Catholic Education in the Era of Pope Francis

As I reflected on my entire experience, from sixth grade to college, I realized that a good Catholic education offered more than just rigorous academics. Catholic education strives to educate the whole child enabling them to engage the world through eyes of faith. This goal is seen across the education pedagogy in our Catholic Schools today. In 2014, Pope Francis addressed the those attending the Plenary Session of the Congregation for Catholic Education, by saying:

“Catholic educational institutions offer everyone an education aimed at the integral development of the person that responds to the right of all people to have access to knowledge and understanding. But they are equally called to offer to all the Christian message — respecting fully the freedom of all and the proper methods of each specific scholastic environment — namely that Jesus Christ is the meaning of life, of the cosmos and of history.”

This echoing call for Catholic education is part of a new vision for the Church under the pontificate of Francis.

Theology of Encounter

Without question, the papacy of Francis is a new “springtime” for the Church. Wheels are turning in a new direction, this new direction allows the church to fully engage the world. Fully engaging the world requires that bishops/priest become pastors, transmitting an inclusive and holistic faith through meeting people where they are. In this era of Pope Francis, we are building a Church defends the right of all people to participate in the reign of God. What is the value of a Catholic Education?

So this begs the question, “How am I teaching my students to engage the world through eyes of faith?” This question constantly comes back to me. Three methods I have found are:

1. Dialogue
2. Culturally Responsive Assessment
3. Kinship

Speaking of Catholic education, for insight into the Catholic curriculum standards, read our blog Understanding and Implementing the Catholic Curriculum Standards.

James Paul Gumataotao, 22, is a current High School Theology teacher at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks. A native son of Guam, he studied theology at the University of Portland, and is now an MAT candidate through the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education.

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