Catholic schools do not simply offer an alternative education inasmuch as they stress discipline and good order. Catholic schools exist to extend the work of the Catholic family to promote and teach the Faith and sharing the Mission of Jesus.
Among the great traditions somehow being lost in our more political and secular academic world is the use of time honored songs and hymns that somehow pay tribute to the very idea of education and its unique connection to maturation, intellectual development, and the significance of virtue in day-to-day living.
Sadly, the ideals of education have lost so much of their possibility for enhancing the quality of life and the visions for the standards by which one would live.
With a certain level of joy and a source of satisfaction, the Catholic Church has always maintained high standards for the operation of our schools and, in particular, high estimation of the work of Catholic education. In our secularized and politically charged environment, education of all sorts seems to have taken its share of pummeling in contemporary society.
Pope Francis himself has addressed this situation and promotes and defends Catholic schools as a solution to rampant secularization. In Evangelii Gaudium, his first apostolic exhortation, he writes:
The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. …We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data—all treated as being of equal importance—and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values. (64)
As we come to the end of another academic year, I find that we are still faced with the ever significant and pertinent issues that affect our Catholic schools and indeed, the ideal and value of Catholic Education.
As always I salute the work of so many dedicated teachers, administrators, and staff members, who work and minister in our Catholic schools. I thank all of you parents who trust that our work with your children will advance their knowledge and engagement in the Faith and encourage them to find their way in difficult times with the secure knowledge of the Truth and the positive direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Enjoy the summer and spend quality time with your children. Yes, I certainly hope to see you at Sunday Mass.