Fr. Elpidio D. Biliran Jr.
MaPSA-RCAM ES Cluster 8 Director

Good morning. Happy Easter! As I was preparing for this conference-workshop, I came across the Pastoral Letter on the 400 years of Catholic Education in the Philippines. You can search for it online because we cannot give you a copy. We have to be consistent with the value we are trying to promote. Each educator should read and have a copy of this. The highlight of this letter in verbatim is that educators should be spiritually and psychologically prepared for all that we should do. I encourage every teacher to get hold of a copy of this pastoral letter. The very heart of Catholic Education is here. As Jesus Christ had commanded His apostles (Matthew 28: 19–20), “Go forth, and make disciples of all nations, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them all that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always till the end of age.”

The first part of the pastoral letter goes, “Brothers and Sisters, our grateful recollection of the grace of 400 years of Catholic Education is an opportune time, not to withdraw, but to rediscover once again the original mission of the Catholic schools. The words of Jesus resound once again: ‘Go, teach them to observe what I have commanded you.’ It is a time to renew the mission with fervor.” (Source: 

This is a great and opportune time to rediscover the original mission of Catholic schools. Jesus wants us to teach and observe what He has commanded you with fervor. The challenge is to keep in mind the very central goal of cascading our Catholic values into the curriculum and teaching plans.

In schools, the truth of the Gospel should be proclaimed. It should not only be informative but it should also be “performative.” It should also be creative where learners acquire life-changing skills. What we are teaching is supposed to provide students with life behaviors, life skills to become the instruments of bringing about transformation in the lives of children being entrusted to us. As we make a fervent renewal of our mission as educators, we should focus on making saints of our students. As the words of the Holy Father, “Christianity is not a new philosophy or a new morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ. Of course, He does not show Himself to us in this overwhelming, luminous way, as He did to Paul to make him the Apostle to all peoples. But we, too, can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ’s Heart and feel Him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians.” (Source: These are the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “This renewal means going back to the spirit of the establishment of Catholic education where the synthesis of knowledge, culture, and faith are evident. Our core mission is to form morally upright citizens where formation of the heart and mind is being upheld. It is education that provides moral compass which directs them to proper actions. The integration of life and faith will have students bring down their individualism and discover the light of faith, their specific vocation to lend responsibly in a community with others. To commit themselves to serve God in their brethren and to make the world a better place for everyone to live in.”

It is not a matter of scriptures and defining values that we integrate Religion into the curriculum. But it is making that value their behavior. It is not defining but transforming. From the content that DepEd requires should come transformation. In fact, DepEd requires value-formation, and that would not be enough. The end that we would like to see is that transformation being observed. This can only be possible if the administration and each member of the community would teach by living the Gospel values. Learners should be taught how to live responsibly with the community. The target is to integrate the study of ecology with religion or scriptures.

I just came from Bhutan (first week of April). All schools in Bhutan are funded by the King. Everything is free and nobody knows who is rich and who is poor. The government provides free schooling, free allowances, free uniforms, free food, almost everything. I could see already the signs that will show the kind of school that the community wants. All the values that the school wants are written. And when you get to hear the students, you would see that values are being integrated and they even call their values their DNA. Imagine, DNA. So, we see how values are being integrated. I was invited into one of the classrooms, and there, the teacher had placed guides for students on how to translate their knowledge into behavior.

The renewal is a challenge, to get direct energies towards the transformation from school to the community where the presence of Jesus is felt and experienced. Alam ng mga bata kung sino sa admin at mga teacher ang hindi nagkakasundo at kung sinong mga teacher ang nagsisiraan (Children know who among their teachers and other school personnel are not in good terms and who say things behind their backs). So, whatever we teach, they don’t hear. Because it is not being lived. According to Pope John Paul II, “We do not need teachers, we have too many of them. What we need are witnesses. If ever they have to be teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Pagpasok pa lang ng school ay ramdam na raw ang values that are being lived. (Even as they enter the school, values they live by are already felt.)

The ultimate goal is living and doing the gospel. All Catholic schools’ goal is to encounter the living God who is Jesus Christ. A desire in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and His teachings. Live a new life that is good, beautiful, and true. The life of a Christian witness is nurtured with strength and strengthened within the community of apostles, the Church. This was taken from a speech by Pope Benedict XVI. (Source:

It is a call for people to have the passion for the Church and that Catholic educational institutions think with the Church. This allows the Church to think critically about issues. It must criticize and energize. Lastly, Catholic education must see the world as transformative. It announces the Good News. It denounces that which is life-killing. It exists to build a culture of peace and love. It challenges anomalous and evil structures. Thus, Catholic educational community must be witnesses to the power of the Word and should strive to transform society. My dear partners in education, this will become true. The future is in our hands. Listen to the inputs, try to learn every detail, and how these values will be integrated into the day-to-day learnings of the students.

Alam naman natin na marami na kayong seminar on outcomes pero have you seen the outcomes (We know you have had so many seminars, but have you seen any outcome)? Luckily, it is Secretary Briones herself who is urging us to incorporate ecology in our Pre K-12 program. And that is why with DepEd, SOARZM, PARSSU, AIS, and Bhutan, which is a negative carbon-footprint country, we will learn how to incorporate care for creation in our learning plans, together with the skills and techniques to easily integrate other values, so that our country, MaPSA, and the Church and even other individuals will espouse our vision-mission.

By the way, we are partnering with AIS because DepEd used the K-12 program of AIS as the prototype. Dito kinopya kaya (We copied it from them, and so) we are getting them as resource (persons). They will help us learn the skill so I hope that these three days will be productive and transformative and we hope that this transformation will be regenerated in our own schools. Perhaps, all of us who will finish this conference-workshop will eventually become the yeast to help other schools in MaPSA integrate values into our curriculum. I think that will be enough to keep you aware of what would be happening. Make use of each moment. Good morning and God bless us.