Parramatta Diocese welcomes new head of evangelisation
|Director of Schools Greg Whitby (right) welcomes Ian Smith.|
Ian Smith, former Religious Education and Faith Development Director at St Bede’s College in Mentone Victoria, will join the Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta's leadership team from early 2011 in the newly created position of head of Evangelisation and Religious Education for the Diocese.
Ian will work with the leadership team in leading staff formation, the Religious Education curriculum and youth ministry, and will support schools in meeting the challenges and opportunities identified in the most recent pastoral letter of Bishops of NSW and ACT, Catholic Schools at a Crossroads.
Executive Director of Schools Greg Whitby said Ian will help the leaders and teachers in Catholic schools meet the challenges of the 21st century.
"Ian will play an important role in helping the Diocese to reflect on the nature and role of Catholic schools and where they are headed in today’s world," Greg said. "We warmly welcome him to the team."
Ian said he is excited by the opportunities and challenges of his new role.
"The Parramatta Diocese is the youngest and one of the fastest growing Dioceses in Australia and I welcome the opportunity to work with Parramatta’s new bishop, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, who handled the immense challenges of World Youth Day (WYD) 2008 so well," Ian said.
Faith formation No 1 priority
Ian has 13 years’ experience working in Catholic education and was most recently the Director of Religious Education and Faith Development at St Bede’s College, Mentone in Victoria. In this position, Ian was responsible for reviewing and revitalising the school’s Religious Education curriculum and chaired the faith leadership team at St Bede’s.
Ian said one of the key focuses of his new role will be helping to developing teaching staff.
"All of the studies show that quality teaching is the most important," Ian said. "So, the faith formation of our teachers will certainly be my number one priority."
Ian also said he is strongly committed to making schools centres of the new evangelisation.
"Although many Christian traditions still exist, increasingly many aspects of society are becoming more secular in nature," Ian said. "This has made the need for a new evangelisation in schools even more important."
In addition to his teaching background, Ian has been an active member of his former local parish community, having served on its school advisory board, parish pastoral council, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults team and was facilitator of WYD 2008 formation programs.
Ian will relocate to western Sydney from Melbourne with his wife Janet and their nine children: six boys and three girls aged between 11 months and 15 years.
Outside of work and family, Ian is an avid theology scholar. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from Melbourne College of Divinity, Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Secondary) from the Australian Catholic University and Master of Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.Ian will lead a team of staff including newly appointed Youth Ministry Project Officer, Bethany Lentern. Bethany joined the Diocese in September to encourage and develop youth ministry initiatives in the Diocese, in particular, the schools’ staff and student pilgrimage to WYD 2011 in Madrid.
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