Educating for hope

Pope Francis an educator and he firmly believes that “developing education is a job that must be done by everybody for everybody”.

 The Pope maintains that through the freedom of education we can promote the natural rights of man, ensure peaceful coexistence between citizens and the progress of all.
The Pope maintains that through the freedom of education we can promote the natural rights of man, ensure peaceful coexistence between citizens and the progress of all.

Well before Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis, he presided over the annual Mass for Education organised by the Vicaria Episcopal de Educacion in Buenos Aires. He is an educator and he firmly believes that “developing education is a job that must be done by everybody for everybody”.

These Masses started in the cathedral and were eventually moved to the square because the numbers rose dramatically. Pope Francis promoted a meeting place that went beyond the range of Catholic education. He stressed the importance of good schools and that religious schools should be chosen for their quality and that they should offer faith as an invitation and not as an imposition.

In one of his homilies during these Masses, the Pope spoke about hope. He referred to the gospel of that day, John 20, 19-22 and to the effect of the apparition of Jesus to his disciples. He compared this to education and queried whether we are actually educating for hope. He questioned if society is preparing and guiding youths towards an education for hope.

The then Cardinal Bergoglio said that educating for hope is ensuring that students have clear opportunities and perspectives. Students must know and respect their heritage; that their country passed through difficult times and that the current way of life has been made possible through the sacrifices of our ancestors. Pope Francis said that education customises the individual to the extent that it allows him to fully develop his thinking and his freedom.

In this way, “the individual makes the human world in which it operates, produces culture, transforms society and builds the story”.

His Holiness says that educating for hope has three basic principles: a respect for the heritage of our forefathers; to ensure that this heritage is further enhanced and passed on to future generations and to project our vision for the future.  Educators have a mission and society should acknowledge the work that teachers do.

The other issue and important question is whether students being educated in hope are actually applying what is being taught. This is why we must ensure that they are educated for hope. We must understand our students and we must guide them to achieve their objectives.

Jorge Bergoglio gave an example: If God were to give us two eyes – a human eye with which we can see what we look at and one made of glass with which we can see what we dream about – would we teach our students to look at life with these two eyes?  Possibly not, but it is essential that it becomes an integral part of educating our youths.

The Pope maintains that through the freedom of education we can promote the natural rights of man, ensure peaceful coexistence between citizens and the progress of all. Time makes us humble but wise; if we open ourselves to the gift of knowing how to integrate past, present and future in a common service to our children we can truly serve our younger generations

Jorge Bergoglio proclaims that “education is in itself an act of hope, not only because it educates to build a future, but because the very act of educating is crossed by a vision of hope.”  He adds: “Teachers, in fact, should always keep in mind the enormous contribution they make to society from this point of view, because hope, that fundamental symbol of redemption and salvation becomes our daily bread of truth , it allows everyone to follow the march, to go forward.”

Jorge Bergoglio is an educator and an expert in humanities. We have much to learn from Pope Francis, I certainly do.

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