We live in a world where going faster implies getting more. Highways continue to devise additional reminders to slow down and remind us that it’s better to arrive alive than not at all. Internet providers vie to be the quickest in connections and internet speed becomes a primary concern in purchase. Even in our writing, text messaging has introduced shortcuts that allow us to communicate faster – OMG, LOL, and TGIF. So question arises, “By going faster, do we get more?”
Well, the answer depends upon “more” of what? What are we seeking to attain and does speed have anything to do with it? These points can form an entire reflection in and of themselves. However, they also bear relevance when one considers Catholic education.
By various measures – test scores, college acceptances, academic scholarships, activity awards, athletic championships, etc. – one could prove that Catholic schools go faster and often exceed their counterparts in other schools and school systems. But these elements, important though they are, do not define the uniqueness of a Catholic education. Going faster in any of these areas does not translate into getting “more,” unless the “more” is being the bigger and the best.
Catholic education flourishes upon the principle that its students and graduates are “People of God and People for Others.” In a nutshell, that’s the “more” of Catholic education. It is the uniqueness that separates Catholic education from other schools and school systems. In Catholic schools, educators join parents, the primary teachers of their children in the faith, to teach students what the “more” is and how to live it.
And the “more” doesn’t come from being faster, but from being faithful. For over 2000 years the “more” has been the result of faithful adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. It has been preached, taught, written, and modeled by countless numbers of educators – parents, teachers, clergy, religious.
Catholic Schools Week is a reminder to each person of the central message of Catholic education – the “more.” In the hurry, worry, headache, and heartache of life that faster brings, Catholic schools provide students with a clear understanding of why they live, and breathe, and have their being. They are to be People of God and People for Others. Through prayer, worship, community, and service, Catholic schools place a pall of faith atop test scores, college acceptances, academic scholarships, activity awards, and athletic championships that explains the “more” which faster doesn’t bring, but faithful commitment does.
This Catholic Schools Week celebrate the special gift of Catholic education in the Diocese of Wilmington. By your prayerful witness and financial support you make it possible to have our 36 Catholic schools educate students to know, love, and be the “more,” that is, “People of God and People for Others.”
Lou De Angelo is superintendent for the Office of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Wilmington.