The Year of Catholic Education was announced by Bishop Malcolm McMahon at the Big Assembly at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham on Friday, 17 September 2010 during the Papal Visit. This Sunday was also Education Sunday, a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone involved in the world of education.
In his pastoral letter for the occasion, which has been celebrated in England and Wales since 1878, Bishop McMahon OP wrote:
“As the Gospel appointed for Education Sunday tells us, we must be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’. It is through the dedication and active faith of thousands of men and women — teachers, leaders, governors and staff, as well as the love and support of parents and the prayers of the whole community that our schools are able to serve so effectively communities throughout Britain.
“Our schools must always be places where faith, hope and love are fostered, and in this special Year of Celebration of Catholic Education I am full of hope for the future.”
That they may have life
The year is a celebration of the great contribution that Catholic education makes towards the common good.
The theme of the Year of is: “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
With that contribution in mind, we want to look at why the faith and teaching have been so closely linked, in our final Lumen post.
“With the breakdown in civil society following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the monastic system played a crucial role in preserving texts, libraries and education.”
The establishment of universities across Europe in the middle-ages was a major achievement too.
The Church’s mandate
“The command of Christ himself to teach all nations shows that teaching is central to the work of the Church.
“The ancient Greek philosophers knew that there is a God, but would not have guessed that God would be born in a stable. Such supernatural truths have to be taught, handed on from one generation to the next.”
Christianity and Classical knowledge
“The complaint is sometimes made that Christians regarded many pagan works with suspicion and that some works were lost, usually through lack of interest or carelessness.
“What was preserved most carefully, however, was refined literature and philosophy. Paradoxically, therefore, our exalted view of the classical world itself reflects the priorities of Christian communities towards wisdom and learning.”
Next year Education Sunday will be on 5 February 2012.
Extracts taken from LUMEN -The Catholic Gift to Civilisation by Fr Andrew Pinsent, Fr Marcus Holden