At the Heart of Catholic Education

“Let it be known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever present Teacher in its classes the model for its children the inspiration for its staff.”

This wonderful quote can be found in many of our Catholic schools and is truly a mantra we all should abide by. I recently had the privilege to serve on the committee to review the applications from private schools for the U.S. Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools recognition program through CAPE. I was able to see firsthand the tremendous efforts our Catholic schools are putting forth across the country. I was proud, though not surprised, to read of the excellent programs various schools offered and by the success the students in these schools achieved based on the education they received from the dedicated administrators, faculty and staff working with them.

What most impressed me was the commitment that schools are making to not only have strong academic, fine arts and athletic programs but more importantly developing strong spiritual development programs. As the Church reminds us, parents are the primary teachers of their children but schools have the unique opportunity to partner with parents to engage students along their spiritual journey. This is accomplished by schools offering school wide liturgies, retreats and prayer services to name but a few.

A lot of these opportunities are able to occur because of the commitment made by schools and because of the dedication of religion teachers and campus ministers. Presidents and principals are encouraged to make sure their religion and campus ministry programs are at the center of what goes on at their schools. As the quote above reminds us, our Catholic faith must be at the heart of all we do. Of course, all schools must have exemplary academic, fine arts and athletic programs, but the spiritual development of the students must be how it all starts. Following the example of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann, families must know that their children will receive an excellent, faith based education.

As we encourage our religion teachers and campus ministers to build strong programs we must also be willing to offer them the opportunity to meet and collaborate with each other to share their thoughts and ideas.

We are excited to announce that NCEA will offer our Wisdom and Witness Symposium this June.

Wisdom & Witness 2015, “Digital Discipleship” will be held on the campus of the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH from Thursday, June 25 through Saturday, June 27, 2015. The symposium is for middle to high school campus ministers and religion teachers as well as parish youth ministers. We are hoping to make this time together an opportunity to hear from professionals in the field as well as time to share insights from each other. Joining us this year will be:

  • Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D.Min, Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives/Professor in the Department of Religious, University of Dayton
  • Dr. Cecile Brennan, Associate Professor/Chair, Department of Counseling, John Carroll University
  • Representative from The World Meeting of Families 2015 Philadelphia

To register please click here.

At the Heart of Catholic Education is written by Christopher Cosentino, Interim Director of the Secondary Schools Department at NCEA. It originally appeared on the NCEA website in March 2015.