Recently, data from the 2021 Australian Census was released. It revealed increased diversity in religions and a decline of religious observance.

This data reflects continuing changes in our social attitudes and belief systems. Those who identify as Christian declined from 60% in 2011 to 40% in the recent census, with almost 40% reported to have ‘no religion’, an increase from 22% in 2011.

The Census reminds us that our work as a Catholic, Marist school is as important as it has ever been. We have approximately 89% of our students who identify as Christian, the highest of any Catholic school in Canberra. For many of our families, however, attendance at Mass is infrequent and we appreciate the boys main experience of ‘church’ is through the College. We are realistic about contemporary Catholic life and it draws us to ask what it means to place Catholic before such terms as education, teacher or school? A Marist school is well-placed to do this because we encourage a ‘robust’ faith, one that is restless for God and alert to the spirit. We want our students to be sceptical and to interrogate the claims of Christianity with the fine minds they are blessed with. It is through reason and faith that the boys embrace mystery and seek a deeper relationship with Christ. We certainly hope they make the choice to believe and practice.

The etymology of the word education is debatable. I identify with its Latin root suggesting that to educate means ‘to lead out’ to new horizons, new knowledge and new meaning. Put simply, it is very much what we do as teachers in a Catholic school in the Marist tradition. In partnership with parents, we aim to shape our boys' very being, who they become and how they live. Our teachers are gifted with a sacred trust who walk on the holy ground of our boys’ lives; treading ever so softly.  

At Marist, we remain committed to be informed by the best educational research and remain committed to academic excellence. That said, our defining characteristic is to be a faith-based education otherwise, why be Catholic? Our mission places the person and teachings of Jesus at the cornerstone; who he was, what he taught and how he taught. Regardless of whether our boys embrace Jesus as the Christ of faith, they can look to Jesus as an inspiring model of how to live a life well, caring for oneself, and for the common good of all.