The U.S. bishops’ new chairman-elect for Catholic education says he hopes to bring his experience as a Catholic school teacher and president, as well as pastor of two parishes, into his new position.

In an increasingly secular society, when people’s lives seem more and more to lack meaning, “our schools remind us of Christ’s love…a dignity of the human person that is beyond the mindset of the present moment, or the latest educational trend,” Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington told CNA Nov. 17.

Daly’s fellow bishops on Nov. 16 elected him to serve as chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. bishops’ conference, which provides guidance for the educational mission of the Church to Catholic elementary and secondary schools, Catholic colleges and universities, and college campus ministry.

The “first mission” of any Catholic school should be the salvation of souls, he noted, but too often Catholic schools focus almost exclusively on academics, to the detriment of their Catholic mission.

A Catholic school ought to be academically excellent, while always keeping in mind why Catholic schools exist— to strengthen the faith foundation, he said.

Instead of operating as merely a private prep school with “a little bit of religious flavoring,” a Catholic school should encourage and guide its students to “seek the Lord with a sincere heart,” Daly said.

“We don’t need more ‘private schools.’ We need schools that are Catholic, that teach and proclaim the Gospel with the realization of academic rigor,” he said.

“I think we have to re-examine why we have our schools, and why they’re so important to families,” he said.

Full story at Angelus News.