Educating in the Faith: Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

“[W]hat would it matter to children to know how to read, write, calculate, or draw, or to learn a couple of ideas on history, geography, geometry, physics, and chemistry, if they are unaware of their duties to God, to others, and to society?”

Blessed Basil Moreau, from his 1856 treatise Christian Education

Happy Catholic Schools Week to all of our Holy Cross educators in the faith, whether professed religious or lay collaborators! We are blessed by your vocational call to educate both the mind and the heart, a vocational call shared by thousands of educators at Holy Cross Missions in 16 countries.

It’s easy to point to education of the mind: graduation rates, accreditation reports, standardized testing, high school or college admissions, literacy rates, etc. By these standards, Holy Cross schools in our Mission territories are certainly exceptional. This is why in Uganda, Judith Alicwamu, a student a St. Joseph’s Hill Senior Secondary School, walked 5 miles a day to get her Holy Cross education, which will propel her into law school in the coming years.

But the education of the heart can be tougher to pinpoint. Take Judith, for example. In addition to her academic success, she also serves as the chairperson of the school choir and of justice and peace initiatives. There are no metrics for the joy she returns to Christ through her singing, and no reliable ways to predict how her advocacy for justice and peace will show up in her vocational life as a lawyer, wife, mother, citizen, parishioner, or neighbor. Will these opportunities help Judith live out the Beatitudes? How many works of mercy will she perform because of the education she is receiving at a Holy Cross school? What tenderhearted prayers will she utter and what selfless action will she take when she witnesses injustice? We do not know the answers. We simply trust that Christ is at work in the education of Judith’s heart.

A Holy Cross education transforms lives in Jinja, Uganda, and Santiago, Chile, just as it does in South Bend, Indiana, and Goodyear, Arizona. To all those who build classroom communities that form the mind and heart, we at the Holy Cross Mission Center say thank you!

Originally Published: January 26, 2023

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