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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools


Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools, Bishop Robert McGuckin, Bishop of Toowoomba, Fr Richard Leonard

A new Religious Education course for Year 11 and 12 students was launched today by the Most Reverend Robert McGuckin, Bishop of Toowoomba and Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools. The launch was held at St Mary’s College and attended by representatives from secondary schools throughout the Diocese and guest speaker, Fr Richard Leonard.

The Living Water praxis course provides students with the opportunity for practical application of their faith through involvement in flexible, enriching and engaging experiences. It calls young adults to positive action in the world and provides contemporary experiences that better meet the needs of senior learners.  Service learning is the underpinning of the program.  The course has been organised around four core elements of social justice; charity/action, social justice/solidarity, advocacy and immersion/awareness. 

Through these core elements the course integrates models of service learning, theology, social justice, Scripture and prepares students to go into the wider community in service learning roles.  Some of the practical experiences that the students will implement include: preparing a prayer and liturgical activity, facilitating a retreat for primary school students, involvement in an advocacy activity for a voiceless group, 40 hours of community service, reflections and involvement in a school retreat.

The course was developed collaboratively by staff from secondary schools, the Toowoomba Catholic Schools Office, members of the clergy and expert theologians.  It is hoped that the praxis course will be uplifting and relevant to senior students with the aim of enabling not only their personal development but also the ongoing engagement with their faith into the future.

“The ever-evolving context of schools and the changing nature of our students is a real challenge to Catholic educators to move with the times and be constantly looking for better, more effective ways of engaging adolescents to construct meaning, purpose and values for life.  The general shift away from involvement in institutions and organisations is impacting deeply on the work of parishes and Church agencies.  The Living Water Program is a resource where students learn about and from the Catholic faith in a way which genuinely connects with and makes sense of their life experiences.  The focus of Living Water program is firmly grounded in the life experiences of students and the prevailing culture of the communities in which they live and grow,” said Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools.