Members of the congregational education committee met in Rome February 23-24. Participants included Fr. Stephen Huffstetter, General Councilor responsible for education (1AG), Fr. Donatur Kusmartono (INA), Bridget Martin (USA), Fr. Claudio Marcio Piontkewicz (BRE), Br. Jorge Torres Santibanez (CHI), Franz-Josef Hanneken (GER), Fr. Luis Jesús Chocarro Martin (ESP) and Pedro Iglesias, Secretary General (1AG).
The focus of the meeting was on ways in which the Dehonian charism can be better promoted in our schools and universities.
Bridget Martin had the first presentation; she spoke about how common projects and meetings have benefitted Schools in Collaboration. This has been an excellent opportunity for students and faculty to learn about other cultures while developing a greater understanding of the common Dehonian mission.
Fr. Donatus Kusmartono talked about the role of the Dehonian university, which also has the responsibility of promoting a Dehonian education. A network is needed for greater collaboration among educational institutions, both on the internet and in face-to-face collaboration.
Fr. Claudio Marcio Piontkewicz spoke of pedagogy and systematization, noting that education is an opportunity for evangelization. Holistic education is vital; educators should teach not just what they know, but who they are.
Br. Jorge Torres Santibanez reflected on the pastoral plan for education, and Franz-Josef Hanneken explained the intercultural and interreligious approach which promotes the theme of “Open Heart and Open Mind.” Local and global realities, including a growing secularity, must be considered when developing educational plans that promote the new Mission Statement.
Luis Jesus Chocarro Martin spoke of organization and coordination, especially in regard to the Dehonian pastoral plan for education. He noted the three pillars of spiritualty: oblation, communion and reparation and how they are connected to the themes of ecce venio, sint unum and adveniat regnum tuum. The image of the open heart is at the base of our structure.
One of the final presentations was by Fr. Radoslaw Warenda, Communication Director of the Congregation. He talked about the congregation’s newly developing online platform and how it can be useful for the educators’ work. Meeting participants were asked to reflect on their vision of how the educational component could be best served by a new congregational website, keeping in mind the challenges of regularly maintaining such a resource.