Marseille (France). The 21st World Congress of the International Bureau of Catholic Education (OIEC), born in 1952, took place from 30 November to 3 December 2022 in Marseille, France. Every three or four years, the OIEC organizes a meeting of Catholic education leaders from all over the world. The theme chosen to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the OIEC is: “The Catholic school as a body of hope to change the world. Building the educational village together.”

450 participants from more than 55 countries were present at the Congress, including five Daughters of Mary Help of Christians:  Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes and Sr. Sarah Garcia, collaborators of the Youth Ministry Sector; Sr. Martha Séïde, Sr. Ana Julia Suriel, Sr. Teuta Buka, several Salesians of Don Bosco, including Card. Cristóbal López Romero, Archbishop of Rabat, Morocco, and Bishop Alberto Lorenzelli, Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago, Chile, and other members of the Salesian Family.

In the days preceding the Congress, the new Secretary General, Hervé Leconte (France); the President, Jawad Alamat (Middle East); the Vice-President, Oscar A. Pérez Sayago (Colombia) were elected. Sr. Martha Séïde and Sr. Ana Julia Suriel are members of the OIEC Council.

Pope Francis, in the Letter sent to the Secretary General of OIEC and to the Congress participants highlighted the reason for the Cahtolic school:

“For society, education is certainly an essential duty, and in many cases a pressing challenge. For Christians, it is also a way to participate in the prophetic role that Jesus has left for his Church.[…] Catholic school teaching is not limited to confessional matters and the contents are open to all branches of knowledge and to anyone who seeks this instruction.

 Each of us and our activities are in communion with God who sends us, with the universal and local Church. […] we live in a family, in a society; we are co-responsibl; we work together for a common good, despite our differences. […]

In its initiatives, the Catholic school  must take charge of social problems at the local and universal level. It must learn and, in this learning, teach to open the mind to new situations and new concepts; walk together without excluding anyone; establish points of convergence and meeting; and adapt the language so that it is able to capture the attention of those who are further away. All of this is craftsmanship that we cannot do without God’s help and everyone’s support”.

With a vast and articulated Program with interventions, round tables, interfaith moments, workshops, the OIEC Convention set itself the following objectives: to meet in joy and hope, bearing witness to universal fraternity; build the educational village together, in the commitment of the global educational pact; develop solidarity between different regions of the world; support schools in their commitment to the Global Education Pact and to assume a concrete role in the 2030 Agenda; exchange educational experiences carried out at global, regional or national level; network Catholic schools with other schools around the world.

Among the interventions, Sr. Martha Séïde, FMA, Professor at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences “Auxilium” in Rome, presented the theme: “Which educational innovations for Catholic schools in the era of the Global Educational Pact?”.

For Catholic schools, the event therefore constituted a great opportunity for international exchange to build an educational village together, adhering to the Global Educational Pact launched by Pope Francis. It was also an opportunity to search together, in a climate of fraternity and synodality, for new educational paths, also at the inter-confessional level, to contribute to a more human world.