PROPHETIC FIDELITY AND STRATEGIC FLEXIBILITY
IN CICM SCHOOLS
In Praise of the Installation of Fr. Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD, as the Seventh President of Saint Louis University, Baguio City, 15 August 2015
In view of the changing times and globalizing educational landscapes, the pioneering CICM educational apostolate in the Philippines must strive to contribute and remain faithful to the prophetic role of Christian education. This means that CICM schools continue to draw from the spiritual well of the CICM story of courageously standing for and serving the marginalized members of society as shown by the example of Jesus Christ. This is one way to inspire young people to make a difference in the Church and society.
The universality of the prophetic calling of the CICM educational mission must find meaningful expressions in the particularity of developing a strategic response. That is why to stay relevant and to be able to adapt to emerging realities, our CICM schools need to adopt new ways of effectively carrying out the mission. In other words, the prophetic fidelity of CICM schools to the mission demands a strategic flexibility in responding to new educational mission situations. In general, the contextual nature of the mission demands a clear grasp of and unique approaches to it.
Therefore, only by opening our mindset to fresh perspectives and animating our CICM schools with the spirit of our founders can our CICM schools today effectively respond to actual challenges of Christian formation. With a dynamic structure, i.e., governance and management, excellent academic programs, qualified and motivated personnel and staff, student support system, vibrant community partnership, and others, to ensure the successful and sustainable operations of our CICM schools, the educational apostolate of CICM Philippines can help bring about a transformed Philippine society.
“The CICM way of life essentially can inspire a profound sense of mission among students in CICM schools, that comes from the recognition of their unique identity as God’s children…”
Called and sent to a world with complex issues, the graduates of our CICM schools should be educated with leadership competence and interpersonal skills to enable them to learn to live with other people and cultures. But CICM schools must first and foremost make our young people feel that they are welcome, and that their well-being matters. Likewise, they need to be assured of giving them holistic development, in terms of capacity for critical reflection, leadership formation, and other core competencies needed to help them prepare for an uncertain future. In short, through an animated and structured exposure to the CICM way of life, our students gain purpose in life and experience the freedom of being Christians.
The CICM way of life essentially can inspire a profound sense of mission among students in CICM schools, that comes from the recognition of their unique identity as God’s children. Student leadership programs in CICM schools which are meant to develop in students ethical as well as organizational leadership capabilities are particularly framed following this principle of mission and identity.
Fidelity to the CICM mission is never meant to be a blind adherence to tradition; on the contrary, it is fidelity with plausibility that calls for creative innovation in function of realizing the potential of the CICM mission in an evolving world. The paradox is unmistakable: It is only by changing our attitude, in an effort to make sense of the “signs of the times” that we improve ourselves. Thus, we affirm our identity by developing the quality of our existence shaped in meaningful service to others. Accordingly, the institutional identity of our CICM schools should b seen in the same light.
In conclusion, it is precisely for these reasons that we constantly envision our CICM schools in the Philippines to become living witnesses to the steadfast promise of Christian education for genuine human liberation.
Jeffrey M Centeno, PhD
Provincial Committee on Education