Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
September 7, 2009
Make Jesus the school's core, Smith says at opening Mass
His charge to teachers: Be absolutely clear in proclaiming the Gospel
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Teachers and other staff from Edmonton Catholic Schools heard Archbishop Smith say they have 'a huge role to play' in building a Gospel culture in their schools.
"But in order to do this, we need to be very clear with our language and we need to be very sensitive to how the words we speak are heard by the listeners."
Smith said we can all fall into the trap of assigning our own meaning to the words we use rather than their true meaning, which is indicated by the tradition of the Church.
"And we ought not to be surprised at this disconnect at the level of meaning because we are living in a society which in many ways is showing itself to have grown distant from the Gospel and therefore the words that we use in our tradition are not always understood in the same way that the Church understands them," he said.
"So, for example, we speak of faith (and) what many would hear is myth. We speak of freedom (and) what many would understand here is licence.
"We speak of justice; many would hear retribution. We speak of forgiveness; many would hear weakness."
How do we assure consistency of meaning both from the heart of the speaker and in the mind of the listener?
"We understand and we absorb and appropriate Gospel vocabulary by being immersed in a Gospel culture," the archbishop stressed.
"That's what we need our schools to be. We need our schools to be places where Jesus is encountered, where Jesus is known, where Jesus is loved and where Jesus is followed.
"You have a huge role to play and you exercise that role by speaking, living and acting with clarity and consistency in your language."
St. Monica teacher Nancy Bromley said the Mass was a fine way to begin the school year and found Smith's homily right on the mark.
"I teach kindergarten, so everything is about using clear language and making sure you are speaking in a way the kids understand," Bromley said after the Mass.
"So I think that's very important in terms of how we talk about God and in terms of how we talk about our faith but also how we talk about everything."
Bromley admitted it's hard to come back to school after summer, but she is excited and said the Mass energized her.
"It's always an exciting year and it's always good to know you are making a difference."
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