What do you call schools whose teachers are disciples of Jesus Christ and who help parents and children fall in love, and stay in love, with Jesus Christ and his Church?
What do you call schools where students overachieve academically in the short term, but live virtuously in the long term?
What do you call schools that believe all students are gifts from God and should have access to the formation necessary to navigate through a relativistic and unpredictable world?
These are the focus areas crucial to our vision:
The future of these institutions of love and learning is threatened. There is a need in the Archdiocese of Denver to change the way we support the treasure of Catholic education. In Worthy of the Name, we outlined four critical areas in which the combined efforts of our archdiocese will transform our schools, helping them to be truly worthy of the name Catholic.
The unique value of Catholic education is all too often overlooked in our modern times. Here, in this document, we will explain the irreplaceable effects of Catholic education.
Proverbs tells us to “Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it” (Prov 22:6). The formative years of elementary and secondary education offer parents the best opportunity to prepare their children to answer the universal call to holiness and to pursue a saintly life. Catholic schools surround a child with a love for Jesus Christ, for his Church, and for the sacraments. Our faith instills in children a deeply-rooted love of God and others, forming them into the men and women who will guide our Church and our nation in the future.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has noted, “The graduates [that Catholic schools] produce emerge as lifelong practitioners of their faith. These Catholic graduates have been, are, and will be our leaders in Church and society.”
Worthy of the Name calls on the schools of the Archdiocese of Denver to remain on mission, focused on strengthening our Catholic ethos, on forming Disciple-Teachers, and on reinforcing the vocation of Catholic school teaching. Our schools are shaping the Catholics of the future. We must share the enduring truths of the Catholic faith, which Christ himself promised would last until the end of time.
Millennial Catholics who attended Catholic schools are seven times more likely to attend weekly Mass than millennial adults who attended public schools.
Men who have attended a Catholic secondary school are more than six times as likely to consider a vocation.
Women who have attended a Catholic primary school are three times as likely to consider being a religious sister.
What my husband and I are trying to teach our children at home is not only supported, but reaffi rmed at St. Rose. We are trying hard to teach our children to value life and the family. For us this is the basis for all other values and rights and we see that at St. Rose our children are not only learning the value of life and the family, but they are being taught how to practi ce it and be people of faith and mercy.”
Veronica and Abelardo Aviti a are the parents of seven. Two are Catholic school alumni currently attending college, three are studying at St. Rose and two more can’t wait to enroll at St. Rose when they are old enough.
While Canon Law calls upon Catholic schools to provide instruction that “is at least as academically distinguished” as that available in public schools, the schools of the Archdiocese of Denver consistently exceed that standard, as measured by nationally normed assessments.
Following the example of Jesus, the Master Teacher, the schools of the Archdiocese of Denver follow a rigorous curriculum tailored to provide not just a well-rounded education, but also a deeply rooted spiritual and moral foundation. As Cardinal J. Francis Stafford wrote, “Like Mary, Catholic education should teach us to be alert to God’s presence in all persons and things.” He continued to write that Catholic schools must teach that “truth exists, it has been revealed by God, and men and women can discover and understand it.”
Worthy of the Name calls on the schools of the archdiocese to continue to demonstrate excellence in every way. Our schools have renewed their commitment to the formation of the entire person – mind, body, and spirit. Schools are developing specialized programming and configurations that will position them to better meet the needs of their students.
Catholic schools have a lower dropout rate (3.4%) than both public (14.4%) and other private schools (11.9%)
99% of students who attend Catholic high schools graduate. Of those, 86% attend 4-year colleges
92.4% of Catholic high school graduates within the Archdiocese of Denver in 2015-16 went on to enroll at 4-year college
In an essay reflecting on his experience as the child of Mexican immigrants to the United States, Bishop Oscar Cantú of the Diocese of Las Cruces recalled a conversation with an older brother, who said, “Catholic schools are our ticket out of the barrio.” The bishop continued, “From his vantage point, he understood the high quality of academics, the environment conducive to learning, and the support system that surrounded the school, namely the Church. Catholic schools put us squarely on the road to success in college and in life” (Notre Dame, 2013).
Here in Denver, our Church recognizes the transformational power of a Catholic education. As a school system, we are working to become truly accessible to all who desire a Catholic education, regardless of socioeconomic factors. Through a concerted effort to reach out to Latino families, who now comprise more than half of the Catholic population of the archdiocese and have historically been underserved, our schools will teach and welcome all children.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, has noted, “Catholic schools are not only the most effective agent – outside of the family – of passing on the faith, but also, according to sociologists, a uniquely successful tool of ‘Americanization,’ as they embrace the children of our immigrants and prepare them to become responsible, virtuous citizens. How sadly ironic that an immigrant group almost totally Catholic – our Latinos – are not being educated in the schools that so brilliantly formed past immigrants into faithful Catholics and loyal Americans” (Notre Dame, 2013). In Worthy of the Name, our schools are challenged to reach out to Catholics throughout northern Colorado and let them know that Catholic education is a possible option for all of our children.
Catholic education has been very important to me and my family. It has taught us the value of family, respect for one another, discipline in our lives and including God in all that we do. The impact on my children’s lives has been life-changing – their spiritual formation, cultural engagement, and academic achievement. I feel safe having them in a Catholic school and it has made me want to be more involved in my children’s lives. It has been a true investment in their future by raising them in Catholic schools.”
Single mother of four boys who all received or are receiving a Catholic education at Machebeuf High School and St. Therese Catholic School.
They are thankful their school is worthy of the investment.
Catholic schools have historically played an important role in the parishes and communities they serve. However, the current trajectory of families moving away from Catholic education not only has dire consequences for our Catholic Church, but also for the entire community within the boundaries of the archdiocese. Research has shown that “it is reasonable to assume that Catholic school closures portend a decline in social capital in urban communities” (Brinig and Garnett, 2014).
During the symposium that produced Worthy of the Name, Archbishop Aquila said, “The difference between instruction and discipleship is that the former imparts knowledge but the latter changes our identity; it gives us a different worldview and forms our character.” The people of the Archdiocese of Denver must remember the value of Catholic education in our community and must renew their efforts to sustain this mission of the Church to educate our young men and women to become well-formed people of great character.
Through the implementation of a more viable business model, changes to the affordability of tuition, and increased funding, Worthy of the Name sets forth a plan to not only preserve Catholic schools, but to spark their growth. Rightsized budgets, staffing, and tuition will demonstrate responsible stewardship of the funds needed to educate our students. A shift to greater cooperation among schools through the Office of Catholic Schools will lead to greater efficiencies. A rethinking of tuition and fundraising will ensure that our schools serve all who desire a Catholic education.
Our schools are shaping the Catholics of the future. We must share the enduring truths of the Catholic faith, which Christ himself promised would last until the end of time.