Category Archives: Youth

The Family That…

The family that prays together, stays together.  The family that disconnects, reconnects!

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” These words of Saint Thomas Aquinas speak to the heart of every happy Christian life.  On the Corpus Christi Sunday we affirm that friendship is the heart of the real and substantial presence of Christ who speaks to us these words in the sacrament: “I no longer call you servants instead I have called you friends.” (John 15:15). Jesus wishes to build up a friendship with us and with one another through his sacramental presence. And in doing so the image of God in whom we have been created comes closer to the  perfection that we will experience in eternity.

The Catholic Core of Education

In our diocese, Bishop diLorenzo has chosen not to adopt Common Core but rather to continue to develop the diocesan curriculum that is profoundly catholic. The letter by Professor Gerard Bradley of the school of law at the university of Notre Dame and many other Catholic scholars and professors, to the American bishops, opposing Common Core, has captured my attention and has given me a moment to sharpen my understanding of the educational philosophy that underlies Catholic education.

First of all, the Catholic church upholds that the education of children is the primary responsibility of the parents. The Church is there to assist the parent and not usurp their proper role. Secondly, Catholic education sees the primary importance of the orientation toward God in the education of children.

Consequently, the Catholic school has to address more than the 3 Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic, or to be more current, more than science, technology, engineering and math. It must provide moral instruction, and moral instruction cannot be reduced to a system of rules, precepts, commands and prohibitions*.

The wisdom of the Greeks and the Christian church corrects that error. The Catholic approach is to focus on remarkable individuals who manifest moral excellence in a striking way.

Now what does this have to do with Catholic education in an elementary school? A Catholic school must provide moral instruction through books and stories about morally virtuous lives. That is why a well-developed reading path is essential to the shaping of the moral imagination of the child. Such reading both fosters literacy and promotes virtue. Such stories exemplify the virtues of which Saint Paul speaks in his Epistle to the Philippians: whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely , whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think of these things (see Phil. 4:8).  This is why our parish elementary school has been implementing in the school the University of Chicago Junior classics to attain this end.

The purpose of teaching a child to read is not simply to help him or her to achieve an ability to reading technical manuals but rather to inspire a child to a life of moral excellence, that is a life rooted in God.

And that is the purpose of education – not simply to equip our children with science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills so they can be prepared for jobs of the 21st century.

People are not simply workers, but persons who embrace the dignity of work with a well-developed conscience so they can be successful in moral decision making that leads to human flourishing.

Thus the mission of Catholic education is to assist parents in their responsibility to orient their children to the realty of God and to rear them in the love and the worship of the living God, so as the children grow into mature adults they can navigate in the world with moral integrity and embrace the challenge  with a conscience informed by faith.

* Ryan Topping has an excellent article on this in the journal Logos. The article is available only to subscribers, but there is an excerpt here .

Young People, Witnessing to the Faith

On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Bishop DiLorenzo has invited all of us to grow in a deeper relationship with Lord Jesus through his Body, the Church. What an wonderful exhortation as we embrace the challenge to witness to the truth of our humanity through the Gospel in the United State today which is mission territory. In my homily I mentioned Patrick Deneen (an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame) who in an article in Communio, entitled: Religious Liberty after Liberalism: Re-thinking Dignitatis Humanae in an age of illiberal Liberalism stated that “nonbelief is an epidemic among the young”. We all know from our personal experience of family and friends that he is correct however there are signs of young Catholics under thirty who are embracing the challenge of the new evangelization with minds renewed in Christ.

A Parishioner sent me this link: Enjoy reading about these young Catholics who are expressing their personal relationship with Jesus as they engage their environment with an intellect informed by faith. Also visit Front Porch Republic at: http:// and enjoy other articles by Professor Deneen of Notre Dame. May we set the world ablaze with the love of Jesus.

Another interesting website/blog to visit would be Msgr. Mark Lane’s Blog “Beyond the Frame” at . Specifically, you may want to visit these two posts from his blog: and
http:// lord/