Among those attending this year’s When Faith Meets Pedagogy Conference in Toronto were Principals Sue Pellerin, Claudia Speiran and Suzanne Terpstra. I thank them for sharing and providing the following highlights of the Conference.
The theme of this year’s When Faith Meets Pedagogy Conference was See, Follow, Be: God’s Light for the World. Participants (Teachers, Chaplains, Administrators, etc.) were reminded that, as Catholic Christians, we are all called to be this light for our students, staff, families, and community. The Magi went on a journey of faith filled with openness; seeing the star, following Jesus, and then being witnesses by enriching others with the light of faith from their experience. We are also called to be people of action, “pilgrims on the path of God,” bringing our gifts to the Lord and using our gifts from the Lord to accompany others on their journey of faith.
Dan Moynihan spoke about how sometimes we put our faith aside along that journey, but that we can always “take it out” and come back to God and re-commit to our faith practices.
Fr. Rob Galea shared his personal story of transformation, as he outlines in his book “Breakthrough: A Journey from Desperation to Hope”. He left a life of addiction as a teenager (his mess) to live a life dedicated to his love for Jesus. He urged us to take our own “mess” and turn it into a message. It is through “encounter with Jesus” that we can come to truly follow Him.
Friday afternoon’s session with Father Rob Galea was filled with an hour and a half of songs and stories focusing on the ordinary moments where extraordinary lives begin. He reminded us that the disciples and the saints were imperfect people, but that God worked through them to live lives of holiness, and that we are all called to be saints, but we cannot do it on our own. We examined Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” and Father Rob gave it a whole new meaning teaching us that this scripture passage was originally written in Hebrew, a Semitic language, and in Maltese (also a Semitic language, and Father Robs’ native tongue) “Be still…” or “Iscot” literally means “shut up”. Father Rob challenged us to stop trying to control our own lives, “Be still…”and let God in; to let Him into our ordinary mess, to be an extraordinary message for others. He reminded us that there is no greater influence than that of authenticity and that in our imperfection we can be made perfect through the work of God. We examined the life of St. Peter in John’s Gospel, where Jesus shared that although Peter betrayed Him, He loved and chose him anyway to lead His church. Father Rob reminded us that God loves and chooses US anyway and that we are called to be beacons for the church, so that others see us and want what we have… our FAITH!