The Emmanuel Community held it’s seventh Evangelization conference in Rome at the beginning of this month (February 2014). The theme this year was on “Education and the New Evangelization”.  There were over 150 participants, including many educators and and parents. It was co-organized by the Pierre Goursat University Institute, the Catholic Family Association (AFC) and the Redemptor Hominis Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

The different themes that were discussed were: the anthropology of underlying education, changes caused by post- modernity, the example of Don Bosco (the conference began on his birthday), the issue of gender, the contemplation of Jesus as educator, the role of education in evangelism, the importance of school as a mission field, and there was a brief look at Montessori education.

There were many fruitful exchanges between participants and speakers. The richness of these exchanges was particularly experienced well after the conferences has ended; outside of working sessions; during meals or late in the evening!

Pope Paul the VI’s phrase from his Apostolic Letter Evangelii Nuntiandi (§ 41): “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”, highlighted the conference throughout. Hence, it is confirmed that education and evangelization have one very important thing in common: both need to be supplemented by a living witness.

Bishop Vincenzo Zani, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, concluded his intervention by stating that there are three persons involved in a Christ centered  educational relationship: the student, the teacher, and the Holy Spirit who must enlighten the teacher.  He urged those present to be increasingly open to the Holy Spirit and become Christ like educators.

Translated from the international site.

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