Catholic Education celebrating 200 years in Australia

Ballarat Diocesan Mass to celebrate 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia

Mass was celebrated at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday, May 24, 2021 to mark 200 years of Catholic Education in Australia.  Click here for the story.

National Mass to celebrate 200 year of Catholic Education in Australia

A National Mass will be celebrated across all states, territories and dioceses on Monday, May 24, 2021 (the Solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians – Patron Saint of Australia), to commemorate 200 years of Catholic education. Mass will be livestreamed from a number of locations. Check the website for sites and starting times

Bishops pastoral letter celebrates 200 years of Australian Catholic education

The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat is made up of 64 diverse primary and secondary schools that provide distinctive Catholic education in rural and regional settings.

As we celebrate 200 years of Catholic education in Australia, our leaders are taking their school communities on a journey to achieve the following outcomes:

  • To create Christ-centered learning-focused communities, responsive to the needs of our time and contexts.
  • To create safe and respectful communities of hope where all can flourish.
  • To ensure cooperation and collaboration underpin effective family engagement, governance and stewardship.
  • To foster leaders to serve our Catholic education communities.
  • To ensure quality learning and teaching that promotes excellence and fosters authentic human development.
St Michaels Primary School in Daylesford.

The Catholic Bishops have written a pastoral letter to school leaders, staff, students and families to mark the 200th anniversary of Catholic education in Australia.  The letter, 200 Years Young, recognises the contribution of religious, clergy and lay people to the foundation of Catholic education, and the distinctive role Catholic schools play in educating young people of faith and service in their communities.

Today, there are 1751 Catholic schools educating 768,000 students and employing 98,000 staff. Nearly 40 per cent of Catholic schools are outside metropolitan cities in regional, rural and remote communities. The first school in the Ballarat Diocese was opened in Portland in 1849.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education, has called on all those involved in Catholic education to acknowledge this significant milestone in the life of the church.  “From very humble beginnings with the opening of the first official Catholic school educating just 31 students located on Hunter Street in Parramatta, Catholic schools have grown to educate more than one in five Australian students, with many others attending Catholic preschools, colleges and universities,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have Catholic schools in most towns and suburbs, and university campuses in most capital cities, serving students from diverse backgrounds and beliefs.  While they are no longer all from poorer families, as so many were in the first century-and-a-half of Catholic education, we continue to welcome and ensure our schools are accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, refugees, those with disabilities and students who are financially disadvantaged.

“Alongside families and parishes, Catholic schools are the Church’s principal meeting point with young people, and are integral to the Church’s mission of transmitting the faith to the next generation and forming young people as future contributors to Australian society.”

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Jacinta Collins welcomed the pastoral letter and the ongoing commitment of the Bishops to provide a faith-based education for Australian families.

“We are in a unique position in Australia that we have the support of successive governments to the funding of Catholic and non-government schools. This support has enabled our schools to be accessible to families that seek a faith-based education for their children and ensures diversity in school choice,” Ms Collins said.

Article courtesy of the Ballarat Courier

The pastoral letter is available here