Catholic Schools launches a message of encounter and dialogue at its congress

The president of Catholic Schools, Ana Mª Sánchez, and the secretary general, Pedro Huerta, have encouraged to seek "encounter and dialogue" with everyone, to "be open to meet the other", at the closing of the XVI Congress of Catholic Schools, which with the theme "Inspirers of Encounters", was held in Granada.

Francisco Otamendi-November 30, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
catholic schools

The congress brought together nearly 2,000 educators, principals, principals and members of the Catholic school last weekend, and throughout the interventions, it was highlighted "the need, in this time of uncertainty, to seek the encounter with ourselves and with the other, to learn, evolve and be a better person".

At the closing ceremony, both Ana María Sánchez and Pedro Huerta, as well as the congress director, Victoria Moya, encouraged the congress theme to be put into action. President Ana María Sánchez, for example, reminded those present that in addition to "being teachers, we are united by the fact that we are students and disciples of the Master, who summed up all his teachings in a single word: love one another". For this reason, she insisted on the need to foster "the encounter with ourselves, with colleagues, families, students and different institutions", because "at the present time, education, the world and the Church demand that we meet, dialogue and create opinion".

For his part, Pedro Huerta, general secretary of Catholic SchoolsHe encouraged the audience to put into practice everything they had learned during the three days in order to become a meeting point. "It is now up to each one of us to take what we have experienced to our educational communities, and not to be afraid to breathe, to be open to meet the other," he said at the end of the congress, which took place with the collaboration of Banco Santander, McYadra, SM, Edelvives, Edebé and Serunión,

Repercussion of the congress

Victoria Moya presented some figures about the event: "more than 5,000 photographs taken; more than 500 photographs on our Flickr channel and 1,700 visits; on Twitter, more than 29 million impressions with our main hashtag (#InspiradoresDeEncuentros), which means 250 thousand impressions per hour and 1,300 images; on Instagram, almost 10.000 interactions and "likes" (81 per hour) with the main hashtag of the congress, 170 images, 90 carousels and countless videos and stories; more than 3,000 visits to the website on the days of the Congress from 27 different countries; regarding the Congress app, 1,962 downloads, 1,224 meeting spaces created for virtual meetings with exhibitors, 6,000 contacts made, almost 300 questions with more than 1,700 "likes" and more than 500 messages in the chat." Moya pointed out that these figures are the symbol that the meeting is possible.

Sense of responsibility

In terms of content, the first day analyzed the encounter from a philosophical, theological and anthropological point of view with Josep Mª Esquirol, Teresa Forcales and Álvaro Lobo. Diversity, dialogue and solidarity were three key words on the second day, with Cristina Inogés, theologian and member of the Methodological Commission of the Synod, and Álvaro Ferrer, political scientist and responsible for Educational Policy at Save the Children. This meeting was led and inspired by Tíscar Espigares, responsible in Spain for the Community of Sant'Egidio.

"The encounter with the other builds and enriches us". This was the main idea of the presentation. All three agreed in defending the need to achieve a school that makes children grow a sense of responsibility for others, giving them responsibilities and, at the same time, a school that opens their eyes to reality, the encounter with the vulnerable through dialogue and solidarity.

Culture of care

To reflect on the importance of the culture of care, the congress featured Ana Berástegui, director of the University Institute of the Family (UPC); Arturo Cavanna, former general director of the ANAR Foundation, and Paco Arango, founder of the Aladina Foundation and film director.

Ana Berástegui recalled that one of the keys to care is listening, and that for this to be possible it is essential to have "time" and to develop emotional empathy. She also pointed out the need to encourage students to feel safe at all stages, not only in infants, because adolescents also need to feel safe to "explore the difference".

The panel also discussed the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and adolescents, childhood grief and the encounters that have transformed them. Cavanna recalled how he was marked in his childhood by the abuse of some peers over weaker ones, which awakened in him the spirit of defense and protection. Arango brought to the audience a phrase that a religious friend dedicated to him: "God is your friend", words that he reaffirms, because according to him "he is a friend who always listens".

Among other speakers were the researcher Catherine L'Ecuyer; Damián María Montes, Isabel Rojas, Xavier Marcet, Manu Velasco, Xavier Rojas, Jorge Ruiz, Victoria Zapico and the jury of MasterChef, Pepe Rodriguez; José Romero, pedagogical director of Colegio Vedruna de Villaverde Alto (Madrid), Encarnació Badenes, missionary of Nazareth and director of Colegio Sagrada Familia de Los Llanos de Aridane (La Palma), and Ion Aranguren, Piarist and member of the tenure team of Colegio Escolapios Cartuja de Granada.

Also participating were Ignacio Gil, better known on TikTok as Nachter, who encouraged the use of humor in everyday life, and the musician David DeMaría, who dedicated some of the most representative songs of his 25-year career to the congress participants.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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