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.