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Okay, it only took seven posts to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Questions Nobody Asked Me!
If anyone reading this would like to weigh in, I’d be interested in your answers, your comments about my answers, and your suggestions for other good questions that might be asked in order to plan well for the next ten years.
What models are you aware of in other locations that you admire and would like to see emulated here?
I’ve not researched what other archdioceses are doing. I know that New York City has a huge Catholic artist’s group, with an annual Mass, which I admire. I’d be keenly interested in the question if I were doing the planning ahead. Modeling is one of the best ways to lead, to teach, to work out the bugs so others can implement more successfully. There should/could be (and, maybe, already is) a lot of cross-pollination between dioceses in the U.S. There might even be models worth noting in other countries.
Please describe your experience of, or impressions of, Catholic education in our archdiocese.
I’ve been a Catholic home educator, and have friends with kids in other Catholic schools. My impression of the schools is that they are put together by devout and wonderful people with great good will, but without ever questioning whether the American, Protestant education system based upon a German military training system and used to turn out interchangeable factory workers is really a good model for Catholic schools.
There also seems to be an unwarranted pride in using ‘certified’ teachers, with little-to-no recognition of the utterly Catholic-antagonistic understanding of the human person that prevails in secular teacher training programs. And then, there’s the laudable effort underway to train these teachers to provide well-integrated Catholic instruction despite that obvious disadvantage, or their own disinclination to reverence Catholic thought and doctrine.
I hear that many students in Catholic schools are not pro-life, support same-sex marriage, are suicidal and experiencing other symptoms of mental illness, write very poorly, etc… Though I do not blame Catholic schools for the way these social ills permeate into their students, I am skeptical about whether our current models of Catholic education are adequate against the dominant culture. Yet, it would seem to be heresy to say anything ‘negative’ about our schools. How, then, can they ever improve?
How is our Church contributing to your ongoing education?
I went through the Art, Beauty and Inspiration certificate program courtesy of our archdiocese. Our campus center has some speakers and book study groups that are open to me. I enjoy reading and discussion with a Well-Read Moms group and with the Catholic Creatives Salon. I appreciate these programs, and hope more will be made available. It might be helpful to have a lending library, seminars on grant-writing and non-profit creation, workshops for laypersons on various topics in social justice.
Do you interact with our Church via social media?
There is no parish blog, and no regional one for me. Some use is made of the parish FB page…of no use to me as I am bowing out of Facebook. I am a ‘follower’ of the Bishop’s/Archdiocese’s Facebook page and the Conference page, but hardly ever see anything posted there. There’s an email list for the AVI family, for CRAA, and a few other organizations I’m interested in. We have a local mom’s email list/group that is effective in communicating about playdates, kids’ clothes, good babysitters, and such. I’ve looked for and haven’t found a list of local Catholic bloggers to follow. For a while I followed the New Evangelization blog, but they haven’t kept it active. I get info through the pro-life office email list, and nothing as a Guild member from the Fine Arts Council. I would like to be better connected, but there is no list of KS Catholic bloggers in the area to refer to. If there are groups that want to be connecting on social media, there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism to find them.
…it is difficult for poets to remain acceptable or contented party men; they ask too many questions.
Dorothy Sayers, in the Introduction to her translation of Dante’s Purgatorio
I close this little series with gratitude to the Bishop for his leadership and his attempt to have listening meetings…with gratitude also to those who encouraged me to go, to try to participate, and to explore my own responses to this interesting process.