Friday, August 2, 2013

The ABCs of Catholic Education

This morning, I participated in my Archdiocese's "New Teacher Commissioning".

It was an incredibly rich and moving experience...

...and thoughts are still swirling around in my head!

But before too much time passes, I wanted to share some thoughts on a discussion we had about the ABCs of Catholic Education.

There are approximately 100 of us new hires with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and we were seated alphabetically at round tables.  (I was with the Ks and the Ls.)  The first thing we were to do was come up with an adjective that described Catholic schools that began with the beginning letter of our last name.  (In case you're wondering...knowledgeable was my word.)  After brainstorming and sharing out, the following lists were created...


  • books
  • inspiring
  • joyful
  • knowledgeable
  • leadership
  • mission
  • nurturing
  • organic
  • purposeful
  • quality 


  • apostolic
  • community
  • disciples
  • evangelists
  • faith
  • holy
  • reverent
  • spiritual
  • worship-ful
  • yearning
  • zealous
And finally the Cs...

  • grace
  • vocational
  • Xavier

(I'm missing a few letters of the alphabet...just couldn't write quick enough), but we then were to figure out the pattern...why the words were grouped as they were.  Hmmm...

...give up?

Well, the long answer is this...

Every school (public, private, parochial) strives for the As... and should.  Every child deserves to be nurtured...receive purposeful education...have staff that are knowledgeable about their craft, etc. etc.

The "B" list gives attributes that are more Christian in nature...but can be found in any quality parochial it Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Evangelical, etc.  

Only those attributes listed on C (Xavier represents the saints!) separate our schools from all others, making them authentically "Catholic".  (To be sure, there are many more "c" attributes that could be listed and should be incorporated into an authentically Catholic education.)

As Catholic schools we need to strive to incorporate all three lists into our buildings and our classrooms.  If we are only focusing on list A then we are failing as Catholic schools.  But the same can be said of list C...we need to also provide an excellent academic experience for those parents that are choosing Catholic schools...but never at the expense of list C.  List C should always be infused in everything we do!

(Mary snapped this for me this morning.  She was so excited for mommy to be going to "work"!  
I know, she should have panned back!  LOL)

As the morning wrapped up, and before we went to Chapel for our Commissioning, we were left with this quote,

"Your job, as Catholic educators, is to help students develop their God-given gifts and talents so that they may get to Heaven."

Wow.  That's an enormous responsibility, but one that I feel blessed to be called to do.

Happy Weekend, Friends!



  1. You looked beautiful on the first official day of your new adventure, Val. There are some very blessed young people about to join you soon!

    So happy for you!

    Enjoy your weekend, friend!

  2. Time is passing quickly!

    I am sure you were feeling jazzed at the end of the day.


  3. So happy for you! I look forward to hearing all of your adventure and spiritual growth stories! Great pic btw! My sister just moved to Leawook, KS. We 'may' be heading up their for New Year's. Are you all close to that area? We could "meet" in real life!!

  4. So glad you're joining us in the catholic school ranks :-)

  5. I enjoyed this! Our 3 youngest attend private Catholic school. It's the same school my husband attended as a small child. It's also our parish, just across the street from our house. I enjoyed the description as to the different ABC's.


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