Let us going forth, let us going forth to offer the life of Jesus Christ to all…”[1]. This is the heartfelt cry of Pope Francis. This cry is an urgent call that challenges us to get out of our Piarist comfort to go to crossroads to meet people in their daily realities. In fact, our Church is dying in a pastoral ministry closed in on itself. Our pastors like to hide in their offices and avoid all contact with the people of God, especially the lower people. Hence the call of our Holy Father to go out to go to the outskirts.

This call is all the truer, as we have become like civil servants locked in our communities, in our schools, in our offices, in our parishes and waiting for people to come to us. Now, how to lead a good pastoral ministry without knowing the realities of the places in which people live. How can we carry out pastoral ministry without, however, touching the daily problems and the misery of those for whom we are responsible for souls? It is with a view to meeting men in their daily realities that the Pious Schools Project is part of. We want to experience a church going out as recommended by the Holy Father and made concrete by our Father General, Pedro Aguado in the Pious Schools Going Forth project.

The Pious Schools Going Forth (PSGF) project is a reality that is slowly taking root in the culture of the Order. A slow project but full of hope because it is filled with multiple experiences and know-how despite the difficulties experienced on both sides. Project misunderstood by many Piarists but which turns out to be a saving project for the whole vocational culture of the Order of the Pious Schools. A place for sharing experience and culture, a place of know-how and growth in Calasanctian pedagogy and spirituality. In short, a school of life for life in Calasanz for a renewal of the Church.

In order to share this Calasanctian experience, the Pious Schools Going Forth project held a virtual meeting on Thursday, April the 29th, 2021. A meeting that allowed us to relive with Father Daniel Hallado the Piarist mission in East Timor. A mission which was not at all easy given the reluctance of some bishops (the establishment in other localities and welcoming new Indonesian vocations) but also the difficulty of passing on the message of hope in a foreign language (the multiplicity of languages used in Timor). However, these difficulties did not hold back the Piarist mission because the early Piarist missionaries believed in it, which made their mission easier. This presentation made it possible to understand not only the realities of the mission but also gave us the necessary tools for successful future missions in the peripheries. These realities are indicators that can be useful to us.

A call that invites us to come out of our conformism to reach men and women in their daily realities with their joys and their sorrows. In this sense, we agree with Pope Francis who emphasizing the openness of the Church, warns us against misinterpretations of the concept of the Church going forth. The Church must certainly go forth, however she must know how to discern in listening and accompanying: “the Church” going forth “is a Church with open doors. Going forth towards others to go to the human peripheries does not mean running towards the world without direction and in any direction. Often it is better to slow down, put aside the apprehension to look in the eyes and listen, or forgo emergencies to accompany the one who is left by the side of the road[2]. This affirmation of the Pope has become a reality for us Piarists with the term “Pious Schools Going Forth”. With Father Daniel, we were able to notice the centrality of these two elements of which the Holy Father speaks: discernment in listening and accompaniment.

And this, thanks to the intercession of Saint Joseph of Calasanz and Our Lady of the Pious Schools.

D. Paul Nikiema Sch. P.

[1] Pope François, Evangelii Gaudium n°49.

[2] Pope François, Evangelii Gaudim n°46.