New educational outlooks for accompanying today's children
Undersecretary Gambino's speech at the National Colombian Meeting on Family Pastoral Care
“The Church supports the educational mission of the family” This was the theme of the National Meeting of Family Pastoral Care that took place in Colombia where, from Oct. 19 to 21, lay people and pastors gathered to reflect on how to continue the intense journey of renewing the marriage preparation that had begun last year, following the publication of the document of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life: “Catechumenal Pathways for Married Life. Pastoral guidelines for local Churches”. After some time studying the document and distributing it throughout the dioceses, the Colombian Family Ministry is now engaged in planning the pre-catechumenal phase of “remote preparation” (cf. Pathways, nos. 27-36), that is intended for children and adolescents, with their families, through pastoral and educational strategies capable of "laying the groundwork" to subsequently proclaim the vocation of marriage to children.
Conveying to children the appreciation for human values in order to open their hearts to God and neighbor
“Laying the groundwork” for vocations means transmitting to children an appreciation for human values, for those values that belong to the human person and whose knowledge enables each person to open his or her heart to God and neighbor. Therefore, making the youngest children capable of discovering the importance of these values is the first step in bringing them closer to a faith lived also through their relationships with others, with self-respect and respect for each person.
Speaking as an opening message, Prof. Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, has, therefore, focused attention on the importance of education in the family towards those objective values that guide the path and choices of each person.
"There is a 'false myth,'" she emphasized, "that seems to have affected the contemporary educational processes, and we can find it now in so many cultures and countries around the world: the idea that in order to be authentic and generate free individuals, education must be completely aseptic and neutral. This attitude on the part of adults leads to disorientation among young people who, not being able to find safe guidance in parents and educators in learning how to make discernment, find themselves having to deal with an idea of freedom detached from any value - other than immediate subjective interest - unable to stay on course toward the goal of goodness and happiness”.
Contrasting the "primacy of indifference" in the educational action of the younger children
It is, therefore, necessary and urgent to contrast this "primacy of indifference," as Pope Francis called it. In this regard Prof. Gambino recalled the teachings of St. John Paul II and the "integral vision of the person: his unique and irreplaceable value, his always being in relationship with God and with others, his being loved by the Father for himself". The educational action that results from this combines in itself education, faith and morality; it re-proposes certain values as inescapable, because they belong to human beings as such, and makes it necessary to think of "new educational scenarios," in order to accompany families and educators to acquire new relational skills and languages adequate for understanding today's children. Families and Christian communities, together, will thus be able to help young people to “know how to listen and respond to the proposal of Love that God makes to each of them in order to say yes to their vocation”.
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