The Diocese of Derry RE Conference brought together 500 Post Primary School Educators on the Wednesday, 28 August and 400 Primary School Educators on the Thursday, 29 August 2019.
The two keynote speakers were Professor Frances Campbell, a former Ambassador to the Holy See and current Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University, Saint Mary’s Twickenham, London and Fr Adrian Porter, Director of the Jesuit Institute of Education, London.
Professor Campbell spoke about the importance of maintaining Catholic Schools in the secular culture. Fr Adrian Porter spoke about the Spirituality of the Educator. Both speakers provided opportunities for those present to focus and develop their understanding of the purpose of Catholic Education, the importance of Catholic Education in the Public Square and to further deepen a sense of their own spiritual life so as to better form the pupils in their care.
Each day of the conference had an opening liturgy and a closing celebration of the Eucharist – the celebrant was Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry. These celebrations helped further develop the Diocesan Catholic School Community, called to live in community and communion, placing Jesus firmly at the centre of all their endeavours.
20 workshops on a wide range of thinking and methodologies
On each day of the conference delegates were able to choose and attend from one of 20 workshops. The workshops provided Catholic educators in the diocese with the latest thinking and methodologies around best practice in Religious Education, Faith Formation and Catholic Ethos.
The keynote speakers provided evening sessions on the themes of – Why Choose a Catholic School and Trusting in God, and Promoting Positive Mental Health in a Catholic School. These were attended by Catholic Educators, parents and parish members and provided a wider opportunity for dissemination of information and discussion on Catholic Education.