Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith: December 4, 2017

Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith: December 4, 2017

Category : Podcasts

Sacred Congregation for Education, 1982

Link to the document Lay Catholics in Schools

Tom McDonald, who has taught religion in Catholic schools for over 15 years, joins the podcast to discuss the impact of lay Catholics.

Tom Schutte, now entering his 25th year teaching theology at O’Dea High School in Seattle, joins his friend Tom McDonald to add his insight.




Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith (Vatican, 1982)

  • Reading Questions:
    • 3: Can anyone be a teacher?  What is required?
    • 3: The decrease of Religious men and women has coincided with criticisms of schools.  What are the reasons?
    • 6-7: What is the twofold call to every lay person in the Church?
    • 7-9: What makes the laity exceptionally well-equipped to engage the culture?
    • 12: What are the purposes of the school?
    • 15: Does the document limit the definition of “educator” to teachers?
    • 16: What is the definition of an educator?
    • 19: What are the “tremendous problems” of the world?
    • 22: What is the essential component to any community?
    • 27: What is important if an educator is going to remain successful?
    • 32: Witness comes from words and actions.  What is the result of effective examples?
    • 37: Teaching is not just a profession, but a vocation.  How must teachers live that out?
    • 39: Are all Catholic schools alike?  If not, what sets them apart?
    • 42: Are Catholic teachers expected to simply teach doctrine?
    • 64: What should effective teacher formation look like?
    • 68: Is formation “one and one”?  In other words, should a certification be issued and a teacher be fully formed?
    • 78: What are the two practical suggestions offered to support lay teachers?


  • Reflection Questions:
    • Is the lay teacher a ‘vocation’ within the Church?  How would you define/describe it?  How does your school community support this?
    • In paragraphs 20-21, the authors explore the intersection of culture and the Church.  The meaning of culture (popular/secular vs. your school’s culture) is presented.  What are the values in your school which you hope to pass down?
    • In paragraph 65 the authors point out formation in the “social teachings of the church” which follows on the ills of society outlined in paragraph 19.  What are the 7 principles of Catholic social teaching?  Are these fully integrated into your school?  How would they change your school culture?
    • 76: How is the Diocese supporting the vocation of lay teachers?
    • 78: What does the quote “the school is always in the process of being created” mean to you?
    • List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

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