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Education: today and tomorrow



New perceptions on Catholic education in the world

15/07/2012: General House

On 22 and 23 June, a Meeting on Education was held in Rome, organised by the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education. The participants numbered 34, representing Universities, Religious Congregations, UNESCO and various international Education organizations. Br João Carlos do Prado, Director of the Secretariat of Mission, took part as delegate of the USG (Union of Superiors General).

The meeting was held in view of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican Council II and the centenary of the foundation of the Congregation for Catholic Education (2015), the organization of the Holy See for Catholic schools, universities and seminaries. Other celebrations include the fifty years of the Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum educationis), and of the decree on priestly formation  (Optatam totius) of Vatican II, and the twentieth anniversay of the apostolic constitution on the Catholic University (Ex corde Ecclesiae).

Desiring to deepen its study of contemporary education and its challenges and  perspectives for the future, the Sacred Congregation is in train of preparing a document on education in its Catholic perspective. So the meeting had as aim making the Instrumentum laboris known, and listening to criticisms, contributions and suggestions in view of the  document.

The  document, entitled « Education : today and tomorrow ... », is divided into three parts : a) Key challenges of current education ; b) Education in the perspective of the Church ; c) Perspectives for the future. The methodology of listening used at the meeting allowed new approaches to enrich the document and contribute to the vitality of Catholic Education in the world.

The Congregation of Catholic Education presented some interesting data on world Catholic education. The figures give an idea of the wide scope of Catholic education. In total, there are 3,700 seminaries of philosophy and theology forming some 110,000 candidates for the priesthood. Religious houses of formation are not included in the figure. Catholic Higher Education counts 1,860 universities and faculties, with more than 3,5 million students. Elementary education counts 250,000 schools, catering for more than 58 million students.

It is in this context of Catholic education that we situate Marist education. The figures show our mission in the most diverse contexts of the world. A rereading of Catholic education in todays’ world, launched by the Holy See, reinforces our progress and our refection on Marist education in the context of a «new land » or of the « Marist mission in a new world », in conformity with our 21st General Chapter.

Br João Carlos do Prado -  Secretariat of Mission

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