24 March 2011

Archbishop Carlson Outlines Plan for Schools

Rather than post any hurried initial reactions, I will try to digest this and offer some thoughts in the next few days. Yet I wanted to post this right away for readers' benefit. His Grace has established a framework for his "Alive in Christ" Catholic schools initiative, and the write-up below is from the St. Louis Review:

Archbishop Carlson outlines framework for Alive in Christ 2018

March 24, 2011
Barbara Watkins

Goal 1: Catechesis/Academic Excellence

To renew our commitment to excellence in all forms of education and faith formation; to build up the finest, most effective schools, religious education and youth ministry programs; to reach out to young adults and adults to engage them fully in the life of the Church and provide them with significant opportunities to know their faith and to grow spiritually.

Objective 1: Develop and implement benchmarks for achieving excellence in academics and faith formation in all parish and archdiocesan schools. Adopt standards that require parishes and schools to be both fully and authentically Catholic in their religious instruction and spiritual formation and fully and authentically professional in their academic instruction — in accordance with “best practices” in education today.

Objective 2: Provide pastors and school administrators with guidelines and assistance with effective marketing and enrollment management in order to “fill the empty seats.”

Objective 3: Promote collaboration among all parish, archdiocesan and private Catholic schools. Work with Catholic universities located in the Archdiocese to design and implement a unified, holistic approach to Catholic identity and excellence in academic instruction and spiritual formation from preschool through elementary, secondary, undergraduate and post-graduate Catholic education.

Objective 4: Engage in proactive pastoral planning on a deanery basis to strengthen parishes and schools and to promote collaboration and consolidation as appropriate.

Objective 5: Strengthen adult faith formation, lay ministry formation, youth and young adult ministries.

Chairperson — Msgr. John Unger

Curia resource agencies: Catholic Education Office (lead agent), Catholic Youth Apostolate

Goal 2: Evangelization

To implement an archdiocesan-wide evangelization program that is designed to help our parishes, schools and archdiocesan agencies become more effective instruments for preaching the Gospel and handing on our Catholic faith.

Objective 1: Sponsor an archdiocesan-wide evangelization program that will engage all parishes, schools and archdiocesan agencies in outreach to Catholics who are no longer active and others who seek to know more about the Catholic faith.

Objective 2: Coordinate marketing and community relations for the Archdiocese, parishes and schools.

Objective 3: Conduct a multi-year Catholic Identity Awareness Campaign designed to raise awareness and encourage appropriate pride in Catholic identity.

Objective 4: Provide outreach programs for our parents after a child is baptized to welcome them into the parish community, offer resources for the education and faith formation of their preschool children and reserve a place for them in the parish school.

Objective 5: Establish pilot parishes that are dedicated to being centers of excellence in education and faith formation of adults, young adults, youth and children. Develop pilot programs and share the results with all parishes in the Archdiocese.

Chairperson — Msgr. James Callahan
Curia resource agencies: Paul VI Institute (lead agent), Apostolic Services

Goal 3: Social Justice

To renew our commitment to learning about, and practicing, fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching and social justice.

Objective 1: Renew our commitment to helping poor children and youth in all 11 counties of our Archdiocese break the cycle of poverty and reach their full potential by providing access to Catholic schools through scholarships and other forms of tuition assistance wherever possible.

Objective 2: Establish new governance models and funding structures for Mission Schools — elementary and secondary schools that primarily serve the poor and that depend on non-traditional funding sources.

Objective 3: Address tensions that exist in our communities, and our Church, based on race and class divisions. Develop and implement training programs for pastors, principals/school administrators, board members who work in mission schools or who serve large numbers of students from poor families and/or families from diverse ethnic, racial or social backgrounds.

Objective 4: Work with civic and business leaders in all 11 counties, but especially in St. Louis city, to advocate for the educational needs of all children, especially the poor, and to build collaborative programs that cut across traditional private, public and parochial divisions.

Objective 5: Work with the Missouri Catholic Conference and other advocacy groups to proactively seek government assistance for families who choose a Catholic school education or other forms of non-government schooling.

Chairperson — Father Jeff Vomund

Curia resource agencies: Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation (lead agent), Catholic Education Office, Catholic Charities

Goal 4: Stewardship

To engage in proactive pastoral planning, stewardship education and development activities that seek to build up and strengthen parishes and schools for service to a growing Church that is Alive in Christ and that models good stewardship in all its temporal affairs.

Objective 1: Offer strategic planning and assistance in governance, leadership development, organizational management and financial planning to all pastors, school administrators and agency directors.

Objective 2: Establish a Catholic Foundation for the Archdiocese of St. Louis to coordinate archdiocesan fundraising and develop new endowment funds for tuition assistance and other priority needs. Plan and implement an archdiocesan-wide capital campaign for the benefit of individual parishes and schools (sensitive to diverse regional and cultural needs); increase significantly the archdiocesan funds available to support mission schools and parishes and schools with financial needs.

Objective 3: Increase the current education assessment for all parishes to provide additional funds for tuition assistance and grants to schools. Develop formulas and assessment policies that are fair and equitable but that provide the minimum funds necessary to stabilize the current system and allow for positive growth and change.

Objective 4: Review current tuition rates in elementary and high schools and provide pastors and school administrators with guidelines for establishing programs that gradually implement tuition charges based on the true “cost to educate” children in our schools and families’ ability to pay their proportionate share of their children’s education.

Objective 5: Use the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation to provide tuition assistance grants to families (based on demonstrated need) from any parish or school in the Archdiocese. Develop guidelines for application, analysis and awarding of tuition assistance grants.

Chairperson — Msgr. Greg Mikesch

Curia resource agencies: Office of Pastoral Planning (lead agent), Office of Stewardship and Development, Finance Office, Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, Catholic Education Office


goldberry said...

hmmm....Mission Schools?

Michael Bavlsik said...

Um... Catholic Social Thought, as espoused by the Compendium and the last few popes stresses SUBSIDIARITY along with solidarity and human dignity. I see collectivism in the works, despite the Compendium's ( and( Nearly) Blessed John Paul's) complete rejection of it.

Anonymous said...

To be very candid, I find the objectives listed under "Goal Three: Social Justice" insubstantial.

Anonymous said...

The proof will be in the pudding, as the old saying goes. With maybe a couple of notable exceptions, the document could have been and should have been written before this process took place - it is full of educational and religious buzzwords that could mean a lot of good, a lot of bad, or really nothing at all.

Some quick hits from an initial read:

- Social Justice gets its own goal. This is fine, I guess, but it is probably the one area in which the Catholic schools excel right now. You could argue that social justice permeates our Catholic schools to the detriment of other, also worthy goals, like catechesis and academic excellence. Also, this is not something that really sets Catholic schools apart from their public counterparts. Our public school encourages our kids to participate in social justice, too, and it's not like the causes there are any less Catholic than some of the causes that we have seen our friends in parochial schools asked to support (i.e. Komen Foundation, etc.).

- Marketing, marketing, marketing. It is mentioned as an objective under two different goals. Sigh. You have to have something to market first.

- Pilot Programs? Hmmmmmm, now this is interesting. Ideally, this will test such revolutionary ideas as having high academic standards for all students, accelerating curriculum for kids that need acceleration, actually teaching the catechism, and having a classical education that, at the elementary level, focuses first on getting kids to read and then putting that primary skill to good use by giving them good things to read that will carry the water in all subject areas. If it means piloting gimmicks (2 Smart Boards in Every Classroom!! Laptops! No More Textbooks!), then. . . meh.

- $$$$ - Now I will grant you that money is an issue, and effectively reducing tuition and making schools more available for those that want them should be a priority, but. . . just throwing money at problems is no solution, it is a crutch. Building bigger, newer, shinier buildings ignores the problem. And further subsidizing schools that are mediocre at catechesis and mediocre at academics will make the problem worse, not better.

Proud SLPS Parent

X said...

Children of orthodox Catholic families, of the single income variety, lacking affluent grandparents or similarly situated benevolent relatives, whose parents adhere to the dictates of the Faith thus resulting in large cumbersome families and small worn out bank accounts, need not apply, unless, of course, they are particularly adept at sinking a basketball, in which case they need not be even nominally Catholic.

goldberry said...

I am sitting at my computer nodding in agreement with many of the comments...wondering what in the world this will mean for the school in our parish...we have about 60 kids in K-8, the census of the school has decreased steadily over the past 10 years. We are in southern Jefferson County. Are we considered a poor parish? Are we a "Mission School"?

Also noticed under Goal 4, Objective 4 the phrase "cost to educate", which means tuition is going up. That should be interesting. My kids are smart but not athletic, we never seem to qualify for financial aid, we had 5 kids, 4 still at home. We lived out church teaching in our openness to life in our marriage and now it seems we will be penalized for it by our own Catholic school system.

Cathy D said...

As someone who has signed up a second child for Catholic hs in the archdiocese I would desperately like to see some help for middle class families who want to give their kids a Catholic education. Not many people, ourselves included, have an extra 20k in the family budget to afford this. We're hoping and praying for financial aid. If not, it's back to public schools for child #2.

Anonymous said...

I imagine that the special treatment social justice receives just means that Sisters in secular clothing belonging to those graying, post-Catholic Congregations belonging to the LCWR were on the committee or were somehow involved in the process. It means nothing more than that; I promise.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry so many people have problems with their parish schools in their areas. We are sending our 2 to Catholic school this fall in the St Louis Archdiocese (we live outside St. Louis however) and we had no problem speaking with our priest to get a tuition break for both children, who understands the value of our choice to have myself stay at home with the children full time and my husband works outside the home. Our school tuition is locked in for another 3 years. Our priest even told us that even if the Catholic education office gives us nothing (we submitted for assistance), he is always willing to work with families who want to send their children to the parish school and will make sure every child is taken care of. If it weren't for his understanding and kindness, my children would be attending public school next year, something I dreaded.

Anonymous said...

Is the archdiocese considering separately the goals of (1) a Catholic education affordable for all Catholic children in the archdiocese, regardless of income, and (2) providing education to non-Catholic lower income children as charitable endeavor of the archdiocese. How lousy is it when we see poor inner city kids in sharp uniforms and the orderliness of Catholic schools, but the average Catholic family sends their kids to public schools in jeans and t-shirts.

Is it fair for the Church to put the education of poor children above the Catholic education of Catholic children? Can we do both justly?

All the above presumes the authenticity and desirability of the religious formation to be had at Catholic schools. It sounds like the Abp. would like to ensure such authenticity.

Anonymous said...

Peggy said: "All the above presumes the authenticity and desirability of the religious formation to be had at Catholic schools. It sounds like the Abp. would like to ensure such authenticity."

No doubts here. All the evidence points to a renaissance of Catholicism in St. Louis. I mean, I expect nothing but pure Catholicism, high octane stuff. What do they call it, "vibrant Catholic identity?" Catholics of St. Louis, brace yourselves for a new springtime.


Anonymous said...

IF their parish school has survived Meitler Consultants and every other anti-Catholic force prowling around like a lion looking to devour Catholic schools, the "high octane real stuff" of Catholicism is available to Catholic school students once again now that just about every 1969-inspired LCWR nun in lay clothes has finally disappeared from our schools. Wow, waiting for the last of the rebellious-dissenting generation of secularized nuns to get out of the way was a slow and painful death. Now, in those schools that have survived the devastation of the past 40 years, we can get back to the business of running real Catholic schools within those hallowed halls.

Anonymous said...

The news is good, but the victory is not yet final. Those LCWR, vapid dinosaur nuns aren't all dead yet, and the last ones remaining often hold positions at diocesan offices or teaching in schools of theology!

Anonymous said...

The unfaithful nuns in lay clothes may not all be dead yet or out of the way, but the victory is assured because they have been adequately discredited through the Sisters' Apostolic Visitation and the LCWR doctrinal assessment. The finished product doesn't really matter. Even this new vapid hothead, Archbishgop Tobin, who has publicly tried to minimize the message of the Visitation, cannot ruin it. These two events have already compromised the reputations of the liberalized, secularized convents and are undoing their nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I hear from Roman sourdces that word on the street there is that Archbishop Tobin has been called in TWICE already to be told to keep his mouth shut, following public statements he has made that could be interpreted as criticisms of the Sisters' Apostolic Visiation.

The Vatican intervention into the post-Christian and anti-Catholic attitudes that seem to characterize many, many, many LCWR-type nuns wearing lay women's clothing, being far too little too late as it is, certainly doesn't need new, untested prelates attacking its efforts. I make the observation that the Redemptorists, over whom Archbishop Tobin was Superior General prior to his epioscopal appointment, don't seem to look, act or think at all different from any LCWR group of nuns anyway; only the gender is different. That's his credential.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a priest serving in Rome also told me that everyone there believes the report about Archbishop Tobin's already being called in twice and told to "shut his mouth" about the Sisters' Visitation since he has spoken about it critically to the press (and in this case the "press" means the NCR of all things! Sheesh!) We now have an archbishop in Rome reporting to the NCR!