Winter 2000 – News on the Line

Volume 3: Issue 1

President’s Corner

We’ve had a busy and fruitful year! Last spring and again this fall, we hosted a wonderful brunch with Katherine Kersten and Dr. David Pence as our guest speakers. Katherine Kersten gave a superb presentation entitled, “The Challenge of Raising Upright Children in a World of Political Correctness”. You can find her talk on our web site. Dr. Pence presented us with a fascinating and inspiring talk, “Catholic Culture vs. Psycho-babble: The promise of Catholic Education”. We are already making plans for our next event and speaker.

Thanks be to God and with the help of many dedicated parents, alumni, and our beloved Archbishop Harry Flynn, I’m thrilled to report that good things are happening at one of our largest Archdiocesan high schools:

  • A newly ordained priest is now present at the school – offering Holy Mass and the Sacraments to students on a regular basis.
  • Several teachers who were passing error on to the children were not hired back this school year.
  • Beautiful crucifixes now adorn the walls of all the classrooms.

Catholic parents, worldwide, continue sending emails – they are excited to know there is now a networking system where they can share concerns and ideas with other parents. We decided that opening up a CPO Discussion Forum on our web site would be an excellent way to learn from each other. For example, parents cited situations, where they are very uncomfortable with their school’s current Christian sexuality programs and are working for an improved curriculum that is in line with authentic Catholic teaching. They’d like to hear from other parents.

Little did we know when we decided to begin a Discussion Forum that it would be so lively – come visit it and see for yourself! While you are there – be sure to check out, “The Oxcart”- our brand new Catholic education section.

In closing, I leave you with the beautiful and powerful words of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. “Catholic education cannot be done by the disaffected or lukewarm. It’s for people who have a fire in their heart for God; who love the Church and her teachings; who want to be a lion for the Lord and not a housecat. It’s for missionaries and soldiers of mercy, justice and truth. It’s for souls who see their own suffering as a small price to pay, to be part of God’s great work of redemption.”

May your family have a blessed Christmas and New Year! Please remember contributions are tax deductible & deeply appreciated. Keep us in your prayers and stay in touch! – Colleen Perfect, President

A Visit From The Christ Child

This poem, written by a father, tells of his efforts and success in reclaiming the holiday as a ‘holy-day.’

Twas the morning of Christmas, when all through the house,
All the family was frantic, including my spouse;
For each one of them had one thing only in mind,
to examine the presents St. Nick left behind.

The boxes and wrapping and ribbons and toys,
Were strewn on the floor, and the volume of noise,
Increased as our children began a big fight,
Over who got the video games, who got the bike.

I looked at my watch and I said, slightly nervous,
“Let’s get ready for church, so we won’t miss the service.”
The children protested, “We don’t want to pray:
We’ve just got our presents, and we want to play!”

It dawned on me then that we had gone astray,
In confusing the purpose of this special day;
Our presents were many and very high-priced,
But something was missing — that something was Christ!

I said, “Put the gifts down and let’s gather together,
And I’ll tell you a tale of the greatest gift ever.
“A savior was promised when Adam first sinned,
And the hopes of the world upon Jesus were pinned.

Abraham begat Isaac, who Jacob begat,
And through David the line went to Joseph, whereat
This carpenter married a maiden with child,
Who yet was a virgin, in no way defiled.

“Saying ‘Hail, full of Grace,’ an archangel appeared
To Mary the Blessed, among women revered:
The Lord willed she would bear — through the Spirit — a son.
Said Mary to Gabriel, ‘God’s will be done.’

“Now Caesar commanded a tax would be paid,
And all would go home while the census was made;
Thus Joseph and Mary did leave Galilee
For the city of David to pay this new fee.

“Mary’s time had arrived, but the inn had no room,
So she laid in a manger the fruit of her womb;
And both Joseph and Mary admired as He napped
The Light of the World in his swaddling clothes wrapped.

“Three wise men from the East had come looking for news
Of the birth of the Savior, the King of the Jews;
They carried great gifts as they followed a star —
Gold, frankincense, myrrh, which they’d brought from afar.

“As the shepherds watched over their flocks on that night,
The glory of God shone upon them quite bright,
And an angel explained the intent of the birth,
Saying, ‘Glory to God and His peace to the earth.’

“For this was the Messiah whom prophets foretold,
A good shepherd to bring his sheep back to the fold;
He was God become man, He would die on the cross,
He would rise from the dead to restore Adam’s loss.

“Santa Claus, Christmas presents, a brightly lit pine,
Candy canes and spiked eggnog are all very fine;
Let’s have fun celebrating, but leave not a doubt
That Christ is what Christmas is really about!”

The children right then put an end to the noise,
They dressed quickly for church, put away all their toys;
For they knew Jesus loved them and said they were glad
That He’d died for their sins, and to save their dear Dad.

By F.R. Duplantier ©1986. Used with permission. Another version of the Clement Moore classic “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.”

Suggestions for Parents on How to Address Issues of Concern

By Phyllis Plum

When you need to address an issue, treat others the way you would have them treat you AND represent your child so that the issue will enhance relationships — not cause division. When it is time to confront a person who may be misleading your child, take an approach void of anger and vengeance. Be practical. Get the issue resolved simply and quickly. Every approach involves different strategy because not everyone sees every issue the same way.

1. BY PHONE (usually), arrange a meeting with the person responsible for the issue. Be positive and willing to meet at their convenience. Do not expound on the issue at this time. Merely state your concern in one simple sentence, and the need to discuss it.

2. THE MEETING. STATE YOUR CLAIM. Arrive on time. Politely set the tone. State your concern. Be thorough but brief. Enter the discussion with patience and respect. Avoid sharing your opinion here.

3. THEY RESPOND. LISTEN CAREFULLY to discover the root of the violation you suspect. Maybe an error was made in your judgement — find out! When you speak, ask questions only. The right questions will reveal what you need to know to proceed. Gather facts. Discern every word. Check what you hear against your Christian tradition, philosophy and practice.

4. YOUR VIEW. Comment on why and how you see the issue. Without being judgmental, present your insights and experiences. Do not attack their view or over explain your position. Be clear and concise. State what you consider to be the problem.

5. REBUTTAL. LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY because the root and reality of the issue unfolds here. You will observe personal goals or agendas and their reaction to you as a parent with a voice. They either defend the issue or agree with you. You either work out a solution or observe definite differences. Everyone hopefully is interested in a fair resolution — not power or being right.

6. THE FINISH LINE. If you agree OR disagree, present your conclusion; emphasize your responsibility to answer for your child’s education and well being. Clarify what you hope will occur for your child in this issue. Sometimes leaders/teachers want the parent to “take the fall” for what is out of order, so be quick to ask what you can do to improve the situation. Ask for their support. Present copies of the material that clarifies your rights and point of view, i.e. Church encyclicals, pastorals, Scripture. (* If new information appears during this meeting, and you are unsure of how to handle it, state your need for more study, and request another meeting. Do thorough research. When you return, summarize your understanding of the last meeting, what you discovered since then, and state your final position.)

7. RESOLVE. Ask for an agreement. The resolution must favor YOU, the parent. YOU have the last word, the responsibility and advantage as the primary educator of your children, BUT, you must align with the “Law of Christ” or all is lost. If nothing is resolved from the first person you visit, clarify your intentions to speak to their “boss.” If every person in authority has been approached, and no understanding is reached, regroup.

8. REGROUP. Solicit other parents who uphold the same standard. UNITE. ORGANIZE. Together, as parents in a group, go through the steps again. For obvious reasons, few parents will step forward to join you. Be tenacious!

“Let him who would boast, boast in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 1:31;Ephesians 2:8, 9); boast not that you are right and they are wrong.

“Salvation Is the Bottom Line”, says a Catholic School Administrator

Ed Andrade, now in his fifth year as a Catholic school administrator, eagerly tells how he really feels about Catholic education:

“The education field is the new battleground in our country, and the battle is particularly in the Catholic schools. We have the opportunity to say that this is not just about being good citizens, but being open to God’s grace to get into heaven. Helping your students to stay on the path to heaven entails a lot more responsibility than simply instructing them in the three R’s.”

“Our opportunity to be a part of the students’ lives can never be taken lightly,” Ed stated. “We need to be quite serious about that vocational role. I’m very open to home schooling, and I think home schooling is good for some people, but I don’t doubt that Catholic education can work, because I saw it work where I was in Ohio, and I’m seeing it work now,” Ed commented.

“As Catholic educators, we need to help the students hunger to learn and hunger for the truth. If we remain true to the truth of Jesus Christ, if we live it joyfully, if people can come into our building and, before even seeing our crucifixes, know that we are children of a living, loving God, then I believe that Catholic schools are the greatest thing that ever happened for the youth in our nation.”

“We live in a society that gives role models to our children that they are supposed to be smart-mouthed with a wise-guy attitude and do unto others before they do unto you”, Ed stated. “And here we are as Catholic schools saying, ‘Turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, and do it all in love.”

According to Ed: “Our greatest battle oftentimes is not with society as a whole, but helping the parents come on board. If you send your child to a Catholic school, do it because this is what you believe. Don’t send them to Catholic school because we have a great tradition of high academic standards and discipline, so you have a good chance of getting your child into a good high school. And if you get into a good high school, you are going to get into a great college, and if you get into a great college, you may make a lot of money through your life. If those things happen, Amen. –Instead, send your children to a Catholic school because we offer the greatest gift you can give to your children.”

“Catholic schools are meant to be a tool or instrument that God uses to help them get into heaven. Salvation is the bottom line for us.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – Molly Mulqueen. “Salvation Is the Bottom Line: Catholic School Principal Ed Andrade Tells It Like It Is.” The entire article can be found in Lay Witness (April, 2000). Reprinted by permission of Lay Witness – Catholics United for the Faith, 1-800-693-2484.