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. Herein lies the specifically Catholic character of the school. 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. While Catholic schools conform to government-mandated curricula, they implement their programs with an overall religious orientation. 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." 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. It is at this point that the primary importance of what we would call "virtue-oriented" formation becomes visible. 5). A spirituality of communion should be the guiding principle of Catholic education. Prayer should be a normal part of the school day, so that students learn to pray in times of sorrow and joy, of disappointment and celebration, of difficulty and success. This means that educators should develop a willingness to collaborate among themselves. Gen. 1:26-27). This excerpt originally appeared as an Acton Commentary. 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. To be integral or complete, Catholic schooling must be constantly inspired and guided by the gospel. Mindful of redemption in Christ, the Catholic school aims to form in its pupils those particular virtues that will enable them to live a new life in Christ and help them to play their part in serving society and the Church. The Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, was born in Ottawa, Canada, on July 9, 1946. It is not a question of convenience, but a partnership based on faith. 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. . "The legacy of a Catholic education is more than the knowledge imparted to our … Our schools are committed to the evangelizing mission of the church to educate and form witnesses who transform the world. Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee October 2011 “Catholic Schools and Mission Month” Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have historically been committed to educating students about global issues and, specifically, to furthering the mission … In the United States, various accrediting agencies monitor the institutional effectiveness of schools' educational activities. . His responsibility for Catholic schools derives from the munus docendi, the office of teaching, he received at ordination. Those responsible for these schools will, therefore, do everything they can to promote a common spirit of trust and spontaneity." The Holy See, through papal interventions and the documents of the Congregation for Catholic Education, recognizes the priceless treasure of Catholic schools as an indispensable instrument of evangelization. In the light of her mission of salvation, the Church considers that the Catholic school provides a privileged environment for the complete formation of her members, and that it also provides a highly important … Such an impoverished vision of education is not Catholic. Familiarity will make a personal relationship easier, but a certain distance is also needed. be the object of your special attention as shepherds of the People of God." Such an emphasis proposes an alternative model for Catholic schools to that of an individualistic society. 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. John 1:9). The Holy See is, moreover, ever mindful of ensuring the appropriate involvement of parents in Catholic schools: Close cooperation with the family is especially important when treating sensitive issues such as religious, moral, or sexual education, orientation toward a profession, or a choice of one's vocation in life. Curriculums, programs and methodologies will be evaluated on a regular basis and updated to produce students who are prepared … Catholic educators do not want their students to say, "We had the experience but missed the meaning. "During childhood and adolescence a student needs to experience personal relations with outstanding educators, and what is taught has greater influence on the student's formation when placed in a context of personal involvement, genuine reciprocity, coherence of attitudes, lifestyle, and day-to-day behavior." Finally, it proposes Christ, Incarnate Son of God and perfect Man, as both model and means; to imitate him is, for all men and women, the inexhaustible source of personal and communal perfection. A learning atmosphere that encourages the befriending of students is far removed from the caricature of the remote disciplinarian cherished by the media. Catholic schools will strive to be centers of educational excellence. It is precisely because of its Catholic identity, which is anything but sectarian, that a school derives the originality that enables it to be a genuine instrument of the Church's evangelizing mission. Catholic school educators in the Diocese of Fort Worth empower students and … It is reprinted here with permission of the Acton Institute. Children will pick up far more by the example of their educators than by masterful pedagogical techniques, especially in the practice of Christian virtues. Catholic teachers are to cultivate in themselves and develop in others a passion for truth that defeats moral and cultural relativism. . Unwavering commitment to truth is at home in an authentically Catholic school. 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 educational institutions should have three goals in order to be able to fulfil their primary mission to allow students to "encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and … 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, … 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 in the Archdiocese of Washington, rooted in Gospel values and the teaching mission of the Catholic Church, are learning communities of faith and service dedicated to educational equity and excellence for all students. This goes beyond the personal relationships of those involved. How does a Catholic school know whether it is achieving its specific mission? John 8:28]. Unlike skeptics and relativists, Catholic educators share a specific belief about truth: that, to a limited but real extent, it can be attained and communicated to others. from the University of Heidelberg in Germany with a specialization in European Law. Without this spiritual path, all external structures of cooperation serve very little purpose; they would be mere mechanisms without a soul. Leonard Franchi, Ed. A primary way to foster a school's catholicity is by carefully hiring men and women who enthusiastically endorse its distinctive ethos, for Catholic education is strengthened by witnesses to the gospel. All too many Catholic schools fall into the trap of a secular academic success culture, putting their Christological focus and its accompanying understanding of the human person in second place. 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. © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, CERC is an entirely reader-supported web site and non-profit charity. 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. These are values that lead to success in life." It is he who must judge whether the children in the Catholic schools in his diocese are receiving the fullness of the Church's faith in their catechetical and religious formation. A chapel, classroom crucifixes and statues, liturgical celebrations, and other sacramental reminders of Catholic life, including good art that is not explicitly religious in its subject matter, should be evident. . With Catholic Schools Week upon us (Jan. 28-Feb. 3), families are invited to recommit to Catholic education and register their children for the upcoming school year. Educators, administrators, parents, and bishops guide the school to make choices that promote "overcoming individualistic self-promotion, solidarity instead of competition, assisting the weak instead of marginalization, responsible participation instead of indifference.". What steps are you taking to improve your effectiveness? 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 … . In the Council texts, the community dimension is primarily a theological concept rather than a sociological category. 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. The bishop's particular responsibilities include ensuring that teachers are sound in their doctrine and outstanding in their integrity of life. 8). . 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?" MISSION OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS FOR EVANGELIZATION TODAY. The catholicity of American schools also depends largely on the bonds of ecclesial communion between bishops and Catholic educators. This vigilance includes even schools established or directed by members of religious institutes. He is "the foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school," and the principles of his gospel are its guiding educational norms: In a Catholic school, everyone should be aware of the living presence of Jesus the "Master" who, today as always, is with us in our journey through life as the one genuine "Teacher," the perfect Man in whom all human values find their fullest perfection. 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. People should not be forced to act contrary to their religious convictions (Dignitatis humanae, no. As we have seen, the Catholic school would betray its purpose if it failed to found itself on the person of Christ and his teaching: "It derives all the energy necessary for its educational work from him.". When such a policy is ignored, it is inevitable that children will absorb, even if they are not explicitly taught, a soft indifferentism that will sustain neither their practice of the faith nor their ability to imbue society with Christian values. The Church states that promotion of human dignity does not just require freedom in education;  it also implies that all have a right to education, as one of those things "necessary for leading a life truly human" (Gaudium et spes, no. At the same time, however, there has been a greater recognition in many countries that, for both practical reasons and reasons of principle, parents should have greater autonomy when choosing schools. Christ-centred. Ensuring their genuinely Catholic identity is the Church's greatest educational challenge. Because of the gospel's guiding role in a Catholic school, one might be tempted to think that the school's distinctiveness lies only in the quality of its religious instruction, catechesis, and pastoral activities. 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]. . They are to help one another in carrying out the task to which they are mutually committed. 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. 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.". Christ is "fitted in" rather than being the school's vital principle. Its duty to cultivate human values in their own legitimate right in accordance with its particular mission to serve all men has its origin in the figure of Christ. Papal interventions and Roman documents repeatedly emphasize that certain characteristics must be present for a school to be considered authentically Catholic. . On June 29, 1975, Pope Paul VI ordained him a priest, and on November 23, 2003 Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Archbishop of Vertara, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and Vice President of the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations. The primary mission is the formation of … . As we have seen, there is a role for the state in education. 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. His revelation gives new meaning to life and helps man to direct this thought, action and will according to the Gospel, making the beatitudes his norm of life. Authentic Catholic educators recognize Christ and his understanding of the human person as the measure of a school's catholicity. © 1996-2019 Catholic Education Resource Center | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap, CERC is an entirely reader-supported web site and non-profit charity. 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 this respect, the right to religious freedom is paramount in the Church's social teaching. Catholic schools are an integral part of the Church and are Christ-centred communities based on gospel values. Given that freedom in education is an extension of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion more generally, it is important to note that the Catholic Church is not calling for privileges for Catholic parents and children. Should not Catholic schools, precisely insofar as they claim to be specified by their catholicity, do something along the same lines? "For this reason neither his life nor the development of his thought, nor his good, nor those who are part of his personal and social activities can be subject to unjust restrictions in the exercise of their rights and freedom" (CSD, no. In a speech addressed to American Catholic educators in New Orleans, Pope John Paul II presented them with. 160). Indeed, "only the bishop can set the tone, ensure the priority, and effectively present the importance of the cause to the Catholic people." $6,000 was the most raised in a single year and it ceased when the Catholic Bureau succeeded in acquiring government contracts for the Catholic schools. A primary way of helping Catholic students become more committed to their faith is by providing solid religious instruction. A fourth distinctive characteristic of … 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. Catholic schools have the task of being the living and provocative memory of Christ. Even though consecrated men and women are now few in the schools, the witness of their collaboration with the laity enriches the ecclesial value of educational communities. Besides, the right of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs, or if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all (Dignitatis humanae, no. Below is our mission and vision for the Catholic school system of the Diocese of Fort Worth. Christ is not an afterthought or an add-on to Catholic educational philosophy; he is the center and fulcrum of the entire enterprise, the light enlightening every boy and girl who comes into a Catholic school (cf. First, the bishop must integrate schools into his diocese's pastoral program; and, second, he must oversee the teaching within them. 1 Pet.3:15] and is personally involved in the truth that he proposes. Mission. Catholic education is "intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person." In the words of Pope Benedict XVI: The central figure in the work of educating, and especially in education in the faith, which is the summit of the person's formation and is his or her most appropriate horizon, is specifically the form of witness. Faith and culture are intimately related, and students should be led, in ways suitable to the level of their intellectual development, to grasp the importance of this relationship. Young people are especially sensitive to this for they are shaped more by the concrete experiences in their lives, and thus the lived example of their teachers, than by the best of pedagogical techniques. 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. 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