Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The school "must never be placed in opposition to the family", instead they must be a place where students "develop a sense of the good, the true and the beautiful", three things which "should never be separated". Schools should teach "customs and values, together with knowledge", in so far as they are "a place of encounter on the journey" of life , "and today we need this culture of encounter to get to know each other, to love one another, to walk together".
A "celebration of schools" surrounded Pope Francis this afternoon, thronging St. Peter's Square and adjacent streets: music, song and especially the warm and loud enthusiasm of 300 thousand people, mostly students, many with their families and their teachers. The Pope toured among them for more than half an hour, travelling on his jeep down a corridor created amid a crowd that arrived as far as Castel Sant'Angelo on the banks of the Tiber.
The gathering involved
entertainment provided by personalities from the world of culture and
television as students and teachers, who spoke of "their" school and
why it is nice to learn. The
event, sponsored by the Italian Bishops' Conference, gathered public and
private institutions from across the country.
The Pope, clearly enthused by the festive atmosphere, also explained, "why I love school, I loved it as a student, as a teacher and then as a bishop". "There, I learned that you can not grow by yourself, because there is always a loving gaze to help you grow. I noticed that gave in my very first teacher, who took me on when I was 6 years old". "She taught me to love school".
"I love school because it is
synonymous with openness to reality, or so it should be, but this isn't always
the case. Going to school means to open your mind and heart to reality in its
dimensions. We do not have the right to be afraid of reality".
"The secret - he then said - is learning how to learn, this remains ever true", " a great teacher who was an Italian priest taught this, Don Lorenzo Milani".
"Another reason why I love school is that the school is a place of encounter: all of us are on a journey" and in school we meet classmates, teachers, staff; teachers meet with parents, the principal meets with families". "It is a place of encounter and we need to have an encounter to get to know each other and walk together".
To give an example of the principle that "the school is the first society that integrates the family" and that the two realities "should never be placed in opposition to one another, [indeed] they are complementary to one another and it is important that they collaborate", the Pope quoted an African proverb which says "it takes an entire village to educate a child".
And finally, "I love school
because it teaches us the meaning of [all that is] good, true and beautiful. These
are all intertwined and should never be separated, because what is good is also
true and beautiful, what is true is also good and beautiful
and what is beautiful is also good and true. "
"Don't allow yourselves to be robbed of your love for school".