Teachers must find that moment of grace

  • October 28, 2010
Bishop Paul Andre-DurocherMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - As a teacher, Bishop Paul Andre-Durocher once taught a Grade 10 student who had a hard time mastering the baritone.

After many unsuccessful attempts, the student finally got it, to her delight and the joy of her teacher.

The Cornwall-Alexandria bishop used this as an example of grace in the classroom as he spoke to 1,200 teachers at the 14th annual “When Faith Meets Pedagogy” conference sponsored by the Catholic Curriculum Corporation.

This year’s theme is “Awake to Grace: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Education.” The conference ran from Oct. 21 to 23.

Grace is what Catholic teachers aspire to teach their students, Durocher said.

“Too often, we don’t see that, we don’t see that as grace. We see it as touching stories but if we are truly Gospel people, we should be seeing God’s finger there, God’s grace at work in teachers,” he said.

“Those stories can be in a public or Catholic school. But what we should be doing in Catholic schools is seeing it for what it is: God’s grace at work.”

The virtues of faith, hope and love “grow out of the soil of grace,” Durocher explained, adding that “we should also be praying for that grace for our kids and for ourselves.”

Quoting a passage in the Gospel of Luke, Durocher also spoke of the parallel between Jesus’ growth and maturity “in grace, before God and humanity” and the goal of Catholic education.

“I think that describes what we’re trying to do in Catholic schools, to help students grow in stature,” he said, adding this includes more than attending to students’ physical well-being.

“We want kids to grow up in wisdom, to understand the world, to see how things are. We should never forget that. We are called to help our kids grow in grace,” the bishop concluded.

During his speech, Durocher noted various biblical passages which spoke of grace as well as how it is found in the unexpected and the ordinary. He even referred to the U2 song “Grace” and played a YouTube slideshow featuring the lyrics to the song which include the lines: “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things. Grace finds beauty in everything.”

This is how the cross, Durocher said, is “the most beautiful moment in history.” Without grace, he said, “all you see is violence and death. But because of love, you see grace.

“Somehow the cross is bound up deeply, with our experience of grace.”

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