In my previous column, I promised to offer ideas for implementing the newly released “The Identity of the Catholic School for a Culture of Dialog” (called “The Identity” from this point forward). As a refresher, “The Identity” was released by the Church to address the troubling trend of declining Catholic school enrollment caused by a culture of rabid secularism (tipping quickly toward anti-religious). “The Identity” calls for the renewal of Catholic schools by proactively returning to our roots as Catholic school communities (as opposed to being reactive institutions). Those roots of fidelity to the Church are important and will be discussed at the conclusion. But I’d like to focus first on the community members who are so vital to the well-being of our schools. Parents Essential to a school community, and the primary educator of their children, parents are the lifeblood of the Catholic school community. Amazingly, our culture is disputing the role of parents in the education of their children, but the Church is clear and consistent in their prioritization. Catholic schools must be places where parents are known, respected, and valued. Their input helps shape the community. Likewise, parents must engage and hold the school accountable to the Church’s mission. As a Catholic school educator for 20 years, I can attest that our schools live lean and mean; they need a little bit of everything to run well. Parents should present whatever gifts they have, and schools should put them good use! Students “The Identity” points out that a “distinctive feature of its ecclesiastical nature” is that a Catholic school is “a school for all, especially the weakest.” It specifically notes embracing the “socially and economically disadvantaged” and “persons with disabilities.” …. Continued
A special tenebrae service with adoration was celebrated with Father Don Buhrman March 30 for families of St. Leo’s in Grand Island. Tenebrae, which means shadows or darkness, is an ancient Christian service during Holy Week.