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Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. A Chicago native, she has 37 years of experience as a Catholic school teacher and administrator.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The "Catholic" in Catholic Schools

It felt odd making the calls.  The Cardinal had requested to see, as a part of his responsibility as the arbiter of all Catholic teaching in the Archdiocese of Chicago, all of the texts, courses, credit requirements, and teacher qualifications in the 40 Catholic High Schools.  His review was thorough and careful - and he asked me to make the follow-up calls.

Even though I felt a bit like the Dominicans of the Inquisition, the calls were met with almost universal courtesy and genuine responsiveness.  Unlike the grade schools whose curriculum was published in great detail last year for pre-k through eighth grade, the high school one - based on USCCB guidelines - is being drafted this year.  Texts are even further behind as writers scramble to align themselves to the Bishops’ work.

Curriculum is only a piece of it, of course, as life is sacramental - both in the official sense of the seven we name, but in the way loving people are the signs of Christ's love.  Thus, the Office of Catholic School's goal for the year, which should seem so obvious:  "Staff religion classes only with qualified and caring religion teachers."  Frankly, religion class should be the best part of the day - a time of grace and learning and joy....everyone's "favorite subject."

While all of the teachers attended Festival of Faith this month, to feed their own faith and knowledge, perhaps the pictures of the children during Eucharistic adoration speak most clearly to the experience of Jesus’ love.

Whether in the classroom, on the playground, or in the church or chapel, we get to know it in our bones:  the Word became flesh and dwells among us.

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Comments

Friday, October 30, 2009 7:08 PM

Thanks,Carol! We are so blessed - our teachers and principals will indeed be working with the Office of Evangelization in preparation for Catholics Come Home. As we welcome people home, I hope people will "Come Home to Catholic Schools" as well.

Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:41 AM

Hi Sister Mary Paul! Hope this finds you well! As the old adage goes "one picture is worth a thousand words".... and don't these photos tell a mouthful... this is the kind of reverence and respect for Jesus in the Blessed Sacramente that will bring the "Catholic" back to the schools. Our young people are absolutely instrumental in driving home this message... I'm sure your work is cut out for you and I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you right down that path....When the Office for Evangelization commences this "Catholics come home" initiative shortly, wouldn't it be a great idea to incorporate our children who are in parochial schools in some vain.... imagine a parent or relative of some of these pious children-who has been away from the Sacraments...what better example than our young people to pray for their return by their noble example? You're doing a great job Sister Mary Paul for Jesus, for the students, and for religious life in general.. May God bless all your endeavors!

carol b.

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