Faithful Catholic primary and secondary schools are applying themselves with success in four areas—witness to the Gospel, the domestic Church’s role, Catholic worldview, and eternal perspective—according to a National Catholic Register article titled, “Prioritizing Catholic Identity in Education: What Schools Are Doing Right.”
The first, “witness to the Gospel,” entails hiring teachers who are committed to the mission of the Church and ensuring that they receive adequate ongoing formation. According to the Register, Kevin Kiefer, the principal of Las Vegas’s Bishop Gorman Catholic High School, attests, “It is important that those who work in a Catholic school are… living witnesses to the truth we profess.”
With regard to “the domestic Church’s role,” the article highlights alternative-model schools, such as St. John Bosco Academy in Suwanee, Ga., a “hybrid” school which “blends home instruction with traditional classroom instruction.” Such models support Catholic parents, who the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us have “the first responsibility for the education of their children” (CCC,2223).
The third area, “Catholic worldview,” means allowing Catholic identity to permeate all parts of the school. The article states that “if Catholic schools are not imbuing a Catholic worldview and communicating Christ to their students, they fail to look much different from their private and public-school counterparts.” Similarly, Kiefer stated, “Without a clear focus on Jesus Christ, Church teaching and a Christian, anthropological operating philosophy, Catholic schools run the risk of becoming elitist private schools.”
Finally, the “eternal perspective” involves placing sacramental life at the forefront of everything the school does and entrusting its work to God. As Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., recommended, “We need to make the sacramental life a focus of what we do. We need to make Mass, Adoration, and Confession a regular part of the school community. After that, the best thing we can do is to ensure that every child who comes to a Catholic school is looked at from an eternal perspective—and that the salvation of our students and their families comes before everything else.”
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