Monday, 14 March 2016

A Prayer for Leaders in Catholic Education

This is my first attempt at writing a formal prayer. I wrote it while staying at the Burns Lodge Convention Centre in Mosgiel, originally known as the Holy Cross Seminary during a two day leadership seminar. You can read about the seminar led by Brendan Spillane at this link. 
The Otago Southland Catholic Principal's Association planned to have a meeting during the second day of the seminar. After a day of learning with Brendan Spillane, his words resounded in my head as it touched the pillow within the walls of the sacred seminary. The challenging message to leaders from the NZ Catholic Bishops (NZCBC) in their 2014 document, The Catholic Education of School - Age Children also featured. I woke up in the early hours of the morning of the meeting and was inspired to write this prayer.
Please feel free to adapt and use the prayer or offer suggestions to improve it.

Loving Father,

Bless us as we meet here today within the walls of the former Holy Cross Seminary.
For almost 100 years, this building was a sacred place for deep prayer, study and reflection.

Through the Holy Spirit, help us to feel a strong connection to the faithful and committed Catholics who dedicated their lives to carry out your work.

We are here as leaders of schools but not ordinary schools. You have called us to do the extraordinary work of leading your Catholic schools.

We know that at the heart of the Catholic character of our schools are the Catholic hearts of those who work in our schools [1].

Pope Francis has been calling us to imagine with freshness who we are as God’s people.
"We are not living an era of change but a change of era " [2].
He said “we can walk [and talk] as much as we like, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ … we are not the Church …and everything is swept away” [3]. 

Our NZ bishops have reminded us that the encounter with Jesus is at the centre of Catholic education. Our schools are at the heart of every parish or pastoral area’s evangelising mission [4].

We know that the primary goal of Catholic education is "above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others" [5].

As Catholic leaders and teachers we must play our part in enabling every teacher and every child in our schools to use their God-given talents in promoting the good of society and the spread of the kingdom of God [6].

Help us to have the courage to maintain, strengthen and safeguard the Christ centred uniqueness of an authentic Catholic identity in our schools.

We ask that you give us the strength and the courage through our own prayer, study and reflection, to be open to understanding how we can help guide the children in our care to carry your transforming love and light into their future.


[1] NZCBC, Par 47.
[2] Pope Francis, 2015 via Spillane
[3] NZCBC, Intro.
[4] NZCBC, Intro.
[5] NZCBC, Par 11. Pope John Paul, 1979.
[6] NZCBC, Par 18.

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