An address by Sr Juliet Rajah HF, directress of Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, at the launch of Journey to Discovery (Values and Virtues Programme / Religious Education curriculum.
Your Grace, Sr Columba, principals, teachers, Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) – Mrs. Mennen Walker-Briggs, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office staff. Happily today we launch the Journey to Discovery – teacher text and student workbook.
I take this opportunity to emphasize the aim of this programme – to infuse Christian values in our young people in our Catholic primary schools.
The Values and Virtues Programme from in its inception in 2008 was a collaborative effort of many departments in the Archdiocese – The Family life Commission, the Social Justice Commission, The CEBM, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office… to name a few. Embedded in this was the Abstinence programme promoted strongly by the late Fr Michael Moses.
Originally intended to fill a gap after the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA), the programme has been carried out from 2009 to 2011.
Two things however were noted – one was the limited time to facilitate the programme in the final term, and two, the high level of absenteeism after SEA.
The Journey to Discovery is intended for use in the three terms in Standard 5. It is a programme that encompasses and transcends all faiths, since all major religions agree on the aspiration of living a virtuous life. In our multi-religious; multi-racial, multi-cultural society we need to foster what unites us.
As we note the violence that is so prevalent in society, we must also be aware of the contributing factors that lead to such a downturn in appreciation for human life.
Our children are faced with a world that promotes and encourages secularization…that historical process of social, cultural and political emancipation by which organized society is freed from the control of religious institutions and symbols.
This secularisation leads to the desacralizing process in the lives of people and cultures… faith and religion are no loner considered to be important. This has also influenced in a detrimental way the values of people and therefore their ethical behaviour.
It has undermined family life, facilitated the sexual revolution and quite deliberately, the acceptance of materialism, consumerism and individualism as a modern philosophy of life. (Taken from the AEC Pastoral Letter on the Ministry of Catechesis).
Our responsibility today is critical as we move against the tide to instill Christian values and so form the consciences of our young people. Critical also will be the role models in their lives…their parents…their teachers.
In his article in the Newsday of January 15th, Professor Ramesh Deosaran claims that the teaching of moral and spiritual values cannot be carried out in a vacuum. Efforts at teaching moral and spiritual values fail when children see that lawlessness works, that crime pays.
He claims that the enforcement of rules in our schools and society is not effectively applied and this hinders the real progress that can be made. Our country, our Church, our schools need you teachers. You play a major role by your very presence in front of impressionable minds. Your witness is more than any lesson on Virtues and Values can transmit.
I thank Andrea Honore, Marcia De Freitas, Francesca Rousseau, Joy Rush, Ivy Williams, Josephine-Ann Lodge and in a special way the Chair of CCSJ – Leela Ramdeen, for her passion in promoting the Virtues and Values Formation Programme to date.
I end quoting from the song: When Every Child
When every child is a child of love
Born free in a just world
When every child is a child of peace
In a home where violence is no more.
When every child is a child the world lifts up
Then the mission will be complete.