Br David, a Marist Brother, is the foundation Dean of the La Salle Academy and came to ACU after thirty years in Catholic education. He worked in both primary and secondary schools, single-sex and coeducational, systemic and congregational. He held positions as teacher, Religious Education Coordinator, Deputy Principal and Principal. He also spent time as Executive Director of the Marist Ministries Office - responsible for governance and animation of Marist schools and other ministries, including young adult ministry. During this time he was involved in the design and delivery of spiritual formation programs for staff in Catholic schools. His work in faith formation and religious education began in the 1980's and he has been an active practitioner in the area ever since.
David undertook his undergraduate studies in education at the ACU. His postgraduate work has been in the area of theology with a masters degree from the Catholic Institute of Sydney and a doctorate from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago USA.
David is a well-known presenter at workshops and conferences for Catholic school teachers and leaders and his current presentations are focusing on the ecclesial identity of Catholic schools and the need for teachers and leaders who are more prophetic and mystical. He continues his work involved in the governance of Marist ministries, is a member of the Loreto Kirribilli School Council and also a member of the National Catholic Education Commission for Faith Formation and Religious Education Steering Committee.
David is currently leading a team that is developing a formation program for leaders in Catholic schools across twenty-two countries in Africa.
La Salle Academy for Faith Formation and Religious Education
WHY THE ACADEMY, WHY NOW, WHAT'S NEW ?
The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, in The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, indicates that teachers of religion "must be capable of genuine dialogue" and have "a clear vision of the Christian milieu". (#96) How one achieves this in contexts deeply marked by pluralism and diversity is an acute challenge for our time. This is particularly so when many seekers of the Spirit have left ecclesial practice; when the mode of exercising Church magisterium is being further explored and discerned; when the content of moral teaching is the focus of dialogue and challenge; and there is a pluralism of spiritualities within our tradition. (1)
In ensuring that teachers and leaders of faith formation and religious education are able to carry out what is required of them with competancy and efficacy they will need to be more theologically literate than they have been in the past and equipped with a new set of skills so that they can help the Church find "doorways through which contemporary Australians can enter". (2) Above all else, teachers and leaders also need to be witnessess; people who live by the spirit of faith. (3)
Forming teachers and leaders who can rise to these challenges requires a holistic, integrated approach and hence the Academy draws into collaboration, in a new way, three key groups in the University.
The Academy will attend to academic programs as well as other faith formation activitites (yet to be determined) that will not only inform and skill teachers and leaders but will also develop them as people of faith. In reviewing exisitng programs and in determining new ones, the Academy will work closely with Catholic stakeholders to ensure that ACU is responding to the needs of the Church in a timely and effective way. The Academy will also work with stakeholders to determine areas of the New Evangelisation where research could help inform and improve practice in Catholic schools in collaboration with their parishes, religious institutes and other Catholic agencies.
The Academy is a place and space for dialogue and action. The Academy seeks to embrace the call of Ecclesia in Oceania, to prepare teachers and leaders who can present the Christian message in our increasingly secularized society in a convincing and systematic way. (#33)
1. These challenges were articulated at Renewing the Church in a Secular Age: Holistic Dialogue and Kenotic Vision - the March 2015 Conference of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, held at the Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome, with the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
2. Putney M (2008) 'A New Ecclesiastical Context for Catholic Schools' in Anne Benjamin and Dan Riley (ed) Catholic Schools: Hope in Uncertain Times, John Garratt Publishing, pp 17-31.
3. Live by the spirit of faith is the motto of the Academy and is sourced from an undated letter of St John Baptiste De La Salle
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