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Catholic schools must face pandemic challenges, Vatican office says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the coronavirus pandemic has proven challenging for schools and parents in educating children, it is also a chance for Catholic schools to confront those challenges with courage, said the Congregation for Catholic Education.
“This crisis can become an opportunity for Catholic educational institutions across the world to strengthen their testimony to their identity and mission as a community of faith and charity,” the congregation said in a statement released April 8.
In its statement, the congregation said the spread of the pandemic and the tragedy of those who are sick or dead from COVID-19 “is a time we were not prepared for” that has “overshadowed many of our certainties.”
The abruptness of the pandemic, it added, did not allow time for schools to adopt “distance learning” methods.
Parents also “find themselves constrained to adapting to the need to assist their children studying at home,” the congregation said. “Not all of them are equipped with the corresponding information technology tools, nor are they prepared to deal with the continuous presence of their children at home.”
Nevertheless, Catholic schools “are called to respond to the most immediate exigencies” to ensure a regular conclusion to the academic year and “organize for the future to be able to discern any opportunities which this crisis could offer us.”
“This pandemic has highlighted the fragility and the wounds of society: the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the prisoners, the social imbalances, as well as individual and national selfishness,” the statement said.
Amid the interruption of ordinary life, all men and women have a duty “to consider more deeply the meaning of life, to finding ways to begin again to live once more, beginning from new foundations, knowing well it will never be the same as before.”
Nevertheless, the Lenten season and the upcoming celebration of Easter serves of a reminder that life overcomes death, which “allows us to look to the future with confidence and solid hope.”
The Congregation for Catholic Education said the celebration of Easter gives meaning to the current crisis and is an encouragement to “open our hearts and minds to God and to our brethren with courage and determination, and to invest our talents in this present moment.”
“In the face of this crisis and in the spirit of Lent experienced this year in a truly exceptional way, for the believer there remains the light of the Easter resurrection. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ open up a perspective of life that will have no end and that allows us to look to the future with confidence and solid hope,” the congregation said.