From a series of newsletters during the first year of our new school: Head teacher John Boyce explores his vision of Catholic education.
Catholics see God in the little things – in the everyday events of life. There are seven “big” Sacraments to bring us into contact with our Creator – but we try to be aware of creation in everybody we meet and everything that happens to us, and in all the little things we see and experience each day. We try to look at life – and look through it, to the Creator behind it.
Because God is in everything, we do try to develop in students an instinct for rightness – and Catholic schools are committed to what is right.
In today’s world, that makes Catholic institutions a little controversial. So much of what we have in our society is to do with what is “right” for the individual – “what’s in it for me?” “what do I get out of it?”
Running an organization in today’s world often involves using people to get the work done. In a Catholic institution, it is about using the work to get the people done.
Our school leaders are encouraged to create opportunities for others to help them become the people they were created to be. It was the image of service we saw during Easter week when our priests, bishops, and Pope imitated Jesus when he washed the feet of his disciples.
Over the last two hundred years, the Western world has gradually reduced human life to a biological and mechanical accident. We have learned to see ourselves as superior animals.
Catholic institutions will not accept that. In a Catholic school, we see each human life as a sacred thing, and God is not some sort of “add-on” which we can choose to do without. People are judged not on their usefulness – but on the dignity that was born in them when God breathed life into them, and we defend that sacredness from the womb to the tomb.
We have to learn to see what is right – what the Gospel writers call developing “eyes to see”. When Jesus comes to separate the sheep from the goats and we ask “but Lord, when did we see you hungry, or naked, or in prison or … ? ” he won’t accept us not seeing him in the disadvantaged of our world.
That is also why our schools try to welcome everyone-and why social justice is so important to us. We have a responsibility to challenge injustice in all its forms wherever we see it.
We respect each person as a creation of God – but we also respect the whole of God’s creation for the same reason. Catholic institutions have a deep respect and care for the natural world.