Catholic education (gift of God)
All who have been privileged to receive Catholic education know from experience that education is much more than the process of gaining knowledge through instruction or training. Catholic education concentrates on the development of the “whole person”, importantly, the spiritual persona. “Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, helping to form Christ in the lives of others.” (Pope John Paul II, 1979)
Catholic education is rooted in the Gospel values and, therefore, pursues excellence and leads through example and service. It brings into focus the whole human person who develops into a valuable contributor to society, as someone spiritually formed. This is undoubtedly the gift that Catholic education has given and continues to give to this nation. This gift of God is given through persons who have shared their presence and their very being.
“For 170 years, Roman Catholic schools in Jamaica have been known for excellent academic results, strong discipline and character-building.” (Deacon Ronnie Thwaites, 2020) Catholic education, this gift of God, continues to encourage a love of God and neighbour, preparing young Jamaicans for lives of service, personal responsibility, commitment in relationships and good citizenship.
This gift was shared by good people, excellent educators who were true witnesses to the life of Christ. Speak to any of the graduates who have benefited from Catholic education and they will take you back to a “person”, who through his or her witnessing and actions has touched their lives and has helped to transform them into better human beings.
Yes, Catholic education is a gift from God, one that He gives through the good educators, originally the priests and sisters, and later, the lay faithful partnering with the Church. This gift of God that we experience in Catholic education is sometimes identified as the “school spirit”. People are inspired, not just to be academically successful but to be “good” citizens who give service to their communities and their brothers and sisters or neighbours.
This gift of God completes the persons, men and women of good conscience where Catholic education is permeated with the Spirit of Christ. Yes, we can easily say that our Catholic schools are the best academically, but we must be able to say quite easily that they are the best spiritually where the character of those receiving this gift of God reflect positive values of honesty, integrity, politeness, generosity, kindness and reflect Christ.
Catholic education is bold because it is an education about everything, beginning with the claim that everything is created and that God who created each of us demands and delights in our responsibility for one another, starting with the responsibility for the poorest among us.
“Not only are the attitudes of teachers crucial for the success of Catholic education, but also the attitudes of Catholic parents. Catholic education provides a community where witnesses model the love of Christ. This is so evident in the recent pandemic experience where the many and varied activities of caring for others, feeding those in need, providing for and reaching out, have been seen as a natural and normal aspect of Catholic education embodying the spirit of Christ, the gift of God.
We then must say thanks for Catholic education, this gift of God. Gratitude is a mus’.
– Margaret Brissett-Bolt