Thai Catholic schools, place of evangelisation and harmonious human development

» 09/12/2011 14:18

by Weena Kowitwanij
A seminar sponsored by the Church tackles the issues and challenges today’s schools face. “Integration of life, faith and culture in the context of today’s Thai society” was the topic covered. During the event, Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘Caritas in Veritate’ and the principles that inspired the Second Vatican Council were discussed. Schools have a “missionary” vocation to announce the word of God.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Catholic schools are a place for “evangelisation” and the “harmonious development” of students’ physical, intellectual, emotional and social skills. This way, they can be made aware of their rights and dignity in society, this according to the 41st seminar of Thai Catholic schools held in Cholbury Province on 21-24 August. Organised by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand (CBCT), the event brought together some 420 participants from different schools from around the country to discuss and reflect upon the “Integration of life, faith and culture in the context of today’s Thai society”.

Teachers and educators discussed and reflected upon Pope Benedict XVI’ encyclical ‘Caritas in Veritate’, focusing on the importance of the role they play in improving human beings and integrating culture and the Christian faith through education.

Schools are a privileged place for missionary action, where the word of God can be announced and the various social issues that touch today’s Thailand can be addressed.

CBCT President Archbishop Louis Chamniern Santisukniran chaired the seminar. He urged participants to focus on “the original goal” when dealing with the issue of “Catholic education”.

The prelate noted that the Second Vatican Council pushed the Church towards a process of “reform and purification” under the guidance of the Holy Spirit “to start of process of modernisation in order to cope with today’s world.”

He called on educators to “make society a more just place, creating peace and developing the skills of individuals through integrity and balance.”

“A teacher is the product of intelligence,” and the values of “truth and love” should always go hand in hand,” said Fr Augustin Sugiyo Pitoyo, a Jesuit priest. Students should be models of morality, whilst Catholic-inspired education should be “rooted in and built upon the foundations of the Gospel,” especially in terms of “life, love, truth and justice.”

According to available data, Thailand has 314 Catholic schools with 249,433 males students and 263,734 female students, taught by 6,697 male teachers and 22,360 female teachers.