If you read the press release then you already know that I attended a Catholic elementary school, a Catholic high school, a Catholic university and a Catholic graduate school. It seems obvious that Catholic education and my Catholic identity are important to me.
That identity was forged in the pews of St. Peter and St. Paul parish where Fr. Pat O’Keefe delivered soaring sermons seemingly always directed at me. In middle school Sister Mary Olga spent as much time trying to perfect my soul as she did my grammar and in high school it was Fr. Patrick Travers who made sure that Damien High School left its mark on my heart.
Having JSerra Catholic High School offer the experience of having priests and nuns on campus was integral to our decision to send our children here. We wanted them to have the same opportunity I did to develop their Catholic identity and with weekly mass, retreats and an active Campus Ministry department we knew they would.
Catholic identity is the integration of the ideals of Catholicism into all that we do; spiritually, academically, administratively and athletically.
The Catholic tradition of reconciling faith and reason reaches back to St. Thomas Aquinas and informs our academic strategy today. A strong Catholic identity is not a burden on our non-Catholic parent and student population.
In fact, I think most find it inspiring and assuring that we will be reinforcing the values they teach in their Christian homes. When I encounter a knowledgeable and devout Jewish person, I feel challenged to learn as much about my religion. When a Christian friend quotes chapter and verse to illustrate a point, I am motivated to further my study of scripture.
Pope John Paul II wrote “The Catholic Church embraces with hope the commitment to ecumenism as a duty of the Christian conscience enlightened by faith and guided by love, Jesus himself, at the hour of his passion, prayed ‘that they may all be one,’ (John 17:21).
Therefore, join me in embracing and celebrating JSerra’s commitment to a strong Catholic identity.