Eucharistic rituals in Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane : a study of administrators' conceptions

Stower, Leigh (2003) Eucharistic rituals in Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane : a study of administrators' conceptions. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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The focus of this study is the celebration of Eucharist in Catholic primary schools within the Archdiocese of Brisbane. The context of the contemporary Australian Catholic primary school embodies certain 'problematical realities' in relation to the time-honoured way in which school Eucharistic rituals have been celebrated. These contemporary realities raise a number of issues that impact on school celebrations of Eucharist. The purpose of this study is to explore administrators' differing conceptions of school Eucharistic rituals in an attempt to investigate some of these issues and assist members of individual school communities as they strive to make celebrations of Eucharist appropriate and meaningful for the group gathered. The phenomenographic research approach was adopted, as it is well suited to the purpose of this study and the nature of the research question. Phenomenography is essentially a study of variation. It attempts to map the 'whole' phenomenon under investigation by describing on equal terms all conceptions of the phenomenon and establishing an ordered relationship among them. The purpose of this study and the nature of the research question necessitate an approach that allows the identification and description of the different ways in which administrators' experience school Eucharistic rituals. Accordingly, phenomenography was selected. Members of the Administration Team, namely the principal, the APRE (Assistant to the Principal Religious Education) and, in larger primary schools, the AP A (Assistant to the Principal Administration) share responsibility for leading change in Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. In practice, however, principals delegate the role of leading the development of the school's religion program and providing leadership in the religious life of the school community to the APRE (Brisbane Catholic Education, 1997). Informants in this study are nineteen APREs from a variety of Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. These APREs come from schools across the archdiocese, rather than from within one particular region. Several significant findings resulted from this study. Firstly, the data show that there are significant differences in how APREs' experience school Eucharistic rituals, although the number of these qualitatively different conceptions is quite limited. The study identifies and describes six distinct yet related conceptions of school Eucharistic rituals. The logical relationship among these conceptions (the outcome space) is presented in the form of a diagram with accompanying explication. The variation among the conceptions is best understood and described in terms of three dimensions of the role of Eucharist in the Catholic primary school and is represented on the model of the outcome space. Individual transcripts suggest that individual APREs tend to emphasise some conceptions more than others. It is the contention of the present study that change in the practice of school Eucharistic rituals is unlikely to occur until all of a school community's conceptions are brought out into the open and articulated. As leaders of change, APREs need to be alerted to their own biases and become aware of alternative ways of conceiving school Eucharistic ritual. It is proposed that the different categories of description and dimensions, represented by the model of the outcome space, can be used to help in the process of articulating a school community's conceptions of Eucharist, with the APRE as facilitator of this process. As a result, the school community develops a better understanding of why their particular school does what it does in relation to school Eucharistic rituals.

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ID Code: 36683
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Ballantyne, Roy & Elliott, Robert
Additional Information: Presented to the Centre for Innovation in Education, School of Learning and Professional Studies, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Catholic schools Queensland Brisbane, Lord's Supper Catholic Church, Assistant to the Principal Religious Education (APRE), Archdiocese of Brisbane, Catholic primary schools, Eucharist, ritology, ritual studies, parish priests, ritual, liturgy, Roman Catholic Church, symbols in ritual, phenomenography, qualitative research, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Leigh Stower
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:05
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2016 04:28

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