Learning, formation are keys to Catholic life

GREENVILLE—What does true Catholic education mean, and what are the best ways to help people of all ages to learn more about their faith and its role in daily life?

Those issues and others will be the focus July 8 at a presentation by Father Julian Carron, leader of Communion and Liberation. The worldwide lay Catholic organization is centered on the concept that Christ’s presence is the foundation of all true liberation.

Chris Bacich, national coordinator of Communion and Liberation in the United States, will accompany Father Carron. His talk will be on “Christ, Education and the Human Heart: What is the Real Task of the Catholic Educator?” at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville. The event is free and open to the public.

Communion and Liberation was founded in Italy in 1954. Father Luigi Giussani started a Christian group at a Milan high school because he wanted to rejuvenate Christ’s presence in schools.

Similar groups spread to schools around Italy, and the movement grew to include college students and adults, and took its present name and form in 1969. Pope John Paul II was especially enthusiastic about the movement and asked Father Giussani to spread its message worldwide.

Currently there are groups in 75 countries worldwide, with 120 locations in the United States. In South Carolina, members are based in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg.

Father Carron, a native of Spain, became the group’s leader after Father Giussani’s death in 2005. He teaches theology at Milan’s Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and was appointed consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 2008.

Bacich told The Miscellany the upcoming talks would focus on the many facets of a true Catholic education. Constant learning and formation in the faith is one of the group’s primary purposes, he said, because only through true knowledge of their faith can believers live a Catholic life in an increasingly secular world.

“What poverty is to the Franciscans, and obedience is for Benedictines, education is for the people who belong to Communion and Liberation,” he said. “It’s an essential, focal part of our experience of the faith. We consider the church to be our continuous teacher, and we’re focused on what it means to educate Catholic lay people who are living and working in the world. How does one teach a Catholic to stand and be active in their faith?”

He said no person, Catholic or not, is truly fulfilled until they learn about their role as a child of God.

“There’s the question of what we, in our experience of faith, talk about as the mystery of our own person,” Bacich said. “Our own hearts are infinitely restless until we are introduced into a relationship with God. That’s one of the key things we need to know in the understanding of ourselves as human beings.”

Bacich said education is critical in Catholic life at all stages, not just childhood. An important step to a true life of faith is realizing God’s role in all facets of existence, he said.

“It’s important to understand all of reality as something that is given by someone, by God, not just something that is there by chance,” Bacich said. “It’s important for both young people and adults to be aware of that.”

Father Carron will also talk about the critical role of Catholic educators and the condition of Catholic education in the United States.

For more information, visit www.clonline.org.