Begin ‘personal training for the soul’: Fr Gleeson

In his short meetings with school supervisors, school management committee members, chaplains and parent volunteers, Jesuit Fr Christopher Gleeson emphasised the need for faith formation.

Just as people have personal trainers for the body, there needs to be “personal training for the soul”, he stressed.

“The riches of our Catholic faith lie in our spiritual tradition,” he added.

During his 17 March session with school chaplaincy teams and parent volunteers, he shared about potential resources that Catholic schools here could use for the faith formation of teachers and students.

He also spoke about how students at one of the Jesuit schools in Australia went through a series of formation sessions in order to become Eucharistic ministers, a role that the students took seriously.

Meeting with school supervisors, school management committee chairmen and principals on March 18, he reiterated the need to tell the stories of schools’ Religious founders, pointing once again to the Emmaus story as a model of accompaniment.

Encouraging school board retreats, he said, “One’s own depth of spirituality as a school governor is a crucial element in the Catholic life of a school.”

Stated Fr Gleeson, “Never underestimate the power of the Catholic tradition or the congregational story as a lens on the Gospel,” adding that Christian communities that are not Catholic do not have the powerhouse that Catholics have because of their Religious traditions.

Ms Leslie Goonting, a parent volunteer said of the session, “I think we are empowered a bit more to know about what is happening in Australia. We have an idea of what’s available here and where the gaps are.” She hopes that “Catholic school leaders will more strongly embrace and prioritise the need for spiritual formation of the children and youth they serve and to also introduce all teachers and staff to what Catholic education is and form them accordingly.


By Mel Diamse-Lee, Catholic News.
Source: Catholic News, April 5, 2015, Volume 65, Number 07