Education Sunday is marked on the second Sunday of September, shortly after the new academic year begins. This year, Education Sunday falls on 12th September, with the theme, ‘A word in season’, taken from Isaiah 50:4.
Education Sunday is an opportunity to give thanks to God for all who teach and all who study, for all who continually have to find the right words and deliver them with enthusiasm and graciousness.
This year, the day is all the more poignant as we attempt to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers, pupils and leaders in schools have suffered 18 months of disruption and uncertainty. For the second year in a row, GCSE and A Level students have been Centre Assessed or Teacher Assessed, a challenging situation for both teachers and pupils.
On 12th September, we pray that God will fortify those working to make our schools places of learning and sanctuary, not just teachers and leaders but all the support staff whose tireless work sometimes goes unnoticed. We pray for all our primary and secondary pupils, particularly school leavers who have had such a difficult journey in recent times, not to mention students in higher education and vocational training.
Bishop Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds and Chair of the Catholic Education Service, offered the following message for Education Sunday:
'Over the last eighteen months we have seen an upheaval affecting everyone in our society, the like of which has not been witnessed since the end of the Second World War. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed not only aspects of how we live our lives but has given us a chance to reflect on the fragility and preciousness of human life, on human solidarity, and the capacity to show love and support to our neighbours.
'Like many other front-line workers, teachers, school leaders, and support staff have exemplified this love throughout the pandemic, going above and beyond to support the young people in their care. It is only right therefore that on Education Sunday, we take this opportunity to offer prayers of thanksgiving for all who work in our Catholic schools and colleges, and to express our gratitude for their outstanding dedication and professionalism, especially during the pandemic.
Throughout the challenges they have faced in two national lockdowns, two sets of exam cohorts, and a managed return to schooling, the staff of all our schools have exemplified what it means to follow the command of Our Lord Jesus Christ to love our neighbour. On behalf of the Catholic Education Service, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to them and my appreciation for the vocation and mission they exercise in the community of the Church.'
Education Sunday Prayer: A prayer in thanksgiving for the work of teachers in Catholic schools
Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of Catholic schools.
Thank you for all those who have given their talents to educating our young people. Through the challenges they encounter each day, lead them to an ever deeper appreciation of the sacred duty to which you have called them.
Thank you for all those who contribute to the efficient running of our schools; support staff, kitchen staff, maintenance staff, governors and chaplains. We thank them for their hard work and dedication.
Thank you for all those who lead our Catholic schools. May they be people of integrity so that they can be witnesses as well as teachers. We pray that the schools they lead will become places where our young people can experience your love in their lives.
Thank you for our pupils. May your love strengthen and nurture them through the influence and example of those who care for them. We pray that through their time at school they will flourish and grow to discover who you have called them to be.
We make this prayer through your Son, Jesus Christ, our teacher and our Lord, Amen.
Prayers and resources for Education Sunday from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales are available here.