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 Religious Life of the School

See also:  Religious Education Program

The Religious Life of the School comprises four interrelated components: Religious Identity and Culture; Evangelisation and Faith Formation; Prayer and Worship; and Social Action and Justice. Each of these components at St Stephen’s School provides a significant focus on a distinctive aspect of the religious life of the school. The Religion Curriculum and the Religious Life of the School are interrelated; complementing and strengthening our school’s identity and culture.

religiouslifecomponents.jpgAs a Catholic school, we aim to effectively support our students in their faith development by providing opportunities for reflection, prayer and the celebration of liturgy. We acknowledge that the family is the first place where faith can be nurtured and strive to work in partnership with parents/carers and our parish. St Stephen’s School aspires to be an authentic Christian community that builds quality relationships modelled on the vision and values of Jesus; a school community which supports the dignity of each person and practises Christian hospitality, proclaiming its values through word and action. All around the school there are symbols, icons, names on building and sport houses that remind us to follow our school motto of “growing in courage, wisdom and faith.” These include symbols of the cross, tile mosaics, painted wall murals, St Stephen’s logo, garden statues depicting the St Stephen’s stones to remember the actions of our school patron saint.

Evangelisation and Faith Formation:

St Stephen’s Catholic School strives to be both an educating and evangelising community. Evangelisation affords a voice to our religious life enabling us to enact and live the words of a faith community. St Stephen’s Catholic School evangelises through our unique culture, through the life witness of our school community, through the curriculum taught in the classroom and in every aspect of the school experience. Our school seeks to model a culture of hope and joy that provides a powerful expression of the good news of Jesus. St Stephen’s School community creates experiences, which assist our students to live in healthy relationships, sensitive to the needs and gifts of others, based on the belief that to be human and to be Christian is to live as a community.

Prayer and Worship:

Prayer and worship are integral to the life of all Catholic schools and have the potential to nourish the spiritual growth of all members of the school community. Prayer and worship provide the opportunity for students to celebrate their life and identity as members of the school and to nurture their relationship in faith with God and with one another. At St Stephen’s School, teachers also draw upon student understanding and skills about genre, purpose, context and meaning in assisting them to write appropriate texts for prayer and worship experiences. In particular, knowledge and skills related to The Arts (e.g. dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts) enhance the quality of prayer and worship experiences. Students at St Stephen’s School participate in daily meditative practices to enhance their faith formation and spend time reflecting about God. We provide opportunities for students to have times of silence and stillness to prepare them to enter into and experience forms of meditative and contemplative prayer.

St Stephen’s School draws on the richness of the Catholic tradition and the wider Christian tradition to nurture the prayer life of the school. It is in the coming together to celebrate that we build relationships with our God and each other. Ritual is an essential component in any society and we ritualise all significant moments in various celebrations. These include our Assemblies, Whole School Masses and celebrations and Cohort Liturgies.
 

Social Action and Justice:

At St Stephen's School we are committed to following the example of Jesus and living out the good news that Jesus proclaimed. We do this in our day to day lives and by being committed to social justice. Catholic Social Teaching sums up the teachings of the Church on social justice issues. It promotes a vision of a just society that is grounded in the Bible and in the wisdom gathered from experience by the Christian community as it has responded to social justice issues through history. These teachings are often expressed in formal teaching documents of the Church such as Papal Encyclicals, and in the pastoral letters of local Bishops. As a school community we then live out these messages in practical ways.

As a school community we are involved in the following social justice activities:

  • St Vincent de Paul – Winter and Christmas Appeal
  • Caritas Lenten Appeal
  • Catholic Mission
  • World Environmental Day
  • Clean Up Australia Day
  • Harmony Day
  • Every year the school selects a foundation to support in the local community. These have included, Cure for Cancer, Indigenous Partnerships