New office to support schools’ sharing of Catholic vision

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | August 27, 2015

BishopCozzensAs we head back to school, there have been some exciting new developments for our Catholic schools. This summer the Archdiocese opened the new Office for the Mission of Catholic Education. We started by hiring an excellent Catholic educator, Jason Slattery, to lead this new office. In the past, our Office for Catholic Schools operated as a quasi-centralized school district with central services from technology to marketing. Now, the focus is more on our mission: to help our schools become evangelistic environments that form disciples. The OMCE will still provide many services, but other community partners have come forward to help us have the resources our schools need to thrive.

The purpose of OMCE is two-fold. First, we want our Catholic schools to be places our students meet Jesus Christ. Pope Francis loves to quote Pope Paul VI, who said, “the Church exists to evangelize.” Our Catholic schools exist for the purpose of proclaiming the merciful love of Jesus Christ to our world, especially young people.

While our schools serve many non-Catholics, Pope Francis told the Congregation for Catholic Education in February 2014: “Catholic educational institutions offer to all an approach to education that has as its aim the full development of the person, which responds to the right of every person to access knowledge.”

He pointed out that we are still called to evangelize, saying we “are also called upon to offer, with full respect for the freedom of each person and using the methods appropriate to the scholastic environment, the Christian belief — that is, to present Jesus Christ as the meaning of life, the cosmos and history.”

This is connected to OMCE’s second goal: to assist our schools in presenting that integrated Catholic worldview — “Jesus Christ as the meaning of life, the cosmos and history.” This is what makes Catholic schools unique: our understanding that Jesus Christ reveals what it means to be fully human. We desire to share that understanding and form the whole child — mind, body and soul. We teach that there is no contradiction between faith and reason, that one can be a person of profound faith while achieving excellence in every area of life.

For this reason, the entire curriculum and daily activities within our schools must be founded on a Catholic vision for life. If they are formed in this environment, our students will be equipped to help heal our culture and transform the world.

To accomplish this, the new office is focusing on several core competencies in which we aim to support our schools:

  1. Virtue: Forming behavior of personal integrity and high moral standards
  2. Spirituality: Developing habits of prayer and the importance of a personal relationship with God
  3. Apostolic Service: Making gifts of our lives and living Catholic social teaching to make a difference in the world
  4. Intellect: Instilling not only facts, but also a love for truth, wisdom, beauty and goodness
  5. Vocation: Discerning God’s call to each individual to a particular way of life with him

For the past 18 months I have served as the vicar general of Catholic education and have visited dozens of our schools. I am so impressed by their excellence in education and faith. It is wonderful to see the dedicated faculty and to meet parents who are making real sacrifices to provide this life-changing experience for their children.

Please pray for our Catholic schools, which are such an important part of our Church. Please also consider sending your child to one of our schools if you don’t already. It is our intention that the investment lasts forever.

Category: Only Jesus

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