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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. 

A Frassati Intern's Experience in LA

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by Kateri Budo - Frassati Fellow, Cohort 2

frassatikaateriblog 1

“I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan” …

Well not exactly, but that didn't stop me from humming this tune when I first arrived in Los Angeles for my internship with the Specialty Family Foundation this past summer.

I had a lot of thoughts about what the Frassati Internship would entail, but, to be honest, I didn’t know what exactly to expect.  

A Hesitation, and a Jump

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 by Andrew Hamaty, C.S.C. - ACE 22 Mission

Andrew Hamaty CSC - A Hesitation, and a Jump

“Umm... sure.”

A hesitation, and a jump. This was my response to my principal on the way home from school one warm Wednesday evening when he asked if I could cover an extra class for CCD—8th grade girls. I wanted to make a good impression on my principal, and since it was a slower week, I figured an extra hour wouldn’t kill me. After I hesitated, I said yes.

Arizona ACE Teachers Participate in Regional Retreat

Monday, December 09, 2019

Many people who are familiar with ACE Teaching Fellows have probably heard a thing or two about our December Retreat, a time for all our teachers, faculty, and team members to gather near Austin, Texas for a weekend of spiritual, communal, and professional nourishment. 

What some people might not be aware of is the fact that our team regularly travels around the country to offer regional retreats for our ACE Teachers. Fr. Lou DelFra, Fr. Joe Carey, and members of the Pastoral Team plan and deliver approximately 10 such retreats each year.

Members of the ACE communities from Phoenix and Tucson were part of a recent retreat to the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona. 

I Am Thankful for...Spirituality

Thursday, November 28, 2019 by Alaina Owen - ACE 25, Tucson

This is the third and final post in a series from ACE teachers that center around the pillars of teaching, community, and spirituality. It is authored by Alaina Owen, a member of ACE 25 in Tucson and focuses on her gratitude toward the spiritual nourishment she has received on campus and at her ACE school.

I am thankful for Spirituality - Alaina Owen ACE 25

This Thanksgiving, I thank God for the opportunity to join ACE Teaching Fellows and the spiritual formation I have received from the program. When I was first admitted to ACE and was told that I would be teaching high school biology and chemistry in Tucson, I had to trust in God’s plan for me. I chose to take the leap of faith and move to a new city across the country to teach students who were only a few years younger than me. While I was incredibly nervous at the beginning, I have learned so much more about myself and my faith throughout these past two years.

I Am Thankful for...Teaching

Thursday, November 21, 2019 by Andy Miles - ACE 24, Philadelphia

This is the second post in a series from ACE teachers that center around the pillars of teaching, community, and spirituality. It is authored by Andy Miles, a member of ACE 24 in Philadelphia and focuses on his gratitude toward the vocation of teaching.

I am thankful for teaching - Andy Miles ACE 24 Philadelphia

The pretzel salt was everywhere.

No matter how many times I swept my classroom after school, a new layer of salt dust seemed to coat the checkered tile floor each morning. It was beneath the corners of the rug in the back and within the pages of textbooks kept inside the desks. My housemates may claim I exaggerate, but I think I even once found pretzel salt in my shoes when I returned to our row house at the end of a long day.

I Am Thankful for...Community

Thursday, November 14, 2019 by Maria Lynch (ACE 19, ENL 13)

Throughout this month of gratitude, we will be publishing a series of blog posts from ACE teachers that center around the pillars of teaching, community, and spirituality. The following post is authored by Maria Lynch (ACE 19, ENL 13) and focuses on the love that she felt from her ACE Plaquemine community, as well as how she continues to witness transformational moments with a new community in Denver, Colorado.

Maria Lynch - ACE 19, Plaquemine - I am Thankful for Community


Smile - you paid for this.

A heckler with a sense of humor waved this sign at me as I passed the eleventh mile marker of a recent half marathon. Touché, dude.

I’m Already a Teacher…Now What?

Monday, November 11, 2019 by Kenna Arana

Paths for current Catholic school teachers

Since its founding in 1993, the Alliance for Catholic Education has been committed to serving Catholic schools by forming talented individuals into the next generation of school leaders, expanding access to high-performing Catholic schools, and enhancing the high-quality education that Catholic schools have historically provided.

Each year, the ACE Teaching Fellows program welcomes approximately 90 talented, faith-filled college graduates to enter formation as beginning teachers. For those who already serve as skillful teachers, ACE offers a variety of programs to foster their continued growth as educators and leaders.

Below, find an introduction to some of the programs that are strengthening and transforming Catholic schools across the country.

Morning Meetings: Start Your Day with the Right Energy!

Friday, October 25, 2019 by by: Casey Harris —ACE 25, Washington, DC

Casey Harris - Morning Meeting

My morning meetings are a time for the students in my homeroom to start their morning with the right energy. Over the course of our morning meeting, students:

  • Greet each other
  • Share something
  • Complete an activity

Students have ownership and are allowed to come up with certain parts of the meeting, but the structure always remains the same.

An effective morning meeting allows my students to learn new things about their classmates and teachers, while creating a place that is safe and welcoming.

Casey Harris - Morning Meetings

Is ACE What's Next for Me?

Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Kenna Arana

Is ACE What's Next for Me? Alliance for Catholic Education Notre Dame

For teachers and students, October marks the definitive end of the back-to-school season and the novelty of another school year. By this time, teachers and students are settling into the routines they worked so hard to set up in September. In October, pencils, erasers, and paper supplies–and sometimes patience–are starting to wear down, and teachers are working hard to keep momentum going with renewed energy and joy.

An Intersection of Acronyms: My Experiences with ACE, AICSN, and ESS

Thursday, September 26, 2019 by By: Collin Gortner '20 - ACE 27

Collin Gortner - Education, Schooling, and Society/American Indian Catholic Schools Network

Like many students at the University of Notre Dame, acronyms have been a big part of my educational experience. 

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