The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s prepared address, which was consigned to Members of the Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education Project on Wednesday, 20 April.
I am pleased to greet you, the members of the Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education Project, during your pilgrimage to Rome. May the joy of these days of Easter fill your hearts, and may your meeting here in the Eternal City strengthen you in fidelity to the Lord and his Church, and enrich your efforts to highlight the distinctiveness of our Catholic vision of education.
In an age awash in information, often transmitted without wisdom or critical sense, the task of forming present and future generations of Catholic teachers and students remains as important as ever. As educators, you are called to nurture the desire for truth, goodness and beauty that lies in the heart of each individual, so that all may learn how to love life and be open to the fullness of life. This involves discerning innovative ways of uniting research with best practices so that teachers can serve the whole person in a process of integral human development. In short, this means forming the head, hands and heart together: preserving and enhancing the link between learning, doing and feeling in the noblest sense. In this way, you will be able to offer not only an excellent academic curriculum, but also a coherent vision of life inspired by the teachings of Christ.
In this sense, the Church’s work of education aims not only “at developing the maturity of the human person… but is especially directed towards ensuring that those who have been baptized become daily more appreciative of the gift of faith which they have received” (Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Gravissimum Educationis, 2). Our faith is a great grace that each of us must daily nurture and help others to nurture as well. In the light of faith, educators and students alike come to see each other as beloved children of the God who created us to be brothers and sisters in the one human family. On this basis, Catholic education commits us, among other things, to the building of a better world by teaching mutual coexistence, fraternal solidarity and peace. It is my hope that your discussions in these days will assist you in developing effective means of fostering these values at all levels of your academic institutions and in the minds and hearts of your students.
At the same time, Catholic education is also evangelization: bearing witness to the joy of the Gospel and its power to renew our communities and provide hope and strength in facing wisely the challenges of the present time. I trust that this study visit will inspire each of you to rededicate himself or herself with generous zeal to your vocation as educators, to your efforts to solidify the foundations of a more humane and solidary society, and thus the advancement of Christ’s kingdom of truth, holiness, justice and peace.
I thank you and encourage you to continue in your important work, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Entrusting all of you to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in Christ the Risen Saviour. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!