Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Evangelization

Yesterday's Tribune featured an article about the attempts being made to shore up Catholic education in Illinois, and especially in the Archdiocese of Chicago, where there has been a really precipitous decline in enrollment.
And this week's America magazine includes a tidbit about young adult Catholics: "strong identity, weak commitment."
Could the two be related? Even if the article in America was on the "millennial generation," born after 1979, and parents of school-age children more likely to be Gen Xers, there could be some common lack of commitment "to the institutional church or its moral teachings" (in the words of the America article). I can see that many higher-income young parents might choose schools more for their social advantage than for their religious affiliation... And the impact on Catholic education--especially the valuable education our Catholic schools offer disadvantaged children?
Is the response to rescue our venerable Catholic school system, or are we facing a situation that calls for something more radical? An approach to evangelization that again addresses adults? Because the Millennial generation study indicates that we certainly can't count on this generation to value Catholic education.
 
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3 comments:

RAnn said...

"is the response to rescue our venerable Catholic school system, or are we facing a situation that calls for something more radical?"

Something more radical IMO. All too often Catholic schools are little more than parish-subsidized private schools, attended by some students, as my former pastor said "in spite of the fact that we teach Catholicism, not because of it". If I went to my pastor today and said I wanted to start a program that would become the single most expensive line item in the parish budget, that would discriminate against the poor and handicapped, and provide a refuge for those who did not want their children in school with many children of other races, he'd laugh me out the door, yet I have just described the average Catholic school in suburban New Orleans. However, despite the strength of the Catholic school system, many of our teens don't attend mass. Many adults are practically ignorant of their faith. How about ditching the school mentality and offering faith formation for people of all ages all the time, at a time that is likely to be convenient (like Sunday morning??).

RAnn said...

"is the response to rescue our venerable Catholic school system, or are we facing a situation that calls for something more radical?"

Something more radical IMO. All too often Catholic schools are little more than parish-subsidized private schools, attended by some students, as my former pastor said "in spite of the fact that we teach Catholicism, not because of it". If I went to my pastor today and said I wanted to start a program that would become the single most expensive line item in the parish budget, that would discriminate against the poor and handicapped, and provide a refuge for those who did not want their children in school with many children of other races, he'd laugh me out the door, yet I have just described the average Catholic school in suburban New Orleans. However, despite the strength of the Catholic school system, many of our teens don't attend mass. Many adults are practically ignorant of their faith. How about ditching the school mentality and offering faith formation for people of all ages all the time, at a time that is likely to be convenient (like Sunday morning??).

roadrunner said...

I agree that faith formation for all ages should be stressed. Parents play perhaps the most crucial role in formation of their children in the faith. There are a LOT of poorly cathecised adults out there. I'm trying to teach myself out of my childrens' religious education materials, among many other good sources. I would love to see refresher courses for Catholics who didn't get good teaching as kids, or weren't paying attention! Ignorant in their faith, as rann said.