Baccalaureate Mass 2018

Presented by Superintendent Holly Goodwin to the Diocese of Colorado Springs Catholic Schools Class of 2018

following student reflections on UCSDCS Catholic schools.

Baccalaureate Mass

May 17, 2018

 

Thank you students for sharing your thoughts, memories and experiences about your Catholic schools. You said all the right things, and what we hoped to hear.  Your parents and those of us who serve in the Catholic schools made a difference in your spiritual formation and academic knowledge! That you are grateful and feel prepared for the next steps on your journey validate our mission and responsibility.

Now, take a minute and look or think about each member in your class. Know that if your class is “typical” of the research being done on your generation, by the time you become young adults - 8 years from now - 65% of your class will no longer be practicing their faith. You are the first generation to grow up in America in what is being called a “post-Christian era.” What does that mean?  That means for the first time in the history of America, the majority of Americans no longer believe in Christ, and the majority of Americans do not practice any faith.

Will you be in that 65% or in the 35% still practicing your faith?  Will your high school graduation speeches reflect the same joy you found in starting each day with prayer, with attending Mass together as a class or family, spending time in Adoration? Will you still consider service projects part of your best memories?  It won’t be valued that you are active in your parish or that you miss a sports game because you are going to Mass. College professors will challenge you to prove there is a God. Classes will discuss creation, but not a creator. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth.”

Parents - Interviews were done with those young adults who remained Catholic and stayed active in their faith. The one thing they had in common was that they came from families who valued and practiced the faith. They didn’t just go to Mass on Sunday. They discussed the Gospel readings as a family and applied the message to daily challenges. They prayed as a family daily. They discussed world issues through a Catholic lens. They had family faith traditions. The faith didn’t just happen on Sunday for an hour. Praying the Rosary together once a week or a decade each night, blessing their children before they went on a date, and family Advent services were part of their family culture.

Childhood is ending for your graduate. They are becoming the person they will be for the rest of their time here on earth.  The world will be telling them what is cool, what to believe, what should take priority in their lives. Will those decisions be centered on faith? Will they still have the ultimate goal of getting to heaven?  Do they see in your words and actions that is still your goal?  And that it makes a difference in how you act or react? You have four years left before they will be out on their own making their own decisions. Don’t waste those years. Talk about the readings at Mass and pray together as a family. If you don’t have family faith traditions, create them.

Graduates - Your teachers, priests, and all who serve in your Catholic school have been honored and feel blessed to have been a part of your faith journey these past few years. We hope that together, with your parents, you have experienced adults who believe in Christ, find joy in following Him and have a goal of getting to heaven, which guides the way we act and think.

I quote Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The Lord plans for you to be among that 35% and convert the 65%. He plans to be with you in eternity. 

Remember that you are an important part of God’s wonderful plan. You were given the gift of a Catholic education! Now, go make a difference Class of 2018! 

God Bless You

 

Catholic School Teachers as Ministers

"As plans are made to celebrate another Catholic Schools Week, I want to thank all those who sacrifice and serve in our Catholic schools.

Teaching in a Catholic school is a ministry, and all who serve in our schools are teachers. The most important job of those who serve in a Catholic school is to help evangelize students. Through words and actions, they partner with parents to form students into disciples of Christ. On the playground, in the halls or classrooms, situations occur, questions are asked, comments are made and those who serve in Catholic schools view these events as opportunities to help draw students closer to Christ. That is the mission of our Catholic schools!

Through the priests, religious, principals and teachers in the classrooms, the students learn that doing their best academically is about more than getting a good grade, scholarship or acceptance into a great school. They are taught to do their best because they were created by God for a purpose. They are taught the truth, challenged to discover God’s plan for themselves, and are equipped to evangelize in a world that desperately needs them.

Students are taught to respect and take care of the school by the actions of those who do the maintenance in the school. They are taught to understand their responsibility to honor those who sacrificed to build the building and make sure the building is in good shape for those who will come after them. Through the efforts of those who work in the cafeteria, they learn not to waste and to realize how blessed they are to live in a country where food is readily available for them. They are taught how to be good stewards. Those who serve in the office, answer the phones, greet the parents, and take care of the sick children, embody the scripture, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord . . . ” (Col. 3:23). Every interaction and communication not only completes a task but provides an opportunity for formation.

Those who serve in the parishes where the Catholic schools are located are often present in the schools and serve as role models of faith. Students are taught their Catholic school education is a gift that is being provided through the sacrifice and support of their parents, parish and the entire Catholic community of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. They are taught to show gratitude for all who make this gift possible.

Everyday actions that happen in all schools across America are responded to differently by those who serve in Catholic schools. The lessons, explanations, corrections, and actions are all intentionally tied back to our faith. At the entrance of one of our Catholic schools, there is a picture of Christ that says, “This Master Teacher Has Been Part of Our Faculty for Years!” Those who serve in our Catholic schools are carrying on the teaching ministry of Christ, passed on to us through centuries by the disciples, saints, religious and all the Catholic school teachers who have dedicated their lives to serving in our Catholic schools. They not only do a great job, they share the Good News and evangelize the hearts of the students.

THANK YOU for all your hard work, sacrifice and efforts to form the future of the Catholic Church one student at a time."

By Holly Goodwin, Superintendent of Catholic Education, Diocese of Colorado Springs
SPECIAL TO THE COLORADO CATHOLIC HERALD, JANUARY 15, 2016

As We Close Another School Year

 

Dear Partners,

As we round the corner to prepare for the close of another school year I would like to thank the Principals, Teachers, Staff and each and every Family and Student for their personal efforts and sacrifices. Enrolling in a Catholic school requires the investment of a family’s time, talent and treasure. Our schools work very hard to be worthy of that investment and to help you educate and form your child.

A few years ago the NCEA talked with some Catholic school children to find out what they had learned that year in school. They turned the children’s advice into notecards. The words from the students exemplify what our schools are about. The front of the note cards stated, “What I learned in Kindergarten, 1st Grade……8th Grade.

“Teach other people about God. ∞ Reading is good for your brain. ∞ If someone falls, ask him or her “Are you okay?” ∞ Do your best and God will do the rest. ∞ If you think someone could use a friend… be one. ∞ Religion is in everything. ∞ Finding the area of a 3D shape can be challenging. ∞ Science matches with religion. ∞ Making good decisions may require prayer. ∞ Being a good leader is challenging. ∞ Serving others brings happiness. ∞ Reading a good book can help you learn how to live your life. ∞ Making things helps me learn. ∞ My gifts were given to me by God for a purpose. I can make a difference! ∞ Quiet, peaceful moments with God can go a long way!

“Out of the mouths of babes….” Our Catholic schools form the heart, mind, and soul of each student. Catholic schools are worth the sacrifice. Thank you for being such great partners in this most holy endeavor.

God Bless,

Holly Goodwin

Superintendent of Catholic Education

National Catholic Standards and Benchmark and our Strategic Plan

Be it known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school. 

He is the unseen but ever present teacher in these classrooms. 

He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.”  

 

The statement above graces the entrance of so many Catholic schools and can now be judged through a series of National Catholic Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) developed in March 2012 by the University of Loyola Center for Catholic School Effectiveness.  The standards themselves serve to ensure that “From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illuminated by the light of faith and having its own unique characteristics, an environment permeated with the Gospel spirit of love and freedom.” (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, #25)

The NSBECS are based on Church teachings, best practices, and a commitment to the future of Catholic education in the United States. The standards speak of Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality. Please visit http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/ to review the nine characteristics that define the Catholic identity of Catholics schools, the platform on which the standards and benchmarks are based. Also available on the website for your review are the 13 Standards, which describe the policies, programs, processes and structures that should be present in an effective, well-managed Catholic school. The 70 Benchmarks are measurable descriptors for the 13 Standards.

I bring your attention to the NSBECS as a resource to help understand our Mission and Vision for Catholic education in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Over the next few weeks, our Diocese, in collaboration with Catholic School Management, will be conducting surveys, meetings, and interviews with Pastors, school administrations, parishioners, parents, and members of our communities asking for comments, suggestions, and input regarding Catholic school education. These events are just a portion of our work to ensure the sustainability of Catholic education in the Diocese and continue the academic excellence and faith-filled education that has been a trade mark at our schools.

Thank you for your support, and I ask for your prayers as we continue Diocesan efforts to develop a strategic plan for our Catholic schools.

God Bless,

Holly Goodwin

 

 

Introducing a Strategic Plan for our Catholic Schools

In this Year of Mercy, it is my pleasure to introduce: 

TOGETHER 
Forward in Faith
A Strategic Plan for Catholic Schools - Diocese of Colorado Springs 2015-2020

Grounded in the National Standards for Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, the vision, direction, and priorities for our Strategic Plan were identified to ensure the long-term viability of our Catholic schools and make quality, faith-based education available for those parents who desire assistance in educating and forming their children to be disciples of Christ.

 

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About the Superintendent

Holly Goodwin is the Director of Total Catholic Education and the Superintendent of Catholic Education. Holly oversees curriculum development, budgeting, tuition and financial aid, human resources and planning for the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

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