This week’s Catholic School Matters podcast includes two great conversations with two thought leaders in Catholic schools.  First, I speak with Fr. Eric Ramirez, SJ from Regis Jesuit High School in Denver.  Fr. Ramirez is the director of pastoral ministry for the boys division and we talk about the unique nature of a co-institutional church.  We talk about his vocation and the calling to his work.

Fr. Ramirez speaks about the joy of his work and the calling to serve the students of Regis.  We explore the value of serving the students at Regis, many of whom are affluent.  He speaks about the spiritual poverty of the students and introducing students to Jesus.

We also explore the value of discernment in his life and listening for God’s call and balancing the comfortable with the challenging.  He discusses the pressures facing so many students—to succeed, to get perfect grades, to get into the best college, etc.  All the anxiety (which he calls the “sour fruit” of the anxiety) that students are feeling and how he can lead students to the truth of God’s love for them.  He discusses the “cultivated self” and the meta-narratives which tend to shape our student’s lives.

We talk about the trap of self-refection which puts up a barrier to love.  Fr. Ramirez talks about how the retreat program (which he describes in detail) are designed to give students space to feel God’s love in an authentic encounter.

He also discussed the challenges of his vocation under the current climate.  He mentions how the scandals serve as barriers to evangelization and his own personal disappointment to the loss of integrity in the church leadership.

My next guest is Tony Ferraro from Floyd Consulting.  He’s a coach and presenter for Floyd Consulting, an arm of Dynamic Catholic.  He presents on Dream Manager and discusses the value of dreaming and imagining a better future for all of us.  The theory behind it is that if you want employees to be more engaged at work, you need to get them engaged in their own lives first.

What are your dreams?  Identifying and articulating those dreams will fuel engagement.  We discuss how the reality of adulthood is that many people have ceded the control of their lives and lost touch with their dreams.  Schools are challenged to develop their own mission statements, what I call institutional mission work.  Ferraro helps teachers get in touch with their own individual mission statements and finding their own purposes.

We discuss how this effort is part of shaping a school’s culture.

Here is another link to the podcast.