St Pius X High School is a ministry of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Maitland Newcastle. Our primary focus is to provide an excellent educational setting permeated by a Catholic worldview that desires to lead each young person to an encounter with Jesus. At St Pius X, Catholic faith formation and mission is led by the principal and supported in this role by the Ministry Coordinator. In turn, each member of staff is tasked with the duty of modelling and teaching the Catholic faith through words and example in ways applicable to their role.
“At the heart of Catholic education there is always Jesus Christ: everything that happens in Catholic schools and universities should lead to an encounter with the living Christ. If we look at the great educational challenges that we will face soon, we must keep the memory of God made flesh in the history of mankind – in our history – alive. Catholic schools and universities, as subjects in the contemporary Church, are a place of testimony and acceptance, where faith and spiritual accompaniment can be provided to young people who ask for it; they open their doors to all and uphold both human dignity, as well as the dissemination of knowledge, to the whole of society, irrespective of merit.” (Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion)
Catholic faith formation and mission at St Pius X is central to our cultural identity as a school. Our school strives to be distinctively and authentically Catholic, while engaging with our contemporary culture in a spirit of dialogue. This can be seen in at St Pius X in the following ways:
People of prayer: Prayer is part of the school’s daily life in care group, assemblies, staff and student meetings, staff morning prayer, special occasions, times of grief and Religious Studies lessons.
Christlike values: Lessons, procedures, actions and attitudes demonstrate Christlike values such as compassion, justice and hope. Each student is valued and their unique human dignity is respected.
Visual identity: The sacred spaces and symbolism throughout the school reminds us of our Catholic story.
Liturgy: We celebrate the key moments of the year through liturgical celebration - Welcome to Year 7 Liturgy, School Leader’s Commissioning, beginning of the school year, Ash Wednesday, ANZAC Day, Holy Week, St Pius X Feast Day, Advent/End of school year and Year 10 Graduation and the end of year staff Mass. Many liturgies are led by students who are involved in providing music, singing and drama.
Eucharistic community: Students attend Care Group Mass on a roster system during extended Care Group time. Morning Mass is held each Wednesday in Week B in the Sr Marie Centre and is open to all students, staff and parishioners. Students are often encouraged to attend their local parish celebrations.
Staff Spiritual Formation: A staff spirituality day is held each year which provides an opportunity for spiritual development and formation for staff. Themes such as “Living laudato Si” (Caring for Creation with Catholic Earthcare) and “At the Heart of Everything is Jesus Christ”, assist staff to reflect on their own faith and grasp of Church teaching.
Staff also have the opportunity to attend courses, retreats and events conducted by the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) and the wider Church. Staff are encouraged to gain and maintain their Faith Accreditation (FEA) through courses and further tertiary study through Australian Catholic University and BBI.
Retreat Program: Our Year 10 Retreat at the Collaroy Centre and Community Days for Year 7, 8 and 9 assist students to engage with faith formation applicable to their own year group. Friendships, building community, self-awareness, leadership and Called and Connected are some of the themes addressed by these experiences. Most of these experiences are facilitated by a team of staff led by the Ministry Coordinator. Chris Doyle of Karis Ministries (Year 10) and Y’Lead (Year 9) also assist with the formation experiences provided to students.
Guest speakers and performers are used at times during the year to provide faith formation experiences including representatives from Catholic Mission, refugee advocates, missionaries and Steve Angrisano.
Links with Parish, diocese and wider Church: We are blessed to have a strong relationship with our local parishes. Fr Terry Horne presides over our Masses at school and is involved in our major liturgies. A number of staff, students and families of the school are active in their local parish communities. Diocesan, national and international links are promoted with students such as World Youth Day and the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. Students and staff attend the Called to Serve Mass, the launch of Project Compassion, Catholic Schools Week, Way of the Cross at Kilaben Bay, Diocesan Mission Mass and Special Needs Mass among others throughout the year.
Student leadership: The Student Representative Council have an annual retreat day to receive formation for their role as faith leaders in the school community.
Religious Studies: Lessons in Religious Studies for Years 7 to 10 provide excellent grounding in the Catholic faith tradition according to the CSO Curriculum. Topics are often timed to correspond with and compliment the liturgical, social justice and faith formation program.
Social Justice: Awareness and action to create socially just and equitable conditions for all is promoted as a part of school life. Daily prayer in care groups, invitations to be part of social justice action events, belonging to the St Vincent De Paul group, visiting nursing homes, preparing care packages for Seafarers etc., are all ways students can be involved. Students are encouraged to participate in action to show support for refugees and asylum seekers and caring for creation.
Fundraising: Students raise funds to promote social change through our annual Project Compassion Appeal (Caritas) during lent, through a House competition, Vinnies Winter and Christmas Appeals (Care group hampers), Harmony Day and St Patrick’s Day, Mission Month, Socktober (Catholic Mission) and St Pius X Feast Day market stalls. These funds go towards various causes such as homelessness, refugees, international development and animal welfare.
Immersion Experiences: Immersion experiences to South East Asia (through World Challenge) and Outback Immersions (Central Australia with Catholic Mission) are planned annually to provide students in Year 9 and 10 with the opportunity to serve others in a different cultural context. Students gain first-hand experience of life in another cultures, social justice issues and serving others in mission.
Ever present God,
We look to our patron saint, Pope Pius X,
to help us “Renew all things in Christ”.
May Your Holy Spirit inspire us to
honour the sacred in all creation.
Unite us, as we build a community
founded on respect
and strengthened by diversity.
Inspire us to serve You,
through our service to others.
Challenge us to strive for excellence
so that we may face the future
with courage and hope.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.