Catholic education has value of a pearl

  • October 31, 2008
{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic education is like a “pearl of great price” which must be treasured and protected, says Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Bergie.

“If we believe that Catholic education is a pearl of great wisdom, we need to guard it,” Bergie said in a keynote address to a packed auditorium of more than 1,300 teachers Oct. 24 at the 13th annual When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference that ran Oct. 23 to 25. The conference at Toronto’s DoubleTree Hilton was organized by the Catholic Curriculum Co-operative, which includes 17 Ontario school boards, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario.
Bergie referred to the controversy which ignited over the issue of publicly funded faith-based schools during the 2007 provincial election. Those who were calling for the dismantling of the Catholic school system in favour of one publicly funded school system are “blind to the beauty (Catholic schools) possess,” he said.

Catholic schools are forming the citizens of the future which contributes to the betterment of society when students put Gospel values into practice, he said.

“They bring their personal faith to a very public world,” Bergie said. “Faith is something personal but not private.”

And Jesus is the model that Catholic teachers can follow because of His call to servant-leadership, he added.

“In service, there is always sacrifice. We cannot be self-centred. We must be other-centred.”

Bergie also pointed to the important relationship between Catholic schools, the home and parish life and the link between the vocation of Catholic educators and the vocation of Jesus as teacher.

“A life of service is not always easy in a world that doesn’t encourage who we are and what we do,” he said.

But even in such challenging times, Bergie said Catholics shouldn’t be discouraged: “The fruit of our love is service, service to God and to one another.”

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