By Renée Smith,
Catholic education must be considered a domain for formation and not just education Archbishop Jason Gordon told the gathering of Catholic teachers at their annual convention held on November 9.
“I disagree that we are in the education business. We are in the formation business where education is just one part. We are in education so we may do formation for the next generation,” he said.
Archbishop Jason Gordon was the feature speaker at The Catholic Teachers’ Association’s 66th Annual Convention held at St Benedict’s RC Church, La Romaine. The theme was Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Listing the four components of formation: intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical quotients (IQ, EQ, SQ and PQ) Archbishop Gordon emphasised, “A ‘good’ Catholic school is not measured by its academic achievements but when the children in the school are formed by these areas.”
He added, discipline and emotional intelligence are the “two secrets” for the formation of a child. “Our country is heading down a slippery slope and we have to consistently raise the bar of discipline, character formation, godliness and what it means to be a good citizen but this is only possible if we all work together.”
The Archbishop’s address also focused on the aspiration for Catholic education within the Archdiocese of Port of Spain. It reads: “Our Catholic schools are led by principals and teachers who are missionary disciples, steeped in the philosophy of Catholic education who work with parents/guardians to ensure each child achieves his/her full potential as children of God and citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, and the world community through excellence in faith, academic, physical, emotional and character formation within excellent facilities.”
To the group he said, “The first line of the aspiration statement is vital for without it anything that comes after makes no sense. The Church has absolutely no power in a society except for the faith and commitment of its people.”
After discussing the entire statement, he encouraged them to give feedback on the pastoral plan. “What we have to do now is chart the road for where we are today to this destination point.”
In his closing remarks, the teachers were given assurance that formation will also be given to them for the work that lies ahead.
Earlier in the morning remarks were delivered by the President of the CTA, Kathleen Merhair Gransam who said the convention is held to “renew the commitment to Catholic primary and secondary schools in this new century”. She hoped the mobilisation of Catholic teachers will allow the Gospel message and the “living presence of Jesus to infuse the entire life of the school communities”.
Representatives from the Ministry of Education, CEBM, TTUTA, and La Romaine parish priest Msgr Christian Pereira also delivered greetings.