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Chosen – to know, to grow, and to go out

Evangelisation in our School Parish communities

On 25 August, Te Mara Akoranga Katorika (The Catholic Kāhui ako North Hub) hosted a hui at St Bede’s College for school, diocesan, and parish leaders. The Hui focused on evangelisation and mission in our school parish communities.

This was attended by around 225 participants from throughout the diocese, and included senior student leaders from our Hub colleges.

The Christchurch Catholic Kāhui Ako is a cluster of 15 Catholic Schools and is divided into three main hubs, aligning with the new major city parishes.

‘Chosen’ developed out of some significant work by the Kāhui ako North Hub Schools in 2021 and 2022, and explores initiatives and goals to strengthen the faith of our students, whanau, and staff. This hui was an opportunity to gather around our new Bishop for the first time as a community of Catholic leaders and explore the diocesan vision for evangelisation and mission in our school parish communities. We celebrated and reflected on what our school parish communities are currently doing well. However, during the day we were also challenged to consider new possibilities and to take risks, so that the young people in our care may come to know Jesus more fully and be inspired to live the Gospel.

The day began with Mass and the Gospel reading was from Matthew, where we heard Jesus challenging his disciples. Although they were tired, they were asked to once again set out into the deep and put out their nets for a catch. This message could not have been more appropriate, considering the challenges we currently face in our education and parish contexts. During his homily, Bishop Michael set the tone for the day by encouraging us to be open to the Holy Spirit working in our lives and to have the courage to be an authentic witness to the Gospel.

During the day, participants were treated to some outstanding keynote speakers, who reinforced the importance of our schools and parishes being places where our students and families can encounter Christ and develop a personal relationship with Him. Another key message was the importance of our parishes and schools being more closely aligned and connected in the Church’s mission and evangelisation. This requires the development of strong relationships and ongoing collaboration.

A deeper understanding of vocation and the important roles of both the laity and clergy within the school context was also explored. Finally, some key practical examples of successful collaboration between school and parish were shared. The day concluded with a wonderful liturgy.

One participant said, “Today has been one of the most wonderful days I’ve experienced. I felt loved from the moment I arrived and am still feeling it now as I write to thank you. The speakers were perfect. They challenged us and did so in a loving, caring way. It has been so long since my soul and spirit have been fed like this. I left with my tank full.”

Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki

Megan Stewart, Matt Malone, and Justin Boyle