Presentation on theme: "2014 Catholic Education Symposium Sustained by Gospel Witness."— Presentation transcript:
2014 Catholic Education Symposium Sustained by Gospel Witness
"Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.“ Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 1975 The central figure in the work of educating... is specifically the form of witness.... The witness never refers to himself but to something, or rather, to Someone greater than he, whom he has encountered and whose dependable goodness he has sampled. Thus, every educator and witness finds an unequaled model in Jesus Christ, the Father's great witness, who said nothing about himself but spoke as the Father had taught him [cf. John 8:28]. Pope Benedict, June 6, 2005
I would also like to address directly the educators: Do not be disheartened in the face of the difficulties that the educational challenge presents! Educating is not a profession but an attitude, a way of being; in order to educate it is necessary to step out of ourselves and be among young people, to accompany them in the stages of their growth and to set ourselves beside them. Give them hope and optimism for their journey in the world. Teach them to see the beauty and goodness of creation and of man who always retains the Creator’s hallmark. But above all with your life be witnesses of what you communicate. Educators…pass on knowledge and values with their words; but their words will have an incisive effect on children and young people if they are accompanied by their witness, their consistent way of life. Without consistency it is impossible to educate! Pope Francis, Address to the Students of Jesuit schools in Italy and Albania, June 7, 2013
“A school's authentic Catholicity is found in the vital witness of its teachers and administrators. With them lies the primary responsibility for creating a Christian school climate, as individuals and as a community. Indeed, "it depends chiefly on them whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose.” (Miller) “As Catholic teachers, being in relationship with Christ means being a full and active participant in the life of the Church, nourished by sacrament and in fellowship with the local parish community” (Miller) “Canadians on the outside of religious groups are looking for ministry – with spiritual, personal and relational components front and center”. (Bibby, A New Day) Everyone is looking for authentic faith witnesses.
Challenge #1: The difficulty in hiring practicing Catholics and the inadequate on-going faith formation of Catholic teachers and administrators. Reflect personally: Has your faith grown as you have been part of the teaching profession? If yes, what has been the most effective program, practice, event that has impacted you? If no, what would it take? What would you like to see? Where could EICS improve to meet your needs? You have just hired a new teacher with incredible potential but no faith background (maybe baptised but never converted!). What are you as superintendent, director, consultant, school administrator going to do to grow this teacher’s faith and create a “witness”?
Challenge #2: Plan for Evangelization and Ministry We (you) are not in this alone. We belong to many communities. We, as Christian communities, are not perfect but the task of evangelization is not only for our teachers but students, families, and the community as a whole. How can the school actively evangelize families? How might the school/parish work together to evangelize teachers and families? What would a school faith formation plan look like? As an admin team create a plan – include prayer, staff meetings, PGP discussions, liturgy, and any other opportunities a school may have to strengthen the Gospel witness of staff – both experienced and new. Reflect on your budget – How you spend money tells me a great deal about what you value – where does faith formation fit? Do you spend more on sports equipment?
Teachers and administrators are active members of the parish to which they belong Teachers and administrators witness their life in Christ through their relationship with parents, students and each other. Teachers and administrators demonstrate their faith through their active involvement in the school’s Catholic culture, especially liturgy, prayer and justice activities. Teachers and administrators are supported in their ongoing faith formation through the allocation of time and resources. The school and the district have effective and consistent faith formation plans. Faith formation is part of every professional growth plan. Hiring practice places the faith life and the willingness to grow in faith of the prospective candidate as a priority.
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