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Celebrating the gift of faith on World Teachers’ Day

30 October 2020
CCD Staff taking secondary school students on an excursion to Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney, last December. Image: Supplied.

 

World Teachers’ Day, celebrated in Australia on 30 October, is a time to commemorate the work of our volunteer Special Religious Education teachers (SREs, also known as catechists).

It’s a day to give thanks to our catechists for their time and dedication to ensuring that children in state schools, throughout our Diocese and beyond, have the opportunity to know Jesus and His message of love and salvation.

The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) in the Diocese of Parramatta supports our 47 parishes to seek and support volunteers to become accredited catechists who teach Special Religious Education in state schools in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Spiritual wellbeing, delivered by Special Religious Education classes, is one of the five elements of the Department of Education’s Wellbeing Framework, alongside the cognitive, physical, emotional and social wellbeing of children and young people.

The classes given by our catechists enable the seeds of faith to be sown and then nourished by parents, our faith community and parish life.

Last year, 1,000 volunteer catechists from our 47 parishes, including 350 student Special Religious Education classroom helpers from Catholic high schools, shared the Good News with more than 15,000 students in 195 primary and secondary public schools.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on this ministry, with many of our volunteers considered vulnerable under NSW Health guidelines, and the number of active volunteers in schools is currently 800.

We had a shortage of catechists and classroom helpers when Special Religious Education resumed in schools again for Term 3.

Our ministry needs your prayers, support, energy, gifts, and time to succeed.

Our catechists come from all walks of life and include senior secondary students, university students, parents, grandparents, the self-employed, and retirees.

“It’s so rewarding!” says Cecilia Zammit who directs the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine which organises SRE teaching in the diocese. “Our lessons give children room to encounter a loving God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. When you’re a catechist you bring hope and joy to the young people you teach, as well as playing a valuable role in their development.”

“Please pray for our Special Religious Education teachers and classroom helpers as they strive to help the children we teach to know and understand Jesus’ message of “love one another as I have loved you” she asks.

Please consider giving the gift of faith by becoming a Special Religious Teacher and help nourish the faith formation of children and families.

Training for Catechists can be done in person or online. For information, please contact Cecilia Zammit, Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine on 0427 268 699 or cecilia.zammit@parracatholic.org or visit parracatholic.org/ccd.

Donations can also be made for the training and resources for Catechists to sow the seeds of faith through this link.

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