Message for the 16th Week for Catholic Education (May 24-30, 2021)
Catholic Education: Practicing Peace with Fraternity
Since last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruption to our daily lives. Masses have been suspended or celebrated with a limited congregation, and schools have also experienced many difficulties in their efforts to ensure a safe school environment. Fortunately, we are overcoming and adapting to our new circumstances through collaboration between the government and the people.
During 2020, a year dedicated to, Catholic Education: Promoting Peace, we had many opportunities to promote peace in both society and schools. Accordingly, the Committee on Education of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea (CBCK) decided upon the theme for 2021, Catholic Education: Practicing Peace with Fraternity. This was to deepen our commitment to reflecting on peace.
Fraternity has a long tradition in the Church and a firm foundation in human nature. Fraternity is based on the paternity of God, and it finds its origins in His Fatherly love. Jesus says: “you have but one Father” (Mt 23,9) God, and “you are all brothers” (Mt 23,8). The Heavenly Father’s love is the source and power of a fraternity which has the power to unite us in authentic sharing and solidarity. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ manifests fraternity. For the sake of the salvation and unity of all humanity, Jesus Christ assumed human nature and showed great love towards humanity even unto death (cf. Phil 2,8).
The peace we are seeking is not simply a dream or an ideal. We can realize authentic peace because we were created for peace. In the beginning, God created human beings in His image and gave us dominion over creation. As part of the work of creation, God made a new covenant with human beings (cf. Jer 31,31-34), giving us a new heart and spirit (cf. Ezek 36,26). Jesus Christ, who is the true peace, witnessed to this peace through his incarnation and resurrection (cf. Eph 2,14).
Therefore, whenever we renew our encounter with Jesus and proclaim the Gospel, we move closer to achieving peace. When nurturing peace through the Gospel of Christ, we truly become the children and blessed of God (cf. Mt 5).
Another way to realize peace is by cultivating fraternity among ourselves. People who live in fraternity do not consider others as strangers, competitors or enemies. Rather, they welcome and love others as brothers and sisters. Since we are the children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ, we are equally blessed with equality and dignity. As St. Pope John XXIII outlined in his encyclical, Pacem in Terris, fraternity makes all the creatures constitute the human family and enables us to consider the needs and demands of others as well as our own. It also encourages us to share with others and promote the spread of spiritual values in the world (cf. Enc. Pacem in Terris, n.53).
In fact, with the hope that the world might one day be filled with fraternity and peace, people put their efforts into realizing it. Fraternity and peace allow us to acknowledge the common good and work all together toward it at the level of local, nation, and the world. For this reason, the path leading towards the common good is the same path as leading towards peace.
May all of us become workers for peace this year.
1. Expand Peace-Solidarity Those who seek peace in families, the Church, and society, should collaborate in building a peaceful community with compassion, solidarity and cooperation.
2. Learn Peace-History By visiting historical sites of peacebuilding and learning about its history, let us find specific ways to practice peace.
3. Speak and Act with Peace-Promoting Words Let us cultivate peace with others through gentle and merciful words and actions. Also, let us promote with the environment around us by focusing our efforts on responding to the climate crisis. And finally, let us implement educational programs that nurture the community’s sensitivity towards peace.
4. Pray for Peace At the recommendation of the CBCK, let us pray for the wisdom and courage to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula every evening at 9 p.m.
Week for Catholic Education
+ Pius Moon Chang-woo
Bishop of Jeju
CBCK Committee on Education