I wish I could tell you that I immediately fell in love with Catholic schools when I started as an intern at ACE in March 2013, and that I was convinced and passionate about the mission of ACE. But that would not be the truth. Working at ACE started as simply a way to make some extra cash on campus and a place to hone my computer science skills.
God calls us many, many times in our lives to a deeper relationship with him. Venerable Fulton Sheen referred to this as the “Divine Invasion.” Often times we fail to notice or ignore these calls, but every once in a while—perhaps stirred by the realization of the frequency of these invitations—we respond to God’s calls. Though we may fail to respond to an individual invitation, it can prepare us for the moment when we actually do respond. It seems that in a similar way, ACE has invaded my life as well.
That is what a Catholic education does—it brings a spiritual profundity to the world of education.
Over the past two and a half years, my work at ACE brought me to experience—peripherally, at least—many of its powerful and game-changing initiatives. Whether I was designing the websites for the Notre Dame ACE Academies, changing the background image of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program page, or updating some of the phrasing for the ACE Teaching Fellows pages, I began to see not only the breadth, but the depth of the impact ACE is making in Catholic schools. These people are changing hearts, bringing them closer to Christ and his Church—what a mission.
Regardless, I still saw the ACE team merely as good people doing good things. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for good people doing good things. But I still had yet to be fully convinced.
I can narrow it down to a single moment when my heart was persuaded; it wasn’t more than a few months ago. For one reason or another, I ended up at a weekly Mass at a local Catholic school. Unexpectedly, there was something that stirred inside of me seeing the kids struggle through the readings, sing off-key in the choir, and scamper up the aisle for Communion. It struck a chord that had been building in my soul since I began working at ACE. I could see it all in perspective. That is what a Catholic education does—it brings a spiritual profundity to the world of education.
All the webpage styling, article updating, and database configuring were more than they appeared to be. They slowly but surely prepared my heart for that moment. I suddenly could see why all the people who surrounded me for the past few years were doing what they were doing. It’s a shame it took me so long to understand that not only were Catholic schools a great good for our country, but they are vital to the mission of the Church.
This realization gives a new meaning to the seemingly meaningless moments of my time here. ACE called me into a deeper relationship with Catholic schools, and it took my hard heart a while, but I eventually came around.