Pope Francis meets with the Brothers of the Christian Schools (FSC) and encourages them to continue to evangelize through education as the world experiences a new “educational emergency”.
By Lisa Zengarini
Pope Francis addressed the Lasallian Brothers, officially known as the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, gathered for their 46th General Chapter on Saturday.
The congregation was founded in France in the 17th century by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle and is the largest order of religious brothers dedicated to education in the Catholic Church.
Building new pathways to transform lives
Referring to the theme of the General Chapter: “Building new paths to transform lives”, Pope Francis noted that for the De La Salle Brothers, these “new paths” are above all educational paths, which they travel in the many schools, colleges and universities they run in over a hundred countries around the world.
Education is a gift
It is a “great responsibility” for which we must be grateful because “educational work is a great gift”, first of all for those who do it: “it asks a lot but also gives a lot”, said the pope.
“The constant relationship with educators, parents and above all with children and young people is an ever-living source of humanity, despite all the difficulties and problems that this entails”, he added.
Man is the way to the Church
Pope Francis further emphasized that with their work, the Brothers of the Christian Schools offer the values of their rich pedagogical tradition: “You educate for responsibility, creativity, coexistence, justice and peace. You educate to the inner life, to be open to the transcendent dimension, to the sense of wonder and contemplation in the face of the mystery of life and creation. Live all of this and interpret it in Christ, and translate it into the fullness of humanity,” the pope said.
Noting that the world is experiencing an “educational emergency”, aggravated by the consequences of the pandemic, Pope Francis drew attention to the two great challenges of our time: that of fraternity and that of the care of the common home, which , he said, can only be solved through education.
A new educational alliance
He noted that the Christian community is not only aware of these challenges, but also committed “to building new ways of transforming ways of life” and that the De La Salle Brothers are an active part of this process: “ Indeed,” he said, “you are in the front line to educate about the transition from a closed world to an open world; from a disposable culture to a care culture; from the pursuit of partisan interests to the pursuit of the common good.
Evangelize by educating
In conclusion, Pope Francis encouraged the De La Salle Brothers to continue “to evangelize by educating and to educate by evangelizing”, recalling that “a Christian educator is above all a witness of Christ, and is a teacher in the insofar as he is a witness”.