The following comes from an August 23 column by Archbishop Jose Gomez in the Los Angeles archdiocese paper, the Tidings.
I hope you all have been having a refreshing summer. I love the summer months because they are a time of renewal and a time of family and a little slower pace.
The Catholic School year began last week and in a week or so the new year will begin at St. John Seminary and our Catholic colleges and universities.
I had the privilege to start this school year by blessing a new Catholic school — St. Pius X/St. Matthias Academy in Downey.
This new academy brings together Catholic academic traditions that date back more than 60 years. It reminds us of the proud history of Catholic education in Los Angeles, and it is also a sign of hope for our Church and for all the children of Los Angeles.
Catholic education is the Church’s future. It’s also the key to our society’s future. As our Holy Father Pope Francis said this summer at World Youth Day: “Young people are the window through which the future enters the world.”
….The Church is committed to providing an education that goes far beyond facts and figures and information. Those things are important. But just as important are the virtues and values that make life “real” and truly worth living. The virtues and values that help our children grow up with a “transcendent” perspective. That help them to see with the eyes of Jesus.
In our culture in this time, this is perhaps the most valuable thing that Catholic education has to offer — the “Catholic vision” of life.
We are struggling in our culture to find the true meaning of life. What is happiness and what is success? What should we value? How do we define these things and how do we achieve them? There are so many false promises and crooked paths that are being offered to our young people.
So many of the problems in our homes and in our society can be traced back to the fact that we no longer have a clear idea of what it means to be a human person. The question from the Psalms is the question of our times: “What is man?”
The Catholic vision gives us the right answer and shows us the right path for our lives. Jesus showed us that we are creatures of great dignity, made in the image of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, born for greater things — for beauty and goodness, for love and truth.
This is the foundation of Catholic education — to help our young people grow in the awareness of what St. Paul called “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” We are made for the glory of God.
That’s what a good Catholic education prepares for — a life of love and service to God and others. This is the life we pray about at the end of every Eucharist: “Go in peace … glorifying the Lord by your life.”
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