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 Religious Life of our School

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 Religious Education as St Mark's School comprises two distinct but complementary dimensions - teaching people religion and teaching person to be religious.  Teaching people religion is an educational activity focused on the teaching and learning of religion and utilising a range of learning processes and resources (for more information see:   https://schoolauthoring.bne.catholic.edu.au/schools/stmarksinala/curriculum/Pages/Religious-Education.aspx).  St Mark’s acknowledges that the educational dimension and the faith formation dimension are inextricably linked.
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Teaching people of be religious is identified with the Religious Life of the School and is a faith development activity focused on nurturing the religious, spiritual and faith growth of students.  There are four components that make up the religious life of the school (Religious Identity and Culture; Evangelisation and Faith Formation; Prayer and Worship; and Social Action and Justice).  Each component is interrelated and mutually reinforcing, focusing on a specific aspect of the school's practises.  At St Mark’s children are involved in many varied opportunities to form and practise their faith in these areas. 
 

box images-4 (Mobile).gifReligious Identity and Culture: 
  • Each school day begins with announcements. Each morning during these announcements, a predetermined “Virtue” is explained under the broad headings of what it is, why we practise it and how to practise it. After this an appropriate song is played to the whole school, which focusses the children for morning prayer. Many classes light a candle at this time, incorporating it as part of their daily prayer time and lead in to discussion/guided prayer/ meditation.

  • St Mark's has a school song and prayer specifically written for our community and each class group develops a class covenant of behavioural expectations at the beginning of the year.

  • Each Friday morning is school assembly. Each week a class will lead the school for a time of prayer.  Children here are recognized as Students of the Week, often having demonstrated a particular virtue.

  • There are sacred spaces in every classroom and around the school grounds.

  • Students participate in relevant weekly liturgical community gatherings.

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Prayer and Worship:

  • Whole school masses/liturgies are held for special days in the Church calendar. The Feast of St Mark, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and Easter, Christmas, Catholic Education Week are just some of these celebrations. 

  • Classes are allocated a Mass with their Buddy Class each Thursday, presided over by the Parish Priest, Fr Stephen or by the Assistant Priest, Fr Joseph. Often class teachers structure their Mass around the virtue of the week or other significant events happening in the Church or community calendar. 

  • Classes have an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation each year with their class.

  • A  Parish-based Sacramental Programme for Year 3 students is conducted during Term 2 and 3 and is supported by the school staff. 

  • The school has a warm and close relationship with the Parish. St Mark's Children’s Choir sings once a term and often children have an active role in that Mass.

  • Use of contemporary Christian music, multimedia and hand-on ritual actions together with the beautiful traditions of the Catholic faith.

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Evangelisation and Faith Formation:
  • Use, promotion and living out of the Virtues program and  5Rs (newsletter, morning announcements, assembly, classroom displays).

  • Prayer as a first priority in times of both sadness and happiness.

  • Classes rostered on for weekly Masses and for leading assembly prayer.

  • Whole school liturgical celebrations once or twice a term. 

  • Annual visits by NET Ministries and Real Talk to Year 5 & 6 students.

  • 3 day Personal Development workshop for Year 5 & 6 students with a heavy focus on our Catholic faith perspective.

 
box images-1 (Mobile).gifSocial Action and Justice:
  • Yr 6 students visit a local retirement home in Term 2 and 3. This is an opportunity for children to form relationships and communicate with the residents, putting faith into action as a direct response to our faith call to be Christ in the community.

  • An increasingly outstanding response by parents and students to appeals such Project Compassion, St Vincent de Paul Winter and Christmas Appeal, Catholic Missions, Bushfire/Flood/National Disaster Appeals.  These appeals are lead by the Year 6 students and teachers. These activities raise awareness as well as food and money for those in need.

  • Assistance to refugee families and those who are struggle with financial, practical and emotional support.

  • Student Protection Posters are visible in every classroom and the implementation of a 4 week Student Protection lessons occurs every year.

  • Implementation of an excursion levy to ease the financial burden of excursions

  • The introduction of Breakfast Club and Homework Club and the provision of lunches to those students who don’t have any.

 Our commitment to responding to the Christian call defines our school – the framework for our responses to what happens in the wider community and the way we go about being members of St Mark’s Catholic Primary School.