Here is a ZENIT working translation of the Message that the Holy Father sent to the Superior General of the Poor Regular Clerics of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Scolopi), The Most Reverend Father Pedro Aguado Cuesta, on the occasion of the Seminar regarding the Global Educational Pact, promoted by the Order, which will take place online from November 12-14.
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The Holy Father’s Message
To The Most Reverend
Father Pedro Aguado Cuesta
Superior General of the Order of the Poor Regular Clerics
of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools
I am grateful for your invitation to the event promoted by the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General on the challenge of the reconstruction of the Global Educational Pact that, because of the pandemic, will be held online this coming November 12 to 14. I greet the Directors of the different Institutes of Consecrated Life that will take part and all those that make that Seminar possible.
Consecrated Life has always been at the vanguard of the educational task. An example of it is your Founder, Saint Joseph of Calasanz, who established the first school, for children, but also the Religious who educated him in Estadilla and much earlier the Medieval monasteries that preserved and spread classical culture. Arising from this strong root in all periods of history were different charisms that, as gift of God, have been able to adjust themselves to the needs and challenges of each time and place. Today the Church calls you to renew that purpose from your own identity, and I thank you for having taken this witness with so much commitment and enthusiasm.
As you all know, the essential commitments of the Global Educational Pact that is being promoted are seven. Seven commitments that I wish to synthesize in three lines of concrete action: focus, embrace and involvement.
To focus on the important is to put the person at the center, in “his value, his dignity, to highlight his specificity, his beauty, his singularity and, at the same time, his capacity to relate to others and to the reality that surrounds him.” To value the person makes of education a means so that our children and young people can grow and mature, acquiring the capacities and necessary resources to build together a future of justice and peace. It is indispensable that the objective is not lost sight of and is not dissipated in the means, in the projects and in the structures. We work for persons; they are the ones that make up the societies, and the latter the ones that structure a unique humanity, called by God to be His Chosen People.
Necessary to achieve it is to embrace. This implies listening to the other, the recipients of our service, the children and the young people. It implies that parents, pupils and authorities — the principal agents of education — listen to other types of sounds, which are not simply those of our educational circle. That will avoid your closing yourselves in your own self-reference and will make you open to the cry that springs from every man and from Creation. It is necessary to encourage our children and young people so that they learn to relate to one another, to work in a group, to have an empathic attitude that rejects the throwaway culture. Likewise, it is important that they learn to safeguard our common home, protecting it from the exploitation of its resources, adopting more sober lifestyles and seeking to take integral advantage of renewable energies and respectful of the human and natural environment, in respect of the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity and of the circular economy.
The last line of action is decisive: to involve. The attitude of listening, described in all these commitments, cannot be understood as a mere listening and forgetting, but must be a platform that enables all to commit themselves actively in this educational task, each one from his specificity and responsibility. To involve and to involve ourselves implies working to give children and young people the possibility to see this world, which we leave them in inheritance, with a critical eye, able to understand the problems in the realm of economy, politics, growth and progress, and of proffering solutions that are truly at the service of man and of the whole human family in the perspective of an integral ecology.
Dear brothers, I accompany with my prayers the efforts of all the Institutes represented in this event, and of all the consecrated and laymen that work in the realm of education, asking the Lord, as He has always done, that in this historical moment also, Consecrated Life may be an essential part of the Global Educational Pact. I commend you to the Lord and pray to God that He bless you, and that the Holy Virgin take care of you.
And, please, don’t forget to pray for me.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, October 15, 2020[Original text: Spanish] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]