Carl Loesch: For Family and Community
By: Darby Evans
Humility and hard work characterize Carl Loesch’s career in Catholic education. Though Loesch, the Secretary for Catholic Education in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, recently earned The Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education, he is quick to use his spotlight to thank those who helped him ascend to his position.
“There are so many people who have built the Catholic school system and sustained it, and I'm so grateful for them,” Loesch says, “Any success I’ve had I contribute to ACE and to my parents.”
Loesch’s involvement has truly been lifelong, as he grew up with parents committed to sending their seven children to Catholic schools. Cumulatively, Loesch and his siblings spent more than 100 years in Catholic education. Loesch taught theology for nine years in Fort Wayne, and then served as principal of Marian High School. During this time, Loesch earned degrees through both the Teaching Fellows Program and the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.
These experiences reinforced the deep appreciation for Catholic education Loesch’s parents instilled in him.
“It is a blessing to be able to educate the whole child. So often we hear about educating intellectually, morally, emotionally, physically, but if we are not educating children spiritually, then we are missing a very important piece,” Loesch says. “Children are drawn to a relationship with God and it is a blessing to have those conversations [in Catholic schools].”
In 2014, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades appointed Loesch to the Secretary for Catholic Education. Certainly, Loesch’s highly evident Catholic faith and love for his students made him an ideal candidate for the role. During his acceptance speech for the Michael Pressley award, Loesch opted to acknowledge his family and the community he serves instead of speaking of his own efforts.
He thanked his wife, Marie, and their four boys for their ceaseless support. He mentioned his gratitude to his parents and his humble and hard-working grandparents. Loesch explained his grandfather signed his name with an “x,” and his grandmother attended a one-room school in his diocese heated by a stove fed with corn cobs. He is amazed by “the sacrifices that parents make for their kids' education” and “the doors [those sacrifices] open.”
Loesch spoke particularly glowingly of former Marian student Emily Voorde, Teaching Fellows cohort 22. Loesch explains that he had asked Voorde, a senior at the time, to give a speech at Thanksgiving Mass after she had suffered injuries from a car accident. Voorde eventually needed surgery the morning of the Mass, so Voorde recorded her message beforehand. With tears forming in his eyes, Loesch recalls that Voorde gave a speech about gratitude from her hospital bed.
Loesch claims that interactions and memories such as these compel him to continue to champion Catholic education. It is the people, not the accolades, that animate his work.
“It gives me great joy to see former students going out and doing great things… to see people embracing their vocation brings me great joy,” Loesch says. “It's a blessing to be apart of ACE and to give back to the schools.”
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