I often find “Christ-centered” and “Gospel-centered” in mission and vision statements. In my conversation with Sr. Elizabeth Anne Allen, OP on the Church Documents series on the Catholic School Matters podcast about The Catholic School, the Vatican’s 1977 document on Catholic schools, we both pointed out the importance of paragraph 34 in establishing a Catholic school’s vision and mission:
Christ is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school. 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. 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 then has them as its internal motivation and final goal. (34)
Notice that the document points to the specific part of the Gospel which illuminates the values of the Gospel and thus, are Christ-centered. The Beatitudes should form the basis of our Catholic schools. How often do we see this? It makes Pope Francis’s call for “a poor Church for the poor” all the more relevant.
We also discuss the “salvific” mission of the church. Do our Catholic schools exist to save souls? Or are they simply intended to get our students into college and heaven? Do we believe in the “privileged” environment of our schools? Do we foster this environment—building, growing, and celebrating? After all, the document points out that our students have a remarkable opportunity for formation by a supernatural vision. Are we pointing to that vision?
Listen to the podcast here.