Roman Catholic Diocese of Chingleput

Bishop's Speaks

Dear Fathers / Brothers / Sisters,

Let me, at the outset, offer my heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their dear ones in the recent struggle in Tuticorin to ensure safe and healthy living conditions for all. The people are now beginning to breathe more freely and look at life with hope and optimism after the government has ordered to close down the Sterlite plant. Let us hope and pray that there will be a permanent and peaceful solution to this long lasting problem. Let not the supreme sacrifice of so many people go in vain.

The month of June brings before our eyes the familiar sight of our children and youth going back to their schools and colleges after the holidays. At the beginning of this new academic year let me draw your attention to the fact that affordable quality education is the dream of every parent. It is here that we need to generously help our parents to give quality education to their children. The Second Vatican Council in its decree on Christian education stresses the important role of parents in the education of their children. At the same time the council underlines the fact that education is, in a special way, the concern of the church. (G.E.3). We cannot, therefore, place the entire burden on the parents and shirk our responsibility from providing quality education that is affordable to our children. Our responsibility is all the more serious when we deal with catholic children. The Council reminds us that all Christians have a right to Christian education (G.E.2) Again the council states in emphatic terms that the “Church as a mother is under an obligation to provide for its children an education by virtue of which their whole lives may be inspired by the spirit of Christ” (G.E.3) I have cited the above texts precisely to drive home the point that we must admit our catholic children in our catholic institutions and offer them maximum help financially and otherwise.

In this connection it is my duty to remind you of our synod decisions concerning education ministry in our diocese. You will remember how it was repeatedly stressed in our various discussions that we must ensure admission to catholic children and give preference to Dalit Catholic Children in our schools. This is obviously reflected in our Synod resolutions - and it must be implemented by all.

It is quite possible that some of us have forgotten about the synod resolutions regarding concessions to Catholics and Dalit Catholics. Let me, remind you that this is what we have decided to do in our institutions, whether they are run by the diocese or by the religious:

We have decided to give 50% concession in our Tamil medium schools and 25% concession in English Medium Schools for deserving Catholic Students. As the Dalit Catholic Children require our special focus, we have decided to accord them 60% concession in our Tamil Medium Schools and 50% concession in English Medium Schools.

Dear friends, let me affirm that this is mandatory in all our schools. What you can do over and above this, I leave to your generosity and discretion. Let us strive together to offer good education to our children without counting the cost. Let me add a sincere word of appreciation for your hard work and commitment in the last academic year and Congratulations for your good results. May Mary seat of wisdom assist us in our education ministry.

God bless your ministry!


+ Most Rev. Dr. A. Neethinathan
   Bishop of Chingleput

 

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