by Murray White
A CATHOLIC religious education programme ten years in the making has finally been published this week.
Here I Am, published by Harper Collins on Thursday with approval from the bishops in England and Wales, is the most significant new resource material for Catholic primary school teachers for more than a decade. It reflects Britain's growing multi-cultural society. while encouraging teachers to address their own spiritual development alongside their pupils' progress.
Here I Am editor Ann White said this approach was "perhaps unique. Teachers can be more effective by thinking about the topics at their own level. through prayer and study of church documents."
The programme is eventually aimed at replacing the Irish Veritas course in most dioceses. Veritas is now felt to he inappropriate in a multi-cultural society, but other projects until now have been criticised for not being Catholic enough.
Damien Lundy, one of the coordinators of the National RE
programme, believed Here I Am would "sidestep" problems which surfaced over the recent controversial Weaving the Web programme. The progressive Weaving the Web was criticised by some RE specialists for falling short on areas of doctrine and dogma.
Mr Lundy said the resource was "very Catholic. very centred on Christ as the word and revelation of God". Teachers are being offered in-service training to meet the change in RE teaching some of them now face, he said.
Here 1 Am was first planned when the bishops were asked more than ten years ago by the National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisers to prepare a primary programme., multi-faith background" of an increasing number of pupils.
In what Bishop Daniel Mullins, Chairman of the Bishops Committee for Catechetics, called a "remarkable process of collaboration", hundreds of teachers and catechists contributed to the draft. Several bishops examined the finished article before giving it the green light.