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Column: From an early age, students integrate their faith

by Kathy O’Hara

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

Recently, my associate Karla Leibham, who among other responsibilities coordinates all the curriculum-related matters for our Catholic schools in the archdiocese, invited a group of teachers to participate in a lesson plan-writing workshop.

The goal was to create lessons for topics in every subject area that incorporate the rich intellectual tradition of our Catholic faith and to use Catholic instructional resources to illustrate the topics. What a great day these teachers had! They wrote lessons for a variety of subjects and grade levels and shared ideas for many more. These lessons are available for use by all teachers in Catholic schools in the archdiocese.

While there are still many more lesson samples to write, we are making good progress toward our goal of having every lesson of every subject at every grade level reflect this infusion of the Catholic faith.

What was even more rewarding for me was to read the comments from the teachers who participated in that day. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

“It has inspired me to dig deeper and do more.”

“Today has motivated me to look for more opportunities to infuse Catholicity into all areas of my life and classroom.”

“It encourages me to continue doing what I’m doing. It gives new ideas and resources to try.”

Catholic schools are, indeed, more than just public schools with a daily religion class. They are places where students learn about the world from the perspective of faith and then have the opportunity to integrate what they have learned into their prayer lives. There’s nothing quite like hearing, as I did last week, the prayer of a second-grader who asks: “God the Father and maker of all things, please take care of my hamster that you called back to heaven to be with you.”

At first, those of us who heard the prayer chuckled, but as I thought about it, I realized that this young student had learned that the earth is the result of divine design and that we are stewards of God’s creation; he understood that the source of all of our gifts is God; he had learned to pray about the matters in life that are important to him; he had learned that life is not about our will, but God’s; and finally, he had learned that prayer in community is powerful. Granted, this student’s prayer was a reflection of the maturity of a second-grader but, as I thought about it, I realized that this young child had, indeed, learned our lessons well.

¡Vaya con Dios!

About the author

Kathy O'Hara

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