One of the defining characteristics of Catholic schools is that our schools are centered in the person of Jesus Christ.
Catholic education is rooted in the conviction that Jesus Christ provides the most comprehensive and compelling example of the realization of full human potential. (The Catholic School, 34, 35) In every aspect of programs, life, and activities, Catholic schools should foster personal relationship with Jesus Christ and communal witness to the Gospel message of love of God and neighbor and service to the world, especially the poor and marginalized. (Miller, 2006, pp. 25–26)
What are some ways parents can partake on the faith journey as they send their children to Catholic schools? Below are some examples from a few of our elementary schools.
CHRIST CATHEDRAL ACADEMY, GARDEN GROVE
Powered by faith, CCA sets out to touch the hearts and minds of students and their families daily.
The school shared the fruits of the spirit over the course of nine weeks at morning assembly this fall. In addition, CCA launched Parents in Prayer (PIP program) for the intentions of the school community which includes students, parents, faculty, and school administration. The school has a deliberate prayer space on campus where students, faculty, administration, and parents can come and pray together. There is a prayer basket and the community can dropped their prayer intentions.
We can find service and humanitarian opportunities in the secular world. What is special at CCA is that it’s a community of prayer, service, and reflection. This is happening in the classrooms and beyond the walls of the school. Home and school connection is highly important. Everyone is called to be a blessing at the school and to live the Catholic faith in action.
JUNIPERO SERRA, RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA
St. Junipero Serra is a ministry to the parishes of San Francisco Solano, Holy Trinity, St. Kilian, and Santiago de Compostela. St. Junipero Serra School dedicated their new chapel last month so that students have the opportunity to pray to Jesus in the Eucharist at school.
The PTO Outreach Ministries encourages the school community to be a faith-filled family who come together in prayer, service, friendship, and to stand SerraStrong. The Outreach Ministry has three pillars: SerraStrong in Prayer, Parent Faith Formation, and Assistance Ministries.
SerraStrong in Prayer offers weekly Partners in Prayer and weekly Parent Rosary group.
Parent Faith Formation includes a book study, a Lenten Renewal Retreat for Parents, and Spiritual Support materials that include the compilation of Lighthouse Catholic Media, Dynamic Catholic, and diocesan and parish publications. This fall, mothers at St. Junipero Serra are going over Twelve Women of the Bible Study Guide, a companion to the twelve-session DVD.
Assistance Ministries includes SerraServes 2018, Serra Cares Ministry, and Adopt-a-Family. SerraCares 2018 provided 26,000 meals to children in South Africa, Serra Cares Ministry to assist St. Serra families who are in need because one or more family members are dealing with serious health problems, have recently lost a loved one, or who have recently welcomed a new baby. Adopt-a-Family is the school’s Advent Season Outreach Project that benefits families selected by Catholic Charities.
THE PARISH SCHOOL AT ST. EDWARD, DANA POINT
Stay and Pray Moms in Touch International (MITI) gather at St. Edward every Tuesday at 8 a.m. MIT is when two or more moms meet for one hour a week to pray for their children, the school, the teachers, and administrators. They follow a conversational format that is called the Four Steps of Prayer: Praise, Silent Confession, Thanksgiving, and Intercession. No previous experience needed; just a heart to pray. The team dedicates each week to a certain grade level and also includes personal petitions that can be written and left in our prayer box at the front office.