I hadn’t thought much about Catholic education as a young adult. I attended a public school for K-12 and then chose my small, liberal arts college (which happened to be Catholic) not because it was Catholic, but because they gave me an excellent academic scholarship.
Then I fell head over heels in love with God and His Church while attending said Catholic college. So in love, I decided to show that love by becoming a Catholic school teacher on the south side of Chicago. When I tell you I’ve seen it all, I have seen it all.
I know that Catholic education across all levels has its fair share of problems. Some which seem so insurmountable as to be totally crippling. Where I taught in Chicago it was Catholic schools where the “Catholic” part was all but forgotten, the school merely being a safer alternative to the dangerous (and I do mean dangerous) public schools on Chicago’s south side. 95% of students being non-Catholic, the “religion class” becomes nothing more than coloring sheets about how Jesus loves the little children, lest we offend any non-Catholic families…who had willingly chosen to have their child attend a Catholic school.
Though I attended Mount St. Mary’s University, a very faithful Catholic college for my undergraduate education, it contrasted drastically with Loyola University Chicago where I completed my MA in Social Justice. Though both universities call themselves Catholic, they could not be farther apart in atmosphere, location, student life, and theology. Imagine my surprise when, having gone from The Mount one week to Loyola the next, I attended daily Mass to find a church with no kneelers, and a woman reading the Gospel and giving the homily. Just one small example.
No, I am most assuredly not a pollyanna when it comes to the state of Catholic education in the US. I have seen some truly heartbreaking, probably heretical, and deeply disturbing things said and done by institutions claiming to be Catholic.
It’s very easy to focus on what’s bad, because some of it is so very bad. It’s harder to turn our attention to what is good, true, and beautiful about Catholic education in our country. It’s very Providential that I stumbled upon a gem of a school in my own backyard. Or rather, I should say, my parish’s backyard.
The school, Lumen Christi Catholic School, has just celebrated it’s ten year anniversary operating as an independent Catholic school. It is K-12 and uses a clasically based cirriculum. The fact that it is independent means that is can operate as it sees fit, without being tied to a parish or the Archdiocese for finanical support. This also means that the school can use the cirriculum materials it wishes.
It is a small school, with most of the families choosing Lumen Christi because of it’s faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and the primacy of the Sacraments for the kids formation. All students attend Mass daily, and begin learning latin in first grade. The teachers all profess loyalty to the Magisterium. The children are delightful to be around. I know this because many, if not most, of the families attend our parish, though it is not a parish school.
This short video was made as part of the 10th anniversary celebration this year. All of the images seen in church are of our lovely parish church, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
There are some amazing things happening at Lumen Christi, and I’m sure in other places too. What good news have you heard lately coming out of Catholic education?
Category: Catholic Education