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Archive for September 2014

A Prayer for Teachers

A PRAYER FOR TEACHERS

Giver of All Wisdom and Greatest of all Teachers,

Look upon our teachers with love

 

Grant them the resolve

To nurture our eager minds

And to never give up on us who fall behind

 

Bless their hearts

For they rejoice when we succeed

And encourage us when we fail

 

Endow them with gentle patience

For the path of learning is never easy

 

Kindle a spirit of passion in them

It is the flame that ignites the love of learning in us

 

Help them see the potential in each student

Their belief in us means much more than the grade we make

 

Instill in them a commitment to keep on learning

It shows us to not fear new knowledge and experiences

 

Inspire them to touch the future

They influence how big a dream we dream for ourselves

Bless our teachers who have come before

for their work endures to this day

 

Let the light of Your example shine upon all teachers:

To build up with their words

To love with their mind

To share with their heart

Amen.

———————–

 

PANALANGIN PARA SA MGA GURO

 

Tagapagkaloob ng Lahat ng Kaalaman at Guro ng mga guro

Bigyan po Ninyo ng pagkalinga ang aming mga guro

 

Biyayaan Ninyo sila ng kahandaang

Linangin ang aming murang isipan

At huwag magsawa kapag ‘di makahabol ang turuan

 

Pagpalain nawa ang kanilang mga pusong

Nagdiriwang sa tuwing kami’y nagwawagi,

At nag-aalo sa tuwing kami’y nadadaig

 

Pagkalooban Ninyo sila ng mahinahong pagtitiyaga

Sapagkat ang landas ng kaalaman ay hindi madali

 

Pagningasin Ninyo sa kanila ang maapoy na diwang

Nagpapaliyab sa kagustuhan naming matuto

 

Tulungan Ninyo silang makita ang galing sa bawat mag-aaral

Wala sa marka ang halaga kundi sa pananalig nila

 

Ikintal Ninyo sa kanila ang walang pagkauhaw sa karunungan

At bagong kaalaman at karanasan ay ‘di dapat katakutan

 

Turuan po Ninyo silang masiglang abutin ang alapaap

Kasinsigla at kasintayog ng sarili naming pangarap

 

Pagpalain po Ninyo ang mga gurong nauna sa amin

Ang nagawa nila ay napapakinabangan pa rin

 

Tanglawan po ng Inyong mabuting halimbawa ang kaguruan

Upang makapagtayo sila sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pangungusap

Uapng makapagmahal sila sa pamamagitan ng kanilang isipan

Upang makapagbahagi sila sa pamamagitan ng kanilang puso

Siya nawa

HOLY AND HEROIC TEACHERS In the Year of the Laity

Tribute to Teachers during World Teachers’ Day

October 5, 2014

Dear People of God:

If you wish, you can be taught; if you are willing to listen, you will learn; if you give heed, you will be wise. Frequent the company of the elders; whoever is wise, stay close to him. Be eager to hear every godly discourse; let no wise saying escape you. If you see a man of prudence, seek him out; let your feet wear away his doorstep! Reflect on the precepts of the LORD, let his commandments be your constant meditation; then he will enlighten your mind, and the wisdom you desire he will grant. (Sirach 6:32-37)

Parents as first teachers

Parents are the primary teachers of faith and morals. “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2223)

And when they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:39-40)

Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years… Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God (CCC, 2226). Jesus grew up in the city of Nazareth where there was no formal schooling, Nazareth became his first school with Mary and Joseph his first teachers. Even without formal schooling, just from the lives of witnessing by his parents, Jesus was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. After all, children learn from what they see.

We do know that the education of a child does not end in the home. It has always been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Thus, the parents must exercise their right to choose a school for their children that will  best help them in their task as Christian educators (CCC, 2229).

Teachers as formators of character and competence

Children grow in faith and wisdom when nurtured by proper education. Proper education as a supplement for the formation in the home must be given well in the schools. This includes having the best possible teachers. “The nobility of the task to which teachers are called demands that, in imitation of Christ, they reveal the Christian message not only by word, but also by every gesture of their behaviour.” (The Catholic School, 43) These teachers educate not only the mind but also the heart.

Teachers are shapers of competence and character. They never deliver mediocrity, only excellence. They come to class prepared and on time. In so doing, they model for the students what is expected from each of them. Thus, pushing their students to become responsible and helping them develop their full potentials.

Teachers draw out what is best in students. They are patient in dealing with those who are discipline-challenged and as well as the academically-challenged. They try to find the unique giftedness in each person, drawing out the Christ in them.

Moreover, as formators of competence and character they are witnesses of faith. They take learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Teachers open the eyes of the students to the realities and problems of the world. They show how each we are connected with nature and with one another. “If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain.  And if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Teachers then encourage each student to contemplate on how she or he can contribute to the betterment of the world. When they teach, they “bring the experience of their own lives to this social development and social awareness, so that students can be prepared to take their place in society …” (LCIS, 19)

We owe much to teachers. They mold and inspire the young to work for social transformation. The current situation that we have in our country, however, presents a rather bleak condition for those engaged in the teaching profession.

Plight of teachers

Time and again we would hear stories of teachers going abroad for better pay as caregivers or domestic helpers. We have private school teachers migrating to public schools for higher pay because some private school salaries are so low cannot even afford raise a family. Yet even the public school system with a relatively higher salary scale has its share of challenges for teachers. There is the challenge of multi-grade teaching especially in schools located in the hinterlands. Teachers are faced with the difficulty of managing their time handling two classes inside the same classroom divided only by a blackboard to allow the teacher to monitor activities happening on the other side of the room. The tedious task of preparing lessons and the additional task of checking for two grade levels would be very taxing for these teachers. Sometimes, those hired to do multi-grade teaching are even new graduates without any teaching experience and yet, they persevere in with their work. There are also principals who even use part of their salaries just to improve the conditions of the schools under their care – true stewards in the service of the providing education for the nation. We have volunteer catechists who give religious instruction in the public schools without any pay at all.

There are also teachers, both in the public and private sector (those in small mission schools), who travel hours on end to scale mountains and cross rivers before they can reach the schools. Some schools do not have the proper amenities, with buildings that are ready to collapse in the next natural disaster. Some do not have electricity and therefore are not conducive to learning but the teachers continue to persevere anyway and make do with the available resources. There are those who have dedicated themselves for the education of the Indigenous People away from the cities. This would mean that they would be away from their families for days just so they could deliver education.

Teachers as heroes and saints

Teachers prepare for class, undergo ongoing training for their discipline, build community with other teachers, and continue to be formed by the church. Outside the school, they have families to raise on their own and sometimes their salaries are not enough to support their families.  Even in the face of the seemingly dire situations that we find these educators in, they persist in their vocation because they believe in the cause of education, because they know that education gives hope and leads to social transformation. These educators are the true missionaries who “fully respond to all of its demands, secure in the knowledge that their response is vital for the construction and ongoing renewal of the earthly city, and for the evangelization of the world.” (LCIS, 37)

Teachers are challenged to be brave amidst the turbulent times. They are called to holiness and heroism. They look to the teacher par excellence, Jesus Christ. Jesus never rejected the title teacher. ”You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.” [John 13:13]. He spoke with authority. He was a great communicator of the vision of the Kingdom. Teachers then look to Christ as example. By their witness of the faith and through their example, they make saints and heroes out of their students. They use the discipline of love to lead them to holiness and heroism.

There is no retirement for teachers. Even as employment ends, teachers devote their time as volunteer catechists in public schools, they lead in forming the basic ecclesial communities in parishes.  They take active part in their dioceses. They take part in the building of the Kingdom.

Gratitude to Teachers

For this reason, we would like to thank all those who have committed their lives in the teaching profession. We thank them for the service they deliver to our nation by their excellent teaching. They are our heroes. They are the true missionaries. They give without counting the cost. They “develop in themselves, and cultivate in their students, a keen social awareness and a profound sense of civic and political responsibility… committed to the task of forming men and women who will make the ” civilization of love ” a reality.” (LCIS, 19)

We also thank all those who help in one way or another in making the circumstances for our teachers a little better. We thank the Department of Education for trying to close the gap in teacher and student ratio and providing better salaries for the public school teachers. We thank all the school administrators for always looking after the interest of our teachers. We thank parish priests who encourage volunteer catechists to go to public schools and deliver religious instruction.

In as much as we feel the support of government, we ask you to go the extra mile. We call on our legislators and budget personnel to continue to support our education system.

We also call on our brother priests to strengthen catechetical instruction in the public schools within your parishes. Moreover, make your parishes youth friendly. As pastors of souls you are teachers of the faith. Visit the public schools and be present in the youth of the schools, encourage and inspire the young people to choose education as a vocation.

We admonish the young people to love and respect their teachers. They have sacrificed much of their lives to make you responsible members of society. It is our prayer that the best ones among you will find it in your hearts to be teachers.

We appeal to the administrators of the schools to ensure that schools are places of encounter with God; that your students and teachers experience God in your campus. Continue to give your teachers support they need so they can deliver quality education to the students.

Finally, we thank the teachers for your generosity of spirit. We pray that you persevere in the good work that you are doing. Continue to let the face of God shine on you.  “May the Lord who began his good work in you will see it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:9).

May Mary mother of all teachers bring us closer to Jesus our only Teacher!

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, October 5, 2014, World Teachers’ Day

(SGD) +SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS, D.D.

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

 

References

TCS – The Catholic School, Congregation for Catholic Education, March 19, 1977

LCIS – Lay Catholics in Schools: 
Witnesses to Faith, CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION, October 15, 1982

CBCP PRESIDENT on the Lessons from GILAS PILIPINAS

For the first time in forty years, a Filipino basketball team, GILAS, a name that has captured the imagination as well as carried the hopes of our countrymen, represented the country in the FIBA competitions.  We may not have reaped a harvest of victories, but GILAS certainly won the admiration of many, Filipinos and foreigners alike.

The CBCP commends the members of the team and joins an ecstatic nation in hailing their admirable endeavor!  Our victories have been sweet, our defeats, honorable!

FAIRNESS. Sports can and should be a promising vehicle of evangelization, for fairness is its fundamental rule.  Fairness that goes by the sublime name of justice is the fundamental aspiration of our nation. It is the hope of the CBCP that as the nation understood the necessity that games be fairly played, it also learned the precious lesson that whether in the life of the individual or of the community or of the State, things ought to be fair just at all times.

UNITY. The players came from different nations — different in race, language, belief and ideology — but these differences did not stand in the way of the camaraderie and the sportsmanship that gave sports-lovers the world over a welcome respite from the cruel realities that hound us daily.  We can overcome the differences that set us apart when we set our hearts to it.  When we choose to be friendly towards each other, even if we must compete, we can all have fun.  Happier and fuller lives come with the acceptance of others and with a healthy respect for differences.  GILAS and the other teams that joined FIBA learned this.  So did we!

GILAS has sowed seeds of goodwill, understanding and friendship.  Let all nurture their flourishing with hearts of goodwill, thoughts of peace and feet firmly treading the ways of friendship. Mabuhay ang GILAS!

September 11, 2014

+ SOCRATES VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan CBCP President
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