Practical Steps in Formation

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What the Vatican Council was calling us to was a far greater personal responsibility for being and doing Church.

Formation has a long history in the Tradition of the Catholic Church, and an overview of the essential elements of formation can be found in the National Catholic Education Commission’s A Framework for Formation for Mission in Catholic Education: ‘[L]eaders need to know confidently where the Church comes from and where Catholicism stands as a faith tradition, and their place within it’ (p. 11).

An example of a classic text for formation of School Advisory Councils is Sharing Wisdom by Sr Mary Benet McKinney, a Benedictine Sister from Chicago, Illinois. The book examines the way the Church moves to action through discernment rather than decisions as a living expression of shared wisdom. This model is seen in the light of the Scriptures, making it clear that our God is ‘the God of the gathering’. Sr McKinney’s work is an excellent model for schools to follow that conforms to the National Catholic Education Commission’s definition of formation as ‘Christ-centred’:

It is an intentional, ongoing and reflective process that focuses on the growth of individuals and communities from their lived experiences, in spiritual awareness, theological understanding, vocational motivation and capabilities for mission and service in the Church and the world. (A Framework for Formation for Mission in Catholic Education)

The workshops linked below are provided for general formation purposes for any Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) school and its School Advisory Council. Each follows a simple Explore, Reflect, Respond format and draws on the nine principles in A Framework for Formation for Mission in Catholic Education.

Schools can select any of the following workshops based on key documents of mission that the priest and principal may want to unpack:

An overview of these four presentations and their connection is also available, while modifiable PowerPoint versions can be accessed by schools via the CEVN website.

Alternatively, schools may consider workshops based on the following:

  • one or more of the various video resource materials:
  • any of the School Advisory Council-related MACS policies the school feels need exploration.

Any further direction in formation arises first from local context and charism. Reviewing a charism includes looking at the history, individuals or groups involved in establishment of the school, and how the spiritual focus of a person, parish or order inspired devotion in others. An exploration of the charism of the founding parishes of a regional college is also appropriate. Such explorations are an acknowledgement of the different ways we as Catholics have chosen to live out the gospel.

[W]e constantly seek ways of expressing unchanging truths in a language which brings out their abiding newness. 
(Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)

Locally, the priest and principal might develop and share with the School Advisory Council an examination of the:

From here, School Advisory Councils can focus on developing how their school lives out the gospel in their particular way and their particular context.