Catholic Schools and Mission Month
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Catholic Schools and Mission Month

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

 
October 2011

“Catholic Schools and Mission Month”

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have historically been committed to educating students about global issues and, specifically, to furthering the mission of the Church in countries other than our own. Throughout my own grade school years, for example, we read “Our Little Messenger” on Fridays and learned about the ways in which our Church was extended into different lands and served peoples of varying cultures. Each Lenten season found us saving and contributing our nickels to help missionaries who would baptize “pagan babies” in foreign lands, and in seventh and eighth grade we organized a “Mission Club” to formalize our global outreach efforts. Small as these practices may now seem, they remind me that the concepts of evangelization and world-wide solidarity, emphasized today as Catholic teachings in our schools, are not new.

October is Mission Month. For the past six months, the World Mission Ministries Office (WMM) of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been developing a network of mission educators in our Catholic schools. To date, about 50 schools have designated a mission contact, or mission educator, to serve as a liaison with the WMM Office and to share mission resources, ideas, and events with their school staffs. I strongly encourage all schools to join in this important effort by contacting Elizabeth Howayeck in the World Mission Ministries Office at howayecke@archmil.org.

Commendably, a small group of current and former Catholic teachers and Directors of Religious Education have created an up-to-date mission curriculum with monthly lesson plans for all grade levels. This year’s theme, Mission Respects the Sacred Web of Life, contains monthly topics within that theme. The group of mission educators who developed this year’s curriculum includes Richard Mason (Principal, Holy Wisdom Academy), Sr. Mary Kemen (Teacher, Holy Wisdom Academy), Denise Murre (DRE, St. Mary and St. Peter, Port Washington), Nicole Fastabend (DRE, St. Catherine of Alexandria), LeAnn Rogan (Former Teacher, St. Mary, Kenosha), McKenna Rogan (Student, St. Catherine High School), Sandy Milligan (Catechist, St. Anne, Pleasant Prairie) and Elizabeth Howayeck (World Mission Ministries Office). Mission educators in each school will be enthusiastic distributors and promoters of this curriculum.

In addition, this year our schools will be celebrating their first officially designated Mission Week, from October 17 – 21, as part of Mission Month. All schools are urged to develop their own activities and projects to commemorate the week or to access ideas and resources from the monthly issues of “Mission in Motion.” Elizabeth Howayeck is always eager to assist schools by visiting, consulting, or providing presentations to meet local needs.

Central to our Catholic faith is our belief that we who are baptized are called to “make disciples of all nations…,” teaching them to fulfill what has been commanded to us. We also remember, however, that we do not work alone. “I am with you always, even to the end of time.” (Matthew 28:20)

May Mission Month be filled with many opportunities for us to grow in awareness of our role in the Church’s mission of evangelization.

Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

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