Letter from the Archbishop of Brisbane

In recent years, we have seen deep and lasting change in the Church and society. The demographics of the Church here in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, particularly our schools and colleges, are a microcosm of these changing times. Often we find ourselves with structures and strategies, which are a response to the facts on the ground, twenty or fifty years ago. They may have worked brilliantly then but perhaps not now when the facts on the ground are different. Planning for the present time and future of the Church in all its ministries must be not only a response to the facts on the ground, but also a response to the grace of the moment.

It is very good, therefore, that the Brisbane Catholic Education office has read the signs of the times and taken the complex decision to review and recreate the Religious Education curriculum for all schools and colleges within our Archdiocese. This has been a strategic r​esponse following a thorough examination of the “the facts on the ground” while recognising that this work is the work of the Spirit who breathes life into all that we do.

An inclusive, excellent Religious Education is a right of every student entrusted to our care. Religious Education is this Archdiocese is understood to comprise two distinct yet complementary processes, teaching students religion and teaching students to be religious in the particular way of the Catholic Church. We acknowledge too, the ecumenical nature of those of our schools that have entered into partnerships with other Christian traditions. This too is a holy work.

At a time when we need to become more missionary, God is breathing the Holy Spirit into us in new ways. How could it be otherwise, given that God always equips those whom he calls? So I am pleased to see that while this new curriculum will be accessed through the more traditional technology of a book it will also be available online through a comprehensive website and an ‘App’ containing a wealth of theological background for teachers.

I am grateful to the staff of Brisbane Catholic Education, Religious Education Services who have led the way with this project. We are indebted to the many teachers, diocesan and university representatives, priests and theologians who have given of their time so generously. My hope is that the students of the Archdiocese of Brisbane will, through this curriculum, understand the Catholic faith more deeply but most importantly enter into a profound personal encounter with Christ, crucified and risen, for that is the heart of Christianity.

This project is the beginning of a new era in the way we conceptualise and teach Religious Education. To enter new territory will require imagination, courage and, above all, faith. It will mean letting go of old baggage as we set out, like Abraham, on a new journey led by God. My prayers are with all of you as we set out on the great adventure of opening the infinite treasures of Jesus Christ to the young people whom we care called to serve.

As always in the Lord, 

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Mark Coleridge 
Archbishop of Brisbane​​​