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Catholic School Advantage

Celebrando la Virgen de Guadalupe

Written by Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed. on Tuesday, 15 November 2016.

The English as a New Language team provides recommendations and a number of resources, including a printable worship program, for you to celebrate the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in your school.

St.AndrewSLC 5Students at St. Andrew School in Salt Lake City, UT, dress in indigenous clothing and present gifts to La Virgencita.

For your students and families of Mexican origin, Our Lady of Guadalupe or La Guadalupana represents a powerful and deep devotion to the loving and caring mother of God. By celebrating the feast day of the Blessed Lady, the patroness of the Americas, on December 12th, your school can draw attention to the universality of the Church and the beauty of Marian devotions. More importantly, it offers your learning community the grace of participating in and honoring a magnificently rich tradition celebrated for centuries by the Mexican people.

As described by Fr. Virgilio Elizondo (2011), Our Lady of Guadalupe represents the “mother of new humanity” because she bridges for the Americas the Old World and the New. In 1531 when La Virgencita appeared to Juan Diego, the native peoples of Mexico had just been defeated by the Spanish armies and were in need of hope, rebirth, and spiritual healing. La Morenita (which translated means “brown skinned one”) appeared not to the powerful Spanish, but to the humble Juan Diego, an Aztec man, to ask that he approach the bishop and request that a church be built in her honor. The bishop was incredulous, but Mary appeared to Juan Diego again. This time when Juan Diego encountered the bishop, he had the brown skinned image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on his tilma (cloak) and his arms were full of roses, which were exceedingly rare in the region. Having won the bishop’s blessing, a shrine was built on the top of Mount Tepeyac, the hill where Mary appeared to Juan Diego. Today the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world and it continues to represent a place of protection, consolation, mestizaje (mixture of races) , and unity.

¡Viva Cristo Rey! Honoring Saint José Sánchez del Río

Written by Katy Lichon, Ph.D., Clare Roach, M.Ed., Jennifer Dees, M.Ed., Fr. Lou DelFra, CSC on Thursday, 10 November 2016.

St. Jose Sanchez del Rio 1


This is the first installment of the English as a New Language Program’s Moments with Multicultural Saints, intended to provide useful classroom takeaways that will help you to broaden perspectives, teach about the universal Church, and find inspiration from saints from around the world. This month, we focus on Mexico’s newest saint, Saint José Luis Sánchez del Rio. You will find two different versions below, tailored to the appropriate age range of your students.

First "LEI on the Road" Gathers Catholic Schools from Across Mid-Atlantic Region

on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

Mid Atlantic LEI

For the first time in the program’s five-year history, the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) was held off-site of Notre Dame’s campus. In partnership with the Diocese of Allentown and the Healey Education Foundation, the Alliance for Catholic Education welcomed 30 Catholic schools from around the Mid-Atlantic region to DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, October 10-12. Of the 30 schools in attendance, 20 were from right there in the Diocese of Allentown, while the remaining ten schools came from the (arch)dioceses of Baltimore, Camden, and Philadelphia.

“Together we celebrate the vibrant Latino present and future of the Catholic Church in the United States,” said Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Allentown, in his opening remarks. “We celebrate how the gifts of the Holy Spirit experienced in the Hispanic Catholic community enrich and inspire every dimension of our Catholic community and mission in the United States.” He continued by saying that “Dramatically expanding the Catholic Church’s education mission to Latino families in each diocese nationally is less a problem to solve as it is a challenge to celebrate, embrace, and boldly move forward on.”

LEI on the Road

on Thursday, 08 September 2016.

LEI on the Road

After welcoming its fifth and largest cohort to campus this past summer, the Latino Enrollment Institute will be hitting the road for the first time in the program’s history. In partnership with the Diocese of Allentown and the Healey Education Foundation, the Alliance for Catholic Education will offer the Mid-Atlantic LEI to 30 Catholic schools, representing the (arch)dioceses of Allentown, Baltimore, Camden, and Philadelphia. The program will be held at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, October 10-12, 2016.

Similar to the summer institute on campus, the Mid-Atlantic LEI will feature presentations and discussions led and facilitated by school leaders and with demonstrated success in developing innovative Latino outreach programs. It will offer strategies and best practices intended to boost Latino enrollment in Catholic schools, as well as better serve Latino families once they enroll. Among the topics of focus are:

  • Developing a deeper understanding of Latino cultures and traditions
  • Building intercultural competency and what that means for your school
  • Enlisting faculty, staff, and parents to reach out personally to Latino families and invite them to Catholic schools
  • How to think about development - cultivating and maintaining private and corporate donors
  • Bright spots - a look at specific schools that provide an ideal "witness to the possible" as regards

We look forward to this exciting opportunity to extend the reach of the LEI to a greater number of schools in the Mid-Atlantic region. Check back for an update in the coming months!

Speaking to the Heart of What Parents Want for their Children

Written by Steve McClure on Thursday, 01 September 2016.

Know your audience. This age-old wisdom for public speaking is something we’ve all probably heard at one point or another. It often serves as a guiding principle for any successful marketing campaign and similarly has profound implications for developing an effective Latino recruitment strategy.

When Joana Camacho became principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City, she inherited a school that had just experienced a significant drop in enrollment, with no signs of that turning around any time soon. At the same time, the weekend Masses at Sacred Heart Parish were extremely well attended, in large part by Latino families with young children. Despite her efforts to reach out to this population, through a combination of open houses, traditional advertising techniques, and even speaking at some of the Spanish Masses, it wasn’t until she began to understand what Latino parents really wanted for their children that she was able to convey the most effective message.

Watch the whole story here...


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