Religious Education

At St Joseph's School there are two distinct dimensions to Religious Education; there is the classroom teaching of the learning area, Religion and there is the faith and spiritual development that is encouraged through the Religious Life of the School. These two dimensions complement each other.
Religion Curriculum

The teaching of Religion at St Joseph's is structured through the use of the Religion Curriculum P-12, Archdiocese of Brisbane. Content for the classroom teaching and learning of Religion is organised around four strands with three sub-strands for each. The strands and sub-strands are:
  • ​Sacred Texts (Old Testament; New Testament; Christian Spiritual Writings and Wisdom)
  • Beliefs (Trinity: God, Jesus the Christ, Spirit; Human Existence; World Religions)
  • Church (Liturgy and Sacraments; People of God; Church History)
  • Christian Life (Moral Formation; Mission and Justice; Prayer and Spirituality)
The four strands of the Religion Curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way to develop our learners’ religious literacy so that all may participate critically and effectively as lifelong learners within our faith communities and in society.
The content for learning is related to the following overarching questions for each year level:

Prep:     How do we celebrate our stories?
Year 1:  What special messages are important to our community?
Year 2:  How can we live in relationship: with God, each other, and creation?
Year 3:  How do we belong in community?
Year 4:  How do we live in Community?
Year 5:  How do believers share and strengthen faith in communities?
Year 6:  How can believers live their faith?
Catholic schools have extra time allocated for the teaching of Religion. This is 2.5 hours per week in addition to the time allocated to other key learning areas.
Religious Life of the School

The Religious Life of the School source document focuses on “teaching people to be religious in a particular way” and is focused on the spiritual formation of students and their faith development. It comprises of four interrelated components: Religious Identity and Culture, Prayer and Worship, Evangelisation and Faith Formation and Social Action and Justice. The religious life of St Joseph's School is also evident in our school vision of ‘A Connected community’, our motto ‘Christian Values, Catholic Family and Individual Growth,’ our school prayer and through our relationships.
More information about Religious Education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane can be found on the Religious Education Curriculum website.
Saint Mary MacKillop

Saint Joseph's School was established in 1926 by the Sisters of St Joseph, of which Saint Mary Mackillop was their founder. Mary MacKillop was a young woman with a dream to make a difference in our world. Her passionate spirit has touched the ‘heart and soul of the Australian people. Mary was an ordinary woman who lived an extraordinary life.
Mary’s Story

On January 15, 1842 Mary MacKillop was born of Scottish parents, Alexander MacKillop and Flora MacDonald in Fitzroy, Victoria.
Mary, the eldest of eight children, was well educated by her father who spent some years studying for the priesthood in Rome but through ill health had returned to his native Scotland until 1835 when he migrated to Australia with his parents. Unfortunately, he lacked financial awareness, so the family was often without a home of their own, depending on friends and relatives and frequently separated from one another.
From the age of sixteen, Mary earned her living and greatly supported her family, as a governess, as a clerk for Sands and Kenny (now Sands and MacDougall), and as a teacher at the Portland school. While acting as a governess to her uncle's children at Penola, Mary met Father Julian Tenison Woods who, with a parish of 22,000 square miles/56,000 square kilometres, needed help in the religious education of children in the outback. At the time Mary's family depended on her income so she was not free to follow her dream. However, in 1866, greatly inspired and encouraged by Father Woods, Mary opened the first Saint Joseph's School in a disused stable in Penola.
Young women came to join Mary, and so the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph was begun. In 1867, Mary was asked by Bishop Shiel to come to Adelaide to start a school. From there, the Sisters spread, in groups to small outback settlements and large cities around Australia, New Zealand, and now in Peru, Brazil and refugee camps of Uganda and Thailand. Mary and these early Sisters, together with other Religious Orders and Lay Teachers of the time, had a profound influence on the forming of Catholic Education as we have come to know and experience it today. She also opened Orphanages, Providences to care for the homeless and destitute both young and old.
Throughout her life, Mary met with opposition from people outside the Church and even from some of those within it. In the most difficult of times she consistently refused to attack those who wrongly accused her and undermined her work, but continued in the way she believed God was calling her and was always ready to forgive those who wronged her.
Mary died on August 8, 1909 in the convent in Mount Street, North Sydney where her tomb is now enshrined.
This great Australian woman inspired great dedication to God's work in the then new colonies. In today's world, she stands as an example of great courage and trust in her living out of God's loving and compassionate care of those in need.
St Joseph’s School Prayer
Let us be still as we open our hearts to God.
Mary MacKillop, your guiding light is showing us the way.
May we be a family of compassion and love in all we do and say.
As we gather at St Joseph’s we pray for courage to help us grow.
Mary, Bless us with the values you built our school on long ago.
We pray to St Joseph, a strong and hardworking man.
May we be like him when we sit down to learn.
With his help we show respect to all in our work and play.
We keep each other safe at school each and every day.
Our loving Jesus, you opened your arms to all who came.
May our connected community at St Joseph’s
be strengthened as we strive to do the same.
We are thankful for our school;
it’s such a special place,
where we try to make a difference together with our mates.
Mary of the Cross, we ask you for your help,
so we too can be the guiding light to show others the way
as we finish our work and leave for home each day.
Parish Sacramental Program

Parents are the first and most important educators of their children (Declaration on Christian Education, 1968, Vatican II) and it is within the faith development of family and home that children come to a deeper realisation and practice of their faith. The school promotes and supports the participation of families in the Parish Sacramental programs for Confirmation, First Eucharist and Penance. These programs are run by the parish community and the liturgical celebrations for each of these sacraments are celebrated within the Parish.
In 2016, the Brisbane Archdiocese released a revised Sacramental Policy. Steps in the Sacramental Program will be:

STEP ONE: Children (in Year 3 or older), will be prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation
STEP TWO: The following year (in Year 4 or older), children will be prepared to receive their First Holy Communion. (Children will make their first confession during this program.)
STEP THREE: The year after their First Holy Communion (in Year 5 or older), the children will prepare to celebrate more fully, the Sacrament of Penance – with Individual Confession (first rite)
Each year parents are notified through the school newsletter regarding sacramental preparation times and dates. ​