Our story is the story of the Church, and who we are and how we got here. Our stories as individuals can only be told in the context of whenua, tupuna and whakapapa — the bigger story of our families, our cultures, our faith and our lands.
Church history forms an important part of the knowledge base for young people in search of identity and that identity must be understood in light of their personal history and their status as human beings made in the image of the Creator and their relationship to God. Young people should experience a sense of belonging, connection and interdependency with God, the Church, other humans and creation.
Young people will develop an understanding of the story of the Church in terms of significant events and people that have shaped the Church and the world. They will be able to explore and articulate, as individuals and communities, their own whakapapa participating in this past, present and future story.
The young person is introduced to the basic themes of Christian anthropology: what does it mean to be human and who are we in the eyes of our Creator? The young person learns that they are made in the image of God and that they are called to be in relationship with God, the Creator, who loves them. They are assured of their uniqueness and value. They have gifts they have been given and are called to use. They have a belonging, a purpose and a future.
My Story, my Whānau and my People
The young person is part of the story of their family and the people that their family belongs to. They appreciate the spirituality of the bonds of family and people with whenua, place and journey. They are assured of the importance of their culture in how they live and express their relationship with God.
Our School and our Parish
The young person learns the history of their school and the role the community had in establishing it. The hopes and intentions of the founders of the schools, the Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Church community regarding their education, well-being and relationship with God, should be emphasised (rather than focusing only on a Religious Order itself). The young person should be aware that they are part of a parish and diocese and appreciate the relational structure of the Church.
The young person learns about the spirituality of Aotearoa New Zealand before Christianity came to the land. They understand how Catholicism arrived and how it was received. They learn about the history of Catholicism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Young people with strong links to other countries learn their own history of how Catholicism came to their place.
The young person needs to understand the past to understand their present and imagine the future. It is important for them to understand Catholic Tradition and traditions — the origins, practices, changes and continuity of the Church which have brought it to the present day. They also need to understand the Church’s impact on general society, including those without faith, in the past, present and future.
The young person needs to understand that all that has happened and will happen does so within the loving embrace of Te Atua who continuously creates, calls, forgives, inspires and challenges humanity. For humanity would not exist if not created by God’s love and constantly preserved by it(1).