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Catholic school identity has been identified as a priority topic in the field of Catholic education. This article explores Catholic school identity within a changing context and in light of the challenges of the new evangelization. A Leximancer analysis of the aggregated verbal responses of eight focus groups across Australia (n = 73) highlighted four high frequency concepts (school, students, community, and people) as foundational to Catholic school identity. Subsequently, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) detailed the discourse expressions for each of these concepts and assigned a core principle to summarize the narrative. The principles that summarized the discourse concepts were: school (shared sacred mission); students (personal evangelization for life); community (being and building a Christian community); and people (authentic witness). Findings revealed the breadth, depth and uniqueness of Catholic school identity, the interaction of discourse concepts and their expression as core pillars of Faith, Learning, Leadership, Formation and Community. Discussion attended to the consideration of identity pillars as a focus for spirituality in support of the new evangelization.

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Journal Article

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