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An ACE Summer Program Offers Science and Fun for Area Kids

Written by William Schmitt on Wednesday, 17 April 2013.

Hands-on Learning Co-Sponsored by Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend

Kids who love science—and those who want to get to know it better—have a great opportunity for hands-on learning and fun in a Catholic school setting this summer.

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) are once again teaming up to offer the “Catholic Schools Summer Science Educational Program” for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

Parents can choose from a June session, focused on forensics and early engineering concepts, and a July session, focused on ecology and life science. Both will be held at Christ the King School in South Bend and will utilize the lab facilities daily.

A student can attend one or both, with each three-week session costing $80.

Register by May 7 and save $10 off the cost of each session. There is a registration fee of $25 per child. Visit to learn more and download a form for registration by mail.

Session one spans Mondays through Fridays June 10-28. Session two spans Mondays through Fridays July 1-24, with July 4-5 off. The sessions meet daily from 8 am to 11 am.

The Alliance for Catholic Education forms college graduates to be teachers serving in Catholic schools around the country. Teachers in formation, studying at Notre Dame during the summer as part of the highly selective ACE Teaching Fellows program, serve alongside current Catholic school teachers to lead the Science Educational Program experiences, sharing their own affinity for science. This yields an optimal learning opportunity, with frequent individual instruction.

This is the seventh year ACE teachers are offering the science program and a separate Catholic Schools Summer Camp Educational Program for students entering grades 2 through 8—also co-hosted by the Diocese and based at several area Catholic schools. Information on these camp opportunities is at the same online address. You can also contact Caitlin Cameron of ACE at 574-631-9332.

Catholic Preschool Programs Are Area of Growth, Opportunity, and Responsibility

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 08 April 2013.

Faculty's Jim Frabutt Tells NCEA and Radio Audiences about His Research

The number of four-year-olds in early-childhood education programs in the United States has skyrocketed from about 127,000 in the 1960s to 2.7 million today, says Dr. Jim Frabutt, a member of the faculty in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. Catholic schools are sharing in that trend and in the emerging opportunities, he adds.

Frabutt, who discussed his research on the topic in a presentation last week to the National Catholic Educational Association’s annual convention, says pre-kindergarten programs are “a real growth area in Catholic education.” He spoke on the Son Rise Morning Show, giving a national Catholic radio network audience a glimpse at the NCEA presentation he gave with Rachel Waldron, a graduate of the Remick Leadership Program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for family evangelization,” Frabutt told Morning Show anchor Brian Patrick on Friday, April 5. He said research on Catholic preschool programs in 15 arch/dioceses, including interviews with diocesan superintendents, uncovered not only growth in the programs, but nearly unanimous hope that this would help Catholic schools reach out to parents of these young children in the spirit of the New Evangelization.

At the same time, the opportunity to connect these children and their parents to Catholic schools and the Church spotlights the need to further “professionalize” the teaching and operation of the pre-K programs, Frabutt added. As with all Catholic schooling, the programs must serve the development of the whole child, including cognitive, emotional, social, and moral growth.

Regarding pre-school education, he said, “we need to invest in the people who are delivering it and the skill with which we’re doing so.”

Frabutt is the author of a new book—Beyond Academics: Supporting the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Students in Catholic Schoolson Catholic schools’ attention to development of the whole child.       

The NCEA presentation by Frabutt and Waldron was titled “Educating the Youngest Hearts and Minds: The Landscape of Catholic Preschool Education.”

Notre Dame, ACE Graduate Reflects on Conclave Mass, Finds God in Crosses and Joys

Written by William Schmitt on Tuesday, 26 March 2013.

Tony Hollowell Sees Pope Francis and Embraces a Growing Sense of Family

Tony Hollowell, a 2006 ACE Teaching Fellows graduate who has undertaken many adventures in support of Catholic schools, is living a new set of adventures these days as a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. During his studies to be a priest for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, he was invited to be lector at the March 12 Conclave Mass for the Church’s College of Cardinals, just a couple of days before they elected Pope Francis. Tony was in St. Peter’s Square among the throngs present to hear the words “Habemus Papam” and to enjoy the introduction to the new Holy Father.

Thank you, Tony, for taking the time in a seminarian’s busy life, especially during Lent and during these early days of the new papacy, to share the following reflections with your ACE family:

When I found out that I would be doing the first reading at the Mass to begin the Conclave, the first thing I thought was “I have to tell my family!”

I knew my parents would be excited, but through the whole experience, God showed me just how big my family has grown over the course of my life. As I sat in Saint Peter's, two hours before the start of the Mass, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the wonderful people God had put into my life, people who had become a part of my family.

High school teachers, grade school principals, college roommates, students I had taught, mentors who had taught me, families that I had met—the list went on and on. Pulsing right in the middle of all this gratitude was an ineffable joy for the many people that I encountered while being a part of the ACE program.

I received many notes of encouragement from all these people whom I had encountered in ACE. God showed me that my family has continued to grow steadily as I continue to try to serve Him.

I did the “ACE Teaching Fellows” program with ACE. Our Holy Father Francis has proclaimed, “To be powerful is to serve.” He knows what I learned in ACE—namely, by serving others, we become powerful through love.

When I began to teach in Mississippi, I was confused, frustrated, tired, and just not very good. But that eventually did not matter. Though I was inexperienced, I was given mentors. Though I was weak, my love was strengthened. Though I was away from home, my family grew.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a grain. But if it dies, it will bear much fruit.” The many emails and messages of encouragement I received from people that I met in ACE were the abundant fruit of two years of ACE Teaching Fellows.

They were sacramental reminders of the immeasurable love God pours out on those who serve Him. Truly, to be powerful is to serve.

I am continually reflecting on experiences and lessons learned in ACE and applying it to my journey in the seminary.

The greatest lesson ACE ever taught me was a fundamental truth of the Christian faith, that “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” It is only through the cross that we will ever attain the Resurrection, a fact that Holy Week seeks to imprint on our hearts.

The name of the school I served in ACE was called Resurrection Catholic School. That is a prophetic name for the lesson learned in ACE, for it was through ACE that I first learned the joy of the Resurrection that comes from carrying the cross and following Christ.

God simply will never be outdone in generosity, giving us tenfold in return for every act of faith made out of love of Him. Thus, I remain in a debt of gratitude before a God who continues to expand my family to include more and more holy men and women, building us up together into the Body of Christ. And there is always room for more.

Homepage photo of Pope Francis: License AttributionNoncommercialShare AlikeSome rights reserved by the Catholic Church (England and Wales)

Photo of Tony Hollowell, provided by him, shows his ministry as lector at the Cardinals' Conclave Mass on March 12, 2013.


A March 15 article in the Indianapolis archdiocesan newspaper, The Criterion, talked about Tony’s journey.

You can see a video of Tony’s ministry as lector at the Conclave Mass.

You can hear an audio recording of Tony's  interview on national Catholic radio on March 15. He spoke to the Son Rise Morning Show about his first glimpse of Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

Also see ACE’s previous story about Tony and Notre Dame Magazine’s story about Tony as a cross-country cyclist supporting Catholic schools.

Unprecedented Study Asks, What's Next for Catholic Schools That Have Closed?

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 07 March 2013.

ACE Authors Say Handling Assets Wisely Can Help Today's Education Mission

Since thousands of Catholic schools around the United States have closed in recent decades, scholars at the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) are asking a difficult but important follow-up question: What is being done with all those vacated buildings?

The goal is to manage those important assets in a way that bolsters existing schools, according to a new book published by those scholars. Led by Catholic schools expert Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, Ph.D., senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program in the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), the authors provide informed, common-sense guidance to dioceses for whom the legacy of vacant schools causes management dilemmas.

Building Assets: The Strategic Use of Closed Catholic Schools is an unprecedented aid for diocesan leaders exercising careful stewardship for the schools of yesterday and tomorrow, strengthening Catholic education as an instrument of the new evangelization. Leaders need to determine whether to lease or sell vacated assets, for example, and whether the new tenants, such as charter schools, risk making other local Catholic schools less sustainable.

"This book reveals the first major step in answering questions that have grown in urgency as the number of Catholic schools in the U.S. has sadly and sharply declined,” says Father Nuzzi. “Today’s decisions about re-purposing former schools need to take into account the Church’s overall mission, the diocese’s educational goals, and the unique circumstances of each location.”

Nuzzi and co-authors Jim Frabutt, Ph.D., and Anthony Holter, Ph.D., uncover statistics that could be representative of nationwide trends—and missed opportunities—worthy of consideration by supporters of Catholic education. The number of U.S. Catholic schools peaked at 13,292 in 1965 and was nearly cut in half by 2010, when it totaled 7,094       

The book, just released by ACE Press, reports the results of an unprecedented study that focused on ten Catholic archdioceses and dioceses. In these areas that had suffered significant closures between 1965 and 2010, only 25% of the former school facilities had been sold. Even more notably, 24% of the facilities were designated as “unknown,” meaning that diocesan officials could not verify or produce valid information regarding the current status of buildings listed in their prospectus of sites. Many assets, as the authors put it, have fallen “off the radar.”

Findings like this were made possible through surveys with which diocesan officials generously cooperated, but they also emerged from a complex investigatory process. Research for this book drew upon multiple information sources, including publicly available directory listings as well as numerous interviews and site visits around the country.


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.

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