Teaching Mission Is More Important Than Ever, Pope Says

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2002 (ZENIT.org).- The task of evangelization through education is more important than ever, John Paul II told representatives of Ireland´s Christian Brothers.



The Holy Father took advantage of an audience Friday to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the religious congregation, whose members were participating in a general chapter. The Christian Brothers were founded by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844) in Waterford.

"The flame of faith lit by your founder burns brightly still, and it is now your task to ensure that this ´fire on the earth´ is as creative now as it was in the past," the Pope said.

"At a time when many cultures are experiencing a crisis in communicating religious and moral values to the young, the educational mission entrusted to you is more important than ever," he said.

"Yet it is also more challenging, for this is a time when, as Pope Paul VI observed, people ´listen more willingly to a witness than to teachers,´ and if they do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses," the Pope added.

The congregation numbers about 1,655 religious.