Support the Center for the New Evangelization

Support the Center for the New Evangelization May 21, 2015

Paul Catalanotto writes:

In the midst of the culture wars, I thought your readers my take some comfort in some of the things going on at my school.  Saint John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy, TX is in its 11th year and is dedicated to keeping the Catholicity in Catholic schooling.  Our enrollment is nearing 400 students and and necessitated more buildings.  We have started a Capital Campaign and building project, which is about half complete at the moment, and a portion of the new building will be dedicated as the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center for the New Evangelization.

The following YouTube link is a promotional video in which the department head explains what the Theology department and the Center for the New Evangelization do and plan to do in the coming years.

If any of your readers believe in what we are doing over at St. John XXIII and want to contribute to the project, they can do so here and select Capital Campaign.

However, this email is not about raising funds.  I simply want to let other know that there are Catholics schools out there that are still trying to evangelize its students and be faithful to the Church’s teachings.

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  • patricia

    Really? This is supposed to be NEW?? I see lots of bright, able-bodied and mentally agile students. Not a wheelchair or extra chromosome in sight. How about letting students meet JESUS in the distressing disguise of the poor” on a daily basis and at school, and not just as a “required” project? That would really be NEW and it would REALLY be an education. The video says. . . “So the ‘New Evangelization’ is trying to teach people about Christ. Not just facts but to KNOW JESUS as a person. To cultivate and develop that personal relationship.” “We cannot LOVE what we do not KNOW.” St. Thomas Aquinas. “We first begin with knowledge of Christ, what the Church teaches. But we want to go deeper so we emphasize a rich sacramental life. .. .weekly Mass. . .”This HOPEFULLY translates into ACTION.” Well. . . SORRY this has not translated into action with the developmentally disabled. While your efforts to require annual service of each student are noteworthy and commendable, they are still not inclusionary for children with developmental disabilities. These kids are still “other”, “too much trouble”, “too costly”. Families are being asked to do what the Church refuses to do. Families have to “figure it all out”, take on all that is required, and still work and care for their other kids. Pregnant women see this difficult and lonely road when a developmental diagnosis is given during pregnancy. They oftentimes opt for abortion in there desperation. The Church needs to LEAD, to take ownership of these kids, to put their enrollment where their mouths are. Right now the Church is leaving the community integration, education and care of the developmentally disabled largely to the State. How unlike Jesus. How same old, same old, can you get? WE will NEVER learn about this poverty until we get up close and personal. Until we, as Mother Teresa said, love and serve “until it hurts”.The Catholic Superintendent of our diocese told me years ago when, when I asked about integrating our sweet Cate into a Catholic school, “We don’t have the money or knowledge to take on your daughter.” My response was “Well, in all honesty Sister, neither do I.” We ask (and rightfully so) women to give life to these broken bodies and minds and to find the means and ways to include them in daily home life, but Catholic education is still unwilling to figure out their role. Catie taught me more about Jesus with her seizures, incontinence, broken limbs and muted voice than all the “NEW” techniques out there. Imagine all the non-disabled student peers who will one day be doctors, lawyers, architects, religious. . . .they will have ‘known’ Jesus in the disguise of a ‘Catie’ and they will have loved Him and served Him then and when they go out into the adult world. HELLO Catholic Church. . . .There is much information on inclusion available. Why aren’t you getting on board? You have NO IDEA how fruitful it would be. Faith, hope and love are all that matter.

    • J Win

      Great comment! As a Catholic I believe that there are many things we can do to support a pro-life agenda, one of them being facilitating the
      full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into our communities and most importantly our faith communities. Kudos to Patricia for pointing out that the role of the Catholic education system is not just to teach by classroom lesson but by life lesson and experience, the multiple and complex ways God calls us to
      serve Him by serving one another.

      • patricia

        Yes, the developmentally disabled and their societal/educational/spiritual inclusion is a Pro Life issue! Pro Lifers fight for them in the womb and then leave them on their own with their often over-burdened, beleaguered families once they’re born. It’s also a poverty issue for both the families and the individual developmentally disabled person. This is due to medical costs, loss of parental income and the oftentimes complete vulnerability of the DD person,who has few or even no, relationships, except for paid caregivers, outside the family. Additionally, it’s a spiritual poverty very often if there is not a spirit of prayerful and practical solidarity surrounding the family. Imagine a Catholic school with great spiritual formation like the one here, that also welcomed, prayed with and for, instructed, cared for and played with a disabled child! Jesus hung out with the ‘least’ among us. Who are we to continue to marginalize both developmentally disabled individuals and their families? It’s not enough to ensure they’re born. Once they’re alive they need A LIFE.

    • Dave G,

      What a wonderful and powerful comment. Thank you for this.

      • patricia

        Thank you for ‘hearing’ to me Dave. My daughter died a year and a half ago at age 29 she had CP and a dire seizure disorder. I advocated for her to be fully included in school (also Church and our community) for many years. Many times my words fell on deaf ears. When I wrote the above sentence “You have NO IDEA how fruitful it would be.” with the word idea in caps, I didn’t realize I was spelling out the “Individuals (with) Disabilities Education Act’. (Ha! Freudian slip.) Congress passed that law in 1975 – 40 years ago. Our Church used to be a leader in innovation and meeting needs. Where are they on this? Our beautiful Caitlyn taught me enormously. She made everyone who ‘knew’ her a better person. One area that she led me into was the study of healing. Jesus always healed a person in their entirety – physical, spiritual, emotional, social – for that was the Jewish view of personhood. Today it’s all compartmentalized for the developmentally disabled oftentimes. We, as a family, sought out the best medical care for seizures, Physical and Occupational Therapists with neuro-developmental training, Catie always lived at home and went everywhere with her four brothers. We constantly took her for prayer to healing services, Holy Mass and Communion, the Anointing of the Sick and even to Lourdes twice. My vision is that one day kids like Cate will attend Catholic Schools where they’ll receive Special Ed. and therapies, have friends (they usually don’t), etc. but also regular, faithful prayer from a community that ‘knows’ and loves them. And if the school mentioned in this article wants it’s students to “know” Jesus, then “knowing” the ‘least among us’ is the way to go. I think these same Catholic School kids that had a hand in bringing down the Berlin Wall through daily petition would bring about healings and even miracles for these precious wounded souls . . . .if only they ‘KNEW’ them and their suffering. Isn’t my IDEA worth a shot?

        • Sue Korlan

          I work with these kids in a public school. Please don’t presume that just because the school is public that the teachers aren’t praying for them. We are because we love them. And I have learned much more from them than they will ever learn from me.

          • patricia

            Oh Sue. . .I realize many good, loving and prayerful people work in public schools. My point is that I’d love to see the Church step up and out and be inclusive in their education/socialization of all children (and prayer there can be much more open). I agree that ‘Special Needs’ kids teach us more than we could ever teach them. . . .all the more reason for Catholic Schools to adopt inclusion as standard policy. Look at all the graces they’re losing out on.