This is Catholic Schools Week. It is a celebration that often slips under the radar and gets a little mention and its occurrence does not really grasp the imagination in the way it should. St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School is the only Catholic voluntary secondary school in Greystones. Our school is firmly grounded in Gospel values and in the rich heritage and charism of Margaret Aylward and the Holy Faith Sisters. It is located right at the edge of the sea, looking out into the great horizon, envisioning openness, new possibilities and our new school re-construction augurs very hopefully for our future in Catholic education in Greystones.
Internationally, Catholic schools and universities serve 68 million students and contribute to the right to education especially in low income countries. Lieven Boeve, the Belgian theologian, claims that European culture is characterised by secularisation, individualisation and de-traditionalisation. We are now living in a post-Christian and post-secular world where religion is one item competing in a world dominated by the influence of the media and market. Increasingly, the Catholic school is an institution in dialogue with society in its many pluralist dimensions of humanity, culture, faith and beliefs. Sadly, some people do not choose to send their children to Catholic schools because they are coloured by previous experience, negative experiences from their own schooling or by the narratives surrounding historical and institutional abuse. The Catholic school warmly welcomes all, irrespective of background or whatever cultural accretions may have been gathered in life’s often fractured and painful journey.
The philosophy of the Catholic school is firmly grounded in education for transformation based on the gospel vision of love, justice, inclusion, service. Pope Francis’ initiative on the Global Compact for Education, launched last year, situates the Catholic school in a culture of dialogue and in the spirit of an education village. The encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ also grounds us in our shared home which cares for everyone, particularly for those on the edges of society, and a care for the whole of creation. The rhythm of our academic year is punctuated by all the important moments, celebrations and commemorations which are part of the liturgical calendar and this gives meaning to our existence and distinctiveness as a Catholic school.
In our local area, as the only Catholic secondary school, you will find in St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, celebration, symbols, rituals, people who will speak with you, engage, enable and empower; initiatives which cater for those who might feel excluded; an ethos of service to those who are struggling economically, socially or in any other way. You will find, in St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, a genuine care for the whole person, that all would develop to their full potential as they are to be in the eyes of God. As a Catholic school, academic work and success are a key component of who we are. This is borne out by the successes of our students every year in the State examinations. We have a well-established record of academic excellence and a diverse curriculum and many possibilities in extra-curricular activities which reflect our changing world. As we continue to grow and develop as a school, we are embarking on dramatic changes – new school crest and uniform, re-configuration on school identity with school sports to the fore, campus development and real engagement with our town’s community, with our Past Pupil Union/Alumni being established. If you are considering school for your child in the coming years, consider not taking the train because we are on your doorstep!
Simon Carey, Principal
Louise O’Sullivan, Deputy Principal
St David’s Holy Faith Secondary School, Greystones