The following is the message sent by the Holy Father Francis to the Brazilian faithful on the occasion of the 59th Lenten Campaign for Fraternity, promoted by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, this year on the theme: “Fraternity and Education”:
Message of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters of Brazil!
As we begin the Lenten journey of conversion towards the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, we prepare ourselves to listen to the call of God who wishes to lead us, through the penitential practices of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, to a personal and renewing encounter with the Risen One, in whom we have true life and to whom we must be faithful witnesses.
To assist the faithful in this journey of encounter, the Church in Brazil, in this year’s Fraternity Campaign, proposes we reflect on the important theme of the relationship between “Fraternity and Education”, fundamental for the appreciation of the human being in his or her entirety, avoiding the “throw-away culture” – which places the most vulnerable on the margins of society – and awaken ourselves to the importance of caring for creation.
Indeed, looking at today’s society, it is very clear that there is an urgent need to adopt transformative actions in the field of education in order to provide an education that promotes universal brotherhood and integral humanism, as recalled in the invitation to a Global Educational Pact: “Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity” (Message for the Launch of the Global Compact on Education, 21 September 2019).
While recognizing and valuing the responsibility of governments in the task of helping families in the education of their children, guaranteeing access to school for all, the important mission of the Church in the educational field must also be recognized and valued: “Religions have always had a close relationship with education, accompanying religious activities with educational, scholastic and academic ones. As in the past, so also in our day, with the wisdom and humanity of our religious traditions, we want to be a stimulus for a renewed educational activity that can advance universal fraternity in our world” (Address to the participants in the Meeting “Religions and Education: Towards a Global Compact on Education”, 5 October 2021).
I hope with all my heart that the choice of the theme “Fraternity and Education” may become a cause for great hope in every ecclesial community and of effective renewal in Catholic schools and universities, so that, having Christ as the model for their pedagogical project, they may transmit wisdom by educating with love, thus becoming models of this holistic formation for other educational institutions.
I also hope, dear brothers and sisters, that the Lenten journey, illuminated by the proposed reflection, may be an occasion for true conversion and that the seeds sown along this journey may find in the hearts of the faithful the good soil where they may bear fruit in concrete actions in favor of an integral and quality education.
Entrusting these wishes to the care of Our Lady of Aparecida and as a pledge of abundant heavenly graces to assist the initiatives born from the Fraternity Campaign, I gladly impart the Apostolic Blessing to all the sons and daughters of the dear Brazilian nation, especially to those who are committed to a more fraternal education, asking them to continue to pray for me.