How can we make our Catholic schools an active part in delivering the message of the Church? A question that is raised by many of us who work in the education sector.
We must first realize that the process of education is a journey, and that the school or any educational institution is a place to meet along the way, where we meet people who differ from us in age, culture and abilities. Our duty as educators and teachers is to make this journey a joyful and happy one and to build a more united world and a future of peace by helping the young people to develop socially and cognitively. Teaching is the key to inclusive and human education that is concerned with the attainment of mind and heart. It is the sharing of hope where we learn to see, listen and realize the beauty of life.
During his meeting with the participants of the General Assembly of the College of Catholic Education in February 2017, Pope Francis stressed the role of Catholic educational institutions in today’s world, underlining the fact that they constitute the ideal environment for enhancing the commitment to the gospel through three main points:
- Spreading culture: His Holiness emphasized the importance and necessity of humanizing education in the face of individuality that causes human and cultural poverty by stressing the role of educational institutions in the upbringing of human beings. He called on teachers to cooperate together in helping the young people to become builders of a more peaceful world.
- Promoting the Culture of Dialogue: Our world has become a global village where everyone belongs to humanity and shares hope for a better future with the entire family of peoples. Unfortunately, however, there are many forms of violence, poverty, exploitation, discrimination and marginalization that restrict fundamental freedoms and create a culture of exclusion. In this context, Pope Francis stressed the importance of Catholic educational institutions in practicing the rules of intellectual dialogue based on listening and accepting the other, promoting religious and cultural diversity, and aims to seek the truth first.
- The contribution of education to the planting of hope: Man cannot live without hope, and education generates hope, in fact it is a part of the dynamics of giving life. Therefore, His Holiness focused on the need of young people to this life that builds the future above all and called educators to listen to them .
Catholic educational institutions certainly contribute greatly to the mission of the Church when serving growth in humanity, dialogue and hope by considering them the true ecclesiastical institutions that breed a community of believers and spread its culture and serve the common good of society. Those Catholic institutions are the good environment in which Christian education is received. It is indispensable in the mission of the Church in the third Christian millennium to provide support and guidance to the Catholic schools.
The guarantee of the Catholic identity is the greatest challenge to the Church; not only a Church of listening but also a church that accompanies the faithful in the journey of life. In another words, the duty of education is the responsibility of the Church. It is obliged as a mother to give the young people the education that makes their lives saturated with the spirit of Jesus.
Fr. Imad Twal – Al-Fuhais, Jordan