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Archbishop to principals: RC schools must form disciples

Archbishop Jason Gordon addresses Catholic principals. Photo: Gerard-Paul Wanliss

By Kaelanne Jordan,

Archbishop Jason Gordon told Catholic principals that they are operating parallel with the Ministry of Education (MOE), educating the nation’s children with little to no resources. He has also observed a growing disconnect between Catholic parishes and schools adding that Catholic schools merely stand as islands on their own, divorced from the Catholic Church.

“And without CEBM (Catholic Education Board of Management) as a lifeline you might as well be a Ministry of Education school,” the archbishop said at the Association of Principals of Catholic Schools’ (APCS) termly conference, May 18, at Our Lady of Fatima RC, Curepe parish hall.

In delivering his feature presentation, Archbishop Gordon believed that there are “technicians” in the Ministry of Education with their own agenda for Catholic education in T&T. He warned, “If we give in anymore we may as well hand the schools over to the MOE and let them run the schools. Either we have a mission for the Catholic schools, either we understand why we’re in this business or we not doing it at all. We cannot continue along the slippery slope that we’re going because we’re no longer doing Catholic education,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Gordon once again reminded Catholic principals that their mission is to form disciples of Jesus Christ and great citizens of T&T. On the other hand, he believed there lies a competency gap in fulfilling this mandate.

“Do we have the competency for all the children that come to us to bring them to a practice of the faith that is age appropriate and their experiencing and encountering Jesus Christ? Do we have that competency right now?” Archbishop Gordon asked.

Less than ten participants agreed by a show of hands.

The archbishop told principals if they have not added value to the 20 per cent of students, then they’re scholarship machines and not educational institutions.

The Episcopal Vicar for Vocations and Priestly Formations, Fr Matthew d’Hereaux also gave brief remarks urging Catholic principals to inculcate vocation conversations in schools. “Why is it that we can’t speak about value education, virtue education and vocation education?” Fr d’Hereaux questioned.

He then invited those in attendance to Generation S’ Local Assembly, an interactive, practical workshop on helping families understand their role in creating vocation awareness, June 19 at Holy Faith Convent, Couva.