Blackrock College is a Catholic school established and owned by the Spiritans. Central to its mission the College recognises its responsibilities
“To create an environment which nurtures faith, one which will provide students with an informed understanding of the Catholic Faith, but which also motivates them to live their lives in accordance with Gospel values”. (Mission Statement)
To this end formal religious education is placed at the heart of the school’s programme of instruction. Each student receives a minimum of 2 hours of R.E. per week.
Opportunities for personal and communal, formal and informal prayer are provided regularly in the school in order that we foster and develop, in our students, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
All 2nd and 3rd year students prepare for and sit the D.E.S. Junior Certificate Religious Education exam. This course seeks to promote an understanding and appreciation of why people believe, as well as tolerance and respect for the values and beliefs of all. The syllabus is built around a framework of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes.
The course makes particular, but not exclusive, reference to the Christian tradition, acknowledging the unique role of this tradition and its denominational expressions in Irish life. The course can be taken at both Honours and Ordinary levels. The areas of study in this course are:
- Communities of Faith
- Foundations of Religion- Christianity
- Foundations of Religion – Major World Religions
- The Question of Faith
- The Celebration of Faith
- The Moral ChallengeAssessment for the Junior Certificate Religion exam includes 20% for project and journal work, which is submitted prior to the terminal exam. Project titles are provided by the Department of Education each year and we aim to complete the bulk of this work in 2nd year.
During this year of ‘transition’ for our students, the Religious Education department introduces Team Teaching into its Programme. In the course of this year each student studies two courses under the guidance of different teachers. The common link in this programme is ‘Justice’ as the students spend two 15-week modules examining issues of Justice a) in Ireland and b) in the Developing World.
The College has a particular obligation towards the disadvantaged members of society in line with the missionary vision of, Claude Poullart Des Places, Francis Libermann and Jules Leman. The Religious Education department has worked closely with the co-ordinators of Transition Year to design class based programmes that motivate its students to work for the promotion of a caring, Christian society in which honesty and justice are fostered.
Through working with appropriate charities such as, the Society of St Vincent De Paul, Goal, Aidlink and the Legion of Mary and especially Spiritan works of service, the students are encouraged to work for the creation of a more Christian society.Students in Transition Year have an opportunity to work on a Pastoral Placement where they can learn the value of service to others particularly those with disabilities. In such service they see God’s love made present and the work of the Church continuing.
The Religious Education department has designed a Senior Cycle programme that addresses many of the core issues of Christian faith and living. Making full use of Team Teaching and Shared Methodologies, teachers work with six different class groups over this two-year period. The courses presented to the students are based on the following areas
- Christian Morality
- Relationships and Catholic Marriage
- World Religions
- Christology and the Church
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Theology, Faith and PrayerReligion as an exam option.Religious Education is also available to study for the Leaving Certificate. Currently this option is only available as an 8th subject for Leaving Cert.
Religious Education as an exam subject explores issues such as:
- The Search for meaning and values.
- Christianity: origins and contemporary expressions.
- Moral decision-making.
- Religion and gender.
- Issues of Justice and peace
- Worship, prayer, and ritual.
- The Bible: literature and sacred text.
- Religion: The Irish experience.
- Religion and science.
This subject encourages students to be critical questioners and reflective searchers and is a natural progression from the very popular Junior Cert. religion course.
Having a personal faith commitment is not a pre-requisite but would make this subject more attractive. The course is intended to appeal to students of all faiths and none; personal faith will not be subject to assessment.Over the two years of the course a study of 5 of the above topics will be undertaken. 4 of these will be assessed in a terminal written paper; the other will be assessed as coursework. Coursework is presented as a project and journal before the written exam and accounts for 20% of the overall result. Religious education is available at honours and ordinary levels.
Relationship with Pastoral Department
The Religious Education Programme in Blackrock College is closely aligned with our Pastoral Department. While Religious Education teachers focus on planning and teaching programmes that are primarily class based, these teachers guided by the Pastoral Co-ordinator also offer the students many opportunities to encounter God through Prayer and Worship.
Students in every year have opportunities to participate in Prayer services designed around the Christian Calendar and key Christian Symbols. These include celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Family Masses and Retreats.
This experiential dimension of faith is considered crucial in assisting the students develop a closer relationship with God and come to a more personal and mature understanding of the faith issues presented, studied and discussed in Religion class.