A Catholic school becomes liturgical insofar as it understands learning as necessitating both wonder and desire. The school must be a contemplative space rather than imitating the frenetic quality of modern life.
In usual conversation, the term “education” is most often used to refer to the process of formalized schooling. Schools are where education takes place, and for this reason, education is understood as the project of a young person who completes this education upon conferral of a degree or certification. One may begin, as my undergraduates say, “to adult” upon graduation.
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A crisis has a strange way of clarifying things. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped me to recognize the important contributions Catholic schools are uniquely positioned to make. As I’ve worked to support Catholic school leaders in “pivoting” to distance education, I’ve become keenly aware of the many ways Catholic schools help the families they serve.
My students often find Christ in unexpected ways. One was invited to wash the feet of a homeless woman. During this interaction, she was asked to cut the woman’s toenails. In the process of doing so, the toenail flung away from the foot and ricocheted off of my student’s head. They both laughed in a moment of communal humility and joy. In relating this incident, she wrote, “I bet this never happened to Jesus.”
Such #neverhappenedtoJesus moments help us think creatively about Pope Francis’ challenge to create homes in our institutions. “A home, as we all know, demands that everyone work together. No one can be indifferent or stand apart, since each is a stone needed to build the home. This also involves asking the Lord to grant us the grace to learn how to be patient, to forgive one another, to start over each day” (Christus Vivit, §217).