Rome (Italy). Every year, 40 days after Easter, Catholics from all over the world give thanks for the gift of Catholic education through the celebration of “World Day of Catholic Education”, which this year falls on 18 May 2023.
This initiative, at its 22nd anniversary, was established in 2002 by the Congress of the OIEC (Office International de l’Enseignement Catholique) held in Brasilia, to draw attention to the contribution that educational institutions can offer to global development and promotion of a culture of peace and fraternity.
The OIEC invites you to make this day an opportunity to bring Catholic education into prayer, giving thanks for the commitment of educators and to raise awareness of the very important educational task that Catholic institutions carry out in the world.
“Let’s build together the Pact for Education locally, with a global opening” is the theme of the 2023 Day, in which the OIEC promotes a webinar with the presence of Hervé Lecomte, Secretary General of the Organization, who will present various themes that are being reflected upon at the level of Catholic education in the world. The session will also be attended by Juan Antonio Ojeda Ortiz, Project Manager of the OIEC, who will announce the projects in progress and present some of the results of the survey sent to Catholic schools. A video will also be presented which collects the various initiatives received on the “Global Educational Pact”.
Hervé Lecomte affirms that “it is urgent to promote common projects, to respond to the requests for an education pact, both by Pope Francis for a global pact for education, and by UNESCO in the latest report entitled ‘Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education’. Both indicate that we must unite and rely on everyone to redefine the education of today and tomorrow, so that it responds to the needs and challenges of new generations, individuals, and society, to truly transform lives and contexts, generating a more human, fraternal, supportive, and sustainable world.
Undoubtedly these invitations urge us to: look at each other, meet each other, dialogue, listen actively and humbly, work together between Catholic schools and with non-Catholic schools. Let’s not miss this opportunity! Together we will strengthen Catholic education; we will give it a new impetus; we will provide a better service. We will respond better and more effectively to the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
For the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, celebrating the XXII World Day of Catholic Education, in union with all Catholic schools in the world, is an opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the identity of an educational institute, fully integrated into the mission of the Church. Celebrating this day means placing it in the contemporary challenges that educators find themselves facing and in the crises due above all to the climate emergency, conflicts, and impoverishment, destined to affect the harmonious development of children and adolescents.
At the same time, they constitute reasons for hope:
– the commitment of numerous Educating Communities who are facing, in alliance with families and institutions, the social, cultural, urban, ecological, and economic sustainability challenges and the consequences of the pandemic, to implement integral ecology plans in line with the objectives of the encyclicalLaudato si’;
– the intense work to educate themselves and educate young people to care, non-violence, social friendship, responding to the call to universal fraternity made explicit by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Fratelli tutti.
– the adherence to the initiatives of the Christian community in the climate of the synodal journey, strengthening ties with and between families, associations, parishes, and movements.
World Day of Catholic Education also constitutes an opportunity to respond to the urgent call for peace, weaving “a network of solidarity with those who believe in education, especially with the other groups of the Salesian Family engaged in the ecclesial mission” (Guidelines of the educational mission of the FMA, Chap. 3).
For further study: Global Catholic Education Report 2023