March 7, 2016

WINNIPEG - For Catholic schools to fulfil the hopes and dreams of Pope Francis, they will have to make noise, get dirty and proclaim the joy of the Gospel, says Jesuit Father Len Altilia.

"Catholic education exists to serve the mission of the Church, which is the proclamation of the Gospel," said Altilia. "There is no other reason for its existence.

"That mission must be firmly established at the core of Catholic education, and not be simply some peripheral adjunct."

Altilia, president of St. Paul's High School in Winnipeg, spoke to about 400 Catholic educators and support staff Feb. 12.

Altilia said when Francis spoke at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 he told the crowd to go out into the streets. "I hope there will be noise," the pope said.

From The Joy of the Gospel, Altilia quoted Francis, who wrote: "I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out in the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."