Scholars gather for Catholic religious education conference

More than 77 delegates from across the globe gathered at the 2nd International Conference on Catholic Religious Education in Schools, last week in Melbourne.

72 abstracts from 19 countries were submitted for presentation at the conference.

Under the leadership of ACU's Associate Professor Michael Buchanan and Dr Paul Sharkey from Catholic Education Melbourne, scholars and experts convened at the Catholic Leadership Centre to explore the significance and challenges of Catholic religious education in schools across the world.

The conference provided an opportunity for an exchange of ideas from scholars and experts from Europe, Africa, the UK, USA, Asia and Australia, while drawing out authentic and sustainable possibilities for Catholic schools and other schooling system authorities, within and beyond Australia.

Associate Professor Buchanan noted, "our focus was on Catholic religious education, and the research, scholarship and motivation of presenters are extraordinary.
This unique opportunity for an intellectual exchange of research and ideas pertaining to Catholic religious education was vital to its advancement in schools around the world".

Fellow organiser, Dr Paul Sharkey, Director, Catholic Leadership & Governance remarked that the occasion was being supported by Catholic Education Melbourne, "as an occasion of substance and opportunity in sharing wisdom and resources, especially at a time when best practice and vision are needed to address the expectations of students and families while being authentic to Catholic school mission."

The partnership between ACU and Catholic Education Melbourne in sponsoring and organising the conference was identified by Dr Sharkey and Associate Professor Buchanan as simply indicative of our commitment to shared mission.

The much-anticipated gathering was complemented with liturgical celebrations and local immersions in sites of religious and cultural significance in Melbourne. The organisers recounted, "we shared our own innovative and responsive initiatives while learning from the best thinking and practice from around the globe".

Appreciation was registered to both the ACU’s La Salle Academy and Catholic Education Melbourne for their substantial support of the conference, and in particular to the Dean, Professor Br David Hall FMS and Mr Jim Miles, Acting Executive Director of Catholic Education Melbourne.

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