"True power is service. "
- Pope Francis (March 2013)
/ RELIGION IN ST. MALACHY'S
St Malachy’s College, as a Catholic school, is dedicated to provide academic excellence in the context of a Christian community ethos. It seeks to preserve its traditions of spirituality and learning, so that all students and staff can experience continuity in achievement and further their own spiritual potential, educational and personal growth in a pleasant, interesting and stimulating environment.
In Catholic education the criterion of excellence is applied to all areas of school life. The aim is the fullest possible development of every dimension of the person, linked to the development of a sense of values and commitment to the service of others which gives priority to the needs of the poor and is willing to sacrifice self-interest for the promotion of justice. The pursuit of academic excellence is appropriate in a Catholic school, but only within the larger context of human excellence.
FR M. SPENCE (College Rector)
MR N. HAMMERSLY (Head of Department)
MR B. DOWD
MISS P. MORRIS
The focus of the RE Department is the pursuit of ‘human excellence’ through the teaching of RE. By ‘Excellence’ is meant the ‘proper’ use of talents and gifts in the service of others, of Christ, of the Kingdom of God. The department seeks to be ever challenging pupils to discernment and reassessment of their faith commitment. The Department is concerned to provide the resources and vision for excellence in two particular ways: cognitively and experientially.
Through the delivery and challenge of the RE curriculum it is hoped that pupils will make a journey from a primary understanding and practice of faith to engage their faith with the world around them. That when pupils leave the College they have an intelligent, committed and practical faith with which they might engage and challenge the world that they find themselves in.
The Christian faith has an intellectual content which believers should know and master. This is important for their own intellectual formation and also for their life in the community of faith: the Church. In this way they will gain intellectual stimulus and recognise that they stand within a tradition of sustained thought which is formative for Christian life and also for Western Culture. It will enable awareness of the challenges facing Christian belief and practice in contemporary society and provide the necessary resources to identify issues and respond to them in an intellectually coherent and satisfying way. All of this is an essential part of personal formation and the Catholic tradition of education.
Non-examination or General RE, is compulsory for all sixth form students who are not taking a formal study in Religious Studies. This is a time to explore a wide range of ideas and issues in a more relaxed and informal class. An example of the courses on offer are:
Vatican II – the Church
Religion and Science
Alternative World Views
Miracles do Happen
Human Rights and Justice
Belief and unbelief in the Modern World
The department recalls the College motto, Gloria Ab Intus – Glory from Within - understanding comes through the practice of faith and the experience of the person of Jesus in the community and in one’s personal life. Thus an important part of the department’s work is to develop the personal experience of each person through prayer and the celebration of the liturgy. This will serve to establish them within the life of the community. However, an indispensable dimension is the call to service and social awareness. Hence, it is part of the department’s aim to encourage this awareness and support all programmes, personal and group that represent a practical response. As a consequence the department offers full support and assistance to the work groups such as the SVP conference, Prayer Groups, the Chapel servers, Trocaire fundraising and so on– seeking involvement where possible and where appropriate. Through these means the department aims to develop a vision of an integrated Christian life and response to the world: seeking understanding, prayer/worship, and service in and through identity with the community of faith, its tradition and mission. It recognises that all Christian education is essentially a participation in the one mission of the Church.
/ THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING RELIGION
The RE department has always relied on the great contribution and co-operation of all the staff in the College; there are only 4 full time specialists, but at KS3 and Years 13 /14 non-exam, we acknowledge especially the teachers who teach courses and support the department. RE is the only department to engage with every student in every year group.
Religion plays an important role in our society and can influence what people think, feel, and believe. Through studying Religious Studies, students get a broad look at how religion and spirituality form the basis of our culture.
Religious Studies also helps students develop marketable skills and aptitudes including: analytical and strategic thinking; research skills;critical judgement; the ability to work with abstract, conceptual ideas; an ability to 'understand both sides' and negotiate and resolve conflict; problem-solving skills; leadership skills; understanding of the impact of conflicting ideologies; an appreciation of human diversity, belief systems, cultural and spiritual experiences.
These skills are particularly useful for future careers in law, education, social work, politics, medicine, administration or the media.