Mission Report – November 9, 2017

November 8, 2017

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (1962-1965), often referred to as Vatican II, marked a significant change in the way the Councils of the Church operated. Previous Councils over the millennia are known for the teachings they defined in response to particular challenges of the times. In contrast, though faced with many challenges, Vatican II defined no new dogmas but set out ways that the Church may actively engage with the people of the world.-

One such way of engagement is through the Catholic school, outlined in its Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis). In this foundational statement for Catholic schools the Bishops speak of the essential place of parents and family in the education of young people.

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognised as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbour. Here, too, they find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church. Finally, it is through the family that they are gradually led to a companionship with their fellowmen and with the people of God. Let parents, then, recognise the inestimable importance a truly Christian family has for the life and progress of God’s own people. (at 6)

The mission of a Catholic school to share in this role is a sacred privilege. St Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians offers us a guide to what a school community founded on the dignity of the family might look like:

Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (5:13b-18)

There is nothing new here. It is the eternal law of love, revealed in Christ and the Holy Spirit, as the very nature of God. May we pray without ceasing for each other in all the challenges we face.