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Catholic Schools: Steeped in a Catholic Worldview

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

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Catholic Schools:  Steeped in a Catholic Worldview

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like, as a world community, we’ve almost exhausted not only our intellectual, emotional, and physical capacity to deal with this crisis, but also our verbal ability to describe it.  Words like extraordinary . . . unprecedented . . . critical . . . uncharted . . . seem inadequate in the face of the very real infection and death statistics we see on our screens every day. 


We enter this Holy Week having experienced a Lent like we’ve never known before.  And we know that we’ll be continuing to walk the journey of suffering with the Christ we see in our brothers and sisters around the world, in our neighborhoods, and in our school communities long after this week is over. 


One of the Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools, integral to the Catholic School Standards Project, from which the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools emanate, is Steeped in a Catholic Worldview.  This characteristic refers to the essential responsibility of Catholic schools to provide students with the knowledge, dispositions, and skills they need to view global issues, precisely like this current pandemic, from the perspective of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teachings.  “All curriculum and instruction in our schools should foster the desire to seek wisdom and truth, the preference for social justice, the discipline to become self-learners, the capacity to recognize ethical and moral grounding for behavior, and the responsibility to transform and enrich the world with Gospel values.” [1]

Put simply, we form our students as disciples by teaching them to ask always and in all ways: “What would Jesus do?” and, “Why would He do it?”

Viewed from the perspective of discipleship which is the foundational Catholic worldview for our schools, the current crisis has the potential to be, in addition to the descriptors identified above, transformative in both its challenges and its impact.  The Holy Week mysteries of fear, dread, agony, and death are being lived out before us every day, but Easter will arrive—both liturgically and whenever this long and isolating Lent comes to its gradual end—and we pray that we, along with our world, will be resurrected in spirit and permanently, positively changed.

As leaders, teachers, and staff members of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee steeped in a Catholic worldview, let us, together in Christ, reflect on the following:

  • “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house….”         1 Peter 2:5

What insights into Catholic education as a “community beyond walls” have we gained from connecting with staff, students, and families during these past weeks that will influence our future approaches to leading, teaching, and interacting?


  • “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”  Matt. 25:40

As school communities and as individuals, how will we continue to explore fresh, creative, and effective ways to provide for the needs of those who are the least among us?


  • “Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, persevere in prayer.”  Rom. 12:12

What new and continuing approaches have we taken to integrate prayer into our own lives and into the experiences of our students and their families?


  • “…Let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  I Cor. 5:7-8

How is the impact of COVID-19’s isolation, suffering, and outreach transforming, not just our actions, but our hearts?

[1] J. Michael Miller, C.S.B, The Holy See’s Teachings on Catholic Schools, 2006, pp. 43 – 45, 52.


Have a blessed Easter season!


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

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