Dr. Jeannie Ray-Timoney on Educating to Fraternal Humanism
As I read through this document, I ask myself what my role in educating for fraternal humanism is and how to work toward building a civilization of love. I come back to the idea that we are all part of humanity and that we must work together for multicultural coexistence. I have an opportunity to spread the hope of peace by being a part of Catholic education thus contributing to building a global peaceful world. It is inspiring to note that the Church has long supported the idea that we need to develop the whole person (Gravissimim Educationis, Vatican II, 1965); and that humanizing education by focusing on relationships that make up an interdependent community with a common destiny will help feed interactive dialogue on a local scale and a global scale. I can be a part of this mission in a real way, supporting educators and administrators in their daily vocation.
As a Catholic educator, I do support the Church’s position that the family is the primary educator, but that we need to assist the family to endeavor to embrace an education that will “ generate solidarity, sharing and communion” as Pope Frances reminds us. I am also reminded that we have a specific responsibility to model for students and to form students spiritually, socially and morally so that they can all contribute to the common good. I see myself as an extension of families who bring their children to us.
I concur with the idea presented that as an educator I can lay foundations for peaceful dialogue. This church document posits that we need to embrace the ongoing challenge to understand our place in the dialogue and come to the table without egocentrism or ethnocentrism. I think that egocentrism and ethnocentrism are what will continue to be the challenge of humanity. Thus it is ever important that we embrace this idea of fraternal humanism so that we do not loose sight of the global message of peace and hope for all.
I am struck by the idea of inclusion presented given the current climate in society. We live in a pluralistic society where we have a responsibility to enter into dialogue that will respect others and seek to widen the horizon of the common good. Pope Francis continues to challenge us to go out in the world and walk together. We are also challenged to seek new means to meet the needs of future generations. I appreciate the notion of linking our history with current society and our future so that we build relationships for “universal solidarity.” It gives me hope that my church is part of the conversation to work for the common good for all humanity.
As an educator, I play an integral role in modeling how to build relationships where dialogue is welcome, especially with our administrators and other pastoral ministries. We all play a role in the moral formation of our students and modeling dialogue that respects a multicultural pluralistic society. In this way, Catholic educators have always contributed to civic conversations for the common good. I hope that this Church document inspires educators to continue on this path to build a global society of hope and love.
by Dr. Jeannie Ray-Timoney, the Associate Superintendent, Archdiocese of Portland Catholic Schools