During Year of Family Pope Francis asks faithful to reflect on moving ‘towards a better education of children’

By David Cooley.

The seventh chapter of Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia — On Love in the Family” is entitled “Towards a Better Education of Children.” In that segment the Holy Father explores in great detail how adults — especially parents, but also teachers and other role models — influence the moral development of children. Young members of society observe and imitate their older family members, teachers and principals perhaps more than we might like to think. So, whether at home or in a school setting, we must realize that we are all responsible for not only forming young minds but also shaping healthy consciences. We are all parental figures “fostering good habits and a natural inclination to goodness” in our young people (see AL, nn. 263-264).

Parents or guardians are always the primary educators of their children, however, they very often rely on schools and extracurricular activities to ensure the complete basic formation of their children. In school the lessons that are learned at home are validated. “The family is the primary setting for socialization, since it is where we first learn to relate to others, to listen and share, to be patient and show respect, to help one another and live as one. The task of education is to make us sense that the world and society are also our home; it trains us how to live together in this greater home,” writes Pope Francis (AL, n. 276).

Kendra McGuire, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Covington, faces the multifaceted challenges of working toward a better education of children, both as a mother of six and as an administrator. Her first priority in both of these roles is provide the children in her care with the opportunities to become who they were created to be and to, ultimately, get to heaven. She agrees with Bishop Roger Foys that the primary reason for a Catholic school system is to pass on the faith to the next generation, and that is her approach when partnering with principals and teachers.

“One of the things that our schools have to do is make sure that our faith is not just another subject,” Mrs. McGuire said. “Faith has to permeate through everything we do because in order for people to really be engaged in the faith they have to see how it relates to every aspect of life.”

Mrs. McGuire said that all teachers in a Catholic school, no matter what subject they teach officially, are religion teachers because they are role models, standing in the place of Christ and teaching through their interactions and how they respond to questions and situations.

“Even in a math class or a science class, things will come up that pertain to the faith and the teachers need to be ready with an appropriate Christian response.” And, she said, that it is important for them not to miss the many teachable moments that come up during a school day, because those are the lessons that sometimes children remember most.

From a practical standpoint, Mrs. McGuire knows that schools carry a large load of academic responsibilities and they can only do so much. While schools should be reiterating the good things that children learn in home, parents and caregivers must also echo the Gospel message in the home.

“That’s a big challenge,” she said. “How do you help what the children learn in school to carry over into their home?”

Mrs. McGuire said that everything should start with prayer.

“As parents, we have to continue to make sure that children understand how important our faith is. One big thing that families need to do is pray together,” said Mrs. McGuire. “Start the day with prayer, pray before meals, before bed; this helps children stay centered and recognize that they are called to give their entire day to God. Families need to make Mass a priority and understand that Sunday is a day to focus on God and your family.”

 

 

In her own family, Mrs. McGuire makes sure that they all participate in activities together at the parish, such as Stations of the Cross or other ministries. During Advent they light an Advent wreath at their dinner table.

“Any time we can be together with the larger faith community, we try to do that. And, any time we can bring the faith into the house, we try to do that,” she said.

Her husband, Adam, said that faith is the number one priority in their house and guides all of their activities and decisions.

“We pray as a family before we travel and we try to bring the faith into the difficulties and challenges that the children face in life,” Mr. McGuire said.

Mr. McGuire is a police officer, so they both have demanding careers and often find themselves working on different shifts. They depend on each other as a team.

“We are not always home together, but we trust each other and count on each other to take care of things while we are away,” said Mr. McGuire. “That being said, we try to do as much together as possible. We always try to make time for family. We like to hang out outside, play sports and go boating.”

Even though they both work, Mr. and Mrs. McGuire each coach soccer and encourage their children to get involved in activities as much as possible.

Mr. McGuire said that he is very proud of his wife as the superintendent, and he is impressed with the way she leads the schools in the Diocese of Covington. “I’ve always known she was destined for great things. She is very faith-based and education is very important to her,” he said.

When challenged to consider concrete ways teachers can keep their students interested in the faith, Mrs. McGuire didn’t hesitate.

“There are teachers who have started religious clubs. Many of our schools have clubs — like a chess club or sports club — but some have a rosary club, for example. These are ways we can demonstrate to our students that our faith should be an enjoyable part of their lives,” she said.

“We encouraged our classrooms to have a place dedicated to the faith. They might have a prayer corner with books, statues and pictures; things that draw your attention and keep you focused on Christ.”

Mrs. McGuire said that learning to spend quiet time during Eucharistic adoration or journaling can also be very beneficial to young people.

“Students also have busy lives; we need to give them opportunities to have quiet time in order to listen to God,” she said. “Read Scripture out loud and then take time to reflect on or write about it.”

In his concluding section of “Amoris Laetitia,” entitled “Passing on the Faith,” Pope Francis writes, “Handing on the faith presumes that parents [and teachers] themselves genuinely trust God, seek him and sense their need for him, for only in this way does ‘one generation laud your works to another, and declare your mighty acts’ (Ps 144:4) and ‘fathers make known to children your faithfulness’ (Is 38:19).”

David Cooley is the co-director and office manager of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization in the Diocese of Covington.

Principal – St. Edward School

St. Edward School (www.stedwardky.org) in Cynthiana, KY will be conducting a search for a new principal for the 2022-23 school year. St. Edward is a traditionally-graded school program educating students in grades K-5. The school is fully accredited, and certified by the state of Kentucky. Candidates must be practicing Roman Catholics in good standing with the Church. To begin the application process later this fall, send a letter of interest along with a comprehensive resume, including compensation history, and at least five references with contact email addresses by email or fax to Stephen Koplyay, [email protected]. fax 859-392-1589.

 

Middle school Youth Ministry Program Coordinator (Part-time) – Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish is seeking a leader to coordinate our EDGE, a middle-school youth ministry program.  EDGE meets bi-monthly on Mondays from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, September thru April, in conjunction with the middle school religious education program.  This is a part-time position (12 hours monthly) with work mainly in the evenings.

 

Preferred qualifications of the desired candidate include prior experience in Catholic youth ministry and an undergraduate degree (or enrollment in a degree program).

 

If interested, please contact Amy Malventano, RAP coordinator, or Sr. Armella, Director of Religious Education:  [email protected] or call 859-689-5010 ext 263.

 

Administrative Assistant – Stewardship and Mission Services

The Diocese of Covington’s Stewardship and Mission Services office has an immediate full time opening. This office is responsible for stewardship formation and education; research and planning; development of Diocese-wide support for parishes, ministries, and schools in areas of programs; and business and fund development. The Administrative Assistant supports the work of the Director, and works collaboratively with two other members of a tight-knit team. Candidates must be practicing Roman Catholics with good skills in MS Office software, and the multi-tasking environment also requires good organizational ability and a very professional manner. Send a comprehensive resume, along with a cover letter including compensation history, and at least three references with contact email addresses by email or by fax to Stephen Koplyay, [email protected], fax 859-392-1589.

 

 

Theology Teacher – Sacred Heart Academy

Sacred Heart Academy is seeking a full-time Theology teacher effective immediately.  Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls Catholic High School, is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering both the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), SHA provides a global education for every student in every classroom. The IB framework for teaching and learning is research-based, relevant and real-world.

 

Sacred Heart Schools offers a comprehensive benefits package to employees working at least 30 hours per week, which includes a 50% tuition discount at all four campus schools.  Sacred Heart Schools is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

Practicing Catholic who is passionate about Catholic education.  Master’s Degree and experience in teaching preferred.  Teaching certification required.

 

Salary commensurate with education and experience

 

Submit letter of interest and resume to [email protected]

 

Sacred Heart Schools is sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.

 

School Cafeteria Managers

The School Food Services Office of the Diocese of Covington Department of Catholic Schools has an immediate need for candidates for School Cafeteria Manager positions at Blessed Sacrament School in Ft. Mitchell and St. Cecilia School in Independence. Each position is full-time, thirty hours per week, during the school year. Primary responsibilities involve overall supervision of the School’s meals program, including: managing employees; ordering, receiving, and managing inventory; preparing and serving meals; operating the point-of-sale system; and interacting with school staff, students, and their parents. Organizational and interpersonal skills are essential to this position. Interested individuals may email or call Mrs. Jackie Kaiser, [email protected], 859-392-1536.

 

After School Program Assistant – St. Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena School in Ft. Thomas Kentucky is hiring an after school program assistant. The assistant works 1-3 days per week from 2:30-5:30. The starting pay is $13.75/hr. Please contact Mike Jacks at 859-572-2680 if interested.

SUMMIT21 – Eucharistic Retreat

By David Cooley.

For 15 years young people in the Diocese of Covington have been able to discover or rediscover their zeal for the Catholic faith at an annual three-day retreat centered on the Eucharist. As the diocese enters a new era, this retreat, formerly called YOUTH 2000, is being rebranded and will be known this year as SUMMIT21. While there will be some differences, one thing will certainly remain the same —participants can expect a unique opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ in a powerful way in the Eucharist.

SUMMIT21 will be held this year Oct. 8–10 at Notre Dame Academy. The diocesan-wide retreat will include daily Mass, the rosary, confession, Eucharistic adoration and dynamic catechesis presented by the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal and diocesan clergy and lay adults. There will also be live music, lay testimonials as well as great food, snacks and social time.

The event runs on Friday, 6:30–10:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; and Sunday 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. On Saturday participants can ask questions to a select panel of clergy and laity. The panelists come well prepared to explain Church teaching on matters large and small — especially on tough issues of faith and morals — with clarity, charity and wit.

Young people growing up in today’s world have a lot to deal with. If you are someone like me, who grew up without the internet, social media, cell phones, on-demand programing, a 24-hour news cycle and a culture hostile to traditional values, it’s hard for us to imagine.

All of this has certainly taken its toll on all of us, but especially our youth. Studies show that, by all accounts, the mental health of youth in the United States (and globally) is worsening. The modern world, with its secular, materialistic landscape is not offering people much in the way of meaning, direction and purpose. Ours is a world of broken dreams, disorder and division. There is not much out there that one can hold onto consistently. More than anything else there is a great hunger for community, beauty and truth.

It is important for all people to be able to center themselves and stay grounded in what really matters. As Catholics, we know that we can only find peace if our lives are centered on Jesus Christ. We find purpose and meaning only when we make of gift of ourselves in service to the Church and to others.

Why SUMMIT21? A summit is the highest point of a hill or mountain, the highest peak you can reach. Providentially, it is also a gathering, a meeting of important people coming together for a particular cause. This retreat, because it is a gathering of God’s people and centered on the Eucharist, can be defined as both. Add the year — 2021 — and you have the name.

The Church tells us that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian life.” This means that, first, our Christian life — the good, the true and the beautiful — flows from the Eucharist. And second, the Eucharist is the summit or high-point to which all of our actions should ultimately be directed. In the Blessed Sacrament Christ is truly Emmanuel — “God with us” — giving us the grace we need to reach that peak we are destined for.

Just as the first disciples were called to come down from the mountain and go out to be salt of the earth and light for the world. Those who meet Christ in the Eucharist — those who attend SUMMIT21 — are also called to mission: to go out, spread the good news and bring healing to those in need. The Eucharist is both the source of our strength and the summit of our desires. Our Christian spirituality is a two-way street. It leads us from the Eucharist as a starting point out into the world of daily life and it eventually takes us back home to the Eucharist after our sojourn in the world.

Regarding the Eucharist, St. Pope Paul VI once wrote, “He is in the midst of us day and night; he dwells in us with the fullness of grace and truth. He raises the level of morals, fosters virtue, comforts the sorrowful, strengthens the weak and stirs up all those who draw near to him to imitate him, so that they may learn from his example to be meek and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interests but those of God.”

Come discover what SUMMIT21 is all about. Register Here.

David Cooley is co-director and office manager of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.

Changing the world — It’s a family thing

By Brad Torline.

Salvation came into the world through a family.

Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit before she was married. When St. Joseph discovered what had happened, the two of them almost separated — but God intervened, telling St. Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. (Matt 1:18-20)

Why did God do this?

I believe he kept them together because he wanted to enter the world through a family.

In a way, he still wants to enter the world through a family, but this time, through your family.

Every single one of us is called to encounter Christ, to be transformed by him, and to aid him in his work to restore all things. For most of us that will be accomplished in and through our everyday life as a family.

If you are married the primary way God is calling you to cooperate with him in the salvation of the world is through your relationship with your spouse and through your family life.

Many of us are troubled by the state of the world and the culture. Many of us want to do something about the direction our country is headed.

Our good intention — our desire to change the world for the better — often leads us straight into a trap, all-to-often set by the evil one. Worried by large scale problems, we become distracted from or even despair of the “little” role we have been called to play.

We spend all of our time watching the national news, scrolling through social media, arguing online with people we barely know, inventing grandiose plans in our mind for how the world would better if everyone just did this or that.

In the meantime we become distracted from the primary way we could actually be helping the world most — by bettering ourselves and loving those closest to us.

The situation can seem so big, so daunting, so big-scale, that we think playing our small role is useless.

It is not. Priests and religious all across the world are required, as part of their daily prayer, to pray the Magnificat, the beautiful, earth shattering words of Mary: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant … he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.”

God saves the world through “small” people doing “small things” faithfully, every day. For him that’s the name of the game — taking the “ordinary” and doing extraordinary things with it.

So don’t let the devil distract you from the so-called “small” role you have to play. None of us are small. God is using all of us to transform the world in himself.

Rededicate yourself today to living your “ordinary” life, extraordinarily. Pray today. Go to confession this week. Name your sins. Repent of them. Become better.

Cancel that meeting. Go on a date with your spouse, ask them how they are doing, how you can love them better.

Make time for your kids. Talk to them about God. Go to Mass this Sunday as a family.

If you need ideas for small ways to start integrating the faith better into your family life visit CovDio.Org/Family.

Just like Mary and Joseph, if you play your “small” part faithfully, Christ will enter the world through your family and will shake the foundations of everything and make a better future for everyone through your life.

Remember the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

Brad Torline is associate director for the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization, Diocese of Covington, Ky.

Long-term Substitute Teacher – Bishop Brossart High School

Bishop Brossart High School is seeking a long-term substitute teacher beginning on October 18 and lasting until mid/late November for a teacher who will be on maternity leave.  The position is an 11th/12th English position.  Interested candidates should contact principal, Chris Holtz at [email protected]