RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

As a Catholic school in the Mercy Tradition, St Joseph’s College places great emphasis on educating students in the Catholic faith tradition, while respecting other religious traditions.

Religious Education at St Joseph’s has several dimensions.  Firstly, the foundation of the entire College curriculum is the traditional Catholic quest to integrate faith in the mystery of God with supporting reason and knowledge.  This Catholic perspective permeates and challenges every curriculum Domain.

Secondly, Religious Education is a specific curriculum Domain, with formal classes in Years 7 through to 12.  The Years 7-10 curriculum is developed within the Religious Education guidelines for the Ballarat Diocese entitled “Awakenings”.  It is planned so as to be relevant to the developmental levels of students and to be sequential in its development of concepts.  It is aimed at challenging students in their personal faith responses and in their understanding of the Catholic and other religious traditions. The acquisition of religious literacy and religious tolerance are outcomes being promoted strongly.

All students are encouraged to take part in the act of volunteering in their lives.  At St Joseph's College we have a Year 8 Mercy Works program in place to assist with this ethos.  Year 11 students are required to do one semester of either Ethics, RE Art or RE Drama.  Accompanying this requirement is the 20 hours that Year 11 and Year 12 students are asked to do in Senior Mercy Works (Community Service) in the local community.
Students in Years 7 and 8 and Years 9 and 10 are engaged in a range of units which cover eight key strands or areas of study over two years.  VCE students participate in a number of accredited VCE units – RE Art, Religion and Society Units: 1 (Religion in Society), 2 (Ethics and Morality), 3 (The Search for Meaning) and 4 (Challenge and Response).  These units offer an analysis of religious identity in the light of current religious and social trends. Year 12 students are expected to participate in a series of seminar days centred on Relationships, Social Justice and Personal Faith issues.
Thirdly, the Religious Education of St Joseph’s College is supported and reinforced by the Mercy ethos, which permeates the College in all its structures and relationships. The Gospel values underpin curriculum planning in all Domains and are reflected and promoted constantly in interactions between staff, students, parents and the wider community.

The College community celebrates and expresses its Catholic beliefs and practices in daily prayer, class liturgies, Year Level liturgies and major College liturgies and celebrations such as the Opening Mass, the St Joseph’s Feast Day Mass, the Mercy Day Mass and the Final End of Year Mass, which particularly farewells Year 12 students.  These are community gatherings for worship and thanksgiving that are opportunities for growth in prayer, unity and a better understanding of the importance of our Catholic tradition.
St Joseph’s College has a proud tradition of engaging students in the wider call of service to others, especially to those in the most need of loving assistance.  We offer the College community a range of projects such as the Mercy Works, Project Compassion, the Year 11 and Year 12 Community Service Programme, the Social Justice group, visitations to local centres for the elderly, ‘Clean-up Australia’ programmes and a host of appeals for various welfare and social action agencies.  These are aimed at awakening a keen sense of social justice and compassion in our community.

The Religious Education programme is, therefore, a multi-dimensional approach which links formal classes and curriculum with a range of opportunities for experiential development through participation in activities which encourage the development of the spirituality of our students, families and staff.

The developments in the area of information technology provide both challenges and opportunities for students and staff to grapple with the search for meaning and search for God in this modern multicultural global world-view, which is the experience of our community. Teaching strategies in Religious Education will always reflect developments in teaching approaches and recognition of different learning styles.

The Religious Education faculty and College community as a whole welcome the challenges of bringing the Gospel message to youth and families of our community in a way that provides knowledge, skills and stimulus for personal and communal growth in the Catholic-Mercy tradition, which has been an integral part of our cultural fabric for over 100 years.
ST JOSEPH’S COLLEGE MILDURA FOUNDED IN 1906

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