Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision for a Secular Age
Catholic education remains one of the most compelling expressions of the Church’s mission to form disciples. Despite decades of decline in the number of schools and students, many Catholic schools have been experiencing renewal by returning to the great legacy of the Catholic tradition. Renewing Catholic Schools offers an overview of the reasons behind this renewal and practical suggestions for administrators, clergy, teachers, and parents on how to begin the process of reinvigoration.
“This book should be in the hands of every Catholic educator in America. It explains why renewal in our schools’ Catholic identity and mission is necessary and offers many practical suggestions on how to bring about this conversion. A bright future is on the horizon for schools that dare to be authentically Catholic.”
Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver
The book begins by situating Catholic education within the Church’s mission. Fidelity to Catholic mission and identity, including a commitment to the fullness of truth, provides the fundamental mark for the true success of Catholic education. The Catholic intellectual tradition, in particular, established by figures such as Augustine, Boethius, and Aquinas, can continue to direct Catholic schools, providing a depth of vision to overcome today’s educational crisis.
To transcend the now dominant secular model of education, Catholic schools can align their curriculum more closely to the Catholic tradition. One touchpoint comes from Archbishop Michael Miller’s The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools, which the book explores as a source for practical guidance. It also offers a Catholic vision for curriculum, examining the full range of subjects from gymnasium, the fine arts, the liberal arts, literature, history, and catechesis, all of which lead to a well-formed graduate, inspired by beauty, attuned to truth, and ordered toward the good.
Finally, the book provides a practical vision for renewing the school through the formation of teachers, creation of a school community, and by offering suggestions for implementation of a stronger Catholic mission and philosophy of education. The teacher, ultimately, should strive to teach like Jesus, while the community should joyfully embody the school’s mission, making it a lived reality. The book concludes with examples of Catholic schools that have successfully undergone renewal.