Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope's Address to Catholic Educators

Today's Papal address by Pope Benedict XVI to Catholic educators at The Catholic University of America rekindled in me the pride I feel in having been the product of a Catholic education and in sacrificing to offer the same to my boys. The Holy Father's address challenged educators to "evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief". This should be what sets our Catholic schools apart - what makes them different from every other high priced private institution.

My son Eric's high school made a conscious decision within the past decade to decline a generous offer for donated land that would have enabled them to build a new campus in the far northern, growingly swanky, regions of Fresno County. Many parents were outraged by the diocese' commitment to an aging campus in the middle of a pretty tough neighborhood. Why not build the shiny new campus near where many of us live? But the diocese of Fresno felt a strong commitment to the very diverse community which had surrounded and supported the school for so many years. Bishop Steinbock rightly recognized the huge impact the school's flight would have upon the neighborhood. Well, a comment in the Pope's words today must have left my Bishop feeling very content:

"Here I wish to make a special appeal to Religious Brothers, Sisters and Priests: do not abandon the school apostolate; indeed, renew your commitment to schools especially those in poorer areas. "

Since the cost of Catholic education can be cost prohibitive for so many, we need to work tirelessly to make this gift more widely available for everyone. And we, as parents who work to send our children to Catholic schools, must never advocate our roles as our children's primary teachers of the faith.

Read the address here
Watch the address here

1 comment:

AC Momma said...

I always learn so much by reading your blog. I had never heard about the generous offer of land for a new campus of SJHS. I think its location is fine and it's right off the freeway. Can't get anymore convenient than that. I have to agree with the Bishop's stand on leaving the school where it is.
I only wish someone would donate some land in Sanger so we would have a school here. ;)
My husband and I have decided to send our son to Catholic school in Fresno when he starts kindegarten in August so I have been interested in hearing how other people feel about Catholic education. You always have such great things to say about it, as do so many other people, and I appreciate your honesty in the blogs you post. And thanks for the link to the Pope's address to Catholic Educators. My busy life has kept me from being glued to the tube for all the Papal coverage. Thank goodness for the internet.