Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 24, 2003
Focus your vision, bishop tells trustees
Bishop Henry calls for co-operation to preserve Catholic education
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Maintaining a curriculum cooperative across the province is vital for the preservation of Catholic education, said Calgary Bishop Fred Henry.
As the keynote speaker at the ACSTA's convention in Edmonton Nov. 14-16, Henry said he was thrilled when asked to give his thoughts regarding the convention's theme: Catholic Education: A Vision for Tomorrow:
So much depends upon what our vision really is, Henry said.
"What is it that is foundational - really important to us? What drives us and stirs up the fire within us and fills us with a sense of passion?"
In October of this year at the beginning of Catholic Education Week, the Alberta bishops issued a statement as a follow-up to the Alberta government's Commission on Learning's final report - Every Child Learns, Every Child Succeeds.
They urged all Catholics to work closely with their school boards to fully understand the report and how it supports the common good of all of Alberta's children. "We strongly encouraged discussion of the recommendations concerning shared facilities, amalgamation of school boards and taxation," Henry said.
"As good as the report might be in sections, it is not a comprehensive report for Roman Catholics.
"It is not a blueprint for Catholic education. It doesn't capture the specificity of what Catholic education is all about. It doesn't deal with our identity. It doesn't capture who we are or what we are about," he said.
"It doesn't grapple with some of the significant challenges that we must face. Nor does it deal with some of the opportunities we should embrace."
Regrettably, Henry continued, the report doesn't get into reading the signs of the times and critically engaging our culture.
It should be required before you submit your name to be a trustee, Henry said, that you must be able to verify that at least for four weeks in a row, the person must have watched television one night in the week from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and the person had to have surfed all of the channels to get an exposure of the youth culture today. Then the person can feel what the issues are out there.
"What are the value systems we are dealing with?" Henry asked.
"You have to have a contemplative view of the culture - a loving look at the real. This is our world, and we have to have about us an ability of being open to discern God's self-revelation in the here and now."
Recognition must be given to the values, the virtues -- the stories that shaped today's individuals. At the same time there must be openness - the critical distance in which there is room within a person for God's spirit to become a presence so that assumptions are questioned.
"When we stand back and ask what are the virtues and values that our culture cherishes, we see pluralism, freedom and subjectivity - each one laden with challenge and opportunity for promise," he said.
"It is obvious, when we look at the changing passion of our young people, that they are unable to recognize how manipulated they are by the forces of modern society.
"It's ridiculous and they don't even know it."