Catholic Classroom: 4 Things You'll Only Find in Catholic Schools
Question: What is unique about a Catholic education?
This week is Catholic Schools Week, the annual celebration of Catholic education. The United States has a long, solid history of Catholic education that has made a difference not only for countless students, but also for the shape of our nation. To celebrate Catholic schools is not to say that other schools are deficient. There are, however, some things that give Catholic schools a unique character:
1. An approach centered on Jesus
In many Catholic schools, the school day begins with prayer. Teachers and administrators in Catholic schools recognize that their lives are centered on the focal point of Jesus, which means that education must be centered on Jesus as well. When a school begins with Jesus and lets everything branch out from him, then the environment is one of genuine care and love. The fruits must be good.
2. An emphasis on the dignity of each human life
Catholic schools believe in developing the whole person. This means that in addition to providing rigorous academic curricula, Catholic schools actively work with students to build their moral development and shape them into good citizens. A Catholic education is seen as more than just an accumulation of scholarly achievements; rather, it is the formation that each student merits as a child of God, made in his image and likeness.
3. Witnesses as teachers
The teachers and administrators who work in Catholic schools have a special responsibility to their students and to the Church. For the most part, Catholic schools hire teachers who are practicing Catholics so that their love of the faith, infused in all that they teach, is passed on to students. While all Catholics are called to be holy witnesses to their faith, teachers in Catholic schools have an especially important responsibility, given their role in the formation of young people.
4. A strong community with shared values
While it is possible for any school to build a strong community, Catholic schools have the advantage of sharing a strong, well-defined set of values—those of the Catholic faith—on which to build their community from the onset. Students and their parents make the choice of attending a Catholic school, and by doing so, imply a commitment to Catholic values. When students and their families come together with this common moral ground, they can build a beautifully nourishing community.
Please join us this week as we pray in a special way for Catholic schools and all those who attend them or work for them.