The Eucharistic Revival of the Diocesan Academy
Introduction. The mission of Saint Dennis Church is to evangelize and catechize the families who attend the Saint Dennis Campus of the diocesan academy, so that they may put their faith into action as Catholic Christian believers. The following three strategies are designed to transform diocesan-sponsored private education into truly Catholic education, especially through the National Eucharistic Revival of the Catholic Church in America.
Faculty and staff teach their students and their families that the diocesan academy is an institution of Catholics, by Catholics, and for Catholics at its very foundation. It is a school of discipleship. Just as a family that prays together stays together, a solid core of practicing Catholics transforms their private school into a truly Catholic ministry. In order for this to work, the majority of the academy families need to be faithfully attending Mass each Sunday. School families should be visible in their (respective) parishes, so that their fellow parishioners can be proud that they are supporting the education of the next generation of Catholic believers.
The academy school families and faculty members who do go to Mass on Sundays should be inviting and encouraging the other families to join them at Mass on Sundays as missionary disciples. Faculty members should also give witness to their faith and religious practice for their students in their classrooms each week as well. It can be as simple as telling their students which Mass they went to last Sunday, what mattered to them the most in the homily that they heard, why they like their parish community, and how they are active in their parish communities. The Christian witness of faculty and administration is essential in this regard.
The school families should be active participants in their parish ministries, organizations, and activities, so that all the parishioners can see what a positive difference a Catholic school makes in a parish community. From liturgical ministries to parish charity drives to parish organizations, Catholic school families should be at the heart of their parish community, even if their parish were not investing parish donations into the school. The purpose of Catholic Education is to form the next generation of Catholic Christians through the school parents who are putting their faith into action as practicing Catholics and involved parishioners.
Conclusion. The future of Catholic Education depends on the vitality of the Catholic Church in America, especially at the parish level. Otherwise, we end up with a private school system, affiliated with a church, that is only affordable to rich people. We can do better than that by making our schools Catholic again! In this parish year of the Eucharistic Revival, we must renew our faith, revive our religious practice, and come to church for Mass each Sunday as Catholic families who promote the four R’s of Catholic education: reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and most of all, religion – our Roman Catholic religion.