Annual Appreciation Dinner of Diocesan Schools for the Academic Year 2022/2023
The Diocesan Commission for Catholic Education celebrated the diligence and dedication of school supervisors, principals, and senior management, as well as the selfless contributions of the members of the school managing committees from the nine diocesan schools, with the Annual Appreciation Dinner for the 2022/2023 academic year. The event took place on 13 July 2023, at the Chinese Restaurant of Metropole Hotel Macao and was officiated by the Most Reverend Bishop D. Stephen Lee Bun-Sang of the Catholic Diocese of Macao. Distinguished guests included Mr. Li Xuefei, Director-General of the Department of Education and Youth Work of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR; Mr. Kong Chi-Meng and Ms. Iun Pui-In, Director and Deputy Director of the Education and Youth Development Bureau; Sister Maria Chu Sheung, Supervisor of the Macao Catholic Schools Association; and Ms. Lau Sio-Leng, Director of the Creche Diocesana Helen Liang Centro Familia. Together, they joined seventy representatives from the Diocesan Schools and their Managing Committees to celebrate the recent accomplishments and joy of the concluding school year.
During his address, the Bishop highlighted the addition of two Santa Rosa de Lima Schools to the Diocesan School family in the past school year, increasing the total number of schools from 7 to 9 and the number of seats in the School Management Committees to a total of 83. He commended the remarkable achievements of all the Diocesan Schools in the past year and expressed gratitude for the tireless dedication of all involved. Referring to Proverbs 22:6, he reaffirmed the dual mission of educators, which is not only to impart academic knowledge but also to guide students towards the correct values through Catholic Education. Given the rapid technological evolution and increasingly complex social and family environments, he emphasised the need for modernising school education and encouraged the incorporation of artificial intelligence and its applications into the curriculum. He stated that this would stimulate critical thinking and problem-solving skills in students, enabling them to confidently, self-disciplinedly, empathetically, and caringly face the future world. However, he also cautioned against losing sight of the core values and mission of Catholic education while pursuing technological advancement, referencing the teaching of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, which highlights love as the guiding compass in the quest for knowledge, for the happiness of society and family is built on good caring relationships between people. Without love, technology will only lead humanity to fall and head towards destruction.
The Bishop expressed confidence in their collective ability to transform Diocesan Schools into institutions that integrate Christian faith and moral values with contemporary educational needs. He envisioned an environment where faith intertwines with reason, and tradition merges with innovation, nurturing students' growth and instilling solid values for a brighter future. Lastly, he also took the opportunity to thank the Department of Education and Youth Work of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Education and Youth Development Bureau for the presence of their representatives. He further expressed that their presence is a recognition, encouragement, and support for the educational principles and achievements of the Diocese and its affiliated schools.
This sentiment was echoed by Mr. Kong, Director of the Education and Youth Development Bureau, in his subsequent speech, he expressed his appreciation for the Diocesan Schools' active co-operation with the Government's pandemic measures. He emphasised the importance of uniting around a greater common goal in education. The Director agreed with the Bishop's viewpoint that love and care are crucial elements of education and that the focus should not be solely on students' academic achievements. Over the past few years, the Diocese and the Diocesan Schools have strongly promoted inclusive education, providing much-needed learning support for many students with special needs and their families. He expressed high hopes that for Escola de Santa Madalena and Escola de Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus, two schools that will soon be using new campuses in New Urban Zone Area A, to continue the education philosophy of love. The Director praised the development direction of the Diocesan Schools for aligning with the Bureau's purpose, particularly reflected in the 'Medium and Long-term Planning for Non-Tertiary Education (2021-2030)', regarding strengthening innovation technology, Chinese culture, and patriotic education. Under the guidance of the Bishop and the cooperation of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region, he anticipates that Diocesan Schools will be able to offer education that combines international education trends and national policies, fostering youths with morality and a love for knowledge.
The banquet commenced after a prayer led by Father Cyril Jerome Law, Jr., Chanceler of the Dioceses, Supervisor of C.D.S.J. 6 (Colégio Diocesano de São José 6) and SMC Member of Escola São Paulo. Two newly appointed Principals in the past school year, Mr. Ng Teng-Chio of C.D.S.J. (Colégio Diocesano de São José) and Ms. Lao Sio-Wa, Principal of Escola de Santa Teresa do Menino Jesus, were invited to share their reflections and prospects in their new positions.
The evening coincided with Father Cyril's birthday, and all the guests present spontaneously sang the birthday song to celebrate for him. This impromptu session fully embodied the atmosphere of the Diocesan School's big family.
The Appreciation Dinner served as not just a celebration of the past year's achievements but also as a guiding light illuminating the path forward. The Diocesan Catholic Education Committee remains steadfast in its belief that, with collective effort, Diocesan Schools will continue to provide an enriching education that nurtures students into individuals with character, ideals, and the resilience to adapt to societal changes.