Catholic Schools: The Good News in Education
By Hugh McNichol
What a great theme to launch this year's observation of Catholic School's Week. Those of us that have had the great opportunity to have a completely Catholic based education, namely from kindergarten throughout graduate school will remember most fondly the "Good News" translations of the New Testament that were released in schools shortly after Vatican II. The paperbound books were a staple of everyone's book bag, and the simply drawn figures of prominent people in the scriptures gave most of us an introduction to figure drawing.
What we failed to remember quite often was that the "Good News" was not only a brick shaped book in our school inventory of Catholic apologetics, it was a representation of the embodiment of the basis for all Catholic education that exists. "Good News" does not merely indicate the New Testament. It embodies our entire Christological belief that: Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word, made flesh for the world. Now as a third grader...my understanding of Christological presence in the Word was far from fully developed. However, my applications of living the "Good News" were being formed through the experience of Catholic education.
There is a pragmatic and extremely practical extension to our Catholic education. It forms and develops good people that recognize the message of the Gospels and try in their lives to practice the faith as Jesus promulgated it to us.
As children, we had no idea that Sister Geraldine Marie I.H.M. or Sister ________ of your own educational experience, was teaching profound theological applications that would affect our daily lives, for the rest of our lives.
The Catholic experience in education quite literally transformed education for the masses throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It offered the opportunity for millions of children to learn not only the essentials of reading, writing and arithmetic, but included moral and ethical lessons in Catholic living that to this day, its graduates pass on to their children and grandchildren.
I grew up in the blue-collar section of Philadelphia known as Gray's Ferry. We didn't know or even think about being blue collar, but we were Catholic and we thought of that always. The pragmatic applications regarding, "Good News" were evident every day in the neighborhood parish school, just as they are at Saint Gabriel School today. The constant striving towards excellence in the results of Catholic education is obvious through the manners and behavior of Catholic school children.
Frequently we find that society has many unanswered questions and no resources with which to answer these questions. Catholic education offers the foundations and expressions of correct answers for all ages of children and peoples. If you want to see the great and positive influence and results our education in Catholic schools has brought about visit Saint Gabriel School's website: www.devoted.to/stgabes. There you will see Catholic education in action on a daily basis. Spreading the Gospel message through Catholic education is much more than grade school. It is an ever-developing process of formation and evangelization through planting the seeds of the Gospel message.
Generations of recipients of Catholic education have gained prominence as a result of Catholic schools, even more have gained "ordinary" and "Good News" filled lives that reflect the Gospel message of peace and harmony.
The next time you think about making a contribution to a good cause, remember the good purposes and results of the Catholic educational system. Not only are the effects spiritual, but a qualitative representation in each person of the intensely but under appreciated phrase: Catholic Schools: The Good News in Education.
In Principio erat Verbum DE, US
Hugh McNichol - Author, 302 6339348
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