Students’ overwhelming response to Life Week competition

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Judges assess entries in the 216 Life Week Competition.
Judges assess entries in the 216 Life Week Competition.

This year Sydney Catholic Schools has been overwhelmed by the volume of responses to its Life Week competitions.

Students of all ages have submitted essays, posters, poems, play scripts and a diversity of written and visual works in response to the theme, ‘come be my light’.

The theme was taken from the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a staunch advocate of the sanctity of human life.

This year’s Life Week activities (2-9 September) were timed to coincide with her canonisation (4 September) and with the Memorial Mass for the Unborn (2 September).

In 2014, the Religious Education team established a Life Committee.

The committee provides strategic direction, advice and practical support to the work of Catholic schools in the archdiocese of Sydney with respect to authentic student learning, resourcing and professional learning on all ‘Life’ issues in a manner that is relevant and faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

One of the key initiatives of the committee was the establishment of Life Week.

Modelled on the approach of university chaplaincies, schools are encouraged to involve their communities in reflecting on a range of issues so as to deepen peoples’ understanding of the principal issues and to strengthen their commitment to respecting the inherent dignity of all people.

Some of the keys issues explored include: human sexuality and relationships, marriage, euthanasia and abortion.

In all instances, these are addressed sensitively and in ways which are age appropriate. In 2016, a key focus of Life Week will be the care of the elderly in our society.

This will tie in with the release of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2016–17, A Place at the Table: Social justice in an ageing society, which highlights the contributions of older people to our society, and the need to honour, respect and value them.

A key hope of Sydney Catholic Schools is that peoples’ commitment to life issues, and the respect of the dignity of all, is a reality of each and every day, not just of Life Week.

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