Even for those of us without kids, September (or perhaps mid-August, now!) signals the return to school and a fresh new school year. School supplies go on sale, and soon we will see droves of kids walking to school with new uniforms and school shoes, backpacks and lunchboxes.
Our own parish school will open its doors on Monday, welcoming back almost 400 students from summer vacation. Have you ever thought about why we (and so many other Catholic Churches) have a parish school?
Fr. Rich's thoughts on the subject:
From my perspective, Catholic education's single most important value is to provide leadership for the future - in both the secular and religious realms. Therefore, all of what we are about is the formation of Catholic Leaders: spiritually, intellectually, psychologically, physically and emotionally.
Secondly, the very word, "educate" means "to lead from, or out of." Which means we already have the important stuff inside of us, it's just a matter of forming it and getting it to the front.
Everything and everyone is a gift from God, a gift meant to be shared and only fully realized when in relationship to others and to the same God. So we are all in this together - classmates, teachers and staff, parents and families, parishioners and neighbors.....
And from that flows the source of the
education; we "learn", or "are formed" though our interaction with the wonders of creation as we experience this gift in others, in wisdom and knowledge, in self-discovery and self-revelation.
Because everything and everyone is a gift from God, we have a school only for one reason - that we might discover God in all. Every bit of information we gather, every law of science and rule of language we learn, reveals to us something about God. Therefore learning is an never-ending experience for believers. We are particularly blessed because we are Catholic and have such a strong and rich tradition of education, of which we are but the latest generation.
All knowledge leads to God. And all good Catholic leadership leads to God.