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To be Catholic is to Teach

on Wednesday, 02 February 2011.

Bishop David O’Connell is featured in a wonderful six-minute video in support of the Diocese of Trenton’s annual appeal fund drive.  The recurring theme of the video is, “To be Catholic is to teach.”  Numerous individuals – a teacher, a parent, a public policy advocate, a corporate CEO, and others – explain how, through their lives and work, they teach the Catholic faith.
The video concludes with an impassioned request from Bishop O’Connell for financial support for the evangelical and charitable work of his diocese.   In pledging that all of the diocese’s Catholic schools will re-open next school year, he acknowledges that the future sustainability of the Catholic school system will depend on the community:  “There is no other way to face this challenge but to turn to you.  Our success will be determined by your courage and your generosity.”
The video hits on a central belief of the ACE Advocates movement: 
Everyone has a role to play in making Catholic schools strong.  It’s easy to see how teachers and parents contribute to this mission, but the fact of the matter is that we all have a role to play.  The future of our schools depends on the Catholic community – along with others of goodwill – believing in the value of these extraordinary apostolates of hope, and working to ensure they remain faithful, excellent, and accessible.  
So, what can you do?  Here are some ideas:

With your help, ACE Advocates is mobilizing Catholic school supporters across the country.  Thank you for joining the movement!

From Catholic Schools to CBS News

on Wednesday, 02 February 2011.

Byron Pitts Champions Catholic Schools

Byron Pitts, CBS news correspondent and 60 Minutes contributor, is a Catholic school champion.

Mr. Pitts grew up in East Baltimore, the youngest of three children, and he struggled mightily in school.  By the time he was in second grade, his mother -- a strong, disciplined woman of deep faith -- saw that he was not getting the attention he needed in public school and moved him to St. Katherine’s, a Catholic school. 

Of that school, Mr. Pitts writes in his book Step Out on Nothing, “Most of the teachers were nuns. They treated me well. The strict discipline only seemed like an extension of [my mother’s] rules.  It was actually comforting to be in a school where nearly everyone was afraid of breaking the rules. There were never any more than 12 to 15 kids in a class. …There was a great emphasis on prayer and discipline. Reading, writing, and arithmetic seemed like second tier priorities…in this new environment, being polite was no longer enough to get by” (23).

Today Mr. Pitts is an energetic proponent of Catholic schools, serving as a member of Baltimore’s Archdiocesan Catholic School Board.  He appreciates the sacrifices many parents have to make to send their kids to Catholic schools, saying, “My mother was a single parent, a social worker making a modest living. ... She had to borrow from friends and family, and there were times when other bills went unpaid so she could pay for my tuition. But I thank God that my mother had the courage of her convictions and knew the value of a Catholic education. … I thank God she made the choice she did."

Find Byron Pitts' book, Step Out On Nothing: How faith and family helped me conquer life's challenges, here.

Meeting Halfway: Chicago and South Bend Co-Host Mid-Winter Retreat

Written by Meghann Robinson on Thursday, 27 January 2011.

Let's face it - life is busy, sometimes even overwhelming.

In the midst of a crazy week, or month, or semester, how many of us have found ourselves hungering for some rest, some time away from the grind, some quality time with friends and with God?

Members of the South Bend and Chicago regions willingly navigated the snowy Indiana Toll Road for just such an opportunity.

The Observer - ACE Teacher Attends President's Address as Honored Guest

on Thursday, 27 January 2011.

Taken from the University of Notre Dame's independent newspaper, The Observer.

While most of the nation was watching President Barack Obama deliver Tuesday's State of the Union address from the comfort of their own homes, one of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) teachers had a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

Speaker of the House John Boehner invited first-year ACE teacher Jack Kelly to attend the address as his guest. With this invitation, Kelly had a front row seat overlooking members of Congress, which he said was an incredible opportunity.

"I studied Political Science and Theology at Marquette University, so meeting the Speaker of the House and [Cardinal Donald Wuerl] at such a historic speech was a dream come true," Kelly said. "It was a blessing to sit with one of my students in witness to the advantage of Catholic education."

From the Director: Celebrate Catholic Schools Week "Early and Often"

Written by Chuck Lamphier on Wednesday, 26 January 2011.

If you’re an ACE Advocate, you know very well what starts this Sunday:  Catholic Schools Week 2011.  This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: A+ for America,” speaks to a very basic belief of the ACE Advocates:  In addition to being good for the Church, Catholic schools are good for children, families, communities, and the nation.
Millions of children receive an education in Catholic schools.  Known for their high academic standards and impressive graduation rates, our Catholic elementary and secondary schools collaborate with parents to form children into the values-driven adults our country and our world badly need.  And let’s not forget that in providing this service to the country, Catholic schools save the government billions of dollars.