Fostering the Spirit in Catholic Schools

Fostering the Spirit in Catholic Schools

Tim Gasson

When you hear the phrase ‘Catholic character’, you know you’re dealing with the very essence of Catholic education. ‘Catholic character’ is the terminology of preference when attempting to capture the atmosphere and values, the goals and ethos of the Catholic secondary school. Take any two such schools and you’ll find both similarity and difference in the key words and images that go together to define the schools’ character. Shaped by socio-economic, cultural and geographical factors (not to mention the peculiarities of the local Board of Trustees!), a school’s ‘Catholic character’ will always hold spirituality at its centre. From the student’s perspective, the spirituality of the Catholic school helps one to make sense of oneself in relationship to God and others. Who we are as human beings loved and valued by God forms the basis of our exploration into how we are called by God to act with integrity and respect in our relations with people and all of creation. If spirituality is central, a ‘sense of community’ is the enveloping layer that challenges students to bring their faith to bear in every aspect of their lives.