Being Church encompasses Catholic Christian practice; how we should live our best life, one which embeds and lives out the teachings of Jesus. It is important that young people are given the tools to examine modern culture in the light of Catholic Tradition and teaching, and understand how Christian thinking interrogates and sometimes counters that culture.Being Church requires the teaching of Christian virtues and values and the Church’s teachings concerning social justice. Where possible the young people should be given the chance to serve others in practical ways – to put their learning into practice.
Catholic young people should be able to develop an understanding of God’s call in their life. They, and those who are not committed to the Christian faith, should have the opportunity to reflect on the direction of their life, their own choices and the impact those choices may have. All young people in Catholic schools should be able to develop the spiritual component of their lives. They must have the opportunity to see the sacred at work in their lives and to understand and participate in the Sacraments.
At a time when there are many negative voices that compete for attention, it is important that the inherent optimism of Christianity and Christian hope is explored to strengthen our young people on their journey(1).
(1). Francis. (2020). Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship. #54-55.
Young people will develop an understanding of what it means to be Catholic in the world today in terms of faith, discipleship and sacramental living. They will learn about and develop skills in Catholic Social Teaching and moral and ethical decision making. They will develop capacity to be people of hope.
The young people are introduced to the mission of the Church and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This includes what God requires of them personally as a human being (not necessarily as a Catholic). The mission of the Church includes looking at contemporary mission. Discipleship includes what it means to be a follower of Jesus in whānau, school, parish and wider community.
Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu Catholic Social Teaching
The young people are introduced to the core Catholic Social Teachings and concepts of Social Justice. They are given opportunity to participate in activities and projects that live out these principles.
Whāia te Tika Morality and Ethics
Catholic values and morality should be clearly and overtly taught. The consistent ethic of life can be taught from Y1 to 13. Young people are given the opportunity to apply the moral teachings of the Church to situations relevant to their lives. They should see that ethical thinking applies to all aspects of their human relationships and also to their relationship with creation.
Ko Wai Tātou Faith and Culture
Young people are enabled to develop critical skills to analyse contemporary culture so that they may be ‘active constructors of culture rather than passive consumers’(2). The young people should be able to identify the attitudes and values of contemporary culture and understand what these mean for society and develop a Catholic response. The intent is to bring clarity to the relationship between Catholic faith and culture.
Kia Īnoi Kia Māhi Sacramental Living
The physical world is filled with God’s presence, but God’s presence can be found in its fullest way in the Sacraments. This does not mean God’s grace is not present outside the ‘moment’ of the Sacrament. Living a sacramental life means taking part in the Sacraments of the Church and it means using sacramentals to help us understand that our everyday life is sanctified. God’s grace and presence can be found in the most humdrum, as well as the most significant, aspects of our lives. Sacramentality can be understood as a way of seeing and experiencing the world; a moment when the divine can be sensed in everything; a moment of ‘it all coming together’.
Nō Ngā Tūpuna Christian Hope
Christian Hope is anticipating something already completed(3). We are on a journey knowing that God is here for us, not wishfully thinking God is here. We live in expectation of being with the Lord. It is not optimism or presumption; it is not blind faith that we will go to heaven. Young people need to hear what the Church teaches about life beyond life.
Hope is a theological virtue related to faith and love. Hope is the conviction that God is the sovereign Lord of all creation. God understands the sense of things even when we don’t. When we have faith, we trust and this gives us hope. It doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen, but our hope is grounded in the unconditional love of God who never abandons us.