By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Monday met a delegation of the Scholas Occurentes Foundation as it launched its office in Japan, the first of its kind in Asia.
The Scholas Occurrentes, the Latin for “schools that meet”, is today an educational project of pontifical right launched by Pope Francis in Argentina 2001, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Its aim is to encourage social integration and the culture of encounter through sports, arts and technology. The Pope made it into a foundation in 2013.
Pope Francis, who is on an Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan, November 19-26, received 5 representatives of the group at the Apostolic Nunciature in Tokyo, in the morning. While narrating their experiences and concerns to the Pope, they also made their proposals for change as future leaders.
The meeting with the Pope took place after the first educational experience of the Foundation, in which young people between 15 and 18 years of age from various religious communities in Tokyo, Osaka, Chiba, Saitama and Gunma participated.
Just and peaceful world
Speaking on behalf of the group, Seiji Tanaka, 18, told the Pope they realized that the purpose of their education was to “create a more just and peaceful world”. Tanaka said that during the Scholas educational experience programme, they discovered that there were “things that cannot be expressed with numbers or logic, and that are in people's hearts”.
Creative in mind, heart and hands
The Holy Father expressed his satisfaction with their testimony, saying they don’t repeat things done by others but prefer to learn with their head and be creative and. “You create things,” the Pope said, “because true wisdom is not only to fill the head with ideas but to express oneself with the three languages: the language of the mind, what I think; the language of the heart, what I feel; and the language of the hands, what I do.”
He thanked the group for their testimony and courage, saying “it’s much more comfortable to stay locked in your ideas, but going out, feeling and doing, is a risk, and you run that risk, and it is very beautiful”.
The Scholas Occurrentes will have its first official headquarters in the city of Sendái. This brings the number of national offices worldwide to 13: Argentina, Vatican City, Colombia, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal and Romania.
The Scholas Occurrentes today is active in 190 countries and its network integrates 500.000 schools and educational networks.