The Goal of Faith is about promoting an understanding of our personal relationship with Christ in a way that makes sense of life. Its focus is to support the uniqueness of the individual’s relationship with a loving God through clearly structured programmes of religious formation. In the Foreword to this edition of Heritage and Horizon, Aideen Kinlen, rscj, Provincial of the Irish-Scottish Province states:

‘In a world badly in need of wisdom, a global vision, and a capacity to rise beyond individualism, we must seek to give young people real confidence: a sense of their inherent dignity as children of God, the fundamental stability of knowing that they are personally loved by Christ. They need to acquire the good judgment that knows the real reasons for their worth.’

The Challenge

Therefore our challenge in working on this goal is to ensure that:

  • The religious dimension in the tradition of the Society of the Sacred Heart is central to the life of the school and that a faith vision permeates the life of the school.
  • Our work on the Goal of Faith encourages our pupils to practise gospel values which include an informed respect for people of other religious traditions.

How can we achieve these objectives?

Heritage and Horizon recommends:

1. Developing structured programmes of religious formation which focus on providing the pupils/students with opportunities to grow in faith through:

  • Appropriate textbooks and curricular units of work
  • Whole-school themes
  • Study of the scriptures
  • Chaplaincy-led faith initiatives

2. Ensuring that the religious dimension permeates the life of the school through:

  • Regular school community celebration of the Eucharist
  • Marking of feasts of the Society of the Sacred Heart
  • Use of Sacred Space
  • Collective worship
  • Use of religious icons

3. Helping our pupils/students acquire particular values which emphasise:

  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Hope/optimism
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness
  • Tolerance
  • Service

4. Encouraging our pupils/students to show their faith relationship with God through their engagement with others by promoting:

  • A culture of caring
  • An open, inclusive, school community

Suggested exercises:

  • Discuss selected scriptural passages e.g. a saying of Jesus, such as ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, asking pupils to:
    • Describe what it means to them.
    • Identify any occasion (current affair or historical event with which they are familiar) on which the behaviour implied by the passage was, or was not, demonstrated.
  • Ask pupils to identify someone who, they believe, exemplifies a particular Christian virtue.
  • Tell a story about Sophie so that pupils appreciate the courage, energy and commitment necessary to achieve what she did. Make Sophie real.
  • Carry out the Key Word Exercise.
  • Introduce a regular personal prayer interlude. Emphasise the potential power of real prayer.
  • Facilitate a group discussion on the relevance of faith in today’s world.
  • Discuss the meaning of a particular icon.
  • Tell compelling stories related to particular Feast Days.
  • Ask pupils to research the history of a Feast Day.

How Can We Evaluate Outcomes?

Monitor whether our Sacred Spaces are being used regularly by a broad cross-section of pupils.

  • Are collective worship ceremonies well attended?
  • Observe behaviour to assess whether our pupils appear to be enthusiastic about personal prayer sessions.
  • Similarly, does the school community demonstrate a belief in the Gospel values of ‘Love your neighbour’ in every day behaviour?
  • Do our policies and our behaviour reflect an understanding and tolerance of members of our community who may practise a different religion?
"Woman you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.” And from that moment her daughter was well again.
Mt.15: 28

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Some Keywords

  • Catholic
  • Celebrate
  • Ceremony
  • Christian
  • Concern
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Express what is right
  • Fearless
  • Fidelity
  • Forgiveness
  • Hope
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