WASHINGTON (EWTN News)—Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington told a group of Catholic educators Oct. 2 that they have a special call to introduce their students to Jesus and show them how the faith is relevant to their lives.
“We are capable of transforming this whole world,” he said.
Cardinal Wuerl was the homilist at an Oct. 2 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation’s capitol.
The Mass opened a national invitation-only conference on “The Catholic Identity of Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.” The gathering is being cosponsored by The Catholic University of America and St. John’s University.
In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s address to Catholic college presidents when he visited the United States in 2008. During that visit, the Pope had explained that “every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God.”
The job of a Catholic educator is to ensure that this encounter with Christ is a part of the students’ entire educational experience, said Cardinal Wuerl. The truths of the Catholic faith must not simply be taught to the students in the classroom, but “woven into their lives.”
“Catholic education takes on that challenge,” he said.
The cardinal said those who are called to teach about Jesus in the field of Catholic education have received both an “extraordinary challenge” and a “gift” in the opportunity to pass on the Catholic faith to young people who are hungering for truth.
Cardinal Wuerl explained that many young people have “simply drifted away” from their faith. While they may have been introduced to the Catholic faith, they have never been shown what relevance it has for their lives.
“It doesn’t have any meaning for them,” he said.
The cardinal said that many young people today have become lost in a world of materialism and relativism.
“Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to teach us that there is a truly good, wholesome, right way to live,” he said. “It’s the task of the Church; it’s the task of Catholic education to pass along that story.”
Catholic education “brings to those people entrusted to our care an introduction to Jesus Christ,” said Cardinal Wuerl.
In doing so, Catholic education has the opportunity to help the Church in its mission of proclaiming the Good News to all people: “Let us be part of that changing of this world.”