Monthly Archives: February 2018

Feb 25th Newsletter

This week’s newsletter highlights 5 more new Catholic schools and their great stories in the blog and podcasts.  In the newsletter, however, I’ve also included some of my favorite articles about school communication.  Specifically, I’ve included resources to help school leaders.  My favorite five articles are the first 5 listed:

  1. Justin Baeder’s “Brevity Challenge” has been very popular. He gives some great advice on effective emails.
  2. Shane Parrish’s blog post “Carl Braun on Communicating Like a Grown Up” is full of great advice. I’ve always thought that being willing to have the difficult conversations and enter into the fray is part of being an effective leader.
  3. It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It” is a great advice for school leaders for effective communication. It supports the notion that it’s not about having the right words (i.e. in an email or written memo) but it’s paying attention to the relationships that matter.
  4. To be effective, school leaders need to engender and build trust. Thomas Murray’s “7 Ways to Build Trust With Your School Community” is a great reflection full of great ideas.
  5. Edutopia’s “Turning Classes Into Communities” strikes at the heart of what makes Catholic schools successful—community. Yes, we’re faith communities.  But ultimately if you ask any Catholic school parent what they like about Catholic schools they will point to the community or family feel.  We must continue to be intentional about building and supporting this.  This approach might mean making more phone calls rather than emails or memos as outlined by the Harvard Business Review’s “How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers Into Loyal Ones.”

Have a great week!

FEb 18th Newsletter

Here is the link to the newsletter.  The Top 5:

  1. At the top of the American Catholic News section, there is a great feature story on Dr. RaeNell Houston, the superintendent for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Listen to my podcast interview from last fall with Dr. RaeNell here.
  2. As the immigration debate rages, Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners has a great article examining the Christian ethos of immigration reform. Replacing a family-based immigration system with a merit-based system has implications for our values.  Is economic value the best way to value citizenship?
  3. 6 School Culture Building Components,” a blog by Dr. Toby Travis, is a great reflection on building school culture. There’s a little bit of insight for everyone in this.
  4. I recommend you read the editorial “Gun Control is a Pro-Life Issue” as well as the NPR article entitled “Is There Any Way for Schools to Prevent Shootings?” and the story of the victims “Musician, Budding Scholars, Wrestling Coach, Soccer Player Among Fla. Shooting Victims.” We need to do a little bit of everything—put the story in context, figure how we can improve school security, and grieve the loss of our fellow Americans.  Gun violence is not a technical problem with a simple fix.  But that doesn’t mean we should give up trying to resist this “new normal” which has become a ritual for disaffected teens.

David Faber the joy of the gospel

The Joy of the Gospel with David Faber

Category : Podcasts

David Faber the joy of the gospel

In the first year of his papacy, Pope Francis published the apostolic exhortation Joy of the Gospel, a book-length ode to evangelization. Four years later, the meaning of missionary discipleship is beginning to surround us. Last summer, the USCCB convened a special meeting to analyze, celebrate, and establish a common understanding for the American Catholic Church.

In the fall of 2017, the NCEA decided to use Joy of the Gospel as the source for its new vision for Catholic schools. Do you want to be part of the conversation? Then you need to read Joy of the Gospel. Start by picking up a copy then read my Wednesday Book Blog describing how to approach it.

Next, read the coverage of its release and the introductory pieces on it:

1. Fr. Stephen Bevans, SVD, offers a great introduction to Joy of the Gospel.

2. The National Catholic Register describes 9 Things to Know and Share about Joy of the Gospel

3. America presents an introduction to Joy of the Gospel

Have you read it yet? You really need to make the effort to read Joy of the Gospel.

Once you do, listen to my podcast with David Faber, the outstanding superintendent of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, on the Catholic School Matters podcast. 

 play on iTunes


Try reading some of the lengthier pieces on Joy of the Gospel:

1. Kevin Cotter’s “Focus on Campus” blog offers some helpful tips on how to read Joy of the Gospel—including sharing great resources. He provides a great way to understand it depending on your level of interest.

2. Cardinal DiNardo shares his thoughts on Joy of the Gospel in a Crux interview. It’s interesting and a quick read.

3. Bishop Robert Barron describes Joy of the Gospel in a short video (9 minutes). Bishop Barron is always interesting to watch and the 9 minutes go by very quickly.

4. The Vatican provides a synthesis of the apostolic exhortation. Do you want to know the official word? The party line? Here it is!

5. Church Life, a scholarly magazine published by the Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame, published a special issue on Joy of the Gospel with lots of scholarly takes. The introduction is especially insightful but the issue itself will lead readers in a variety of directions.

If you’re interested in developing a faith formation program for your staff, here are 3 great options:

1. Paula Gooder from Church House Publishing offers a six-session study course in sharing faith based on Joy of the Gospel

2. The Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice produced a resource for discussion and reflection on the Joy of the Gospel.

3. Catholic Theological Union (CTU) has a great introduction and a study guide with a 12- part series of videos/podcasts which can serve as an online PLC. These are short little vignettes from a variety of different topics. I’ve listened to these and really enjoyed their thought-provoking nature.


Feb 11th Newsletter

Here is the link to the Feb 11th Newsletter.  My Top 5:

  1. The Need to Think Differently” in the American Catholic News section is a great blog post by Don Drees (President) Dr. Bill Hughes (Chief Academic Officer) of Seton Schools in Milwaukee. They argues that we (Catholic school leaders) need new thinking to avoid catastrophes such as the closing of Jubilee Catholic schools.
  2. The next article, “The Scariest Catholic in America” is a feature of Fr. James Martin. It should serve as a wake-up to Catholics to listen to one another and open our hearts to each other.  Otherwise, with friends like these, who needs enemies?  Divided we fall, folks.
  3. In the Catholic School News section, there is a combined NCEA/USCCB document on 529 plans. This FAQ would be a great resource for Catholic school marketing.  You might want to insert these in parish bulletins, post on your website, pass out to your parents, etc.
  4. In the Leadership section, the HBR article entitled “If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week?” is a great article examining what we define as success and what role negative motivators such as insecurity and perfectionism play in our lives.
  5. In the Miscellany section, I love the first article on individualism which appeared in the month’s Sojourners magazine. “Bowling Together” examines how communities have become separated and we need more emphasis on the common good.

Feb 4th Newsletter

Here is the link to the Feb 4th Newsletter

The Top 5 Links:

  1. NCR was very kind in writing a great article about Catholic School Matters. The host of “In Conversations” also invited me onto the show.  I encourage you to click on the links.  Outlets like NCR pay attention to metrics.  The more hits and downloads, the more likely it is they’ll devote resources to telling our stories.
  2. Education Gadfly (part of the Thomas Fordham Institute) has two great blog posts—one very personal essay by Stephanie Saroki de Garcia (of Seton Fellows) about the need for more miracles in education and another by Kathleen Porter-Magee (of Partnership Schools in NYC) entitled “Charter Schools are Not the Future of Catholic Education.”
  3. I came across an article a couple of weeks ago referencing Rod Dreher’s monastic vision and the “Benedict Option.” Last week, Cardinal Cupich spoke out about what he characterized as “withdrawal.”  So I included the three articles in case you weren’t aware of this movement.
  4. In the Leadership section, the first article about decision-making and fighter pilots was one of the best things I read this week.
  5. Campaign Counsel produced a great guide to how the new tax code will impact giving and this can be found in the Leadership section.