St. John Paul II wrote, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth, and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know Himself — so that by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves” (Fides et Ratio, n. 1). Our Catholic schools are at the service of truth. Through the tireless and generous collaboration of clergy, leaders, faculty, staff and parents, our Catholic schools seek to foster a nurturing environment where students are given the opportunity to not only excel academically but also to develop a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church while discerning the Lord’s call for their lives.
In a world cluttered by noise and distraction, intentionally discovering the truth and the relationship offered to us by God is a challenge. Our students and families are torn between the many necessary and practical responsibilities of family life, and our culture is often times noisy and restless. Despite these challenges, the Lord awaits a relationship with each of us. Our human hearts still desire to know and seek the truth of ourselves and the world around us.
At the beginning of the book of the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord reminds Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am too young’” (Jeremiah 1:7). Our students are never too young to discover the truth, beauty and goodness the Lord offers. From children’s earliest moments, our Catholic schools pursue the noble goal of fostering an environment that couples faith and reason. They cherish purposeful experiences and moments of contemplation of the Lord where students come to see and understand God’s beautiful plan. In turn, our students receive the priceless opportunity to intentionally discern how they are called to become credible witnesses of God’s love to the world.
For the students of St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater, an enthusiastic and persevering invitation to explore and develop a life of Christian virtue is supplemented by purposeful moments of prayerful silence, Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration, access to Reconciliation and inspiration from the lives of the saints. The pursuit of Christian virtue culminates in middle school. Middle school students look forward to the opportunity to discern how a life of Christian virtue and their personal spiritual gifts provide witness leadership for younger students in the school. Students are encouraged to explore leadership roles which highlight gifts, talents and Christian virtue in the service of Jesus Christ.
Saint Mark’s Catholic School in St. Paul and St. Peter Catholic School in North St. Paul both supplement their daily school schedules with intentional opportunities for students to synthesize the Catholic faith with the culture around them. At St. Mark’s, the priests and sisters of the Pro Ecclesia Sancta community meet regularly with sixth-grade students to pray and engage in conversation on topics that integrate culture with faith and the Gospel. At St. Peter, the daily school schedule includes both a regularly scheduled socratic seminar and opportunities for class retreats, Eucharistic adoration, Lectio Divina and other formative opportunities.
These moments and countless others are woven into the daily operations of our Catholic schools. They diligently support the Church’s joyful desire for Catholic schools that “From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illumined by the light of faith” (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 25).