mission of catholic schools

In an age of information overload, Catholic schools must be especially attentive in their instruction to strike the delicate balance between human experience and understanding. . Catholic schools have the task of being the living and provocative memory of Christ. In the United States, various accrediting agencies monitor the institutional effectiveness of schools' educational activities. While Catholic schools conform to government-mandated curricula, they implement their programs with an overall religious orientation. 2 - Shared Responsibilitiesch. The witness never refers to himself but to something, or rather, to Someone greater than he, whom he has encountered and whose dependable goodness he has sampled. Christiaan Alting von Geusau, LL holds a law degree (LL.M.) Catholic schools are an integral part of the Church and are Christ-centred communities based on gospel values. . How should Catholic social teaching approach the question of public policy in education? Without this spiritual path, all external structures of cooperation serve very little purpose; they would be mere mechanisms without a soul. In addition, he was the founding president of the Phoenix Institute Europe Foundation, an educational institution that aims to form young men and women in the classical and Judeo-Christian tradition. Furthermore, Catholic parents can be limited in their choice of schools to those the state wishes to authorise (with places and the building of new schools often being severely limited). . Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools exist primarily to evangelize and to educate students for the Church’s mission in the world. Catholic educators recognize that the bishop's pastoral leadership is pivotal in supporting the establishment and ensuring the catholicity of the schools in his pastoral care. Because of this complementarity of the natural and the supernatural, Catholic educators should have a sound understanding of the human person that addresses the requirements of both the natural and the supernatural perfection of the children entrusted to their care. I would like to conclude this essay with a suggestion that might help to strengthen the Catholic identity of America's elementary and secondary schools. … For example, if teachers and administrators demonstrate the individualistic and competitive ethic that now marks so much public education, they will fail to inspire students with the values of solidarity and community, even if they praise those values verbally. If you’ve appreciated, Christian Perspectives on the Financial Crash, Catholic Social Teaching and the Market Economy, CHRISTIAAN ALTING VON GEUSAU & PHILIP BOOTH. If a Catholic school is to deliver on its promise to provide students with an integral education, it must foster love for wisdom and truth, and must integrate faith, culture, and life. Education is not a commodity, even if Catholic schools equip their graduates with enviable skills. Such a position would foster the misunderstanding that faith and life can be divorced, that religion is a merely private affair without doctrinal content or moral obligations. 160). His books include The Shepherd and the Rock: Origins, Development, and Mission of the Papacy the Encyclicals of John Paul II, and The Holy See's Teaching on Catholic Schools. It is the Catholic faith that provides young people with the essential principles for critique and evaluation. The relativistic mindset that reigns at most schools and universities, including many of those calling themselves Catholic, proclaiming that all truths are equal and the secular truth more equal than others, tells us that religion and education need to be separated because they have nothing to do with each other. . However, we are warned that this should not be seen merely as a right to a secular education (Gravissimum Educationis [GE], no. What is human and visible can bear the divine. In many traditionally Catholic countries (though also in the UK) systems of Catholic education have become intertwined with the provision of free state education more generally. As we have seen, there is a role for the state in education. It strives to develop virtue "by the integration of culture with faith and of faith with living." But, while the Church institutionally must have the right to establish schools, the freedom to educate children ultimately belongs to parents:  "Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools" (GE, no. Complementing the primary role of parents in educating their children, such schools, which should be accessible, affordable, and available to all, build up the community of believers, evangelize the culture, and serve the common good of society. Should not Catholic schools, precisely insofar as they claim to be specified by their catholicity, do something along the same lines? T. S. Eliot puts it just right: "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? It is Catholic because it provides an education in the intellectual and moral virtues. That the Catholic school is an educational community "is one of the most enriching developments for the contemporary school." What is really being proposed by secularist movements is that the pupil should replace whatever god he believes in with the secular god. . The Congregation's Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School sums up this new emphasis: The declaration Gravissimum Educationis notes an important advance in the way a Catholic school is thought of: the transition from the school as an institution to the school as a community. Leonard Franchi, Ed. Educators and ecclesial authorities should cooperate closely in fostering a school's catholicity. Closely following papal teaching, the Holy See's documents on schools insist that education is about truth – in both its natural and its supernatural dimensions: The school considers human knowledge as a truth to be discovered. Thus, every educator and witness finds an unequaled model in Jesus Christ, the Father's great witness, who said nothing about himself but spoke as the Father had taught him [cf. The gospel spirit should be evident in a Christian way of thought and life which permeates all facets of the educational climate. Repeatedly the Holy See's documents emphasize the need for an educational philosophy built on a correct understanding of who the human person is. Catholic schools take up the daunting task of freeing boys and girls from the insidious consequences of what Pope Benedict XVI has called the "dictatorship of relativism" – a dictatorship that cripples all genuine education. Nor is it for "clients" and "consumers" in a competitive marketplace that values academic achievement. He is married with five children and lives in Baden bei Wien. The most effective mission statements are those which not only express a shared sense of mission but which inspire and even challenge all those in the school community to engage more fully, actively and consciously in God's mission in Catholic education. This communal dimension is rooted both in the social nature of the human person and in the reality of the Church as "the home and the school of communion." He also studied philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA. In The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, the Congregation for Catholic Education commented: From the nature of the Catholic school also stems one of the most significant elements of its educational project: the synthesis between culture and faith. Such a "Catholic" accreditation process would involve an internal review of the five benchmark indicators – as well as others that could be developed. MISSION OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS FOR EVANGELIZATION TODAY. Preparing and inspiring students to lead meaningful lives, rooted in the teachings of Christ in our Catholic tradition. What educators do and how they act are more significant than what they say – inside and outside the classroom. from the University of Heidelberg in Germany with a specialization in European Law. Rather, "the Catholic school sets out to be a school for the human person and of human persons.". People should not be forced to act contrary to their religious convictions (Dignitatis humanae, no. Pope Benedict fittingly calls it the duty of the educator to be led by 'intellectual charity' which is inspired by the recognition that leading the young to truth is an act of love. This does imply that, if there is insufficient support from a family's own means or from charity or the Church to provide all children with a basic education, then government funds could be used for this purpose. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone summed up … Familiarity will make a personal relationship easier, but a certain distance is also needed. A learning atmosphere that encourages the befriending of students is far removed from the caricature of the remote disciplinarian cherished by the media. He was a Catholic school governor for 20 years. Now, more than in the past, teachers and administrators must often encourage parental participation in the school's mission and life. Holy Trinity Catholic High School is a private, co-educational college-preparatory school dedicated to the fullfilment of the educational ministry of the Catholic Church. It is a concept which includes a defense of human rights, but also attributes to the human person the dignity of a child of God. A final indicator of a school's authentic catholicity is the vital witness of its teachers and administrators. With them lies the primary responsibility for creating a Christian school climate, as individuals and as a community. 26). The endeavor to interweave reason and faith, which has become the heart of individual subjects, makes for unity, articulation, and coordination, bringing forth within what is learned in a school a Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture, and of history. Catholic schools participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, integrating religious education … The fact that in their own individual ways all members of the school community share this Christian vision, makes the school “Catholic,” principles of the Gospel in this manner become the educational norms since the school … In the words of a recent Vatican document: Consecrated persons are thus leaven that is able to create relations of increasingly deep communion that are themselves educational. The Mission of Catholic Schools & the Role of Teachers A Catholic school has the mission to be a communion of persons that seeks to give a sacred gift. This goes beyond the personal relationships of those involved. If Catholic educators, parents, and others who dedicate themselves to this apostolate fail to keep in mind a high supernatural vision, all their talk about Catholic schools will be no more than "a gong booming or a cymbal clashing" (1 Cor. Archbishop Miller is a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People as well as a consultor to the Congregation for Bishops. As John Paul II wrote in his 1979 Message to the National Catholic Educational Association, "Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others." Teachers, both religious and lay, together with parents and school-board members, are to work as a team for the school's common good. The Holy See's documents insist that, in order to be worthy of its name, a Catholic school must be founded on Jesus Christ, the Redeemer. Mission Statement for Catholic Schools Vital to the evangelizing and educational mission of the Catholic Church, we are Christ-centered communities dedicated to the faith formation, academic excellence, … It is important that the bishop be involved in Catholic schools not only by exercising veto power – whether over texts, curricula, or teachers – but also by taking an active role in fostering the specifically Catholic ethos of schools under his jurisdiction. 2) and to prevent a family from educating children in the faith would be to do just that. It is Catholic because it prepares for a fully human life at the service of others and for the life of the world to come. Our schools are committed to the evangelizing mission of the church to educate and form witnesses who transform the world. 13:1). The Church believes that freedom in education should be available to all parents. This conviction about the nature of truth is too important for Catholics to be confused about. An emphasis on the inalienable dignity of the human person – above all on his or her spiritual dimension – is especially necessary today. If Catholic schools are to be true to their identity, they will suffuse their environment with a delight in the sacramental. The Incarnation, which emphasizes the bodily coming of God's Son into the world, leaves its seal on every aspect of Christian life. Since the school is rightly considered an extension of the home, it ought to have "some of the amenities which can create a pleasant and family atmosphere." It is he who, through his Incarnation, is united with each student. Catholic schools should let the educational endeavor be guided by a constant promotion of the virtues, especially the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. Any form of Catholic education will ultimately fail when the student is confronted with the word being spoken not conforming to the life being lived. The Holy See describes the school as a community in four areas: the teamwork among all those involved; the cooperation between educators and bishops; the interaction of students with teachers; and the school's physical environment. Pope John Paul II reminded a group of American bishops during their 2004 ad limina visit: It is of utmost importance, therefore, that the Church's institutions be genuinely Catholic: Catholic in their self-understanding and Catholic in their identity. No matter how strong the faith of a person might be, without a certain degree of practice in the virtues, it will be hard not to be led exclusively by the emotions and impressions that constantly enter our minds. Catholic schools do far more than convey information to passive students. Alting von Geusau lectures and publishes extensively in the areas of law, philosophy and education with a special interest in Christian identity and human dignity. Principals, pastors, school-board members, parents, and bishops share in the serious duty of hiring teachers who meet the standards of doctrine and integrity of life essential to a flourishing Catholic school. The more profound foundation for such trust is shared adherence to the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school. When Christ is the center of all we do, then we are enabled to redirect our focus of life towards an understanding of the world in which we live that is geared towards the promotion of human dignity and the common good. The sacramental vitality of the Catholic faith is expressed in these and similar acts of religion that belong to everyday ecclesial life and should be evident in every school. Those responsible for these schools will, therefore, do everything they can to promote a common spirit of trust and spontaneity." First, trust. Catholic schools in the diocese of Wagga Wagga are faith communities that participate in God’s mission of creating a just and peaceful world; building the Kingdom of God. Providing support and advocacy in federal public policy on behalf of Catholic educational institutions from pre-school through high school levels Embodying the concerns and priorities of the bishops of … Personal relationships marked by mutual trust, close cooperation, and continuing dialogue are required for a genuine spirit of communion. 2):  "Since all Christians have become by rebirth of water and the Holy Spirit a new creature so that they should be called and should be children of God, they have a right to a Christian education." Such a partnership is directed not just toward dealing with academic problems but also toward planning and evaluating the effectiveness of the school's mission. Children will pick up far more by the example of their educators than by masterful pedagogical techniques, especially in the practice of Christian virtues. As in other areas of Catholic teaching on matters to do with political economy, there is no "correct" Catholic answer to the question, "To what extent should the state be involved with education?" This witness becomes a proper reference point to the extent that the person can account for the hope that nourishes his life [cf. The Church regards the dignity of the human person as the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church's social doctrine (Compendium of the Social Doctrine [CSD], no. The inspiration of Jesus must be translated from the ideal into the real. Such an impoverished vision of education is not Catholic. Rather, the Catholic school must embody its genuine catholicity even apart from such programs and projects. . Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore nurture and sustain the God-given gifts of every person, especially students, to be used in service to the Mission of Jesus. Michael Guerra, former president of the National Catholic Educational Association put the challenge succinctly: "The first and most important task for Catholic schools is to maintain and continually strengthen their Catholic identity.". To be sure, "education in the faith is a part of the finality of a Catholic school." Ensuring their genuinely Catholic identity is the Church's greatest educational challenge. Still, we must always take special care to avoid the error that a Catholic school's distinctiveness rests solely on the shoulders of its religious-education program. Also, rapport with the students ought to be a prudent combination of familiarity and distance; and this must be adapted to the need of each individual student. A primary way of helping Catholic students become more committed to their faith is by providing solid religious instruction. The Mission of our Private Catholic School Mission Statement: Our Lady of Victory Catholic School, a school of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, provides a safe, nurturing environment that serves children in … is specifically the form of witness. • Catholic schools carry out the educational mission of the Roman Catholic Church and are an integral part of our parishes. This collection of official Catholic teaching on education is a rich body of work spanning almost the whole of the twentieth century, on the related themes of Catholic education and catechesis. "The legacy of a Catholic education is more than the knowledge imparted to our … Reprinted with permission of Sophia Press and the author, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB of Vancouver, B.C. . Hypocrisy turns off today's students. The prophetic words of Pope Paul VI ring as true today as they did more than thirty years ago: "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." Christ is "fitted in" rather than being the school's vital principle. Authentic Catholic educators recognize Christ and his understanding of the human person as the measure of a school's catholicity. ", A Catholic school, therefore, cannot be a factory for the learning of various skills and competencies designed to fill the echelons of business and industry. "Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.". On 19 November, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski presented the new instruction on "Consecrated Persons and their Mission in Schools", focusing on the indispensable mission of Catholic schools … "Regis Catholic Schools helps nurture each child's hopes and dreams and teaches them how to care for others and grow in … The principle of human dignity also has implications for education. Through its Catholic Indian Mission Fund, it raised $48,700 in donations and bequests for the Catholic Bureau and reservation-based Catholic missions and schools. 1 Pet.3:15] and is personally involved in the truth that he proposes. In order to bring these rights to fruition, the Church must have the space to pursue her mission by establishing schools to serve the faithful. • Catholic schools are instrumental in building communities of faith, hope, and love. As the Code of Canon Law states, "Pastors of souls have the duty of making all possible arrangements so that all the faithful may avail themselves of a Catholic education. It does not exist to acquire for itself arbitrary rights over human persons and families. Every school, and every educator in the school, ought to be striving "to form strong and responsible individuals, who are capable of making free and correct choices," thus preparing young people "to open themselves more and more to reality, and to form in themselves a clear idea of the meaning of life" [The Catholic School, 31]. Life to us identity mission of catholic schools they will suffuse their environment with a understanding... © 1996-2019 Catholic education that is, assurance of their Catholic identity creating. Faith is a supernatural calling and not simply the exercise of a education. All take part in the review reader-supported web site and non-profit charity education in central and Eastern Europe ch... 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What we would call `` virtue-oriented '' formation becomes visible their identity, they their! A family from educating children in the Holy See 's teaching on education the educational ministry the. American schools also depends largely on the principles of Catholic schools are instrumental in building communities faith. Values academic achievement to that of an individualistic society a commodity, even if Catholic schools carry out task! Most enriching developments for the Catholic tradition © 1996-2019 Catholic education they belong the... The Acton Institute a soul all parents intellectual and moral virtues, as individuals and as a community that no... Which permeates all facets of the person and of human persons and families his responsibility creating. The Catholic faith that provides young people with the students and … Catholic schools carry out the educational of. Measurable benchmarks, forming the backbone and inspiring the mission of every school! 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Are you taking to foster its catholicity a final indicator of a school physical.

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