Back to school: Macau’s Catholic institutions open with renewed vigor, sense of hope

Fr Leonard E Dollentas

It’s back to the classroom on September 1 for students at the Catholic schools across the Catholic Diocese of Macau, where the new academic year holds the hope of a continued return to normalcy after the pandemic.

Macau’s students could not complete the last days of the last academic year after long days of school closures and the movement restrictions on citizens. In mid-June, Macau was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, the worst that Macau has encountered since January 2020. After a month and a half-long outbreak, around 1,800 infections were reported. The past weeks have been showing signs of success and recovery from the pandemic’s dangers after the most recent outbreak.

“We are excited to see our young students’ joyful faces, and renewed energy fills our classrooms and hallways once again,” said one of the head teachers at Colégio Diocesano de São José 2 during the school’s traditional opening ceremony. The school chaplain encouraged the students and teachers: “We begin this school year with a renewed sense of hope. The recent pandemic outbreak brought many challenges for families and for schools in Macau. I am looking forward to seeing our school communities return to normal, celebrating the daily activities and events that have been the hallmark of our Catholic schools.”

Parents choose Catholic schools in Macau for their Catholic identity, academic excellence, and the values that so many seek in quality education. Catholic schools in the diocese provide a Christ-centered education in a safe and supportive environment where all are treated with dignity and where students, regardless of their faith background, learn the foundations of living a Christian moral life. Catholic schools are a place where the focus is on how to love and serve others according to the Gospel values.

With steadfast support from Macau’s government education arm: the Education and Youth Development Bureau, the Catholic schools in Macau continue their mission to bring quality education to local residents. Last year, at a time when many students in Macau and the surrounding regions fell behind because of pandemic disruptions, primary students in diocesan Catholic schools continued to show steady growth in their achievements in their major core subjects.

Vivienne Chan, a Catholic and parent of three young children studying at Colégio Diocesano de São José – English section, said: “I am grateful to the leaders of our Catholic schools and dedicated teachers for their accomplishments during the recent Covid outbreak, and for continuing the Catholic school’s mission to form the hearts and minds of our children.” Ms. Chan accompanied her youngest daughter to start her journey in primary school. “It is my greatest hope that our children will be inspired by their school experience, this year and in the coming years, to learn, live, and share their experience in the Catholic environment of our Catholic schools, and be advocates of hope to transform our world,” she added.

(Photo courtesy of Colégio Diocesano de São José – 5)