TO BE ABLE TO RISK IN ORDER TO FACE
The World Congress on Catholic education
Several thousands of teachers and directors in Catholic schools and universities around the world participated in the Congress organized by the Congregation for Catholic Education of the Holy See. The prestigious initiative, prepared since long, with considerable effort, especially thanks to the dynamism of Monsignor Vincenzo Zani and the scientific coordination of Professor Italo Fiorin, was a very appropriate way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Declaration Gravissimum Educationis approved by the Council Vatican II and the 25th anniversary of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Apostolic Constitution on the identity and mission of the Catholic University, promulgated by John Paul II.
Last year, the Congregation prepared a Instrumentum Laboris - Working Paper to help all ecclesial institutes, schools and Catholic universities as well as all Catholic teachers to discuss the present educational problems. It suggested operational measures to improve the quality of education and to relaunch the Church's commitment to respond adequately to the educational emergency.
Many initiatives were taken in various parts of the world, numerous documents were prepared and thousands and varied answers arrived to the questionnaire attached to the Instrumentum Laboris. Answers and documents were processed and summarized by a commission of international experts and presented in the course of the congress.
In the Congress, quite intense, relationships and experiences were presented by numerous experts of various nations. This enabled the numerous participants (bishops, headmasters, teachers, school pastoral workers, youth leaders) to talk to each other and to confront the most diverse situations: from prestigious academic institutions to small schools in mission, to those in high-risk areas, both on the complex socio-educational and on the serious dangers associated with situations of war or religious fundamentalism. Facing the varied and complex challenges, it became more and more clear the need for each university institution and school to know how to be a true educational community, open towards the territory. It was also underlined the importance of the work carried out by the institutions and Catholic teachers in order to promote "in people and culture the anthropological and ethical values that are needed to build a united and fraternal society.”
A long and lively meeting with the Holy Father, who answered numerous questions from the participants, was the final culmination of the Congress. Pope Francis, recognizing the irreplaceable and strenuous work done by teachers, invited them to promote an inclusive , non-selective school, giving each student, especially those who are marginalized, the opportunity to be fully successful; to take risks in order to renew and add variety to the educational work, making it suitable to the solution of educational problems; to be regenerated, going in the suburbs where there is so much marginalization; to cultivate a passion for education that leads to humanize the people; to replenish the educational pact - between school, family, institutions and society - necessary for a complete education of the person. "I encourage you - he said- to accept the challenge to go to the suburbs to raise the kids in humanity, in intelligence, in values, in habits, so that they can go ahead and bring experiences to those who do not know." And again: "To educate as a Christian is to make young people and children grow in human values in all the reality. One of these realities is the transcendence. For me the biggest crisis of education, in the Christian perspective, is the closure to the transcendence. " Finally, a call to rethink the works of mercy in education in this year of the Jubilee.
The Council of the World Union of Catholic Teachers (WUCT-WUCT), with the presence of the new ecclesiastical chaplain, the bishop of Strasbourg, Mgr. Vincent Dollmann, took part in the congress and made a summary, during the annual meeting held at the headquarters of AIMC, in the days following Congress. The members of the Board discussed the situation of the Union, on the basis of the Congress work and the prospects for development. They expressed their appreciation for the work done by the Executive Committee.
"Now, Monsignor Zani said, in closing the congress, efforts should be made to continue discussions, taking advantage of all the actions and of the words of the Holy Father."
The site of the Congregation, www.educatio.va, shows all the documentation and stimulus to debates and activities
Giovanni Perrone - WUCT-UMEC general secretary