The Church strand comprises three distinct yet interrelated sub-strands: Liturgy and Sacraments, People of God, and Church History.
Liturgy and Sacraments
Students in Archdiocesan schools grow in their understanding and appreciation of the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. They develop an understanding of the many ways in which the Biblical story of God’s covenant relationship finds echoes in the lives of individuals and in their relationships with others. Students learn how liturgy can assist them to give authentic and creative expression to their own ongoing story, to their struggles and triumphs, successes and failures, sorrows and joys, and to all that lies deepest within them. Each student’s individual story is linked to the Christian story which is centred on the person of Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection. They explore the capacity of liturgy to express the cultural diversity of believers and encourage their active participation in worship.
Students develop an understanding of how Sacraments of the Church proclaim God’s presence in human life through words, actions and symbols. In exploring the historical development of Sacraments, students make connections between the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church and the life and ministry of Jesus.
People of God
Students in Archdiocesan schools grow in their understanding of the Church as both visible organisation and spiritual community; a human community in communion that reflects and witnesses to the loving communion of Father, Son and Spirit. The Church does not exist for itself but is empowered by the Spirit to be at the service of others. Students learn how the Church is called and challenged to be God’s pilgrim people and the expression of the continuing presence of Jesus Christ in the world. They learn that the Church has the right and responsibility of carrying on Christ’s mission and ministry through the power of the Spirit and that this is a shared mission between consecrated persons and the lay faithful.
In learning about the Church as a human community, a community-of-persons, students investigate its organisational structure, leadership structure, practices and rules. They begin to understand the nature of Church authority as hierarchical and collegial, reflective of history and culture. They study the roles of men and women in the structure and leadership of the Church. Students are helped to understand that the Church’s authority has scriptural origins, and is a service exercised in the name of Christ and for the sake of others. They also make connections between the structures and practices of different Church communities and their culture and history.
In learning about the Church as a spiritual community, persons-in-community, students grow in their understanding that communion is about a rich sense of connectedness; a spiritual unity with Jesus, with Mary as Mother of the Church, with all members of the Church, living and dead (‘communion of saints’), and with other Christians, that is made visible in the life of the Church. Students explore the understanding of Catholic Christians who see themselves as children of God needing to be connected to God, to others and to all of creation.
Students in Archdiocesan schools grow in their understanding and appreciation of different periods in the history of the Church through an examination of key people, events and movements in their historical context, and in relation to their contemporary significance. Historical events are considered in relation to the different social, cultural, political and intellectual contexts that shaped people’s lives and actions.
Students examine the history of the Church in Australia within a broader world. They develop their knowledge, understanding and skills across a number of different contexts including family, parish, diocese and Australian Church. Students explore the beginnings of Christianity and the development of the Church over time. Students develop an appreciation of the diverse perspectives, motivations and contributions of key historical groups including lay persons, religious congregations and clergy. Broad patterns of historical change and significant historical events and developments in the Church are examined.
Students’ historical understanding is developed through the exploration of concepts that help make sense of the past, including continuity and change, cause and effect, empathy and perspective. Through a process of historical inquiry, students develop historical skills such as: sequencing within a chronological framework; using appropriate historical terms and concepts; posing historical questions; locating information; using and acknowledging sources; explaining different perspectives and interpretations; and developing historical narratives and descriptions. Students’ knowledge and understanding of the history of the Church enable them to better appreciate the Church of the present so that they might contribute critically and effectively to its future.