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Getting Started

All employees, especially those who will assume positions of leadership, as well as Board members and Volunteers, require good quality Orientation and induction to the Organisation. It is usual in Catholic Agencies for there to be a formal orientation session upon which further induction and ongoing formation opportunities, at a deeper level, can be built.

Orientation programs vary from Agency to Agency. A commitment to elucidating the identity of the Agency and its mission should be the priority objective of Orientation in Catholic Agencies. It is further suggested that no matter what proportion of an initial orientation is given over to discussing practical operational issues, the priority given to the organisation’s founding story, values and mission should be presented in a way that enables further formation in mission to be built upon.

A Template for Orientation:

  • A reflective reading/poem/prayer setting the tone
  • A brief explanation of the purpose of the Orientation
  • Material on the founding story beginning with the Founder, if there is one (Mary MacKillop, Louise De Marillac, Ignatius Loyola, Edmund Rice etc.); how to interpret their spirituality for today’s world and how this founding charism/spirituality forms the mission of the Agency and colours the life and services of the Agency.
  • Values: the principles from which the Agency works and which are non-negotiable e.g. the values espoused by the Religious Congregation in whose name services are provided; the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • The history, structure and systems of this particular organisation.
  • The services provided: to whom and from where.
  • Relationships: the relationship of this Agency to others within the same network, nationally (e.g. how St. Vincent de Paul Victoria relates to other St. V de P State bodies) and internationally.
  • Practical and operational issues.
  • An explanation of what future formation opportunities are available and an invitation to continue exploring the mission of the Agency through taking advantage of these opportunities.


For introductory resources on Catholic Social Teaching:

Podcast of Julie Edwards, CEO, Jesuit Social Services (can be used during an orientation session or on a stand alone basis for a facilitated discussion on values perhaps as ‘Orientation Part 2’) www.cha.org.au/mission/webcasts.html

An introduction to Catholic Social Teaching (Social Action Office of the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, Queensland: http://sao.clriq.org.au/cst/cst_intro.html

An introduction to Catholic Social Teaching (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council: www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/content/socialteaching.html

Sandie Cornish: Four Key Principles of Catholic Social Teaching (Contains explanatory paper and attractive PowerPoint presentation): www.faithdoingjustice.com.au/docs/FourKeyPrinciplesOfCatholicSocialTeaching.pdf


Edmund Rice Education Australia Formation in Identity series induction program Galilee: http://www.erea.edu.au/programs/core-formation-programs/galilee

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