The Annual Diocesan Mass for Head Teachers was celebrated on 21 September – the Feast of St Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist – by Bishop Marcus, together with the new Episcopal Vicar for Education Mgr Paul Grogan.
The Mass of Thanksgiving for the ministry of leaders in Catholic education was very well attended. Joining Director and Deputy Director of Education, Kieron Flood and Rachel Rouse, were Head Teachers, Trust CEOs and Standards Leaders.
Children from two schools in the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Hunslet and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School Huddersfield formed the choirs and sang as beautifully in the Cathedral as they do in their own schools and parishes!
The Bishop thanked all of our school leaders for the servant leadership they exercise in our Catholic schools; for their dedication and generosity; and for the witness to Christ that, along with their staff, our schools give to our local communities. Two retiring Head Teachers – from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Selby and Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School Heckmondwike – were presented with diocesan medals to honour their years of service.
In his Homily, Bishop Marcus said:
‘As headteachers and leaders in our Catholic schools, you are among the principal collaborators in my ministry as the bishop of this diocese. Leaders of Catholic schools and other Catholic education institutions collaborate in the bishop’s ministry of teaching, sanctifying, and governing the Catholic community they serve through the mandate given to them by the bishop. This is why the Church requires specific leadership positions in Catholic schools to be held by practising Catholics; only they can authentically believe what they teach, teach what they believe and practise what they teach.
In the first reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, St Paul says, “I …implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation …Each one of us …has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. To some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers.”
The vocation of a Catholic leader in education whether in primary, secondary, or higher education, is not less than that of an apostle, a preacher, evangelist, or pastor (the ordained minister), but together with them exercises a form of ministry which, as St Paul explains, “…make a unity in the work of service, building up the Body of Christ”. It is a vocation, a gift of service to Christ and His Church which, like the other forms of leadership in service, is given its own share of grace.
Catholic leaders in education are therefore ‘servant leaders’ within the wider Church community. As the Church’s teaching on Catholic education emphasizes, the Catholic school has an ecclesial nature which is written into its very identity as a place of learning, and which is directly tied to the evangelizing mission of the Church.’
After Mass Episcopal Vicar Mgr Paul Grogan addressed the school leaders and the Vicariate for Education team gave updates on education and youth and lifelong formation.
Education Sunday 2023 resources for schools and parishes are still available!
This year’s Education Sunday fell on 10 September and the Catholic Education Service produced some resources to help schools celebrate it in church and for parishes. These are available for download from the CES website.
In addition, Ten Ten Resources produced some free Education Sunday materials for schools and parishes, featuring short videos with words of encouragement to staff and students from Bishop Marcus Stock, CES Chairman. These resources are available on the Ten Ten Resources website.