The Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, joined the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) in a rite of “missioning” on Friday, July 22, invoking blessings for more than 200 educators set to teach in Catholic schools around the country.
The group being sent forth from the University of Notre Dame included recent college graduates pursuing graduate degrees in education in ACE’s ACE Teaching Fellows program and certified teachers pursuing graduate degrees in educational administration in the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. Teachers in ACE’s English as a New Language (ENL) program and field consultants in ACE’s campaign to increase Latino enrollments in Catholic schools were also missioned.
“It is for all of us together a privilege to share in the teaching ministry of Jesus,” Bishop Soto told the ACE gathering at the Missioning Mass in Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart. He urged the teachers, “Do not be timid about your desire to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus. Let this light shine because it is the Lord’s light shining in you.”
ACE conducts a range of initiatives, including formation programs and professional services, to sustain, strengthen, and transform Catholic K-12 education. ACE Teaching Fellows, ACE’s original formation program founded in 1993, is sending 173 teachers to Catholic schools in 26 dioceses around the country, including Bishop Soto’s Sacramento Diocese. The missioning caps ACE’s summer of on-campus studies for the formation programs but serves as the prelude to continued study and classroom experience.
The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, which prepares teachers to be principals and other leaders in Catholic education, sent forth 54 educators to schools where they will continue their formation. Certificate programs in ENL and Teaching Exceptional Children (TEC) together enroll about 50 educators every year.
The “Catholic School Advantage” campaign has formed partnerships with seven dioceses, consulting with schools to double Latino enrollments.
ACE’s traditional “missioning” events also included a prayer service on Thursday evening. ACE co-founder Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., cited Gospel references about light and the Christian mission. “If Catholic schools are about anything,” he told ACE teachers, “it’s to proclaim this truth to your students, to your families, to yourselves: ‘You are the light of the world.’