Category Archives: Proclaim

Catholic Schools Office Hosts Orton-Gillingham Training

Mrs. Hockey, a fifth-grade teacher from St. John Paul II Lower Mills and colleague at the Orton-Gillingham Training

The Catholic Schools Office (CSO) was very fortunate to welcome Orton-Gillingham Training onsite at the Pastoral Center. Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach that is particularly helpful for students who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing. The CSO offered this program at no cost to teachers; due to a strong demand for those trained in Orton-Gillingham, most teachers pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to obtain their certification.

This instructional approach was named after the two pioneering individuals who did much of the work developing these methods. Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) was a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist and Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) was a gifted educator and psychologist. Encouraged by Dr. Orton to utilize his research, Gillingham compiled and published instructional materials as early as the 1930s that provided the foundation for student instruction and teacher training in what became known as the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

This time-tested approach is most often implemented in one-on-one and small group instruction. It allows for focus to be placed on the individual learning needs of each student and is highly regarded in the field of education. Archdiocese of Boston Superintendent Kathy Mears commented, “Part of the reason our schools are so successful in teaching reading is the fact that we have teachers trained in Orton-Gillingham.”

The group of teachers taking this workshop spent an intensive week working with Kerri Schaub from the Carroll School and their work will continue on in the months to come. They have committed to further professional development and will ultimately become certified associate level Orton-Gillingham tutors. The CSO is proud to have such dedicated professionals working to ensure high quality teaching practices are being utilized in our schools.

For more information on Orton-Gillingham Training and other professional development workshops offered by the CSO, please visit our website.

About Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston educate over 36,000 students in 116 schools. The schools offer a high-quality, rigorous education that is rooted in Catholic faith and values for students age 2.9 through grade 12.

Media contact: Livia Ramos (617-779-3615) –

Catholic schools get creative in how they use, fund technology

The following article is a re-post of Catholic schools get creative in how they use, fund technology by Chaz Muth of 

Rosali Patterson, a rising eighth-grade student at St. John Fisher Catholic School in Portland, Ore., tests out the prosthetic hand she helped design and produce for underprivileged children using the school’s 3-D printer technology May 24. (Credit: CNS photo/Chaz Muth.)

When Rosali Patterson picks up the blue, plastic prosthetic hand that she and some fellow students made at St. John Fisher Catholic School in Portland, the rising eighth-grader marvels at what this object will mean for some underprivileged child one day.

Some kid is going to use this to pick something up,” Patterson said as she gazed at the outstretched fingers of the prosthetic. “This could really change someone’s life. It’s a hand they didn’t have before.

Patterson and her classmates joined an after-school program at the school last year where they used a 3-D printer to create prosthetics for children whose families cannot afford to provide them with an artificial limb.

The school’s librarian, Sundi Pierce, and principal, Merrit Holub, joined forces with E-NABLE, a global network of volunteers who use their 3-D printers and design skills to create free prosthetic hands for people in need.

The students use a computer program to design the hands and then print out the parts using the school’s 3-D printer, Pierce told Catholic News Service.

Then, the students painstakingly assemble the hands, making them fully functional for someone’s use, Pierce said.

I guess you could say we are using technology to help provide our students with important lessons in Catholic social teaching, she said.

State-of-the-art technology has given students tremendous academic tools but it isn’t cheap and Catholic schools have had to be creative in raising money to get their schools up to speed with modern equipment.

Barbara McGraw Edmondson, chief leadership and program officer at the National Catholic Educational Association, said many Catholic schools serving underserved populations can qualify for federal funding for some technology and well-resourced schools can more easily afford it. “It is our middle-class schools that suffer most,” she said, noting that they are “doing creative fundraising” to generate funds.

She noted that technology has revolutionized how classrooms operate. They no longer learn about a country in a textbook, for example, but instead can talk to students in other parts of the world from their classroom.

In order to fund items like Chromebooks, iPads, 3-D printers and fiber optic cables, the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, implemented a multiyear, archdiocesan capital campaign titled “Ignite the Faith” five years ago.

Established in 2013, the drive has $53 million in pledges, surpassing its $40 million goal, and it continues to distribute funds. More than half of the money raised is going to the archdiocese’s 70 elementary and high schools in grants, teacher scholarships, targeted aid to rural and urban schools, and marketing.

And about $3 million in grants already has gone into technology in schools, said Shannan Brommer, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development.

That has included students using technology in religion class at St. Bernadette School in Bellevue, Nebraska. In one project, students helped the parish’s religious education program fill boxes with gifts for needy children around the world. Then, they watched an online video of children receiving and opening the project’s boxes on Apple TVs and projectors provided by the campaign’s funds.

It made it a little more real for them to see kids who were far away and didn’t have as much as they do open gifts that provided things they need and toys they could enjoy, said Lynn Schultz, principal at St. Bernadette.

Even indirectly, the campaign’s funds have helped with technology needs.

Holy Family High School in Lindsay, Nebraska, has a Chromebook for every seventh- through 12th-grader at the school, thanks in part to a new fiber-optic cable that makes it possible to have that many hookups to the internet, said Andy Bishop, principal of the school.

Michael Rockers, superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools, said local Catholic schools use technology differently depending on students’ ages.

In elementary schools it is used to “enrich learning, help students master basic skills and provide individualized learning through a diagnostic-prescriptive learning approach.” In high school, technology use is meant to “support academic achievement and the growth in life skills, career skills and skills related to life-long learning”

He also noted that Catholic high schools are educating students on “important issues related to our technology-based society and the call as Christians to exhibit ethical behavior while using their cell phones and other technologies.”

Some schools are also using technology for academic competition.

Third-grade students at St. Elizabeth School in Pittsburgh recently placed 10th worldwide in the World Maths Day competition.

St. Elizabeth principal Linda Bechtol credited the students’ impressive finish with online math testing and a program called “Reflex Math” on Google Chromebook computers at school.

The students are not only learning math skills but also honing these skills in online competitions in school, nationwide or even around the world. For example, the third-graders played against students in Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Australia and the Dominican Republic.

Some Catholic schools use technology to zero in on a specialty subject, like Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista, California, which has a program called the Mater Dei Academy of Science.

Science is a big deal here,” said Suzanne Till, director of the program, who said more than a quarter of the student body participates and that “science kids here are treated the same way other schools treat their star athletes.

When Till was hired in 2012, the program had 30 students. Today, it has 220 and is climbing. Participating students don’t just learn from textbooks and labs but also from projects outside the classroom.

Students study biomedical science, environmental chemistry, big data science, nanotechnology and other disciplines by working with our partners in San Diego’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) community and experiencing science in action, Till said.

She said she likes to remind students “they could be the generation that explores Mars, so they need to be physically ready to handle the rigors of space travel.”

Contributing to this report were Joe Ruff in Omaha, Patrick Downes in Honolulu, William Cone in Pittsburgh, Kevin Eckery in San Diego and Carol Zimmermann in Washington.

Project S.H.I.E.L.D.: Siblings Help Inform Everyone about Living with Disabilities


Andres Manuel Dones
Grade: 12
Age: 17
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Miami, FL
Archdiocese of Miami

“It is most likely that one of your sons will have the disease and one will not.” That’s what I overheard the hematologist tell my mother as my brother and I were having our blood drawn. I watched as a tear escaped from my mother’s eye, a moment of vulnerability that she typically does not show us. All my seven-year-old mind could think was, “This must be really bad.” My brother Alex and I had both been picked up from school early that day without warning. We were taken to a specialized lab at the University of Miami, and somehow I knew that the results of that test would change our lives forever. Who would have the disease? Was it me? Was it my brother?

A few weeks later, the results came in …  it was my brother. My brother had hemophilia. I still remember the day he was diagnosed. I was relieved that it wasn’t me, but it would be my five-year-old little brother who would live a life complicated by needle sticks, infusions and fear of bleeding. The realization set in that Alex would never have a normal life.

As we grew up, I watched as Alex gradually became singled out and treated differently by his classmates due to medical complications that resulted in disabilities. I realized that people would often stare at him and make comments when he walked by. In response, my family rallied to ensure that Alex always felt included and that he was provided with all the support he needed to thrive.

In ninth grade, I realized that I had been given a gift. I was not the brother with a bleed in my brain. i was the brother with the ability to speak clearly. I felt the responsibility to be Alex’s voice. I decided that it was necessary to educate others about the daily struggles encountered by those living with disabilities. The idea of Project S.H.I.E.L.D. (Siblings Help Inform Everyone about Living with Disabilities) emerged.

I decided that I would deliver my message to the writing, filming and editing of a documentary called Project S.H.I.E.L.D. Project S.H.I.E.L.D. features four families with children and young adults with disabilities, and portrays their daily struggles from the perspective of their sibling. Next, I developed a program which included showing my film to students throughout Miami, followed by an interactive discussion of the topic. I was surprised when the film was received with enthusiasm and understanding. My film was recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with the Suncoast Student Production Award.

The motto we strive to live by at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School is “men for others.” It is this ideal that motivate me to find a way to help those around me. Through my involvement in Belen’s Peer Ministry class, I learned that a message can be delivered most effectively through one’s peers. This realization led me to convey the stories of the disabled individuals through the voices of their siblings. At Belen, I received enormous support for my project.  I found a mentor at my school, Mr. Johnny Calderin, who selflessly gave his free time to teach me the art of film-making. It was at Belen that my film was premiered at the beautiful Roca Theater, thanks to the support of my school. Once I voiced my desire to screen my film throughout the community, Belen’s director of communications, Mrs. Teresa Martinez, immediately began to reach out to local schools and organizations. I felt the strong support of my Catholic community throughout the entire process.

I have taken several steps to ensure that my project will continue to have an impact in the future. In addition to having more presentations scheduled throughout the coming year, I have launched a social media campaign by releasing the documentary on YouTube. I am in the process of having the film approved by the Miami-Dade County School Board to be shown as part of the county’s public school curriculum. Most importantly, I intend to create a follow-up film that will explore the lives of the children and families seen in the film as they graduate high school and enter the next stages of their lives. The film will explore how those with disabilities are transitioned from the school setting to adult members of society who participate in the work force. The film will ask what role siblings can play in guiding them through this challenging time in their lives.

Without a doubt, it was my brother who inspired me to take on the role of advocate for the disabled and their families. I often think back to that moment, when as a child I had my blood drawn, not knowing the way it would help define the direction my life would take.

NCEA is proud to continue the NCEA Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award Program that will formally recognize extraordinary young people in our Catholic schools who through their selfless service, innovation and commitment to social justice are changing the world.

Every NCEA member Catholic school, both elementary and secondary, is eligible to nominate one student, who through personal witness and initiative, in service learning programs or community outreach, has become a hero to those who have been touched and nourished by his or her work or initiative.

The NCEA Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award program is made possible, in part, through the generosity and support of Cross Catholic Outreach, a Catholic ministry who believes in and celebrates the young people in our Catholic schools who are making a profound difference even at a young age to a myriad of underserved constituencies. For more information about Cross Catholic Outreach please go to

How this prep school is teaching its students to work their way out of poverty

The following article is a re-post of Diane Smith’s article, How this prep school is teaching its students to work their way out of poverty.

A bulletin board in the hall way advertises the future Cristo Rey High School in Fort Worth. The private school offers a path out of poverty to low-income students. The first day of the academic school year is Aug. 9. Rodger Mallison

Classes already started for about 80 freshmen attending the Cristo Rey Fort Worth High School at Our Mother of Mercy — a campus tucked in a southeast Fort Worth neighborhood that focuses on sending more first-generation students to college by weaving jobs into the school week.

But before Cristo Rey students start delving into math, reading and writing, they have to master job skills such as typing, filing and public speaking during a three-week training program. That’s because students who attend the new school get jobs that help pay for their private tuition through a corporate work-study program.

Cristo Rey Fort Worth High School is a new private college preparatory Catholic high school that offers affordable private college preparatory high school to families who otherwise couldn’t find access to it, said John M. Pritchett, president of the school.

The high school replaced Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School, an 87-year-old campus in the Terrell Heights Historic District. It is one of several Texas campuses under the national Cristo Rey Network of schools — a system that touts college enrollment and completion rates. There are campuses in Dallas and Houston.

The program started with a model created in Chicago’s southside 22 years ago, Pritchett said. Fort Worth is the 35th Cristo Rey school, Pritchett said.

The aim is to replace poverty with opportunity.

Qualifying students come from Tarrant County and surrounding areas, including Arlington, Everman and Fort Worth. Students come from families in which the average household income for a family of four is about $37,000 a year.

Students are earning the cost of their education and out of that also comes confidence, competence, work ethic and that sense of ‘I can overcome the things that life throws at me,’ Pritchett said.

A founding freshman class

The first official day of the academic year is Aug. 9.

The school opens with a founding freshman class and will grow with a new freshman class each year, said Dani Ray Barton, director of the corporate work study program. The first graduating class of Cristo Rey Fort Worth students will be in 2022.

Selection of the next group of Cristo Rey freshmen starts in September with tours of the campus. The admissions process is rigorous and includes applications, recommendation, interviews and placement testing.

At Cristo Rey, students study four days a week and work one to help cover the $32,000-a-year tuition. They earn $8,000 over 10 months. Donations also help pay for the program, which operates as a nonprofit separate the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Showing student grit

Fourteen-year-old R.J. Williams of Fort Worth wants to be a video game developer, and Cristo Rey offers a path to a future filled with math, patience and computer coding. In the meantime, he is learning to take notes, make charts and build graphs for the job that will pay for his private high school.

Asked why he likes Cristo Rey, Williams responded: “The job part — that’s pretty cool.”

Williams and other Cristo Rey students have been participating in the school’s GRIT Academy; the acronym stands for “Grace, Responsibility, Integrity and Tenacity.” The academy is a three-week program that gets the students ready for their jobs, said Barton.

Students have to successfully pass the academy to attend Cristo Rey. On Aug. 1, students who complete the academy will get blazers and ties to go with their uniforms, Barton said. These will be worn to their jobs.

I feel it is a great opportunity for us to be here, said Jackie Gonzales, 14, of Burleson.

To read the article at its original source – to include video – click here.

Education Savings Accounts

The following article is taken from Al DiLascia’s article, Education Savings Accounts, published by Journal Inquirer.

There are 31,345 Catholic students in the state [of Connecticut], a number that is rapidly declining. The average cost of a public school student is $16,592. Catholic schools currently save taxpayers more than $520 million. If all these schools were to close — and this is not farfetched — this burden of $520 million would fall directly on the backs of taxpayers. That would continue each and every year thereafter, with certain expected increases.

In addition, there would either need to be expansion of present schools or new schools built to accommodate the 31,345 students. This would be an estimated one-time cost of $2.5 billion, with ongoing annual costs of maintenance and upkeep of this school expansion — again, a massive cost placed on the backs of taxpayers.

Think about it, every time a Catholic school student leaves the private school, taxpayers will be paying an additional $16,592, plus periodic increases.

Several enlightened states who realize the financial importance of Catholic and private schools have been creative in helping these schools, while at the same time making it a win/win for the state and for education. They have passed legislation concerning such things as tax credits for schools and offered other creative financial help ideas. Education savings accounts might well be the answer for Connecticut.

To read the full article, click here.

In reference to national figures, “Catholic schools provide more than of 21 billion dollars a year savings for the nation”  (United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2017-2018: The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing).

Faith helps Florida Catholic schools draw students

The following article is a re-post of Faith helps Florida Catholic schools draw students by .

Students listen intently in Sally Gibson’s literature class at Cardinal Newman High School. Administrators find their Catholic identity the best way to draw students to their schools.

Like many Catholic schools, Cardinal Newman High School has worked to reinvent itself over the years to draw students.

In 2005, it became the first Catholic school in Florida to offer an International Baccalaureate program. It’s added college prep courses and is preparing to add more science, technology, engineering and math initiatives.

The new programs may help the school respond to an increasingly competitive school choice landscape. The surrounding Palm Beach County school district has added magnet, IB and career academies. Charter schools have proliferated, and now enroll more than one out of 10 students. But they face competition too, and charter enrollment actually fell this year.

In this environment, faith-based private schools don’t only have to attract families but convince them to pay tuition.  Schools like Cardinal Newman have found that faith may be their biggest competitive edge.

The difficulty for a school of Newman’s nature is it is a tuition-driven school,” said Rev. David Carr, the president of Cardinal Newman High School. “When these programs are offered in the public school, somebody says, ‘I can go to Suncoast Community High School, and it is free.’ They are not coming because Newman has an IB program. They want to be at Cardinal Newman.

A major reason they want to be at Cardinal Newman, Carr said, is the Catholic faith.

It is our mission to educate the whole child: mind, body and spirit,” he said. “You don’t teach faith because you can’t. What you have to do is bring out the faith that is within. That is what it is all about.

Aidee Iscoe’s son, Daniel, recently graduated from Cardinal Newman. She said the spirituality and friendly-family atmosphere draw her to the school.

Daniel is now interning during the summer for Congressman Brian Mast. On his first day, his mother said, he decided to wear his red Cardinal Newman shirt. He wanted people to know where he went to school.

There is a sense of community in the school that stays with students after they graduate. Several Cardinal Newman alumni have come back to teach there. That sense of belonging to a bigger family is prevalent.

We walk through tough times with families, said Terry Fretterd, assistant principal and IB coordinator.

Katie Kervi, the principal of St. Juliana School, also emphasized that sense of community is a powerful part of Catholic schools’ identity.

When one of the students’ moms was in a car accident recently, Kervi said there were 10 parents around her, comforting her.

The Great Recession took a heavy toll on Catholic School enrollment, in Palm Beach County and around the country. But in recent years, it has stabilized. Palm Beach County accounts for nearly two-thirds of Catholic-school students in the Diocese of Palm Beach. Since 2011, enrollment in the diocese has fluctuated between 6,100 and 6,300 students.

Statewide, enrollment in Catholic schools has gone up by more than 3,000 students since 2011. That growth has been spread among early learning, primary and secondary school students. And the percentages of Catholic school students who are black and Hispanic have increased.

Private school choice programs have helped. At Cardinal Newman, 66 of 500 students use tax credit scholarships, which help low-income and working-class students pay tuition. The scholarships rarely cover the full cost of private high schools, which tend to be more expensive than elementary and middle schools. For that reason, 2017 legislation helped increase per-pupil funding amounts for older students using tax credit scholarships.

For Catholic schools that serve the lower grades, like St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic School in Delray Beach, a combination of Catholicity and a commitment to continuously improving educational programs has also been key to attracting families.

When you are in a tuition-driven school you need to be marketing and selling it to the customer,” said Vikki Delgado, the school’s principal.  “The marketing can be the message you are giving to them.

The school experienced an increase of 43 students after a nearby Catholic school closed in 2013. But it’s added another 50 students over the years because of the Catholic identity the school prides itself on, Delgado said.

It is the way we treat our students,” she said. “It is the way that we are looking out for them and pointing them to those amazing, God-given talents that are given to them. It is a safe, disciplined environment.

Do You Know How to Get Your Board Members to Become Fundraising Ambassadors for Your School?

Since not all Board members are major gift officers for the school, they can certainly help make significant fundraising advances if appropriately trained to conduct strategic conversations with prospective donors, families and alumni. In her #NCEAICSL session “Turn Your Board into Fundraising Stars,” Mary Foley of Catholic School Management and Christian Brothers Services, provided some easy comprehensive strategies that can empower your board members to become fully confident in making the ask to raise funds for your school.

One of the priorities of a school board should be fundraising, and your board members must be educated and be able to articulate the fundraising goals. Crafting brief but compelling talking points or sound bites, tailored per audience, for your board members as you encourage them to turn casual encounters and opportunities into relationship talk about the school. Outline the endless possibilities that your board can do to become fundraising ambassadors for your school. This could include hosting an event, seeking out names of prospective donors, giving donations to the school in lieu of gifts, making the ask in email signature lines, sending hand written notes or cards, participating in a challenge, making fundraising calls (Foley strongly encouraged conducting working fundraising meetings for this tactic to ensure calls are being made), mention the school and its fundraising efforts when others are asking “what’s new or what have you been up to?” And always, always, always bring the conversation back to the mission of the school.

There are many tactics that your board could employ to raise funds. Outreach from board members are great way to stay connected with current and prospective donors. However, the principal, president and/or school development officer must create the “package” that provides them with the tools, skills and understanding needed to make fundraising both comfortable and rewarding to your board members.

Providing sacrament prep for special needs students

The following article is a re-post of Providing sacrament prep for special needs students by Zoey Maraist | Catholic Herald Staff Writer.

Nancy Emanuel, coordinator of special needs ministries, looks through a sacrament preparation kit designed for students with special needs. ZOEY MARAIST | CATHOLIC HERALD

Nancy Emanuel taught only briefly before becoming a Russian linguist for the U.S. Navy. So she was surprised when her children’s school offered her a position as a long-term substitute special needs teacher. The temporary position changed the trajectory of her career.

“I absolutely loved what I was doing,” she said. Today, Emanuel works as the first coordinator of special needs for the Diocese of Arlington.

For years, programs for students with special needs have cropped up in diocesan Catholic schools, starting with Paul VI Catholic High School’s Options program in 1999. However, in her new role, Emanuel works on the parish level to see that people with special needs receive religious education and the sacraments, and participate fully in the life of the church.

I’d like to think of myself as the clearinghouse for anything having to do with people with disabilities,” she said. “We have the pieces, but right now they’re just scattered throughout different diocesan offices and programs.

Emanuel grew up in Westfield, Mass., and attended Catholic school. While in the Navy, she traveled around the world, and met and married her husband, Barton, in Japan. They eventually settled in Manassas with their son and daughter, and have been parishioners of All Saints Church in Manassas for 24 years.

Once she decided she wanted to teach special education, Emanuel earned a master’s degree in 2002 and continued working for Manassas public schools. Her last job was department supervisor of special education for Osbourn High School. She earned her doctorate in special education and educational leadership from George Mason University in Fairfax in 2017.

During that time, Emanuel learned her parish was launching a SPRED(Special Religious Development) program and she decided to volunteer. SPRED was developed in 1966 in the Archdiocese of Chicago and then spread around the world.

Only six parishes in the diocese have SPRED, which provides religious education to children and adults with special needs: Sacred Heart Church and All Saints in Manassas, the Basilica of St. Mary in Alexandria, Corpus Christi Church in South Riding, Holy Spirit Church in Annandale and Our Lady of Hope Church in Potomac Falls. Church of the Nativity in Burke will launch its program this fall. Other parishes may have different programs for students with specials needs, such as St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Springfield, which uses the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

As part of her work, Emanuel wants to establish SPRED at more parishes. SPRED kids require a lot of one-on-one attention, so it takes volunteers, said Emanuel, but you don’t have to be a special needs expert.

Kids with disabilities are just kids who learn differently,” she said. “The whole concept of the SPRED program is that you’re not truly an instructor, but you’re a friend and you’re guiding them to find meaning and religious experiences through everyday activities. There’s a whole world of material available for people with disabilities.

At All Saints, she’s had the “real blessing” of witnessing several children receive their first Communion or make their confirmation. “People think, ‘Oh they’re never going to learn, this kid can’t even speak,’ — they really can (learn). They can understand the concepts,” she said. “We have children who are nonverbal, who are quadriplegic, and they are making their sacraments.”

Find out more

To start a SPRED program at your parish, contact Nancy Emanuel at or 703/224-1633.

The Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, to speak at ACE Commencement ceremony

The following article is a repost of The Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, to speak at ACE Commencement ceremony by Theo Helm.

The Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Tucson and chair of the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) on Saturday (July 14).

“We are honored that Bishop Kicanas has accepted our invitation to join in celebrating our ACE graduates for their service to the mission of Catholic education,” said Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., the Hackett Family Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.

Bishop Kicanas has devoted his life to ensuring that all children, particularly those on the margins, have access to an excellent Catholic education. His ministry shows his deep commitment to the life-changing impact that a Catholic school has on children, their families and their communities. We at ACE are grateful for our long partnership with him and the Diocese of Tucson.

Bishop Kicanas served as the bishop of Tucson from 2003 to 2017. He is the former vice president and secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and he serves on the USCCB Catholic education and communications committees and the subcommittee on the Church in Africa, and is a consultant on the subcommittee on Hispanic affairs. He is a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.

In 2010, Bishop Kicanas and ACE started two Notre Dame ACE Academies, St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz Catholic schools in Tucson. The two schools were the first in a national network of partnerships between Notre Dame and dioceses dedicated to increasing excellence in teaching and learning and advancement in a context imbued with the Catholic faith.

ACE commencement exercises are set for 3:30 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Notre Dame will bestow 115 graduate degrees upon a next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders who completed periods of formation and service in two nationally recognized programs.

Eighty-eight ACE Teaching Fellows graduates will receive master of education degrees as the culmination of two years of academic study combined with teaching in Catholic K-12 schools in underserved areas around the country. Twenty-seven graduates from ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program will receive master of art degrees in educational leadership, concluding 26 months of formation that prepared them to be principals and other leaders in Catholic education.

ACE will also give three awards during the ceremony. Flannery O’Connor and Michael Debri will receive the 2018 Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education. This award is presented to graduates of the ACE Teaching Fellows program who have distinguished themselves in making significant contributions to the ministry of Catholic education.

The Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field will be given to Anna Arias. This award honors an ACE graduate whose work in academia echoes Pressley’s commitment to strengthening education through research and scholarship.

Retired Tucson bishop wins England award, stresses Catholic press’ critical role

The following article is a re-post of Retired Tucson bishop wins England award, stresses Catholic press’ critical role by Catholic News Service.

Catholic Press Association executive director Timothy M. Walter, left, stands next to retired Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., June 14 after he was presented with the Bishop John England Award at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay, Wis. The Catholic Press Association gives the England award each year to honor a publisher of a Catholic publication who used the Catholic press to defend the rights of religion and individuals in a free society. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth) See CMC-ENGLAND-AWARD June 14, 2018.

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas accepted the Catholic Press Association’s 2018 Bishop John England Award June 14 by praising the work of the Catholic press and stressing how critical Catholic journalism is to the Church’s message getting out to the world.

Presented annually, the award recognizes publishers in the Catholic press for the defense of First Amendment rights, such as freedom of the press and freedom of religion. It is the CPA’s highest award for publishers.

Bishop Kicanas retired as head of the Diocese of Tucson last October after 14 years as its shepherd. He was appointed Tucson’s coadjutor in 2002 and became head of the diocese a year later. As Tucson’s bishop, he was publisher of the diocesan newspaper, which was called The New Vision for many years and is now called Catholic Outlook.

Honored during a lunch at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay, he called it “a great privilege” to receive the England award. “I have admired and respected the CPA for many years.

Bishop Kicanas also called it “a great privilege” to serve in Tucson and praised the diocese’s communications office. “They’re the very best.” To the luncheon crowd of Catholic journalists, he said, “I know the bishops appreciate greatly the work you do. Thank you for all you do.”

Bishop Kicanas told the story of an older fiddler teaching the art of fiddling who was asked: “Why do you do this?” “I don’t want the money,” the musician replied. “I have a passion to hand on the music.”

That is what we need today: the passion” for this work, Bishop Kicanas said. The U.S. bishops make many statements — and I doubt many people read them. Some of the bishops themselves probably don’t,” he said. “It’s witness and works of charity that make all the difference.

He noted that Vatican official Natasa Govekar, director of the theological-pastoral department of the Secretariat for Communication, said that “people marvel at Pope Francis, not so much for his words, which are important, but his smile.”

Bishop Kicanas said when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was asked why he was becoming a Catholic, he responded: “Everywhere I went in the world, I saw the Church doing incredible things for the weakest and most vulnerable, and I want to be part of that, that family.”

He said he considers himself a journalist, starting with his writing for a newspaper in high school.

He also called it a privilege to have served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ communications committee for years, including when Helen Osman, a former editor in the diocesan press, was communications secretary. He praised her for all the work she did for the USCCB. Osman is president of Signis, the international organization of Catholic communicators.

The bishop’s nomination for the England award read in part: “For his more than 50 years as a priest, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas has been a champion of Catholic Social Teaching at its ground level. Whether promoting the messages of immigration reform, overseas aid through Catholic Relief Services, or simply extending a hand of solidarity through the cold steel of a border wall, Bishop Kicanas has been a living icon of the Good Shepherd.”

Retired Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., addresses the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay, Wis., June 14 as he accepts the Bishop John England Award. The Catholic Press Association gives the England award each year to honor a publisher of a Catholic publication who used the Catholic press to defend the rights of religion and individuals in a free society. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth) See CMC-ENGLAND-AWARD June 14, 2018.

The nomination described “his savvy and steely use of diocesan media, especially his ground-breaking blog ‘Monday Memo’ and the Catholic Vision/Catholic Outlook newspaper.” He’s used his weekly blog to communicate directly to priests, parishes, Catholics “and anyone who requests it. (He) used it as a primary teaching tool, a travelogue, an expression of gratitude, an update on clergy and, on more than a few occasions, to break hard or challenging news to the Catholic faithful.”

As a publisher, Bishop Kicanas had the highest respect for the newspaper. He left editors alone to edit and publish the important news of the day, and he supported the paper full throat with columns in English and Spanish.

Bishop Kicanas in his remarks to the Catholic communicators offered strong words of encouragement, saying, “Keep going. ‘Sigan adelante.’ Keep going, keep doing what you’re doing.”

With Catholic communications, the Church can make its message “loud and clear,” especially with regard to the right to life and human dignity of all, including immigrants to this country.

He said the award’s namesake was an Irish immigrant himself. Bishop England, head of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, founded The Catholic Miscellany in 1822. As publisher of the newspaper, Bishop England defended separation of Church and state, espoused freedom of religion and fought slavery. He also reached out to immigrants and refugees.

“Today … our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters who have fled violence and difficulty to have a better life,” Bishop Kicanas said. “We have to be a country that values human life and does not separate children from their families (at the border). We stand for life. We value life. We uphold the dignity of all human life. You get that message out.”