Teaching children to follow the plan that God has mapped out for them so that they will be united with their Creator at the end of life, is the worthy goal of Catholic education. A Catholic teacher has done his or her job well if children are adequately prepared academically and are taught (by parents and teachers alike) to live a moral life – as one who is responsible for his actions and who desires to live a life of truth, charity and service.
Every partner in Catholic education – the school, the diocese, and all the many individuals involved – should keep the focus on the original purpose of Catholic education. The spirit of each school will differ, but the basics remain the same: To form each child to do his best morally and academically, to live as God has planned and in the way he has planned, using one’s gifts to give him honor and glory. As Scripture reminds us: “… we have here no lasting city.” In other words, try to live so as to give glory to God … and to make ones’ parents proud!
Catholic school teachers must, of course, stay up-to-date in their areas of study and teaching, remaining open to new ways to make learning and teaching more energizing and memorable … to make the lessons come to life always with the purpose of enriching the student’s interior life. The focus is first God. Second to God, is the student. If our eyes are fixed first on the Lord and on His plan, then we can lead, teach, and direct the student towards enriching his mind, his heart, and his soul.
Catholic school teachers are not simply professionals in the business of education. We are people with a mission, one not totally of this world. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI described the mission in these words: “…we owe them the true values which give life a foundation.”
In short, in Catholic schools, we strive to witness to life in the here and now, that is lived in preparation for the life to come.
Sr. M. Michele Jascenia, SCMC is a religious with the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church and resides at their Holy Family Motherhouse in Baltic, Ct She teaches elementary school and is a freelance writer.