Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service
January 23rd, 2017
By Nina Russo
This year’s theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2017 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service.” The power of Catholic schools and Catholic teaching is seen in the preparation of our students to participate in their communities to be people of faith who serve others. It is interesting to note that prior to the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, six of the nine justices were products of Catholic education. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Joe Biden also attended Catholic schools, as well as former Speaker of the House, John Boehner. What is the essence of Catholic education that propels individuals into the area of public service? What inspires our students to work for the “common good”… also exemplified by the men and women I meet who are part of school advisory councils, Catholic Charities, their parishes, and the list goes on?
Catholic schools create a progression of academic excellence, develop a faith life for students that becomes part of the school culture and each child’s lived experience. This journey begins in kindergarten and extends throughout high school. Carefully, each grade level builds on faith, academic excellence and service, and the culmination is graduation from a Catholic high school, many of which articulate in goal statements, what a graduate will know, be, and be able to do upon graduation…again the faith, knowledge and service: touchstones of this year’s Catholic Schools Week.
Considering the present state of our country and really, the world, we must prepare this generation to recognize that we are all bound together and ultimately, we all rise or fall together as one, if we are to address:
– The negative effects of globalization
– The use of markets for the common good in their creation of wealth, and to be mindful of their negative impact on the poor and marginalized when they undermine human rights
– The human right to health care and how it will be implemented to serve our brothers and sisters
– The instruction from the Catechism, 2241, “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of security and the means of livelihood, which he cannot find in his country of origin.”
Let us work together to acknowledge and support our schools as they develop communities of faith, knowledge and service, and to the end, of changing and improving our world.
Nina Russo is the Interim Superintendent for the Department of Catholic Schools.
From January 26, 2017 issue of Catholic San Francisco.