
In the context of this year’s Catholic Schools week, Paul Meany, former principal of Marian College, Dublin (1988-2017), treasurer of the European Committee for Catholic Education and chairman of the Le Chéile Education Trust, stated: “As we in Ireland celebrate this year’s Catholic Schools Week, we do so within that European and world-wide understanding that although our schools are local, the challenges facing society are universal.”
Mr Meany referenced extensive research* on the role of Catholic education in an increasingly secularised Europe. Mr Meany stated: “There are four characteristics of Catholic schools that resonate with parents: (a) they have an academic structure and culture which is sometimes referred to as ‘bookishness’; (b) they create strong internal communities; (c) they have devolved governance and autonomy; and, of course, (d) they have the inspirational Gospel message which gives the school community a sense of mission and purpose.”
Mr Meany concluded, “In application this means that Catholic schools have an important role to challenge society to evolve as a civilisation of love and to do so by finding solutions to the moral and other dilemmas that face States and society on this shared Earth of ours.”
During Catholic Schools Week families, parishes and schools, North and South, are invited to participate in a week of celebration of Catholic schools and on their contribution to the common good of our society. User friendly resources, reflecting the daily themes of Catholic Schools Week: Living Tradition; Welcoming Diversity; Grandparents Day; In Service of our Community; and, Supporting Faith, are available here.
*Bryk et al., Catholic schools and the Common Good, Cambridge, 1993.