Letters | Catholic Schools, Catholic Hospitals

The Old Ways Still Work

Regarding “Rethinking Catholic Schools: Who Needs Them?” by Fr. Nonomen (December 6, 2013): The elementary school of Fr. Nonomen’s parish is not representative of all Catholic suburban schools. Many Catholic schools around the country are still thriving, such as the ones outside the city of Philadelphia. In my archdiocese, Catholic schools were built at the turn of the twentieth century to teach the large number of Catholic immigrants, but eventually they spread to the suburbs for the baby boom of the 1950s and ’60s. Many of these suburban Catholic schools remain vibrant today.

I agree with Fr. Nonomen that “Catholic schools distinguish themselves from public schools by integrating gospel values in academics and extracurricular activities,” and if he were to ask students, they would say that they’ve also found friendship and a feeling of community that comes from a shared faith tradition. This sense of community gives them a security that strengthens their sense of worth. Sharing the same values builds a strong foundation from which purposeful learning can develop.

I disagree with the way Fr. Nonomen characterizes most Catholic-school teachers as “fresh out of college and, therefore, ill-equipped to teach.” On the contrary, many faculty members in our suburbs have been teaching in Catholic school for several years, even though their...

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