Catholic education is a lifelong process of human growth and development. It is more than schooling. It begins at home, continues in the school and matures through involvement with the Christian community in the parish. The three dimensions of home, school and parish must work together if Catholic education is to truly attain its goal of forming mature human persons in the image and likeness of Christ. Children, of course, are central to these three relationships. Every child who attends a Catholic school, first of all belongs to a family.
Our Catholic schools are an important part of the Church’s pastoral ministry. Catholic schools contribute to the life of the Port Pirie Diocese and to the parishes in which they are located. Our schools receive great support from the parishes and other agencies connected with the parish and wider community. Catholic Education Port Pirie recognises that community and faith are mutually inclusive and is always looking at ways to strengthen this relationship; fostering connection with the community and parish for all, whatever our age or stage of faith.
For many of our students and families, the school can be the principal way by which they become associated with the Catholic Church. But in addition to the links with family and school, it is in the parish where everyone is able to participate in the celebration of the Sacraments, in particular the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the “source and summit” of our Christian lives.
The Catholic School is a community within the parish, with a specific evangelising and educative mission. It is a most important place for human and Christian formation. However, it clearly does not and cannot carry the entire responsibility for the complete and ongoing catechesis of children and young people. Without strong family, school, and parish collaboration, students will be deprived of the range of fundamental experiences needed for their faith development. The parish is not principally a structure, a territory, or a building, but rather, ‘the family of God, the ‘community of the faithful’.
Pope Francis (2013) reminds us that “the parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration…It is a community of communities, a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey, and a centre of constant missionary outreach” (Evangelii Guadium, No. 28).
Each of our Catholic schools has strong links with the parish community to which they belong. More information about our parish communities can be found on the Catholic Diocese of Port Pirie web site.