Madwar 50 rappreżentat tal-iskejjel Kattoliċi fl-Ewropa attendew konferenza li saret fil-Kurja tal-Arċisqof u li ġiet organizzata mis-Segretarjat għall-Edukazzjoni Kattolika tal-Arċidjoċesi ta’ Malta. Il-konferenza nfetħet b’Quddiesa li tmexxiet mill-Isqof Awżiljarju Joseph Galea-Curmi.
Id-delegati minn 27 pajjiż li jirrappreżentaw 8.5 miljun student fl-iskejjel tal-Knisja fl-Ewropa ddiskuttew diversi temi, inizjattivi u prattiċi pożittivi relatati mal-edukazzjoni Kattolika. Huma ddiskutew ukoll il-formazzjoni tal-kapijiet edukattivi u tal-edukaturi f’soċjetà pluralista u post-sekulari.
Matul il-konferenza d-delegati laqgħu l-inizjattiva li tħabbret mill-Papa Franġisku biex f’Mejju tas-sena d-dieħla issir laqgħa internazzjonali fil-Vatikan dwar l-edukazzjoni. Din l-inizjattiva bl-isem ‘Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance’ għandha l-għan tistimola l-interess u d-dedikazzjoni fost dawk li jaħdmu maż-żgħażagħ, kif ukoll tħeġġeġ edukazzjoni inklussiva, djalogu kostruttiv u rispett reċiproku.
Il-parteċipanti tal-konferenza, li saret f’Malta bejn il-Ġimgħa u s-Sibt, 7 u 8 ta’ Novembru, jiffurmaw il-Kumitat Ewropew għall-Edukazzjoni Kattolika (European Committee for Catholic Education – ECCE). Huma jiltaqgħu għall-assemblea ġenerali tagħhom b’mod regolari waqt laqgħat li jsiru f’pajjiżi differenti tal-Ewropa.
Il-pajjiżi membri fl-ECCE huma: l-Albanija, l-Awstrija, il-Belġju, iċ-Ċekja, il-Bożnija-Ħerzegovina, il-Ġermanja, id-Danimarka, Spanja, Franza, il-Greċja, il-Kroazja, l-Ungerija, l-Irlanda, l-Italja, il-Litwanja, Malta, l-Olanda, in-Norveġja, il-Polonja, il-Portugall, ir-Renju Unit, ir-Rumanija, l-Iskozja, is-Slovenja, l-Iżvezja, l-Iżvizzera u l-Ukraina.
Waqt il-laqgħa f’Malta id-delegati vvutaw biex jingħaqdu fl-OIDEL li hija għaqda mhux governattiva internazzjonali li tispeċjalizza fil-qasam edukattiv b’rappreżentanza fil-Ġnus Magħquda u fil-Kunsill tal-Ewropa. L-OIDEL tippubblika l-indiċi tal-edukazzjoni ħielsa (Freedom of Education Index). Fl-aħħar indiċi, dak tal-2018, Malta kklassifikat fir-raba’ post wara l-Irlanda, in-Netherlands u l-Belġju. Dan l-indiċi fost affarjiet oħra jkejjel kemm l-iskejjel mhux governattivi, jiġifieri dawk tal-Knisja u indipendenti, huma protetti mil-liġi tal-pajjiż, kemm jirċievu sapport finanzjarju mill-gvern u l-persentaġġ ta’ tfal reġistrati f’dawn l-iskejjel.
L-omelija tal-Isqof Awżiljarju Joseph Galea-Curmi
I welcome you all to the Archbishop’s Curia. It is a pleasure to be with you for this Conference and I want to praise God and thank him with you for this special mission you have in Catholic Education, which is so important for the Church.
Mine is a brief reflection on this Word of God today, especially the Gospel. It is a strange story we find in the Gospel of Luke. The parable is simple but its setting is unusual. In most of the parables of Jesus, the protagonist is either representative of God or Christ or some other positive character. But in this parable the characters are all wicked in some way, and this means that Jesus is not exhorting us to emulate the behaviour of the characters, but he is trying to expound on a larger principle, which is important for us especially when we proclaim the Gospel.
It is not being shrewd and astute which is wrong, but using your shrewdness and astuteness to encourage dishonesty and corruption.
This seems to unfold within “the children of this age” (Lk 16:8) as Jesus calls them. As the dishonest steward tries to deal with the consequences of his imminent dismissal, he does so by perpetrating further dishonesty; realising that he will soon be without a job, he makes some shrewd deals behind his master’s back, by reducing the debt owed by several of the master’s debtors in exchange for shelter as he is eventually put out. He cheats his master. It is a system based on corruption. Corruption exists today but it existed also in that time and Jesus could explain well its extent in this parable because people would understand him. The employer then praises the steward because he acted shrewdly. Cleverness and astuteness are admired in this world of business.
In Catholic education we are called to promote a value system which is very different. What Jesus is saying is: it is not being shrewd and astute which is wrong, but using your shrewdness and astuteness to encourage dishonesty and corruption. That is why he says: “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (Lk 16:8).
So the message that Jesus is trying to convey is one that encourages a just steward rather than an unjust one. The unjust steward saw his master’s resources as a means for his own personal enjoyment and advancement. However Jesus wants his followers to be just and responsible stewards. We understand that everything we own is a gift from God, He is the owner of everything, and we are his stewards. We are called to use the master’s resources to further the master’s goals. This is an important message for us: we should proclaim Gospel values, but we also have to use our brains as well as our heart to be able to proclaim the Gospel values today in a correct and effective manner.
Let us pray that we may promote these values in Catholic Education and through Catholic Education, and that we use our shrewdness and astuteness to help and educate people, so that they can be inspired by Gospel values.