Bishop urges Catholic educators to see the importance of the Eucharist


By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Speaking to Catholic educators at an annual national conference, Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Wash., urged them to ensure their work is always rooted in the importance of the Eucharist .

Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Wash., chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, delivers a keynote address July 11, 2022, at the 10th Annual National Conference of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education on July 11 through July 14 at The Catholic University of America in Washington. (Photo: CNS/Sagra Alvarado-Hardy, courtesy Catholic University of America)

Bishop, chair of the Committee on Catholic Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said teachers should help their students appreciate the sacrament more deeply as part of the current national eucharistic renewal.

Launched on June 19, the feast of Corpus Christi, the revival is a three-year initiative of the USCCB to revitalize Catholics’ understanding and love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

At the National Eucharistic Congress that will close the revival in 2024, Bishop Daly said, “The focus will be on the work that Catholic schools can do and how they might help the next generation…to appreciate, know and love Jesus. Christ” in the Eucharist.

The bishop delivered the keynote address at the 10th annual conference of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, held July 11-14 at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

A press release from the institute said the annual conference brings together Catholic educators “to deepen their understanding of the nature and purpose of Catholic education and its roots in the classical liberal arts tradition.”

Bishop Daly said that during his years as a bishop, and previously as a priest and Catholic school administrator, he had many conversations with lay people, nuns and parish school priests who asked why the Eucharist would not be “the foundation of one’s life, especially if one participated in helping young people to know Jesus Christ in a Catholic school? »

“In other words, why do we have people teaching in our schools if they don’t go to mass on Sunday? he asked the group. He said an applicant for a position at a Catholic school had difficulty finding the name of his parish, which did not help his job prospects.

When the applicant couldn’t name his parish right away, the bishop said he wondered, “Where was the Eucharist in this man’s life?

He told conference attendees that they had likely seen similar scenarios and had also been “involved enough in Catholic education to know that we have this special obligation and responsibility to lead people to Jesus- Christ, to help families and more particularly spiritually, innocent and impressionable children to whom our Lord has given grace, so that they may grow in grace and wisdom.

“How can we fail to see the importance of participating in the holy sacrifice of the Mass? He asked. “I hope many of you are in schools that have been more intentional, and that you are made up of believers, active, practicing Catholics who try to live their faith every day with questions, with struggles, because it is so often important to us that we approach these staff, and especially the students, with the patience and compassion of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Daly noted that some Catholic schools teach religion for religion’s sake, not to “help save souls,” which he said lacked meaning.

He stressed that teachers in Catholic schools need to see the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist – regular participation in Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Confession – which he described as “strengths for the way” and the mission to spread the message of the Gospel.

He also urged educators to be humble. “An effective teacher who wants to reach the hearts of young people can only do so if he is humble, grateful and generous. As we know, Eucharist means thanksgiving and strengthens these qualities.

The bishop said Catholic teachers must guide students to make spiritual connections and find meaning.

“A Eucharistic vision sees the world as natural and supernatural, full of wonder and mystery,” Bishop Daly said. “The sacraments are, as we know, signs of the sacred. And all creation is imbued with it. But we have to train our eyes to see it.

He reminded the group that their mission is “to help young people grow in grace and wisdom” and that the strength they received from the Eucharist would help them do this.

New Catholic University President Peter Kilpatrick greeted the group virtually, ahead of the Bishop’s evening address, and thanked them for their “unwavering commitment to Catholic education” and their work to advance the “mission of Catholic education at all levels”.

He said the growing enrollment in Catholic schools today is “a direct result of the leadership of many of you over the past few years.”

“In the midst of a pandemic,” he said, “Catholic schools have played an extraordinary role in stabilizing our education system and, in large part, creating a way forward for our communities.”

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