Message on the Vision and Missions of Catholic Schools in Macao
前言 / Introduction
Catholic missionaries travelled East to China in the 16th Century, leading to the unique identity of Macao as the first Mission Territory in the far east in bridging Roman Catholic Church and China, with the then-newly established Diocese of Macao assuming the pivotal role in evangelisation. From that milestone moment, the Catholic Church has rooted and grounded steadily in Macao, guarding and growing together with the local people over the following decades and then centuries. Since the beginning, the Holy Church in Macao has been attending to the needs of the local communities in all aspects, providing possible assistance to those in need in the love of Christ. Among such deeds, the provision of education has always weighed the most. According to the recent student statistics conducted by local Catholic schools, there are 30 Catholic schools in Macao, nurturing up to about 40% of the total population of students in the local non-tertiary education system. Bearing the responsibility in educating this high proportion of students, Catholic schools should play a prophetic role and strive for the justice and betterment of the society, so as to fulfill our functions as “salt and light”.
Catholic schools are at the heart of the Church. In an ever-changing Macao, we are faced with shifting tensions in International relations and the emergence of different cultures and values. To strengthen the identity and missions of Catholic schools [i], so as to encourage proactive participation in renewing and perfecting educational projects, Catholic schools need to review and reflect on the missions of the Church then and now. Catholic schools shall also take more important roles to “endeavour to interweave reason and faith, which has become the heart of individual subjects, makes for unity, articulation and coordination, bringing forth within what is learnt in school a Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture and of history. [ii]” Against this background, this message on the “Vision and Missions of Catholic Schools in Macao” is drafted as a chance to reflect on our consolidated experience in education; as well as the communication of a general direction for Catholic schools.
天主教教育的願景 / Vision of Catholic Education
In accordance with the mission of Macao as a centre for evangelism, local Catholic Education shall “endeavour to interweave reason and faith, which has become the heart of individual subjects, makes for unity, articulation and coordination, bringing forth within what is learnt in school a Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture and of history. [iii]” Institutions shall also take an active role in integrating Catholicism and the essence of Chinese culture so as to develop themselves into significant Catholic Institutes with local characteristics.
天主教教育的使命 / Missions of Catholic Education
Catholic schools provide the most effective testimony of the Holy Church in societies [iv]. Catholic schools take the spirit of Christ as the foundation, and “while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community. [v]”
Meanwhile, any Cathoic “school cannot be considered separately from other educational institutions and administered as an entity apart, but must be related to the world of politics, economy, culture and society as a whole.” A Catholic school “is not reserved to Catholics only, but is open to all those who appreciate and share its qualified educational project. [vi]”
“The Catholic school finds its true justification in the mission of the Church; it is based on an educational philosophy in which faith, culture and life are brought into harmony. Through it, the local Church evangelizes, educates, and contributes to the formation of a healthy and morally sound life-style among its members. The Holy Father affirms that ‘the need for the Catholic school becomes evidently clear when we consider what it contributes to the development of the mission of the People of God, to the dialogue between Church and the human community, to the safeguarding of freedom of conscience ...’. [vii]” “Catholic school must be able to speak for itself effectively and convincingly. It is not merely a question of adaptation, but of missionary thrust, the fundamental duty to evangelise. [viii]”
天主教會辦學原則 / Principles of the Catholic Church in Education
To summarise all of the missions above, in addition to the common objectives of cultivating people with principles in “being student centric” and “respecting for personal conscience of individuals” like any ordinary school, Catholic schools shall also educate with the following principles under the spirit of the Holy Church:
The salvific mission of the Church [ix];
Integration of faith and culture [x];
Integration of faith and life [xi];
Religious teaching [xii];
The Catholic school as the centre of the educative Christian community [xiii];
Concern of partnership during formation [xiv].
天主教學校的教育目的 / Purposes of Education in Catholic Schools
The purposes of education in Catholic schools are constantly evolving and diversifying. From the vision of fulfilling universal communion, to the respect of regional culture, and to the encouragement of local Diocesan schools and Catholic schools in realising individual principles and missions, all are for the sake of provision of as many choices as possible to parents [xv].
With the aforementioned principles in mind, the main purpose of Catholic education is to endeavour to present through schools the Christian concept of life according to the Gospel and the invaluable core of Chinese culture with Christ as the foundation [xvi] of the whole educational enterprise [xvi], so as to generate human attitudes [xvii] and together with the parents in particular [xviii], help the youth and students to cultivate wisdom and virtues, pursue the truth, verify merits and develop into persons who:
are sound in body and mind;
have a discerning mind and are sound in moral courage [xix];
are compassionate [xx];
are capable of independent thinking;
cherish human values [xxi]; and
can display creativity [xxii].
參考資料 / References