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Christ at the Center

Aug 31, 2023

Christ at the Center by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at What We Need Now. We must pray that the closing of parishes or schools, as difficult as this is for the entire community, can mysteriously transform into good if Christ, rather than financial or legal considerations, is at the center. My brother bishops and I can only lead if we place ourselves before Christ every day in prayer and receive the prayers of the faithful. If the Church is not praying, then the Holy Spirit is not invited to act. Nature does not permit a vacuum; when we remove Christ the space is filled with something or someone else—always something that is not as good for us, and too often something that is evil. Read


Back to School: The Struggle for Inclusive Education by Mark Bradford at Word on Fire. There is no topic more important to families than the education of their children. Catholic parents who have children with intellectual and developmental disabilities don’t need the added anxiety of wondering how to protect our children from schools that have become overwhelmed by ideologies that are destructive to our faith and the wholesome formation of our children. The only way the number of inclusive Catholic schools will grow is if we’re insistent that the Church grow outward from its aspirational comments about providing for people with disabilities. We can do it together. All of our children should be given the opportunity for a Catholic education at the parish and/or diocesan level. Read


Welcoming Students with Intellectual Disabilities by Patrick Williamson at The Arlington Catholic Herald. “The mindset at the Catholic school is just completely different,” Guadalupe Williamson said. “[My autistic son is] more challenged; the expectations are higher … And he can do it; he’s proven that he can do it.” Not only is Patrick learning more — he’s also happier, especially since all his siblings attend St. Anthony, too. “They have the same friends; they talk about the same teachers — it’s all in the same community,” Guadalupe said. “That has helped him to feel included — to feel that he belongs.” Read


What is the Catholic Imagination? by Clare Walker at National Catholic Register. When Catholic writers, artists, scholars, critics and philosophers refer to the Catholic imagination, what do they mean? …. Jessica Hooten Wilson, Fletcher Jones Chair of Great Books at Pepperdine University’s Seaver College... tell[s] the Register, “The Catholic imagination emphasizes that the things of this world have spiritual meaning, as well as physical. There is no unholy place, no image so broken it cannot be healed.” Read


U.S. Catholic Schools See Strong Growth, Forming Children ‘Who Love Jesus Christ’ by Gina Christian at Our Sunday Visitor. “When you create the type of Catholic culture that people want to be part of, you don’t have to worry about enrollment,” said Kevin Ferdinandt, headmaster of St. Agnes School in St. Paul, Minnesota…. Admitting that St. Agnes had “almost closed in 2007” due to financial struggles, Ferdinandt said the school revisited its roots — and bore fruit as a result. “We’ve got a very clear mission, and we serve Catholic families that are really serious about engaging their kids in education, and making sure their kids get a chance to learn what we as Catholics really believe,” he said. Read


Why Catholic Schools in Florida are Growing: 5 Things to Know by Lauren May, Patrick Gibbons, Ron Matus at Step Up. State-funded school choice is one of the keys to Catholic school success in Florida. Florida’s steadily expanding school choice programs have allowed steadily growing numbers of parents to access them. In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1 into law at... a Catholic school in Miami. The law makes all 3.4 million students in Florida eligible for a state-funded education savings account, which can be used for private school tuition and other educational uses. Even before HB 1, however, more than 70 percent of families in Florida were eligible for the state’s income-based scholarships alone. That eligibility and accessibility is reflected in the growing share of Florida Catholic school students who use school choice scholarships. Read


Annual Maryland Event Prepares Educators to Foster Spiritual Growth of Students by Francesca Pollio Fenton at Catholic News Agency. Alvaro de Vicente, the headmaster of The Heights School for more than 20 years, described mentoring as “conveying what it means to be a Christian gentleman and how would a Christian man deal with those situations.” De Vicente explained that the conference on mentoring is an opportunity for educators to learn how to serve as life coaches for their students. Some of the discussions included developing rapport and trust with mentees, fostering their mentees’ spiritual growth, and fostering difficult conversations. Read


Why Humanities PhDs Should Teach at Classical Schools by Samuel Klumpenhouwer at First Things. During graduate school I was an instructor or assistant for several university courses, but I enjoy teaching children more. They have not yet grown jaded with the cynicism and reserve characteristic of university discourse. If you give children the routine and firm hand they need, they will reward you with respect and eagerness to learn. Already in middle school they are capable of high levels of intellectual engagement. Read


Why is it Important to Study Latin? by Paulina Faraj at Holy Spirit Preparatory School. Latin has been a fundamental part of Western curriculum since medieval times. Children conventionally began the study of Latin at an early age, and by the time they completed their education, they had translated important works such as Caesar’s De Bello Gallico and Vergil’s Aeneid. As a highly ordered and logical language, Latin develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills, teaching systematic thought…. Since the fourth century, the Western Church has used Latin for liturgy, prayer, administrative matters, teaching, and communications. It has long been considered  a “general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity” (Pope Saint John XXIII). Read


Over 1,000 School Districts Hide Students’ Gender Identities From Parents by S.A. McCarthy at The Daily Signal. According to Parents Defending Education, at least 1,040 U.S. school districts have adopted policies instructing or encouraging faculty and staff to keep students’ gender identities a secret from parents. Those districts include over 18,000 schools responsible for nearly 11 million students. The vast majority of those school districts (593) are in California. Read


Latin American Catholic College Organization Condemns Seizure of Nicaraguan Jesuit University by Walter Sanchez Silva at Catholic News Agency. The Organization of Catholic Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (ODUCAL), with a membership of 116 institutions of higher education, expressed its solidarity with the Jesuits of Nicaragua following the expropriation of the Central American University (UCA) by the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, earlier this month…. The organization… demanded that “the drastic, abrupt, and unjust measures adopted by the Nicaraguan [court] against Catholic university educational institutions be reversed and corrected immediately.” Read 


Throwback Thursday


Bishop Machebeuf High School: Forming Disciples of Christ by John Wojtasek at Denver Catholic on January 21, 2022. In the introduction to his framework for forming disciples in Catholic education, “School of the Lord’s Service,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila defines the purpose and mission of Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese: “Jesus truly is the reason for the existence of our Catholic schools, and He wants to guide us in everything that we do. We should be able to say to everyone who comes to our schools: ‘Be it known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school. He is the unseen but ever-present teacher in its classes. He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students so that they may become saints.’ Everything we do needs to be Christ-centered, flowing from Him and pointing back to Him. Our schools must be places to encounter Jesus; nothing is more important.” Read

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