ACE logo

Father Ronald Nuzzi Shares Catholic School Views in Ireland

Written by William Schmitt on Monday, 13 February 2012.

Ireland marked Catholic Schools Week recently with a national conference hosted by Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, ACE’s senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, was invited to keynote the gathering with a talk titled “Catholic Schools as Eucharistic Communities.”

The participation by Father Nuzzi, who is an author and frequent speaker on the mission and meaning of Catholic schools in the United States, was the latest sign of the relationship that has grown between Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education and many of Ireland’s educators.

"I learned a lot from their experiences, and I shared a few of my own,” Father Nuzzi said of talks not only at the national conference but at additional events with religious orders and other patron groups, or trusts, who sponsor and support Catholic schools in the country.
There are important differences between Irish and U.S. Catholic schools, “but we have a common faith and a common mission—passing along the faith to our children—so we have a lot to learn from each other,” Father Nuzzi commented.

The Eucharist is the central action for any Catholic community, including Catholic schools, he said in remarks to the national conference, which was held Jan. 26 at St. Mary’s College in Dundalk. The Eucharist, as “the source and summit of Christian life,” sums up all the mysteries of our faith, he said, and Catholic schools are a place for the mysteries to be announced and lived.

Cardinal Brady, in his remarks to the conference, said Catholic Schools Week is a time “to celebrate the part played by Catholic schools in handing on the faith from one generation to the next.” As reported by Emigrant Online, Cardinal Brady continued, “The Catholic school, as we know it here in Ireland, is a good example of cooperation between the parents, teachers, and community.” See more coverage at http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2012/01/26/cardinal-brady-launches-catholic-schools-week-2012-dundalk/.

Father Nuzzi said he is looking forward to further international dialogue about the Irish and U.S. Catholic school systems. “We face similar challenges in terms of the culture and ethos of the schools—the challenges of making and keeping Catholic culture and ethos.” From his perspective with the Remick Leadership Program and ACE in general, the challenges require preparing teachers and administrators as stewards of that essential—and Eucharistic—Catholic culture: “to grow it, shape it, protect it, and celebrate it.”

He also commented that one striking similarity he noticed among Catholic school leaders in Ireland and their U.S. counterparts was their deep and abiding commitment to the faith and to young people. "Catholic educators are alike in Ireland and the U.S., " Father Nuzzi said, in that both are among the most vibrant, faith-filled, and enthusiastic people you will find anywhere. It is a great joy to share ministry with such dedicated leaders and their commitment bodes well for our future."

(One of Father Nuzzi’s other talks, presented at a seminar for Catholic school leaders on Jan. 27 at Maynooth College, touched on similar themes. It was summed up in an online article by attendees from CEIST—Catholic Education: An Irish Schools Trust.)

Share this story. . .