On Saturday 19th October 2019 Piarist fathers and brothers, teachers and collaborators in the Piarist Province of Austria were gathered together in the Piarist Community in Krems under the theme: Piarist Identity. The day was punctuated by three principal moments:

A Conference presented by Fr. Francisco Molina (a Piarist father from the Province of Bethany) followed by a fraternal meal and ended with a Holly Mass.

The conference on the theme: The identity of Piarist schools, was presented by Fr. Francisco in five main points: school atmosphere, the education intention of Calasanz, methodological principles of education, the profile of an educator, and permanent formation.

During this very interesting and rich presentation, Fr. Francisco highlighted among other things, the importance of collaboration, communication, innovation, motivation and teamwork amongst teachers and students. Speaking on the educative intention of Calasanz, he highlighted, that Calasanz wanted schools for poor children. This intention still remains valid at all time and everywhere. Poverty must be interpreted in the context of its time and space. In a context like that of Austria today, it might not be material poverty but emotional poverty, poverty of isolation, poverty of relations with one another, etc. So the context in which we live, determines the type of poverty that education should fight against. And how to educate our children, with the aim of eradicating this poverty, should be the prophetic mission and the principal goal of all piarist teachers. We only fulfill our prophetic rule, when we succeed, through our teaching, to promote justice, peace and love in the world. The educative intention of Calasanz should never be forgotten in a piarist educational environment, emphasized the presenter.

After this great conference that took place during two hours, came another great moment. The fraternal meal. We underlined especially the spirit of togetherness and not only the sharing of food and drinks but also ideas during this lunch time. It also permitted us to know each other and hence to strengthen our collaboration with the teachers and pedagogues.It was also a moment to go deeper on the topic of the conference as many wanted to know more about the person of Calasanz and the piarist charisma.

The day ended with a Eucharistic celebration to thank God for the success of this day but also for the gradual growing of the Piarist mission in Austria. The mass that took place in our beautiful church in Krems was celebrated by the young priest Fr. Gerald Funwie assisted by Fr. Francisco, Fr. Jinto , Fr. Antoine and Fr. Jean de Dieu Tagne, Delegate of Fr. General in Austria. In his homily, Fr. Gerald underlined again the importance of Humility and Patience as fundamental virtues for all piarist and piarist collaborators. The holy mass marked the end of the the activities of this great day.

The day was actually a success. Many teachers went back very satisfied. Here is the impression of one of the directors of our primary schools: “ I’m very very happy, because I have the feelings, that something new, something different is happening. Most of my teachers felt the same. Since 15 years, I have been working as director in the “Piaristenvolkschule”. Today, for the first time, I have learned something about the Educative intention of Calasanz and the profile of a piarist teacher. We are very proud of what we have lived here today. We can see already that the future is bright. This will help us also to innovate in our teaching methods. We thank God for every thing. We thank the organizers of this great day and all the participants”. 

May God bless us all in Calasanz.  

Fr. Gerald Funwie Azongwa Sch. P.