Re: [dre-talk] Integration of Non-Catholic Families
- Tom and Evelyn,
Thanks so much for your response and sharing your insights. I feel comforted in the acknowledgement of a changing culture, the very thing that looms as the elephant in the room.
Our parish school was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame over a hundred years ago with a mission to share in God's goodness and the education of the poor. In recent weeks, I really began to discern that perhaps we were fulfilling what the Sisters' had begun so many years ago rather Catholic or Non-Catholic.
A gracious note of gratitude for affirming what has felt right all along.....
Laurie Huff, DRE
Saint Martin of Tours
Sent from my iPad
On Jul 8, 2013, at 8:38 PM, Tom Rinkoski <tomrinkoski@...> wrote:
> Monday 8 July 2013
> Greetings from Gainesville
> This is a tough issue because a lot is changing and some of it is very difficult to swallow and accept because of our history. The culture is changing. The notion of education and parental expectations of same is definitely changing. And, what the function of Catholic Schools are is going to have to change as well.
> While I hear a strong call for Catholic schools to stick to the mission of Catholic enculturation, I do not see that possible as the culture continues to shift, as educational philosophy itself is loosed from its moorings, and Catholic identity rides the turbulence of its own identity crisis. I used to be a Catholic School teacher, but have not done it for years, so I no longer have a front row seat. However, I have been witness to countless Catholic School closings. I have also heard powerful stories of Catholic Schools serve the needs of the poor. I have worked with parents listening to their hopes and dreams about their children's education. I have been deeply involved in religious education for what seems like an eternity (although I am sure God has me beat by a long shot!) Also, I am a product of Catholic Schooling myself.
> I do not think drawing up a policy requiring attendance at Catholic functions will render positive outcomes in the long term. I cannot see it serving the Church as an evangelistic tool, nor as a component of Catholic School team building, branding, or whatever we are supposed to name it nowadays. In fact, in may serve to lose whatever standing we cling to. Nonethless, I fill your pain in the number of loosely affiliated parents and families within our institution. It is hard to hang on to the dream that gave birth to our current church when the tide is turning so radically. I think we need to listen carefully to what these parents are coming to us for and be honest as to whether we can meet those needs in our current financial and theological climate.
> This is certainly something that needs to be talked about. Thanks for raising the issue.
> Tom Rinkoski
> Cell: (352) 339-3707
> From: Laurie <hufflaurie@...>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Monday, July 8, 2013 11:49 AM
> Subject: [dre-talk] Integration of Non-Catholic Families
> Greetings and peace!
> As I set my sights on a new school year, I find myself dreaming of a clear mission and vision. The community in which I minister currently has a parish school grades k-8. Nearly half of our student body is not Catholic. This number seems to grow each year in light of the Ed-Choice Scholarship and changing demographics.
> Last year for the first time, I encountered a few parents who declined their child's attendance at a retreat designed for the middle school youth. It was a painful reality and I began to see that perhaps we need to put something in place as far as an agreement or statement concerning what attendance at our school entails, i.e. worship, service, participation in retreats etc. However, I feel somewhat stuck and appreciate your sharing of your own experiences.
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- I think it is very important to keep our Catholic identity especially in our Catholic Schools. As we have become more Ecumenical we have lost a lot of our identity and taken on so much of other denominations--we are Catholic--we are different!
In my city 20+ years ago we Unified our Catholic Schools, no more parish schools, just one system for all Catholic students to feed into. This was done for financial purposes. As time went on finances continued to plunge and they "opened the doors" to encourage all faiths to attend our Catholic schools. Money was needed! We also implemented a tax on each parish to help support the school system. Great idea when you have Catholic students populating the school.
Well today 40% and the number is rising, of the students are not Catholic. The parents of my Catholic school students say that their children are having to defend their own faith in school. The list of issues is endless, Young Life, totally supported and encouraged, students in our high school who feel uncomfortable with praying the Rosary are allowed to walk the halls when the Rosary is prayed. The #1 reason to attend the high school is for sports, not because your child will receive a wonderful Catholic education. Also there is not one priest or religious sister anywhere in the system.
The teachers that instruct religion classes have no background and are not required to. So many of the teachers in the system are not Catholic themselves.
We have witnessed a "Private Prep" school develop with "Catholic" still on the building but not embraced for what our church once considered a vital component of our faith development.
We ask our Catholic parishioners to support the schools which are now close to being just "half" Catholic.
I believe it is very important to address the issue of how non-Catholics engage in our schools. We are at a crossroad and if we do not stand up for our church who will? We need to be having this discussion with our Dioceses and our priests!
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