Moose Jaw’s Catholic school division is helping its students better understand their faith’s teachings on social justice by incorporating those concepts into the yearly themes.
The Roman Catholic Church has seven themes on social justice, including life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities, option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.
“The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents,” says the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. “The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents.”
The 2019-20 school year was the first year that Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School Division incorporated the social justice teachings as part of its faith theme. The division has chosen the second teaching — call to family, community and participation — as its theme for the 2020-21 school year.
The Bible reference that accompanies the theme is “God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Trustees with the Holy Trinity board of education reviewed the theme during their recent board meeting and also approved the Bible passage to accompany it.
“They do provide a really great framework and are really well aligned, not just with the overall concept of the Catholic faith, but they’re nicely aligned with what happens in our local parishes,” said education director Sean Chase, “and the Catholic Studies curricula at the high school level, as well as a renewed Catholic religion curricula that are available at the elementary school level.”
The feedback that students and families have provided is one reason Holy Trinity chose to incorporate the teachings as themes over a seven-year cycle, he continued. Each teaching reflects how some students today envision and develop their Catholic faith and put it into action.
One recent example has been high school students who have participated in protests or taken a stance on various issues.
“We feel that this approach to our overall education in the school division is best aligned to (how) students see it, perhaps more so than the traditional Catholic Church doctrine or Scriptural scenarios,” Chase said. “We’ve tried to meet the kids where they’re at in terms of their understanding and their interpretation of their own faith journey.”
The next Holy Trinity board meeting is in August.