Sometimes it can be easy to forget that the new school year provides an opportunity for our children to take another important step toward realizing their full potential and become a complete person. Each year Catholic Life helps rekindle the excitement that can come from learning in tangible ways through their Catholic Life Sweepstakes.
Over the past decade, Catholic Life has raised more than $7 million. It is this level of dedication to Catholic education that gives encouragement to parents who, themselves, make many sacrifices to ensure their children can obtain a Catholic Education.
Speaking about the goals of a Catholic education, Pope Francis said, “We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data—all treated as being of equal importance—and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.” Catholic Education accomplishes this through integrating the values of the faith that represent our deeply held religious beliefs and Catholic identity into the academic disciplines our children learn. Our schools have always approached education in a holistic way, considering how education affects the heart and soul of each child, placing the responsibility for this integration in the hands of their classroom teachers and parents as the first teachers of their children.
Certainly we expect that all schools, public and private, to successfully teach science, mathematics, history, geography, and all of the basics of a modern education. However, it is not difficult to see in the world around us the need for integrating our deepest held values and beliefs with the objective content that is taught. In order to build a culture of life and peace, our students must be able to understand their moral responsibilities to properly use and apply what they learn to effectively enrich the common good.
Most of our children, sadly, do not attend Catholic School, and as a result they find that the merger of religious moral values is not available in their curriculum. This emphasizes the fundamental right and responsibility of all parents and faith communities to help our children to understand the moral values that guide the real-life application of the knowledge they gain through the years. I encourage all parents to help their children with homework that transcends just getting the right answer, but helps their children on a journey of faith and discovery that leads them to finding a complete answer in the context of God’s will.
Advocating for our children is always a worthy cause. Let us continue to support quality education, teachers, and administrators to ensure dignity and hope for the most vulnerable among us.