Principal's Report - Catholic Education Week
Next week (26 July to 1 August) is Queensland Catholic Education Week.
The most recent Federal Census highlighted the decline in organised faith in Australia. Although Roman Catholics remain the largest single religious group, the numbers are declining, the average age of those who call themselves Catholic is rapidly increasing, and the number of people in Australia who have no religion (39%) is greater than those who do. Since as recent as the 1990s, the faith profile of our country has changed a lot.
One would expect that a decline in a Catholic population would mean a decline in the number of Catholic schools and of families wanting to attend Catholic schools. Yet, Catholic education is flourishing - and it is flourishing all over Australia. A staggering 1 in 5 students in Australia attends a Catholic school. As many parents will know, at Mary MacKillop we have been compelled this year to have waiting lists in now 3 of our year groups and I anticipate that number extending to 6 next year. Catholic education remains a really popular choice in our community and nationally.
The first Catholic school in Australia was founded when Catholics did not enjoy full and legal rights in the British Empire. We are now at the point where the current Prime Minster's entire education was in Catholic schools. The focus on a robust, high standard education, the dignity of the human person, an aspiration to fullness of life and a message that we should support the weak and vulnerable in our midst is something that many Australians, regardless of their own faith journey, are compelled by.
Why? Well, the Bishops of Australia rightly refer to the Catholic education system as the 'jewel in the crown' of the Catholic Church in Australia. The focus right now on the building of a community of Faith, Hope and Love underpins why. In a time where it is easy to return to our everyday and forget about the life of those around us, the Catholic school asks us to lift up our neighbour.
Mr Chris Gabbett