Be OpenedSunday 9th September 2018
Today is Education Sunday a day of celebration for all those involved with education. For more than a hundred years, it has been an ecumenical celebration in which the Catholic Church participates. The Catholic Education Service’s theme for this year is ‘Be Opened’ – ‘Ephphatha’.
Being open to anything of course is easier said than done; however, there is a richness in our Catholic schools that is rarely matched, be that diversity, ethnicity, faith or culture. In a world which increasingly finds migration brought on in places of war, economic hardship or famine, our Catholic schools are a place of sanctuary for the young.
The ‘identity’ of our schools are set out in our purpose and values. They define all who learn, worship and work there; tolerance, forgiveness and fairness; their humanity, humility and openness; and the religious background, culture and ambition of the community of young people and adults.
The ‘direction’ our schools take is the direction our young people need to take in order to be fully rounded individuals who may contribute positively to society, their parish and their family. We live in an age where the responsibilities of looking after each other and our community falls more to the third sector and less to the state. As educators our responsibility to ensure the needy and the vulnerable receive just as high quality an education as the majority becomes increasingly urgent. But it has always been like that in our schools. Catholic social action put in to practice in our schools helps to ensure we set out in the right direction and that no pupil is left behind.
Our schools’ ‘outlook’ on life, in the words of Pope Francis, is to encourage us to ‘reach for the stars’. Where else but through education would the stars be made easier to reach? This is the outlook from the perspective of Catholic education that aspires dignity for everyone, the right place for everyone and a community at the service of everyone.
This is Catholic education in action. Last Sunday. Everyday.
Simon Smith, Diocesan Director of Education