Association for High School Priests Formed
An association has been formed to assist priests in the Catholic high school apostolate, building on the Priestly Society of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman and the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF). Father Peter Stravinskas, founder of the Priestly Society and president of the CEF, explains that “over the past several years, priests either engaged in the high school apostolate or contemplating such work have sought advice and support for their unique and critically important ministry.” He went on: “The CEF has sponsored workshops for seven summers on the role of the priest in today’s Catholic school, and one of the consistent demands has been the establishment of an association to provide mentoring and support for priests serving as chaplains, teachers or administrators in our high schools.”
Father James Kuroly, rector/president of Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary in the Diocese of Brooklyn, reflected that when he began his work in a high school, he “was thrown into the deep end of the pool, with no preparation.” Father Michael Davis, a pastor in the Archdiocese of Miami and also a long-time Catholic educator, sees the new association as “precisely the kind of collegial and ministerial support which would greatly benefit priests who serve in the education apostolate of the Church today..” Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane and chairman of the bishops’ committee on Catholic education, as well as a seasoned Catholic educator, commented on this initiative: “”A priest in the secondary educational apostolate is often assigned by himself. The Priestly Society of St. John Henry Newman (and their new association) offers the wisdom, guidance and fraternity that will assist him in this essential ministry. Priests in schools are needed now more than ever.”” Mary Pat Donoghue, executive director of the bishops’ education office offered her support: “In this apostolic age, our schools must vibrantly witness to the teachings of Christ in every aspect of the school’s mission, from its curriculum and pedagogy to its culture and social elements. The guidance provided by a priest – an alter Christus – is critically important to this effort.”
The new association will be known as the Priestly Society of Christ Priest and Teacher, a fraternal society for priests who currently serve in our secondary schools, as well as priests who have served in the apostolate, or who wish to do so in the future; seminarians are also welcome. The society, guided by the educational principles and example of St John Henry Newman, seeks to foster fraternity and promote best practices among those priests who serve the Church in this most privileged apostolate. Father Stravinskas noted that, “now more than ever before, priests are needed in our high schools as the visible presence of the Church, exercising a ‘ministry of presence.’” He added: “In addition to providing the lay leaders of the future, our high schools continue to be the most reliable sources of priestly vocations.”
Society members will be able to obtain advice on challenges they face from veteran priestly educators. An annual retreat is also envisioned.
Further information may be obtained by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.