Visit of the WUCT Council Board to Oradea
F. Adrian Podar
How good and pleasant it is
when God's people live together in unity!
Between June 3rd and the 7th, the three members of WUCT boarding council, Professor Guy Bourdeaud’hui - chairman, Professor Giovanni Perrone – general secretary, and Professor John Lydon – treasurer, paid a fruitful visit to Romania, Oradea.
WUCT dates back to 1908, as we read in the document issued by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, when the Presidents of the Catholic teachers’ associations of Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany launched the idea, at a meeting organised to deal with problems in education, of creating an international association of Catholic teachers. The project took shape in 1912 with the foundation of the Weltverband katolischer Pëdagogen (World Association of Catholic Teachers). Its work was interrupted by the two world wars, but began again in 1951 with the foundation, in Rome, by the leaders of national associations of 17 countries, of the World Union of Catholic Teachers. Recognised by the Holy See as an International Catholic Organisation, WUCT is a member of the Conference of ICOs. As an NGO, it has consultative status with the Council of Europe, Ecosoc, UNESCO and Unicef.
WUCT is at the service of the national Catholic teachers’ associations. It brings them together, coordinating their study and research work designed to bring the teachings of the Church into the world of education and the school; it fosters and supports the establishment of Catholic teachers’ associations throughout the world; it disseminates knowledge about initiatives and experiences with the religious, moral and vocational training of teachers, and in the field of the apostolate among teachers; it defends and advocates respect for the rights and the educational freedom of Catholic teachers. Its priorities are to create an educational system which involves parents, teachers and students, in order to give everyone proper responsibility within the educational community; to draft a "Teachers’ Charter" for every country, setting out the legal, social and service conditions of teachers, their rights and duties, their cultural and teaching autonomy, and the level of training required to exercise the profession.
The visit to Oradea is the answer to the last year’s invitation addressed in by His Excellency Virgil Bercea, the Greek-Catholic Bishop of Oradea. The first contact of the Romanian teachers with the association happened between the 18th and the 20th of November 2016, when father Alexandru Dragoș and father Adrian Podar participated at the WUCT annual meeting in London. The theme of the encounter was Ethics And Virtues In Personal And Professional Lives Of Teachers. The two Romanian priests are teachers in the Greek-Catholic High School in Oradea, and they were present among other delegates from different parts of the world.
During their stay, there were many exchanges, but the most important meetings were with the bishops of Oradea. On Monday the 5th, the members of the board met His Excellency the Greek-Catholic bishop Virgil Bercea and on the 6th, the three guests were welcomed by his Excellency László Böcskei, the Roman-Catholic bishop of the same town. The appointments with the head teachers, managers, teachers and students of the Greek-Catholic High School and Don Orione High School were very meaningful. Father Anton Cioba rector of the Greek-Catholic Seminary in Oradea and professor Ionuț Popescu, Head of the Greek-Catholic Faculty also met the WUCT representatives. The intention for further collaboration at a university level was formulated and the guests received invitations to take part in the symposium organised in October 2017, at the 225th anniversary of the Seminary.
It was agreed that the future annual meeting would occur in Oradea, a fertile soil, from the 10th to the 12th of November and that is one of the concrete results of the visit. In autumn, several teachers who unfold activities in Catholic schools will be able to share ideas and experiences with teachers from all over the world. They will attend conferences and open new collaboration opportunities among different educational institutions.
This important visit was possible with the blessing of the bishop Virgil Bercea, but it would not have happened without the support offered by the Pastoral Office for Laity and father Paul Popa, project initiator. We hope our relations will be long-lasting and resourceful. Teachers in the Greek-Catholic schools, with the Head teachers Mrs. Antonia Nica and Mr. Alexandru Stoica, thank them and pray for the blessing of their work!