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

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