Presented by Superintendent Holly Goodwin to the Diocese of Colorado Springs Catholic Schools Class of 2018
following student reflections on UCSDCS Catholic schools.
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