Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis participated in the closing ceremony of the Fourth World Congress organised by Scholas Occurrentes, held in the Vatican from 2 to 5 February on the theme “Responsibility of all in education for a culture of encounter”. The international network of schools, “Scholas Occurrentes – schools for encounter” was established with a small number of children in Buenos Aires at the behest of the then-Archbishop Bergoglio and currently involves four hundred state and religious schools in five continents, linked through sports, art and technology. During the ceremony, Pope Francis held a video-conference with seven disabled children from different parts of the world, to whom he said, “Each one of us has a treasure inside. If we keep it locked up, it stays locked up inside; if we share it with others, the treasure multiplies with the treasure that comes from others”. The Pope also remarked that, thanks to them, we understand that “life is a beautiful treasure, but it makes sense only if it is given”.
He went on to speak of a “broken educational pact”. “Society, the family, and various institutions delegate education to teachers who, generally underpaid, bear the burden of this responsibility and are berated if the outcome is not successful; however, no-one looks to the various institutions that have broken the educational pact, who have delegated it to the professionalism of teachers”. He paid homage to those teachers “who have found themselves with this hot potato in their hands and have made efforts to keep going”.
Francis explained that the aim of Scholas Occurrentes is to reintegrate the efforts of all in education, and to harmoniously rebuild the educational pact, “as only in this way, if all those of us who are responsible for the education of our young act in together, can we change education”. He also emphasised the importance of “harmonising the language of the head with that of the heart and of the hands, so that a person, a boy or a girl, thinks about what he feels and does, feels what he thinks and does, and does what he feels and thinks”.
He highlighted every person and every people's search for “the beauty we create with our art, our music, our painting, our sculpture, our literature. Educate in beauty, because harmony means beauty, and we cannot achieve harmony in our educational system without having this perception of beauty”. He concluded by thanking Scholas Occurrentes for its achievements and, while he acknowledged that many problems remained to be solved, he encouraged the organisation to continue its work. “Joint work and monitoring are necessary, so that this spark may become a flame, and may help to rebuild and harmonise the educational pact. Those who benefit from this are the young, and the young are the future”.