Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 5, 2005
Teachers urged to imitate Christ
Become authentically Catholic — Dale Ripley
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic educators are called to be contemplatives in action, Archbishop Thomas Collins said at the opening Mass of the Edmonton Catholic School District.
The archbishop also urged educators to imitate Christ, who was not only a teacher but also a healer.
"While in action, we are to reflect upon where we are going. We are to be not just a spinning wheel," Collins said to about 2,000 district employees at the Mass at the Winspear Centre Aug. 31.
"We are constantly doing; we need to be, to think, reflect, to be still. We are called to be contemplatives in action."
In the Gospels, Jesus constantly goes about healing and teaching, which is certainly a model for Catholic educators.
"And all of us in our different roles in Catholic education are all imitators of Christ the teacher; teaching by our words, teaching by our actions, by our lives, by the way we relate to one another," Collins said.
Ukrainian Bishop Lawrence Huculak did not attend the Mass because he is in Ukraine taking part in the Ukrainian bishops' synod, Collins noted.
In his welcoming address, superintendent Dale Ripley tackled sin and forgiveness, quoting theologians who think there are two kinds of people in our midst: sinners who admit they are sinners and sinners who deny they are sinners.
A sense of sin
"However, there is much hope to be found in our willingness to confront our weaknesses," he said. "Philip Yancey, a gifted spiritual writer, reminds us that 'True saints never lose sight of their sinfulness.' He quotes a Catholic priest, who says, 'It is the saints who have a sense of sin. The sense of sin is the measure of a soul's awareness of God.'"
Ripley also mentioned a Maclean's magazine article in which a bishop from Ontario was quoted as saying: "A church that has no room for sinners has no room for me."
"I was very moved by the phrase, and I believe all of this has a lot to teach us about how we should treat one another in our places of work," the superintendent said.
"I believe it is very important - as a Catholic district - that we continually develop and deepen our understanding of what it means to be more authentically Catholic. For me, a significant part of this is recognizing that all of us, everyone in this room, everyone in our district, is broken. We all have our hurts, our scars, our wounds, our sources of sorrow and our baggage from the past.
"The question is: Given this great truth, what is the authentic Catholic response to our woundedness and brokenness. How are we to treat one another in our workplaces, given this reality?
"When I look closely at the example of Jesus Christ, what do I see? I see a man who was comfortable in the presence of sinners, who sought them out, who loved them, who was patient with them, who nurtured them, and who constantly forgave them," Ripley said.
"I see a man who recognized that all people are profoundly hurt, afraid, and broken - and he reached out to help - not to judge. That is a difficult thing for all of us to do - to stop judging one another, and instead, to work towards understanding and accepting one another on a more human level."