As you gather today in your schools and universities, you can take these words to heart, for our Lord Jesus Christ always keeps His promise. You are gathered together in His name and He is with you as you work, learn, pray, grow and live out your mission.
The great desire of Jesus is to be with us and to invite us to enter into a personal relationship with Him, a relationship of love. When a person knows they are truly loved, a new confidence abounds.
St John Bosco, the great patron saint of young people and of education, once said: “Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.”
The mission of our Catholic schools, colleges and universities is to provide a holistic education which enables the lives of children and young people to flourish and for them to be formed into the men and women that God the Father has created them to be.
May our Catholic schools, colleges and universities always be places where children and young people discover that they are known and loved by the Lord in their uniqueness.May they be able to look back and recognise that our Lord Jesus Christ was present to them throughout their education.
May the gift of faith inspire them, the gift of hope encourage them, and the gift of love sustain them as they strive to live out their unique mission in the world.
When young people leave our institutions, with Christ at their centre, may they do so with stronger faith and greater confidence, to share the love that they have received with others, in whatever vocation or work they undertake.
We owe much gratitude to all those who, over the past 175 years, have governed, led, taught and supported the children and young people in our Catholic schools, colleges and universities, and who have created the environments and opportunities for a loving encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this 175th Education Sunday, as we gather in the name of the Lord Jesus and have confidence that He is with us as He promised, let us give thanks to Almighty God for all the ways He has been present to us amidst the joys and sorrows of our life. Let us invite Him to be with us over the coming academic year.
I remain, yours in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Rt Rev. Marcus Stock
Bishop of Leeds
Chair of the Catholic Education Service
This article was first published on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales website on Thursday 31 August 2023.