THREE leading Catholic schools in Brisbane have started 2019 with a new two-year religious course to coincide with the implementation of the ATAR system.
The new course is named “3:16”, with reference to the scripture of John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Iona College launched “3:16” this week, and will trial it alongside learning exchange partner colleges St Laurence’s and Padua colleges.
About 700 Year 11 students at the three colleges will undertake “3:16”, a subject title that was created by Iona’s rector Oblate Father Michael Twigg, who felt that “this particular passage encapsulated the Gospels”.
“Principals at all three schools agreed this was a way to present faith in a practical, meaningful way,” Fr Twigg said.
The course seeks to strengthen the relationship between the faith formation of students and the religious life of the school with formal classroom learning and religious literacy.
“With frequent references to the subject and the passage (John 3:16) over time, it allows students to remember this essential teaching and carry it throughout their lives,” Fr Twigg said.
“We just saw an opportunity within the new curriculum for religious education to be more deeply embedded in their hearts and minds.
“Ours (Iona’s) is divided into thirds: faith formation – theology and scriptures, a series of pastoral outreaches into primary schools, nursing homes and out into the community, and finally, rituals of liturgy – the big school Masses, Reconciliations, the prayer services.
“So there’s content, there’s outreach and reflection.”
The new course will be a compulsory subject, but students will also be able to elect Study of Religion as a second religious education choice.
Fr Twigg said “3:16” recognised the importance for young people to look beyond themselves and develop meaningful connections with others, and drew on the three areas of classroom learning, experience and reflection with the hope of developing an adult expression of faith in young men.
Launching the new subject, Fr Twigg was present as each Iona Year 11 student was handed a “3:16” badge in the shape of a seed.
“All faith formation is planting seeds. John 3:16 – being a summary of the entire Gospels – will be a ‘go to’ verse for the rest of their life,” he said.
Iona is a Catholic boys’ college for Years 5 to 12, served by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The college aims to harness the sense of community with the individual’s own targets and aspirations.