Welcome Address for the 1st PACRE Research Conference and 2nd Christmas Fellowship

A pleasant day to everyone!

I really look forward with eagerness and joy to meet you on this day for two important PACRE events:

  1. First, we will have today our 1st Research Conference. This was a major project which has been prepared since May 2016. And now, we will realize it today. The research conference aims to: provide a venue for all of us to engage in critical discussion and exchange of ideas and issues related to the conference theme; build and strengthen our research competence (knowledge, skills, and attitudes); promote the culture of research among PACRE members; and accomplish PACRE’s Continuing Professional Education Program in the area of research and publication.
  1. Second, we have gathered here today also for the 2nd Christmas Fellowship of Religion Teachers. This is the most wonderful time/season of the year to joyfully gather ourselves and celebrate the Faith that we profess and teach. So, let this occasion be a time to fellowship, relax, enjoy, renew our old acquaintances, and bond ourselves together.

Let us thank the Lord for the many graces that He has given us and to PACRE. Let us thank God for the teaching ministry as we continue to work in His vineyard, witnessing and sharing the message of Jesus Christ in our respective workplaces, communities, and families.

For this year, the theme of the conference and fellowship is “Communion and Mission”.

Timely, the CBCP declares 2017 as the Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities. As religion teachers, we participate closely in “educating the young in communion and for communion in the Catholic schools.” Thus, as religious educators, we must have a grasp of this educative mission and be equipped with “effective tools for dealing with the young within the sphere of a shared mission.” This implies that we must be willing to learn and develop knowledge [skills and attitudes] and be open to renewal and updating of methodologies, as well as to continued religious and spiritual formation and sharing” so that we can truly respond to this increasingly difficult educative mission in the constantly and rapidly changing landscape of global Catholic education.

One aspect that PACRE can contribute to this educative mission is to provide avenues for professional formation of religion teachers. “One fundamental requirement for educators in a Catholic school is their possession of a solid professional formation. Poor quality teaching, due to the insufficient professional preparation or inadequate pedagogical methods, unavoidably undermines/short changes the effectiveness of the overall formation of the student and of the cultural witness that the educator must offer.”

This professional formation includes “a vast range of cultural, psychological, and pedagogical skills, characterized by autonomy, planning and evaluation capacity, creativity, openness to innovation, aptitude for updating, RESEARCH, and experimentation.”

Likewise, it demands theological formation to combine the understanding of faith with professional commitment and Christian action and spiritual formation to develop their relationship with Christ and become a Master like him. All these are constantly nourished and enriched with the Word of God, the liturgy, and sacraments, and enlightened by the Magisterium of the Church.

PACRE is committed to provide the opportunities that we can ever think of and do within our capacity to facilitate and help in the professional formation of religion teachers/educators so that together we can effectively respond to the challenges of our educative mission guided by the institutional vision-mission, charism, and values of our respective Catholic institutions.

I wish to discuss and reflect more with you on this “educating in communion and for communion” but let me reserve this profound topic for our upcoming General Assembly in May.

For today, to help us accomplish our goals, we have invited an accomplished international researcher and Professor Dr. Enrique G. Oracion, the Dean of Graduate Program of Silliman University in Dumaguete City to give us an overview of Qualitative Research and How to Write a Publishable Paper.  Capping our research conference, we will have 5 papers to be presented in the afternoon which will flesh out the theme of the conference.

For our fellowship activity, we have invited Bp. Patricio A. Buzon, D.D. to join us for a Christmas Lunch and meeting with him. This is also our simplest way of welcoming the new pastor of our Diocese and at the same time to introduce the Association and its programs, and listen to his words of encouragement.

Overall, our gathering hopes to enrich and strengthen our unity, identity, and mission; and build our competence as religion teachers. So, in behalf of PACRE Executive Board, I am glad to welcome and thank you all for coming to our activity today.

 Have a blessed morning to everyone.

 

December 21, 2016

Message from the Ad Hoc Chairman on the 1st Christmas Fellowship and PACE Launching

Ad Hoc Committee Members and Fellow Religion Teachers

Advent and Christmas Greetings to one and all!

I am extremely happy to see you all. Thank you for generously responding to our invitation as well as for the show of support of your respective school heads.

Today, we mark a very special historic event in our lives as religious/values education teachers for three important reasons:

First, we are gathered here today to celebrate together our first Christmas Fellowship. I believe this is the fitting and most wonderful time/season of the year to joyfully gather and celebrate the Faith that we teach as commemorate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas. So, let’s take this occasion to relax, enjoy and bond ourselves together as thank the Lord for the many graces that He has given us as we continue to work in His vineyard, witnessing and sharing the message of salvation, the presence of Jesus Christ to where we are sent by the Lord to serve Him.

Second, we are to witness the formal launching of the Association. I am pleased to inform you that the association named Philippine Association of Catholic Educators (PACE), a nonprofit professional association of Religion Teachers which providentially founded in the Diocese of Bacolod was formally organized.

The association was already the second attempt in establishing an association/society for those teaching religious/values education in pre-school, basic education, college, public and private schools. Thanks to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Ad Hoc Committee was encouraged to move forward despite so many doubts and trepidations in the hearts of the committee members. Through their persevering effort, they were able to prepare the working draft of the Constitution and Bylaws for ratification of the members today.

The CBL that will be presented in a while is a very important document of the association since it provides the fundamental principles (Constitutions) and specific procedures (Bylaws) which will govern the operation/conduct of the business of the association. These provisions in the CBL may be changed as the needs of the organization change in time.

Thus, I urge every member present to actively participate in the deliberation so that we can adopt this CBL and ratify the document so that we can move ahead with the realization of the objectives, programs, and plans of the association.

Third, we will be formally electing the PACE Officers for the Fiscal Year 2016-2018. As per CBL provision, the elected officers “shall administer the affairs of the Association, formulate policies in between meetings of the General Assembly and implement policies, and programs to effectively carry out the objectives of the Association and manage all the finances and properties of the Association.” With God’s grace and support and cooperation of the association members, these officers will be working very hard to ensure the stability, sustainability, growth, and advancement of the association especially in these very critical moments of its existence.  As I said, we are doing history today because we are doing many “firsts.” Indeed, the beginning will always be the difficult part in every endeavor, but we don’t have any choice but to take the first step. As Lao Tzu said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So we begin collectively as first steps today.

But I want to see this journey, this first step more biblical by saying, let to set out into the deep and cast our “nets” (John 21:6). Meaning, by the little step/s that we are making today, we are challenged to see God’s work in our lives by persevering because when God works in our lives, it empowers us and makes us achieve things more than we can imagine. As a famous line says, man proposes, God disposes. But quite true also, God proposes, man disposes. Let us leave everything in God’s hand because if this work that we do is really inspired by God, He will sustain us, protect us, guide us, and make us grow and become fruitful in His vineyard.

As a final note let me borrow the words of St Paul in his Letter to the Philippians (1:6, NAB), “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Empowered by His grace, “we will because we can.”

So, on behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee, I am glad to welcome and thank you all for coming to our activity today. Together, we will make history for the service of the Church and society.

May this activity enrich and strengthen our identity, connection, and mission as Catholic religious/values education teachers.

 Have a blessed morning to everyone.

 DENNIS V. MADRIGAL, Ph.D.

Ad Hoc Committee Chair

December 21, 2015

12:12 A.M.