ABOUT THE POPE FRANCIS AWARD
The Pope Francis Award supports students’ growth as a whole person – including their social, spiritual and emotional learning and wellbeing – by encouraging the involvement of students in their school and local parish.
Sydney Catholic Schools’ Education Officer: Church Engagement, Cheryl Fernandez.
It supports students to find their voice and be a powerful influence for good, no matter their academic ability, within the nurturing environment of their school and parish community.
“The yearlong program will help your child recognise the importance of respect and caring for others, while encouraging them to be compassionate open-hearted service leaders who ‘never see a need without doing something about it’,” Ms Fernandez said.
As Pope Francis says, “Jesus didn’t stay out on a balcony. Instead, He got involved. Follow Jesus’ example.”
Sydney Catholic Schools similarly invites students to stop being couch potatoes and to put on their boot lace shoes and leave a mark on the world.
Primary school students each receive specially-designed certificates and medals after completing 20 or more hours of self-driven community service in their school and parish communities before and after school, including during lunch and recess.
Past Pope Francis Award participants with their medals.
Secondary school students are completing 30 hours of self-driven community service, divided in their school, community and parish. Plus they attend a retreat.
“The secondary students each received a badge to wear, so people could recognise they were contributing to their community” – Cheryl Fernandez
Supported in-school initiatives of past participants have included assembly presentations, collecting money for Project Compassion, helping set up liturgies, running various clubs at lunchtime (e.g. art and sporting clubs), looking after the school’s vegetable garden.
The Award also recognises service in the parish which may take the form of altar serving, participating part in the Liturgy of the Word (the part of the Mass where there are readings from Scripture) or offertory procession, and helping with the Children’s liturgy (when the children leave the congregation to celebrate and reflect on the Sunday Gospel reading in an age appropriate way) and in nursing homes.