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Catholic School Advantage

Latino Outreach in LA's Catholic Schools Prompts Hard Work, New Ideas, and Hope

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 01 March 2013.

The hopefulness and community-building that undergird Catholic schools’ outreach efforts to Latino students were captured in a story in the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section on Feb. 28.

Spotlighting ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign “at the forefront” of those outreach efforts, the story focused on grass-roots situations in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles—such as the aspirations that have prompted Martha Rodriguez to send her children to Catholic school and the desire to serve low-income students at schools like St. Teresa of Avila.

Helping to give context to these situations was Sylvia Armas-Abad, the ACE campaign’s field consultant in the Los Angeles area. Her own outreach efforts among the Latino community (which represents such a growing, vibrant part of the Catholic population) “include canvassing neighborhoods surrounding parish schools and forming parent volunteer groups called madrinas (Spanish for godmother) at schools around the city,” wrote Religion News Service correspondent Aaron Schrank in the “On Faith” article.

Pope Benedict's Support for Catholic Schools Will Be Lasting Legacy

Written by Fr. Ronald J. Nuzzi on Tuesday, 26 February 2013.

An Appreciation: "Soul of a Nation" Remarks Resonate from 2008

Popes do not often have high levels of engagement with the world of K-12 Catholic schooling, but Benedict XVI will be long remembered and often quoted by Catholic educators in the United States.

“How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15). Saint Paul wrote those words to Christians in Rome, but it was Pope Benedict XVI who spoke them to a group of Catholic educators. The occasion was a pastoral visit to the United States in April 2008.The venue was a conference hall at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

pope-catholic-schoolsWith this biblical phrase first formulated by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 52:27) and then quoted by Saint Paul, Pope Benedict praised the dedication and commitment of Catholic educational leaders, including teachers, principals, diocesan superintendents, religious educators, university presidents, and professors.

It was a grand and blessed moment for all involved in the ministry of Catholic education, for such high praise does not often come from such a high office.

His Holiness offered additional words of support and encouragement to vowed religious women and men, urging them to stay committed to educational ministries and especially not to abandon Catholic schools, which he characterized as “an outstanding apostolate of hope.”

Such a resounding endorsement from the Pope himself served as a great inspiration.

Citing the sacrifices made by countless vowed religious women and the religious communities and congregations they founded to serve in Catholic schools, Benedict XVI called for a renewed sense of sacrifice in our day in order to meet the material, intellectual, and spiritual needs of millions of students. Addressing the financial challenges of many Catholic schools today, Benedict spoke forcefully about the future and a way forward:

“[Catholic schools] provide a highly commendable opportunity for the entire Catholic community to contribute generously to the financial needs of our institutions. Their long-term sustainability must be assured. Indeed, everything possible must be done, in cooperation with the wider community, to ensure that they are accessible to people of all social and economic strata. No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”

U.S. Catholic educators, especially those serving in K-12 Catholic schools, will never forget the Pope’s encouraging words and pastoral visit.

Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., is senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program in the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. A priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, Father Nuzzi is a nationally recognized author and speaker on the Catholic school system in the United States.

The remarks of Pope Benedict XVI about Catholic schools in April 2008 contributed inspiration--and the title--for the 2009 report of the Notre Dame Task Force on the Participation of Latino Children and Families in Catholic Schools. See the report, titled To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity, which gave rise to the Alliance for Catholic Education's "Catholic School Advantage" campaign.

"Catholic School Advantage" in the News: Honoring Fr. Corpora

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 08 February 2013.

Director of ACE's Latino Enrollment Initiative Saluted as School Founder

A homecoming of sorts for Rev. Joseph Corpora, C.S.C., director of university-school partnerships in Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education, was captured on Feb. 1 by The Catholic Sun in the Diocese of Phoenix. The story offered a glimpse of the priest's early instincts for what has become the Catholic School Advantage campaign.

The people of St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, Ariz., welcomed Father Joe as the guest of honor at their annual "Reach for the Stars Dinner"--a fund-raiser for students in the parish school that he founded and led there starting in 1992.

His determination to open a school in one of the diocese's poorest parishes, with the goal of giving the area's Hispanic children access to the benefits of a Catholic school education, has borne enduring fruit--and lessons to emulate. He is director of ACE's campaign to increase Latino enrollments in Catholic schools around the country.

"Catholic School Advantage" in the News: Cardinal Dolan Comments on Campaign's Value in WSJ

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 01 February 2013.

ACE Latino Enrollment Initiative Called Part of Archdiocesan Strategy

His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan has affirmed the Catholic School Advantage campaign, an initiative of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), as an important part of his strategic plan for sustainable Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

In a commentary published in the Feb. 1 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Dolan said the archdiocese is continuing its outreach to Latino families whose children are well served by Catholic schools.

Outlining the "Pathways to Excellence" strategic plan, he said attentiveness to today's immigrants will be intensified, "and through efforts like the Catholic School Advantage Program, run in conjunction with Notre Dame University, the archdiocese is reaching out to Hispanic and Latino parents to invite them to our Catholic schools."

Cardinal Dolan, who elsewhere has described ACE as a source of "hope and promise," said in the Wall Street Journal commentary that Catholic schools "are a 'pearl of great price,' worth every drop of sweat and ounce of effort that we are making on their behalf."

ACE in the News: "US Catholic" on Hope for Schools' Financial Future

Written by William Schmitt on Friday, 18 January 2013.

Corpora, Schoenig See Bold Steps to Transform and Sustain Catholic Schools

Leaders in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) outlined crucial steps to strengthen under-resourced Catholic schools when US Catholic magazine interviewed them for a just-published article, "Investing in Futures: New Ways of Paying for Catholic Education."

Rev. Joseph Corpora, C.S.C., director of university-school partnerships for ACE and an education consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlighted "five keys to turning around the decline in Catholic schools," as reported by Kristen Hannum in the magazine's February 2013 edition. One of those keys is the growing trend of stewardship in the form of large-scale endowment support.

John Schoenig, director of ACE's Program for K-12 Educational Access, expanded on the theme, stressing that at-risk schools often need to implement broad, sustainable changes. "This is the hour that laypeople with vision can effect a systemic transformation in our schools," he said.

The article also quotes the perspectives of these ACE graduates: Elizabeth Brands; Joe Womac, executive director of the Fulcrum Foundation in Seattle; and Erik Goldschmidt, director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College.

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