Dear Collaborators in Catholic Education,
I have reflected much in recent weeks on the unique call and opportunity our schools have to partner intentionally with the parents of our students in their education and formation. I suppose this topic has been on my mind and heart for a few reasons.
I have had several calls lately with leaders in the DIA school network who have discussed the huge need they see in guiding parents on many issues and challenges facing our children today. That list is too large to enumerate here. Those of us involved in forming young people know firsthand the many battles our young people are facing.
In order to help young people flourish and to become loving disciples of Christ, there must be a strong partnership between the home and the Catholic school. When students spend most of their waking hours with men and women who are not their parents, this collaboration with the primary formators is critical.
In one of the recent conversations I have had, the school leader referenced the high Catholic population of his robust school: over 95%. However, this leader also tracks the participation level of his school families, and only 22% of them attend Church “regularly.”
One of the premises of DIA is for our Catholic schools to help rechurch our Church. By and large, our parents are not getting continued formation in their parishes; they’re not there and even if they were, many parishes do not have such programs. In fact, according to a recent study done by Communio, 85% of all churches report spending $0.00 on marriage or parent ministry! If not the parish, then whom or how?
Many of our DIA schools have been successfully “stepping into the deep” in this intentional partnership with parents by creating parent formation programs, offering a regular speaker series, sponsoring mothers’ and fathers’ clubs and bible studies, and even offering annual marriage retreats to the parents of their students.
In our growing secular culture, our Catholic schools are indeed in a unique position of strength and opportunity to guide our students on their call towards sainthood. We can only do this with an intentional partnership with parents who are their primary teachers.
Duc in Altum!
P.S., I would welcome to hear from you if you would like more information on parent formation and education programs at your school. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.