September 4, 2013

Talk: Diocesan Catholic Educators Conference

  1. “Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth. This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching. In this way those who meet him are drawn by the very power of the Gospel to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christian witness nurtured and strengthened within the community of our Lord’s disciples, the Church.”
  2. “God’s revelation offers every generation the opportunity to discover the ultimate truth about its own life and the goal of history. This task is never easy; it involves the entire Christian community and motivates each generation of Christian educators to ensure that the power of God’s truth permeates every dimension of the institutions they serve. Set against personal struggles, moral confusion and fragmentation of knowledge, the noble goals of scholarship and education, founded on the unity of truth and in service of the person and the community, become an especially powerful instrument of hope.”
  3. “This sacrifice continues today. It is an outstanding apostolate of hope, seeking to address the material, intellectual and spiritual needs of over three million children and students. Some today question the Church’s involvement in education, wondering whether her resources might be better placed elsewhere.
  4. Certainly in a nation such as this, the State provides ample opportunities for education and attracts committed and generous men and women to this honorable profession. It is timely, then, to reflect on what is particular to our Catholic institutions.”
  5. “All the Church’s activities stem from her awareness that she is the bearer of a message which has its origin in God: in his goodness and wisdom, God chose to reveal himself and to make known the hidden purpose of his will. God’s desire to make himself known, and the innate desire of all human beings to know the truth, provide the context for human inquiry into the meaning of life. This encounter is sustained in our Christian community: the one who seeks the truth becomes the one who lives by faith. It can be described as a move from ‘I’ to ‘we’, leading the individual to be numbered among God’s people.”
  6. “A school’s Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students. It is a question of conviction – do we really believe that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear? Are we ready to commit our entire self – intellect and will, mind and heart – to God? Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools? Is it given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, through prayer, acts of charity, a concern for justice, and respect for God’s creation? Only in this way do we really bear witness to the meaning of who we are and what we uphold.”
  7. “From this perspective one can recognize that today’s ‘crisis of truth’ is rooted in a ‘crisis of faith’. Only through faith can we freely give our assent to God’s testimony and acknowledge him as the transcendent guarantor of the truth he reveals. … Yet we all know, and observe with concern, the difficulty or reluctance many people have today in entrusting themselves to God. It is a complex phenomenon and one which I ponder continually. While we have sought to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we have neglected the will.”
  8. “While we have sought to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we have neglected the will. Subsequently we observe, with distress, the notion of freedom being distorted. Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in – a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God. Such a choice would ultimately disregard the very truth we need in order to understand ourselves.”
  9. “A particular responsibility therefore for each of you is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief. It is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth. In choosing to live by that truth, we embrace the  fullness of the life of faith which is given to us in the Church.”
  10. “The Church’s primary mission is evangelization, in which educational institutions play a crucial role … The Church’s mission, in fact, involves her in humanity’s struggle to arrive at truth. In articulating revealed truth she serves all members of society by purifying reason, ensuring that it remains open to the consideration of ultimate truths.”
  11. “Truth means more than knowledge: knowing the truth leads us to discover the good. Truth speaks to the individual in his or her entirety, inviting us to respond with our whole being. … Christian educators can liberate the young from the limits of positivism and awaken receptivity to the truth, to God and his goodness. In this way you will also help to form their conscience which, enriched by faith, opens a sure path to inner peace and to respect for others.”
  12. “I wish to conclude by focusing our attention specifically on the paramount importance of your own professionalism and witness within our Catholic universities and schools. First, let me thank you for your dedication and generosity. … the reputation of Catholic institutes of learning is largely due to yourselves and your predecessors. Your selfless contributions – from outstanding research to the dedication of those working in inner-city schools – serve both your country and the Church. For this I express my profound gratitude.”
  13. “To all of you I say: bear witness to hope. Nourish your witness with prayer. Account for the hope that characterizes your lives by living the truth which you propose to your students. Help them to know and love the One you have encountered, whose truth and goodness you have experienced with joy. With Saint Augustine, let us say: ‘we who speak and you who listen acknowledge ourselves as fellow disciples of a single teacher.’”
  • In Summary:
  1. “The Church’s primary mission is evangelization”
  2. “what is particular to our Catholic institutions”
  3. “First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God”
  4. “While we have sought to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we have neglected the will.”
  5. “Truth means more than knowledge: Christian educators can liberate the young and awaken receptivity to the truth”
  • In Summary: “what is particular to our Catholic teachers”
  1. You are not a teacher, you are a formator.
  2. You do not transmit education, you form souls.
  3. You do not engage in an earthly undertaking, you participate in a  supernatural task.
  4. You can not engage in a supernatural task with a secular mindset.
  • Gospel of John, Chapter 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain”
  2. Oremus: “Let us pray” ... Wednesday, September 11 @ 6:30 PM ... Christ the Redeemer Catholic Churcj
  3. Oremus ... 8 DVDs ... 30 minute teaching ... Workbook: discussion questions, Scripture passage every day ... 8-week retreat ...