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The Secret to an Authentically Catholic Institution, According to This Educator




My priest-boss often says, “a school is only as Catholic as its faculty.”

 

Rare as it is, our school is Catholic because our staff, administration, and teachers are Catholic. We even drink “Biblical beverages” at our lunch meetings–just to seal the deal on the Catholicity.

 

Serving alcohol goes well beyond the desire to reward the teachers at the end of what is always a very exhausting work week. I believe it was an intentional decision to set a certain leisurely mood to create an atmosphere of friendship among the faculty.

 

Because community and friendship is central to the renewal of Catholic education–assuming the education proposed is Catholic in the first place.


A True Catholic Education


At the school, everyone–from the science to the art teacher–is a disciple.

The administration is intentional in hiring for mission. Academic rigor and intentional discipleship can and should coexist.


Catholic identity isn’t restricted to the external structures, such as crucifixes in the classrooms and obligatory prayers before classes. The interior life of the teacher matters, and if anyone can sniff out hypocrisy, it’s a teenager.


Students can tell the difference between “Catholic” and Catholic. One student asked me, “How come my math class is about God too somehow?” 

 

However, external structures do matter.


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