Religious Education Focus
Year 13 Retreat
The Year 13 Retreat was held out at Tui Ridge where the students stayed overnight. The theme for the Retreat was living life to the full and students reflected on their journey through Aquinas College and looked to their future. They made their own Touchstone to remind them of their time at Aquinas and of their roots. After completing team building and sport activities, students participated in Adoration and Reconciliation. Father Mark joined us to celebrate Mass on the Friday morning and many tears were shed when the students opened the letters from their parents. Overall, it was a very positive Retreat and students had a wonderful spiritual experience.
Year 12 students participated in the Explore Programme run by Joe Hogan, from the Hamilton Diocese. The programme comprised of Catholic couples, married for 30 years of more, who were open about their relationships. The students were able to ask them questions about their marriage and how their faith had guided and supported their relationship. The students responded to their stories by asking meaningful questions and the Explore programme was a rich conclusion to our ‘Created for Love’ Unit as students could engage with a real- life, authentic example of love being free, fruitful, faithful and total.
Expressions of Catholic life looks at vocations to raise the students’ awareness of theology ‘as faith seeking understanding’ an effort to use reason to seek and to better understand God’s revelation. The topic looks at what it means to be a member of the Catholic Church and to recognise ways in which people express their Catholic identity in their daily lives. To explore the local Church and key features of parish and diocesan life, including missionary links with the Church in other parts of the world. To formulate an understanding of the universal Church, the leadership of the pope and the bishops, and the various bodies that assist them in governing and serving the Church.
The focus for this term is on the Sacraments of Initiation and the unit looks at deepening the students understanding of how Te Atua is revealed through signs of ordinary things and people, and especially through hākarameta (the sacraments). The Church teaches us that through the Sacraments we experience the presence of Te Atua. Each sacramental celebration is an opportunity to encounter Hehu Karaiti as “the Sacrament of God” – the greatest sign of God’s life and aroha. This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only son into the world that we might have life through him (1 John 4:9).
The focus for Term 4 is how Advent prepares for Christ’s coming in history, now, and at his second coming and how people can be more Christ like during Advent. We will also be looking at the three feast days celebrated during the Christmas season: Christmas, the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord.
The current learning focus in Year 7 is the Church and the Community of Disciples – Te whanau a te Karaiti. The students are learning about Jesus as a teacher and the significant part that the apostles played as teachers in the early Church. The students also discuss the role of all the bishops united with Pope Francis as the teachers of the whole Church and reflect on how the teaching ministry of the Catholic Church is organised and carried out in Aotearoa, New Zealand.