Catholic education convention had many highlights

3 Dame

Catholic educators, bishops, priests, school trustees and others have taken part in seminars, workshops, tours and exhibitions from June 12-15 at Wellington’s TSB Arena.
With almost all Catholic schools represented at the Catholic Education Convention 2018, the convention’s activities were carefully planned and choreographed by the New Zealand Catholic Education Office.

International speakers from the United States, England and Australia were joined by subject specialists from throughout the country. Many workshops and seminars offered delegates a multitude of choices, presenting current discourse on a range of hot button education and Catholic ministry topics.

Topics up for discussion have included sessions on Mana Whenua, Mana Tāngata,
working with Pasifika children and families, the changing landscape of families, social justice activities in the classroom and evangelising students and communities.

The finale of the convention was an extensive tour visiting the legacy of the Venerable Suzanne Aubert, Meri Hohepa, with a visit to Wellington’s Soup Kitchen, her recently restored historic creche and Our Lady’s Home of Compassion in Island Bay — the resting place of Mother Aubert.

Highlights of the convention included keynote speaker Dame Therese Walsh, who provided a faith-based perspective of working in a corporate environment, and how her Catholic background informed the way she has worked; Fr Daniel Horan, OFM, spoke about the joy of Christian foolishness and responding to Christ’s call to discipleship in the age of Pope Francis; and the secretary for education, Iona Holsted, shared her thoughts about the review work that the Government is undertaking. She thanked Catholic schools for the work that they do.

Paul Ferris, CEO of the New Zealand Catholic Education Office, addressed the delegates with an insightful and often humorous account of his career working in Catholic schools throughout the country and provided some real food for thought on opportunities and challenges facing Catholic educators today.

Central themes of his presentation were intent, evangelisation and formation. He recognised schools as the front line of parishes and challenged them to invest in recruitment, retention and formation.

Mr Ferris called on schools to interpret the signs of the time through engagement,  modelling and dialogue, in contributing to the building of vibrant and intentional
faith communities.

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NZ Catholic Staff

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