Bishop O’Connell: Catholic schools need strong ‘identity and mission’
By Michelle Bauman
Bishop David M. O’Connell of Trenton, N.J.
Bishop David M. O’Connell of Trenton, N.J.

.- Catholic schools must maintain a strong Catholic identity and mission if they are to help young people understand how to access truth in their lives, said Bishop David M. O’Connell of Trenton, N.J. on Oct. 3.

“The idea of Catholic identity is very simple,” he said. “A Catholic school derives its identity from Jesus Christ, from the Gospels, from the Church and its teachings – all of its teachings.”

Bishop O’Connell was the keynote speaker at a conference on “The Catholic Identity of Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools” at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

The invitational conference was sponsored by the Catholic University of America and St. John’s University.

Bishop O’Connell, who served as the president of Catholic University from 1998 to 2010, explained to his audience that identity and mission are two critical elements of Catholic education.

“Catholic education is not simply about values.”

Rather, it is about a vision that comes from Jesus Christ, he explained. This vision presents a different way of looking at the world.

It is up to Catholic educators to present this vision with passion, he said. “It’s how we do it that can make all the difference in the world.”

The bishop explained that the mission of evangelization is not one that is carried out simply in the classroom, but also in the everyday lives of the educators.

If teachers are successful in presenting the Catholic vision with a strong passion, they will not merely pass on information, but will change lives, he said.

Bishop O’Connell acknowledged that Catholic schools today face challenges in enrollment, staffing and finances.

He explained that these obstacles must be overcome with a strong sense of mission that flows from a clearly-understood Catholic identity.

Part of every Catholic school’s “call to excellence” is a call to be firmly rooted in Christ, the bishop explained.

“Our Catholic identity is who and what we are,” he said.

Bishop O’Connell also emphasized the role of administrators in Catholic education.

“It is the administrator in the Catholic school that must lead the charge,” he said.

In order to do this, administrators must understand and commit themselves to the idea of Catholic identity, he explained.

The bishop encouraged the conference participants to act as leaders in the field of Catholic education, striving for excellence and encouraging others to do the same.

“You are the leadership of Catholic education in our country,” he said.

He urged them to carry out their work with a “special zeal” that is authentic and courageous, while never being apologetic or ashamed of their faith.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: