Lay people to share governance of Christian Brothers schools

The Christian Brothers have established a new governing body involving lay members with responsibility for nearly 40 schools and colleges operated by the congregation.

Online Catholics reports that the Christian Brothers have gradually been involving the laity in the management of their schools, with the appointment of lay principals and increased lay involvement on school boards.

But the Brothers are soon to appoint a five-member council to govern the new body, the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), on their behalf.

The Christian Brothers remain as trustees of the schools.

Although the ultimate canonical and civil responsibility will continue to lie with the congregation in the immediate future, the Brothers are exploring alternative options.

The new structures are to function on the basis of a 2004 Charter which outlines the principles of "Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition", including a holistic education, spirituality, faith in action, community, pastoral care, service of others, being just, caring for those at the margins, compassion, stewardship, and reflective practice.

"We feel that what we have achieved will be a permanent stamp of the tradition of Edmund Rice education on our schools within a structure that can be long-lasting and true to the ideals of our faith," Br Dean McGlaughlin, chair of the National Planning Committee for Schools Governance, told Catholics Online.

This decision also provides the Christian Brothers with greater flexibility across the range of initiatives in which they are involved, the report says.

While schools and education will remain a continuous thread in their work, Christian Brothers also work with Indigenous people in education and in recovering their original languages; establishment of schools for truants; school holiday camps for children from difficult backgrounds as well as a range of social justice activities.

Shared governance (Online Catholics, 2/8/06)

Christian Brothers in Oceania
Christian Brothers Congregational Leadership Team
Edmund Rice Oceania

Christian Brothers world leader signals end of schools ministry (CathNews, 8/7/04)
Christian Brothers advance plans for Philippines focus (CathNews, 11/4/05)

3 Aug 2006