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The Aspect of Love

Friday, September 04, 2020 by Hannah Steiner - ACE 26, Indianapolis

“You’re an ACE teacher?!” one student exclaimed during a brief chat after her soccer game. “All the ACE teachers are so nice!”

I’ve met most of the people who deserve that shout out, the people who have paved my way into an automatic positive repertoire: Imani Bunn, Andrew Jansen, Allie Griffith, Sam Lobo. It extends further than that, too. It extends to every ACEr, every little cog in the great big ACE machine, dedicated towards bringing Christ to the students of Catholic schools, day in and day out. But what exactly should I take from this student's words – “so nice”?

Forming Educators from a Distance

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Kenna Arana

Forming Educators from a Distance

At the beginning of 2020, who would have foreseen that this would become the year of Zoom calls? Our day-to-day lives have been transformed by the need to social distance, and we’ve all had to find new ways to connect with one another. By now, we’ve become accustomed to seeing only as much of people as can fit into a rectangle, and “Zoom fatigue” is setting in. We’re eager to know what life will look like in a few months, and as educators, we’re especially eager to know what it will look like to reopen schools and classrooms.

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

Monday, June 29, 2020 by Sam Lobo - ACE 25, Indianapolis

Leadership in Teaching and Coaching

As a high school soccer and middle school volleyball coach, I’ve had to talk about leadership to several students, so I’ve spent some time pondering this question: 

What makes a good leader?

Finding Hope from a Distance

Thursday, May 28, 2020 by Anna Bourjaily - ACE 24, Sacramento

Anna Bourjaily ACE Blog - Hope from a Distance

I’ve grown accustomed to a new norm as a teacher: sleeping in.

Instead of my usual 6 a.m. alarm, since March 16th my alarm has gone off at 7:45, with just enough time for me to roll over in bed and grab my computer. From there, I sit and wait for my school Gmail to explode with notifications of assignments posting for the day. Within minutes, another set of emails arrives from students who are up and ready to go right at 8:00 asking for clarification in directions. Nine times out of 10, they read the directions too fast, but every so often I’ve forgotten to post something or forgotten a step in the directions. So begins another day of virtual instruction. This one will not end until close to 11 p.m., once I am done grading assignments and editing the next day’s assignments. The day finishes with a daily update video for my sixth graders explaining what to expect the next day.

Zoom with a Dash of Salt: Community Dinners in the Age of Quarantine

Friday, May 22, 2020 by Audrey Scott

ACE 21 Tampa Zoom Reunion

“We had this awesome house reunion on Zoom,” says Iona (née Hughan) Popa, who was a member of ACE 21 in Tampa. “Those relationships… I know that ACE has deeply influenced who I am.”

The Remaining Pages

Thursday, May 21, 2020 by By: Joe DiSipio - ACE 25, Sacramento

Joe DiSipio - The Remaining Pages

Joe DiSipio is a member of ACE 25 in Sacramento, where he taught fifth grade for the last two years at Saint John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova, California. When his time at SJV is complete, Joe will receive his M.Ed. and join the ACE Teaching Fellows Pastoral Team to help recruit and form future cohorts of ACE teachers.This piece was originally published in the SJV parish magazine, Built on the Rock


Have you ever read a great book that so captures your imagination that you feel immersed in this story, in this world, that you don’t want to finish the book? It is a conflicted feeling; as you see the remaining pages dwindle, you are torn between wanting to know what comes next and never wanting to leave this place you’ve come to love. Maybe you never wanted to leave Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts or countless other lands. But the story must come to an end.

A Time for Everything

Thursday, May 07, 2020 by Bridgette McDermott

Clock - Time for Everything

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away...a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 6-8

As I reflect on the past few weeks, these verses from Ecclesiastes have stuck with me. I have often found myself teetering between moments of pure hope and joy and moments of pain and sadness. We have all entered into a “new normal,” learning how to love and to sacrifice for those around us in the midst of social isolation and pandemic fear. It can feel challenging and difficult to weather this season of life and to remain hopeful in the process.

What Will You Do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by Katie Willis - ACE 25, Santa Ana

25 Santa Ana WillisWhen my school first shut down, my first thoughts were of all the things I could no longer do: see my kids, hang out with friends, or coach lacrosse. These thoughts were followed by all the things I was suddenly expected to do: teach online, stay in the house, and be “normal.” These seemed like impossible tasks, each riddled with challenges. 

Teach online? You may as well tell me I’m a first-summer ACE teacher leading practicum lessons the next day with no idea what a lesson plan is. 

Stay within the same four walls all day? I thrive off a busy schedule. I went from having a ready-made schedule to facing expectations of creating and sticking to a new routine, separating work and home life, and juggling family and friends. I struggled to handle it.

But in a recent conversation with my mom, she asked me to contemplate all the new things I could do during quarantine. 

Finding New Blessings

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 by Matt Sheber-Howard - ACE 25, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Skyline

This was supposed to be a “victory tour.” These post-spring break weeks were supposed to be a wonderful celebratory string of “lasts” at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School, a place that has meant so much to me for two years. This was supposed to be an incredible conclusion to an incredible two years. This is not how it was supposed to be.

Choose to Delight

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Shaughn Smith - ACE 26, Washington DC

Shaughn Smith ACE 26 DC - Virtual Field TripKenai Fjords National Park in Alaska | Photo from Wikimedia Commons

“Awe is going to rush in... Accept reality as it is and choose to delight in the present moment. Stay anchored there. That’s where the peace is, and that is where we are saved.”

Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ, shared these words last week as viewers across the country gathered behind screens and listened to a unifying message about searching for hope amidst these trying times.

Find the Joy

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Tom Bergan - ACE 26, Louisville

Find the Joy

Xavier University has a prayer index on their website that I stumbled upon while I was searching for religion class resources at the beginning of the school year. Throughout this year, my fifth graders and I have used this index to find prayers of peace in times of global conflict, prayers for the environment in response to natural disasters, and prayers from other religions in efforts to increase our understanding of other faith traditions.

Tips for Maintaining Your Spiritual and Mental Health

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by Judy Madden

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered so many parts of our lives, including the ways in which teachers traditionally educate and interact with their students. In an effort to support those educators and the students they serve, we checked in with Judy Madden, our student support specialist, for some tips, resources, and affirmation during this difficult time.

Be Thou My Vision, O Lord of My Heart

Monday, February 24, 2020 by Sarah Perkins - National Adjunct Faculty, The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program

Be Thou My Vision

One of my favorite hymns to sing in prayer or at Mass is set to the Irish folk tune Slane. I grew up knowing this hymn as “Lord of All Hopefulness”:

Lord of all hopefulness,
Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares can destroy;
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day…

Recently, I discovered another set of words to this tune, which were new to me but (apparently!) have been widely in use for decades:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light...

Though this version employs a structure and a vocabulary that wouldn’t come naturally to me in spoken prayer, I am finding it easy to sing, particularly to my three-month-old son, Joseph. I am especially drawn to the core petition of this hymn: Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

What would it look like to live each day with the Lord as my “vision”?

I think my 3-month old son Joseph is my best model of this way of seeing. From their earliest days, babies love to fix their gaze on faces. Joseph’s gaze is steady and true. He delights in having his siblings, John and Mary, get close to his face so he can make direct eye contact with them, prompting them to exclaim excitedly, “Mom! He’s looking right at me – and smiling!” I’m convinced that this is how God looks at us: lovingly, joyfully, and directly. I hope to learn to look at God – and the people in my life – in the same way. 

In a world in which so much can distract me and pull at my attention, I’m comforted to remember that all of us, as infants, very quickly developed the skill of gazing right at those we love the most. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Joseph’s example, and this hymn, remind me to keep my eyes “fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) as I go about my daily tasks.

Today, as we serve our students, communities, and families, may we be blessed with the eyes of faith to see the Lord at work in our lives and in our vocations. In times of joy and of trouble, may we lift our eyes and our hearts to God.

We Are Called

Tuesday, February 04, 2020 by Kevin Fitzsimmons

Alliance for Catholic Education - We Are Called 

“Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.” – Matthew 10:6-8

One of my favorite Catholic hymns is “We Are Called.” (Maybe you have heard it at an ACE Mass or two?)

A staple in the Gather Hymnal, this is one that I would belt out even when I was a self-absorbed middle school boy, concerned with what all my peers thought about me. Over time, and as my faith matured, I grew more attentive to the lyrics of the hymns, and in “We Are Called” there’s a clear theme. It’s about others and how we should act toward them.

Act with justice.

Love tenderly.

Serve one another.

Falling in Love with Service

Monday, February 03, 2020 by John T. McCarthy IV - ACE Intern and member of ACE 27

This post is authored by John T. McCarthy IV, an ACE Teaching Fellows Intern and member of ACE 27. A Science Pre-professional and Theology major at the University of Notre Dame, John will graduate in May of 2020. 

John McCarthy - Falling in Love with Service 

ACE first appeared on my radar the summer after my freshman year, when the well-known Father Joe Corpora found out that I was going to be on campus during the summer and asked me to work for him. 

During that summer, I took classes and helped Fr. Joe with all the miscellaneous things that have to be done to smoothly run conferences for ACE like the Latino Enrollment Institute and the School Pastors’ Institute. 

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