Authentic Christian Community
The Catholic school aspires to be an authentic Christian community that builds quality relationships modelled on the vision and values of Jesus. An authentic Christian school community supports the dignity of each person, practises Christian hospitality and proclaims its values through word and action.
Catholic schools must be seen as meeting places for those who wish to express Christian values in education.
The Catholic school, far more than any other, must be a community whose aim is the transmission of values for living. Its work is seen as promoting a faith-relationship with Christ in whom all values find fulfilment. But faith is principally assimilated through contact with people whose daily life bears witness to it. Christian faith, in fact, is born and grows inside a community (The Catholic School, 1977, n.53).
The writings of St Paul provide sound guidance to the early Christians in building and sustaining authentic communities based on the values of Christ. Paul’s letters identify a variety of characteristics that mark an authentic Christian community and have a contemporary relevance for building community in Catholic schools:
building peaceful relationships
“So then, let us always seek the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another” (Romans 14:19).
caring for the marginalised
“If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain” (I Corinthians 12:26a).
rejoicing in the achievements of one another
“If one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy” (1 Corinthians 12:26b).
seeking and offering forgiveness
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you”
supporting and encouraging one another
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (1997) reminds us that the Second Vatican Council affirmed the community dimension of the Catholic school. The Catholic school is more than just a place for academic learning; it seeks to be a place of complete formation through a strong sense of interpersonal relationships.
Authentic Christian Community Document Library