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Catholic Schools: Evangelizing with the Church

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

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Catholic Schools:   Evangelizing with the Church

Last month, in sharing my 2019 – 2020 Leadership Vision for the elementary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I indicated that this year we would be focusing—as a widespread Catholic educational community of 102 schools throughout the archdiocese—on the characteristics that define the essence of our identity as Catholic schools.  These characteristics have been derived from The Catholic Schools Standards Project: 

Our first point of reflection will be the important place that Catholic schools hold and have always held in the evangelizing mission of the Church.  Each school, whether elementary or secondary, is an ecclesiastical entity embodying the integration of faith, culture, and life in communion with the local bishop (The Catholic School, 44).  Catholic schools, established by the expressed authority of the bishop and holding a formal and defined relationship to him, are “genuine and proper instruments of the Church, places of authentic apostolate and pastoral action—not through complementary or parallel extracurricular activity, but of its very nature:  its work of educating the Christian person” (Code of Canon Law, Canon 803 #1, 2, 3; The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 33). 


All Catholic schools find their “true justification in the mission of the Church; through [them,] the local Church evangelizes, educates, and contributes to the formation of a healthy and morally sound lifestyle among its members” (Ibid, 34). 


In the Catholic school, furthermore, “there is no separation between time for learning and time for formation, between acquiring [ideas] and growing in wisdom.” Curriculum is not only about the acquisition of knowledge, but also about the appropriation of values and the discovery of truth (The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, 34). 

In light of our vital role in the teaching and evangelizing mission of the Church, I respectfully request that all Catholic schools in the archdiocese take measures to reflect on the following:

  • How could we, as a school community of students, teachers, leaders, staff members, and parents, increase our awareness of and commitment to the Universal Church, as well as the local church (es) and parish (es) to which our schools belong?

  • How might we, as individual members of the Church, participate more actively in our own parish / church communities and urge our students and families to do the same?
  • In what ways do we welcome, teach, and reach out in faith to those in our school communities who are not Catholic?

  • How might we take steps to consciously shift our thinking toward the formation, not only the teaching of students?


Have a blessed autumn season!


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

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