Catholic schools must teach students about Catholic heroes, especially in the current social climate, characterized by sexual immorality and an eroded public trust in the Church, said Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley in his address to the convention of the National Catholic Educational Association yesterday.
The four-day annual convention is expected to draw 14,000 delegates to Boston from across the United States.
In his address, Archbishop O'Malley said the faith of young Catholics is being challenged by the cynicism brought about by the sex-abuse scandal in the Church.
"We need to remind people that we have always been saints and sinners in the Church,” said the archbishop of Boston, according to the Associated Press. “We have our success and our failures, but the saints are the success stories our young people need to know."
Celebrities, who often lead lives that are superficial, self-absorbed and chaotic, have become the role models for young people, noted the archbishop.
“Young people today need to hear about the saints and heroes," such as Dorothy Day, who converted to Catholicism and co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, said the archbishop.
Parents must also be better role models for their children, attend mass regularly and more boldly proclaim their beliefs on "human rights, the gospel of life, sexual morality and social justice," he added.
While Boston ranks eighth among U.S. dioceses in Catholic school enrollment – it has 55,000 students – the archbishop will reportedly announce parish and school closings next month, due to changing demographics, the struggling economy and decreased giving.
At the convention, lay Catholic Peter Lynch, founder of the Catholic Schools Foundation and vice chairman of Fidelity Management & Research Co., was conferred the Catherine T. McNamee Award. He was recognized for having created an inner-city scholarship fund and for having raised more than $50 million for Boston’s Catholic schools in the past 14 years.