Interview with Fr. Paul Burke of Holy Spirit College on Mission and Blessed John Paul II
By its very nature, each Catholic University makes an important contribution to the Church's work of evangelization
Father Paul Anthony Burke serves as the Chair of the faculty of theology at Holy Spirit College and Parochial Vicar at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. He shared a story of an encounter with Blessed John Paul II and the Catholic identity of Holy Spirit College.
President Gareth Genner of Holy Spirit College
ATLANTA, Georgia (Catholic Online) - In the wake of the elevation of Blessed Pope John Paul II to the altar I have been reflecting on the extraordinary impact that he had - and continues to have - on the Church and the world into which she is sent. A phrase which will be forever identified with the late Pope is the "New Evangelization".
In his Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities "Ex Corde Ecclesia" (From the Heart of the Church) we are reminded that "the primary mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel in such a way that a relationship between faith and life is established in each individual and in the socio-cultural context in which individuals live and act and communicate with one another.
"By its very nature, each Catholic University makes an important contribution to the Church's work of evangelization. It is a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism, or where Christ and his message are still virtually unknown. Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church" (Par. 47, 48)
The challenges faced by those serving the Church as she is present in the Catholic College can be understood within a broad contextual challenge, what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council called the "separation between faith and life." This separation was specifically addressed in their document on the Mission of the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) and that expression was used. It has been quoted repeatedly since then in magisterial documents.
Too often there is a wide gap between the faith Catholics profess and the way they live their daily lives. Western culture would not be in its current state of moral decline if Catholics understood and lived their Christian faith in an integrated manner, informing every aspect of their human experience and social participation with the principles and practices which flow from that faith.
It is to respond to this challenge that Blessed Pope John Paul II called for a "New Evangelization". That call has borne fruit throughout the entire Church. However, the work of the New Evangelization has only just begun. The new and renewed Catholic Colleges are a primary resource for the New Evangelization. Their vital task is to prepare leaders for the new missionary age of the Church.
Catholic Identity at a Catholic College or University requires continual review by Catholic College leaders. It must be their highest priority. Along with it, the development of curriculum must not fall prey to its own form of a "separation between faith and life."
Faith and Reason are sisters within the Catholic theological vision. Blessed John Paul explained in Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) they are "like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth-in a word, to know himself-so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."
He spoke these words in an address to the Catholic University of America in 1979, " Every university or college is qualified by a specified mode of being. Yours is the qualification of being Catholic, of affirming God, his revelation and the Catholic Church as the guardian and interpreter of that revelation. The term Catholic will never be a mere label either added or dropped according to the pressures of varying factors."
This integration of faith and reason should be understood by those who lead a Catholic College and become a pillar for their curriculum development. Forming students with a Catholic world view is not a "part" of the curriculum; it is the heart of the curriculum. Faith is not simply taught in religion or theology class but provides the hermeneutic, the lens, through which the entire educational mission is viewed.
I recently wrote an article about a new Catholic College in Atlanta, Georgia, Holy Spirit College, which understands this integration. The College was birthed from the vibrant Holy Spirit Parish in Atlanta and Holy Spirit Preparatory School. Together they are becoming a vibrant Center for the New Evangelization. The Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, Monsignor Edward J. Dillon is one of the founders of the College.
All Holy Spirit College Professors hold the Mandatum. Adjunct Faculty members who teach Roman Catholic Theology are also required to hold the Mandatum. In one of several conversations I had with President Gareth Genner, he referred to the College as "loyal to the Magisterium and absolutely in step with the Holy Father."
Father Paul Anthony Burke ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More College & University News
- Dr. Beena George Named New UST Cameron Dean
- UST Honors Student Sings Her Way to Grad School
- Archbishop Josť H. Gomez at Franciscan University: In this Time of Mission
- Brother and Sister Plant It Forward at UST
- UST's Macias Accepted to Thomistic Seminar
- UST's Taco Tasting Raises $35,000 for Scholarships
- Hattrup Dissertation Unanimously Passed at UST
- Learning Knows No Age for Grad
- UST Grad Speaker Highlights Leading with Faith, Character
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?