Immersion programs which enable teachers and senior students to discover firsthand the Church at work amongst the poorest of the poor or an opportunity to reflect on the charism of the founding religious order of the school, can offer have the ultimate transformative experience for those participating.
The benefits for our present generation to walk in the footsteps of the founders of the educational communities that have provided us with a rich heritage, are immeasurable.
To see disciples of the Church working in the poorest of communities provides motivation and a vision for the realisation of a just world where the dignity of the human person is realised.
The following are examples of immersion programs which have taken place or continue to take place:
- The Catholic Schools Office under the leadership of the Director travel to Vietnam to see the work of the Catholic Church in a developing country;
- St Pius X, Adamstown conducted a Year 10 Immersion Program to Vietnam;
- St Francis Xavier's College, Hamilton engage in a Marist Program in Cambodia and/or East Timor;
- St Catherine’s College, Singleton visited Siena to study the origins of their founder St Catherine. The tour begins in Rome with a study of the early history of the Catholic Church, followed by visits to Assisi, Florence, Venice and Siena. The tour concludes with two days in Somme learning about the battlefields of First World War;
- St Catherine’s intend travelling to Mercy International House in Dublin to explore the life of Catherine McAuley - foundress of the Sisters of Mercy;
- St Clare’s, Taree - travel to PNG.
Student Retreat and Reflection Days
All schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle offer a program of retreat and reflection days to enrich the lives of our young people by recognising the individuality and dignity of each student by fostering their unique potential and spirituality. These occasions are a call for deep reflection where prayer, liturgy and scripture are at the centre of the experience.
The retreat programs and reflection days provide a unique opportunity for exploration of the student’s personal faith. The experiences enable students to understand each other in a new light and experience closeness to God based on personal encounter with the person of Jesus.
Some examples of retreat and reflection days include:
- Year 6 Young Leaders Retreat Day
- Year 7 Belonging and Orientation Reflection Days
- Year 10, 11, 12 Live-in Retreat Experiences.
Staff and CSO Retreat and Reflection Days
Each year, all employees in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are invited to be part of a one day or overnight retreat and reflection day experience. As part of the currency requirements for Faith Education Accreditation, each school community and the Catholic Schools Office plan a faith formation experience. The aim of these gatherings is to foster a personal encounter with Jesus, to share stories of faith and experiences that enrich the spirit of God present in our daily lives and work.
Themes that are explored via these gatherings include:
- Building the Catholic community based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching;
- Exploring the charisms of the religious founders of the schools in the diocese;
- Exploring the nature and purpose of Catholic education;
- Discovering the various entities that promote justice and peace initiatives in our local community;
- Environmental stewardship;
- Enriching our Catholic spirituality in the workplace;
- A Survival Guide to Sane Spirituality in Catholic Education- Richard Leonard sj;
- Head and Heart and Hands- Growing A Prayerful Community - Jill Gowdie.