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Urgent: support traditional Catholic schools.

Recently, while undertaking the St. Ignatius spiritual exercises, I was deeply struck by three related realities: first, the radical set of truths Christ asks us to embrace--none of which is more awesome than our participation in the Mass; second, the lifelong journey each of us must embark on toward a genuine understanding of, and reverence for, those truths; and third, the impact our everyday surroundings will have on our success--or failure--in this journey.

The initial gift of Faith can only be obtained through God's grace, but if we hope to sustain and enrich the relationship He asks us to enter into, we must participate with the utmost dedication. We need all the earthly help we can get! Christ instituted the Church, brimming with devoted religious, saints, and martyrs, for just that reason. We only need to tap into its rich treasury of teachings. But how many of these teachings are being lost in the translation--or not being translated at all?

Like many, I was born into the Faith, but spent a big chunk of my life away from it. Why did I leave? A lack of formation. Although I attended weekly Mass with my family, my everyday world was devoid of almost all things Catholic. I received the Sacraments, but had little understanding--and therefore love--of them. Without the right models to help shape me, I eventually stopped attending Mass and distanced myself from the Church.

Sadly, my experience is typical of recent generations. The faithful have left in droves, and many of those remaining admit to lacking an understanding of and reverence for the mysteries unfolding before them.

Can we agree that the lack of authentic Catholic education has played a significant factor in the decline of well-formed, believing, and practicing Catholics? Can we agree that such a lack has caused a crisis among our youth, placing countless of our young people in grave moral danger?

Along with a few other schools, we at Wayside have listened in obedience to our Church; we have turned to our priests and sisters as much as our parents and teachers; we have celebrated the riches the Church offers in its saints, prayers, sacred music, art, and love of reason. We have worked ceaselessly to give our children the keys to live successfully in the modern world, and--so much more importantly--supernatural happiness.

The fruit of this time-tested approach is clear. Our students, whether present or past, keep their Faith. They have a deep respect for the sacraments, marriage, chastity, and the teachings of the Church. They are open to vocational life. They are excelling academically. Their imaginations play in places filled with goodness. Their outward appearance is clearly joyful and respectful.

A new springtime is needed. From where else but in schools like Wayside, in service to the Church and its devoted families, will such a springtime be born?

Given the landscape we find ourselves in, I can promise you it is no easy task to fulfill our mission. In the eighteen years of our existence at Wayside, we have faced our share of adversity. I know the other few schools that labour in our shared mission also face such overwhelming odds.

Though our spiritual mission is clear, we are facing a practical crisis: we are in great need of financial help to cover basic costs and pay staff their apostolic wages.

As a registered charitable organization and a school that receives no government funding, Wayside has always relied on the few who understand our role and importance. Please help us in our time of need. Please become a supporter of our mission. Please consider helping.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CI fully encourages our readers who might feel attracted to this work to consider getting involved with Wayside, or some other of our private Catholic schools. We need to help train the leaders of the next generation, and pass on the wisdom our Catholic heritage. Feel free to contact CI for the address of Wayside, or the name of any other schools that might be in your area. These are largely volunteer institutions with nominally paid staff, and they need our prayers and support.

Adam Parker is the Principal of Wayside Academy and lives on a farm in Douro, Ontario with his wife Carolyn and their five children.
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Author:Parker, Adam
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:May 1, 2014
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