Today’s Guest Blogger is Kathy Mears, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.
I’d like to share my reactions to the latest Church Documents podcast on the Catholic School Matters podcast series.
I first read To Teach as Jesus Did in the mid 1990’s. I was going to teach a course for a local Catholic college and I felt like I needed to read the church documents on education and Catholic schools, since the name of the course was “History and Mission of Catholic Education”. At the time, I knew lots about my experiences in Catholic education, but I did not know much about the church documents tied to Catholic education.
Listening to the podcast, I realized that as leaders, we need to continually review these documents and that I need to be more purposeful in my review of them. There is a wealth of information in them and I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with Tom and Tim during their conversation. I think that Tim’s idea that God continues to reveal himself through church documents was something I need to consider further. I also think that Tom’s description of missionary discipleship to be another thing that I need to reflect upon further to be a better leader.
I don’t think we are forced to choose between evangelization and direct knowledge of the faith. God provides us a lifetime to know, love and serve him. It is our job to instill in our students a desire to do all three throughout their lives.
I, like Tim, am amazed at how timeless this document it is 45 years after it was written. It asks us to use contemporary methods to spread the Good News, and while I doubt that the bishops were thinking of the internet at the time, they were open to new ways to communicate to spread the word.
Visiting schools and doing accreditation visits was a real part of my life a few years ago. Unlike Tim, I most often heard that schools were like families, and stakeholders didn’t use the word community. I believe that schools have created families for our students, teachers and parents and that these families are some of the greatest places for our students to learn about God. Catholic schools are without a doubt the best method of evangelization for our children. Could they be better? Absolutely, but they are still effective and loving places for our students to grow.
Forming our teachers is a great challenge, but one that will re-energize our churches. The Holy Spirit lives in our schools and as Tom said, they have a strong desire to grow in their faith. Focusing on these positives is the right thing to do. I’m glad to be a part of the work of the Church!