Blessed Edmund Rice Essential Elements
In 19th Century Ireland, poverty-stricken young men lacked access to basic education and religious instruction. Blessed Edmund Rice responded to this need by establishing schools and founding the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 1802. Today, the Edmund Rice School Network is an international consortium of Catholic schools operating in the United States, Canada and South America.
The Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education find their source in ministry begun by Jesus Christ and their inspiration in the vision of Edmund Rice. The Essential Elements call educational ministry sites and those working in them to:
I. Evangelize Youth Within the Mission of the Church
- Proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
- Permeate the entire curriculum, activities and all aspects of the educational process with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.
- Encourage young people to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Provide opportunities for liturgies, retreats, vocation awareness workshops and daily prayer.
II. Proclaim and Witness to Catholic Identity
- Give priority to religious instruction with opportunities for faith development and religious understanding.
- Participate in the sacramental life of the Church and model a living faith through the use of rituals and symbols.
- Foster devotion to Mary and the communion of the saints.
- Ensure that Catholic identity permeates all endeavors: all classes and activities, procedures and policies, services and programs.
III. Stand in Solidarity with Those Marginalized by Poverty and Injustice
- Promote policies and structures that reflect a climate of compassion for the poor and disadvantaged.
- Include advocacy for peace, justice, global awareness and care for the Earth.
- Prepare students to work toward the creation of a just society.
- Encourage ministry experiences that work with and serve the poor and marginalized.
- Support mission areas at home and abroad.
- Establish tuition and scholarship policies that open educational opportunities to the poor and disadvantaged.
IV. Foster and Invigorate a Community of Faith
- Provide a disciplined, safe atmosphere in which students are free to grow and take responsibility for their own learning and for the life of the community.
- Sustain compassionate, respectful relationships among all stakeholders.
- Be in union with the Church through commitment to service and formation of community.
- Encourage faculty and staff to give daily witness to their integral role in communal faith formation.
- Embrace the human condition and welcome God’s healing.
V. Celebrate the Value and Dignity of each Person and Nurture the Development of the Whole Person
- Promote respect for each individual as created in the image and likeness of God.
- Value the diversity of the human family and seek to reflect diversity among students, faculty and staff.
- Promote strong programs for personal, professional and pastoral care.
- Offer co-curricular activities that are important to a student’s holistic education.
- Strive to provide just remuneration for faculty and staff.
VI. Collaborate and Share Responsibility for the Mission
- Empower all members of the community to share in the mission.
- Work with parents who are the primary educators.
- Collaborate with Edmund Rice Christian Brother ministries on local, regional and international levels.
- Foster a deeper understanding of the vision of Blessed Edmund.
- Promote active participation in governance by boards and diocesan officials.
VII. Pursue Excellence in all Endeavors
- Promote a strong academic curriculum and cultivate a desire for excellence.
- Develop and educational culture that fosters the growth of the whole person, higher-order thinking and life-long learning.