Over two thousand years ago, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, commissioned the apostles to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (cf. Matt 28:19).
In recent years, Pope Benedict XVI exhorts the entire Church to rekindle a spirit of a “New Evangelization.” In a particular way, the Holy Father challenges Catholic school teachers to participate in the Church’s evangelizing mission as they come to understand their profession as a vocation and their calling “supernatural.”
Here at St. Mary of the Assumption School in Upper Marlboro, MD we whole-heartedly embrace this supernatural vision and participate in the formation of our students, helping to nurture them into good citizens of this world, loving God and neighbor and enriching society with gospel values; and most importantly, with God’s help, we prepare the boys and girls to be future citizens of heaven, thus fulfilling their destiny to become saints (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, pg. 8).
We are aware of the bishops’ concern that education can be seen merely as an instrument for acquisition of information that will improve the chances of worldly success and a more comfortable standard of living, or for elementary schools to simply prepare children to compete well for admittance into a desirable high school. Such an impoverished vision of education is not Catholic.
Our school community embraces a Christian anthropology. Catholic theology teaches that grace builds on nature. In terms of curricula and pedagogy, this worldview allows us to see every person, every subject, every activity and even the physical building as opportunities to teach the truths of the faith and foster its practice. We take special care to avoid the error that our Catholic identity and religious instruction is limited to the time/space of our catechism classes and religious-education program. Such a position would foster the misunderstanding that faith and life can be separated.
To our parents, we affirm that you are the first educators of your children. You have the original, primary, and inalienable right to educate your children. Parents, by definition, are educators. At the same time, most parents share their educational responsibilities with other individuals and institutions, primarily in the context of schools. It is in this philosophical framework that we happily and gratefully accept your children and partner with you in their education (cf. John Paul II, 1983, Letter to Families, pg. 16).