Catholic Action Program at Mater Christi


Mater Christi students harvesting vegetablesIn 2017 the Mater Christi College, Belgrave, Catholic Action Program (CAP) had 38 Year 11 and 12 students taught cooperatively by two teachers.

‘CAP has been a great experience. l learnt so many great things such as understanding, caring and loving each other, gardening, new knowledge about homeless people which have enriched my life’ Lili Huang. 

The program starts with an exploration of six fundamental principles of Catholic social teachings as derived from the gospel, and encourages students to find ways to put them into action.

‘The smallest things can have the biggest impact in someone’s life’ Juliana Begue.

Students explore topics such as poverty and homelessness, slavery and human rights, refugees and asylum seekers, and are required to undertake 20 hours of community service.

‘I loved being a part of CAP this year, real people in our communities are struggling and I was able to make a small difference in their lives. From raising awareness of homelessness to the growing of a veggie patch for asylum seekers, I gained gratitude of my life and my opportunities which could never be taught in a classroom’ Bridget Collins.

In Term 1, Catholic Education Melbourne called for expressions of interest for five schools to undertake a pilot program in partnership with the Food Security Network. From the outset it was made clear that this would be a program of sustainable food production for the purpose of distribution to a group in need. The CAP students worked in teams to maintain garden beds of vegetables.

‘Growing these plants will make a difference to families who are hoping for a healthy and peaceful life’ Tearnha Porteous.

Students were asked to research and decide upon an organisation that they would deliver their harvest to and chose the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre as it linked in with their explorations of human rights and asylum seekers. The vegetables, which were harvested in early November, were delivered by the students to the Centre as a gesture of welcome and solidarity with refugees.

‘CAP is an experience in religious education that transcends the traditional classroom. Through focus and reflection on the challenges to social justice in the world around us, we have been encouraged to consider ourselves as global citizens, equally critical to the awareness and resolution of injustices’ Caitlin MacDonald.