Dear Father/ Headteacher,
‘Promoting Gospel Values – the theme of this year’s Education Week is what you do every single day. I cannot thank you enough for all you do to show the face of Christ to parishioners, young people, staff and parents.
Some elements of our society maintain that Catholic education, denominational schools, and even the promotion of a religious life are harmful to our society. We know differently. We can see the positive effects that Christian teaching and example in our schools and parishes have on those most in need in our communities. Time after time, this is shown in surveys and reviews undertaken by various secular bodies.
All or us, though, still feel the pressure from time to time, or imagine that our efforts are to no effect. That is why I am writing this letter to show my support, and that of all of those in the Diocese working in the field of Catholic Education.
Our VE for education, Canon Tom and church representatives act in my name to preserve the Catholicity of our schools and support the recruitment and formation of Catholic teachers. They are also there to offer their accompaniment as you try to nurture our young people in the faith. Mrs Mary O’Duffin has been working hard to support the delivery or RE in primary schools and has also been helping parishes without Catholic schools to maintain a good level of catechesis. She has also been involved with me and Canon Kevin in forming catechists. Our new education website and APP ‘Teaching is Believing’ hope to foster connections in the Diocese and throughout the country.
We have in the Diocese an Education Advisory Group. Under the chairmanship of the VE for education, this body has been advising me on teacher recruitment and formation, and on how to strengthen the links between home, school and parish. We recognise that it is in the Catholic school and the catechism class that much of the Catholic formation of our young people takes place. Working closely with SCES and other agencies, we hope to offer models of chaplaincy, parent council support, and faith formation suited to local needs.
I am taking this opportunity to thank you once more for all that you do. During whichever week you choose, between the great feasts of our Patrons St Margaret and St Andrew, [to mark Education Week] may you feel the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whose community of life you share and promote.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
+ Stephen Robson