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Sacred or Secular?

Why did you choose a Catholic Education for your son? Is it because of the impressive facilities, the quality of the teaching staff, the extensive co-curricular choices or the myriad educational pathways? Perhaps it was the strong pastoral programs or because the school is close to home?

These reasons are commonly shared by our community but often there is another justification – the values and holistic approach to forming a decent young man.

The values which we regularly espouse at ATC, including the Man of Courage Framework, originate in the Gospels. Stories which retell some of the events and teachings of Jesus’ life. Tales of hope amidst despair, kindness within selfishness, love before hate.

At ATC, we believe that the sacred virtues of hope, kindness and love are as important in 2022 as what they were in the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. At our Opening Liturgy, our College Captains challenged our boys to be the living, breathing and talking examples of the Gospel in how they treat one another. Of course, we don’t always get it right. No one does at the age of 9-18, or at the age of 40-80, but it is our mission and vision to aspire to be people who demonstrate what it means to be Catholic.

When we strip back all the dogma and tradition of the Church, the message of Jesus is really quite simple. Treat one another the way you wish to be treated. Our Year 4 cohort engaged with this message during their recent Retreat Day, and our Year 12s were called to lead this mantra during their Senior Tie Blessing ceremony. We are all able to demonstrate compassion and respect in our lives.

In the Year 7 Religion curriculum this term, students compare and contrast the meaning of ‘sacred and secular.’ What makes something sacred? What does divine mean? Why are some things universally seen as being ‘God like?’ Why is the Chapel a place of silence, but SXFC a place of energy? In reality, I hope these two venues aren’t completely dissimilar. Of course, they serve very different purposes on our campus, but the people, thoughts and actions inside the walls should be the same.

Regardless of whether we are in a sacred or secular place, our mission as a Catholic school is to promote positive and thoughtful deeds alongside academic achievement.

We endeavour to form good young men, not just successful young men. That is our calling – one embodied by Jesus, Edmund Rice and Patrick Ambrose Treacy. Put others’ interests alongside our own, and the world will be a better place – whether we’re in a sacred location, or a secular one.

Matt Warr
Dean of Faith & Mission