I recently came across a great quote that described Catholic school culture as “…a way of life rooted in Christ, a Gospel-based creed and code and a Catholic vision that provides inspiration…” (Flynn, 1993). I have spent time reflecting on this image as it relates to my work in Catholic schools, as both a principal and a Meitler consultant, and my response has been a loud AMEN! Truly what unites Catholic schools across the country is the shared commitment to centering the work of the school in Christ and operating with a Gospel-based creed and code.
One simply needs to walk the hallways, interact with children, teachers, staff, and parents to feel the lived presence of Christ and to experience people living out a creed of beliefs and abiding by a strong moral code. The article went on to name some key Gospel values that animate Catholic schooling: faith, service, courage, justice, hope, love, reconciliation, and community. As I have interacted with faculty, staff administrators, parents, and students, I have felt a profound sense of community, service, courage, and love. Community in the sense of belonging to the mission and other smaller communities of friendships formed through the Catholic school experience. Service is experienced in the commitment made through their involvement, care, almsgiving, and sacrifice. Courage experienced in a family’s ability to discipline itself to make the sacrifices necessary to send their child/ren to a Catholic school. And love felt toward God, self, and neighbor. My heart is grateful for the opportunity to visit and experience firsthand, the mission driven work done in Catholic schools!