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Religious Education

St John XXIII Primary School Thomastown East

Religious Education at St John XXIII Primary School operates in the context of the Catholic faith. It develops children's understandings of living as a person of faith within their family, school, parish and the wider community. Learning intentionally seeks to develop the spiritual development of each person, inviting a personal relationship with God and others, that is animated by the Gospel. Through learning, celebrating and reaching out to others, our students encounter and discover God’s presence in their daily lives.


Students are given the opportunity to explore and celebrate Catholic Tradition and Catholic values, where questions of God, beliefs and life are explored through prayer, dialogue, questioning, critical reflection, discernment and action for the good of others and the world.


The Religious Education Curriculum is used to open up explicit dialogue between the Catholic faith, whilst embracing the diverse cultures and faith traditions of our students.  


Goals for Religious Education:

To assist students to become:

  •  closer to God through prayer, enabling deep encounters between faith and life. 

  • learn content that opens up horizons of hope for the future, where students learn to integrate their faith with their life and the world they live in

  • celebrate the mystery of Christ through rich encounters with the Holy Spirit at work in our community.

  • understand that we belong to a rich, diverse community where each member is listened to and celebrated

Education in Faith

Education in faith is at the core of our school and parish life. St. John XXIII Primary School educates in openness to the mystery of God and in response to Jesus’ commandment of love The fundamental aspect is that of teaching gospel values, demonstrating and informing each child of the Catholic faith traditions. 


Staff and students at St John XXIII work together as witnesses to the Good News in their words, deeds and interactions with each other, enacting a vision of the Kingdom of God. Relationships and growth are enlightened by faith, hope and animated by love.


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Pope John XXIII was the firstborn son of a farming family in Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo in northern Italy, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was always proud of his down-to-earth roots. In Bergamo’s diocesan seminary, he joined the Secular Franciscan Order.

After Fr. Roncalli ordination in 1904, Fr. Roncalli returned to Rome for canon law studies. He soon worked as his bishop’s secretary, a Church history teacher in the seminary, and as the publisher of the diocesan paper.

Fr. Roncalli’s service as a stretcher-bearer for the Italian army during World War I gave him firsthand knowledge of war. In 1921, he was made national director in Italy of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. He also found time to teach patristics at a seminary in the Eternal City.

In 1925, Fr. Roncalli became a papal diplomat, serving first in Bulgaria, then in Turkey, and finally in France. During World War II, he became well acquainted with Orthodox Church leaders. With the help of Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, Archbishop Roncalli helped save an estimated 24,000 Jewish people.

Named a cardinal and appointed patriarch of Venice in 1953, Cardinal Roncalli was finally a residential bishop. A month short of entering his 78th year, he was elected pope, taking the name John after his father and the two patrons of Rome’s cathedral, St. John Lateran. Pope John took his work very seriously but not himself. His wit soon became proverbial, and he began meeting with political and religious leaders from around the world. In 1962, he was deeply involved in efforts to resolve the Cuban missile crisis.

Pope John’s most famous encyclicals were Mother and Teacher (1961) and Peace on Earth (1963). Pope John XXIII enlarged the membership in the College of Cardinals and made it more international. At his address at the opening of the Second Vatican Council, he wanted the church to engage in inter-faith dialogue and move with the modern times.

On his deathbed, Pope John said: “It is not that the gospel has changed; it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have…were enabled to compare different cultures and traditions, and know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.”

“Good Pope John” died on June 3, 1963. St. John Paul II beatified him in 2000, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014.

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As part of the student’s faith journey, St John XXIII partners with parents to nurture the Catholic faith and prepare children to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. All children participate in the Sacramental Program, regardless of faith background. Baptised Catholics may receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Year 3), the Sacrament of Eucharist (Year 4) and the Sacrament of Confirmation (Year 6).

Class Masses & Paraliturgies Prayers

The spiritual life of the students is nurtured through their attendance at school masses throughout the year. We regularly celebrate together at Mass and in school-based liturgies that are celebrated on our school premises. These opportunities for worship help those within our community to strengthen their relationship with the Lord and others.

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