LOCAL VOICES Gospel-driven lessons of life found in Catholic education

Paul Mullaney


By Paul Mullaney

Guest commentary


      Every year at this time, the confluence of Christ the King Sunday and Thanksgiving Day gives us the ideal framework to appreciate the gift of Catholic education.          

      It’s an ideal time to remember two prominent manifestations of our Savior – Jesus as King and Jesus as Teacher – as we explore further the blessings of our Catholic schools.

      As we navigate life’s twists and turns, the Gospels provide the road map to the Kingdom through the lessons taught by the Master Teacher. So why wouldn’t any of us want to seek first an educational setting that allows for the Gospel message – through prayer, through service, through classwork, through culture – to be at the forefront?

      Our Catholic schools provide that gift as they focus on the education of the whole person in Christ – mind, body and soul. It is so important that our students, as they grow, be regularly reminded not just who they are, but whose they are.

      And as a true bonus to learning those Gospel-driven lessons of life, consider this treasure: Catholic school students achieve at greater levels as they learn the traditional lessons of reading, writing and ’rithmetic, and more modern lessons brought forward by newer technologies and concepts.

      The advantage of Catholic schools is well-documented. Spend a little inquisitive time with Google, and you’ll find plenty to read.

      Some of the highlights you might find include the following recent stats:

      In October, the National Center for Education Statistics released its annual “Report Card” for the United States. Citing national test results, NCES reported the percentage of Catholic school eighth-graders scoring “at or above proficient” in reading was 22 percent higher than their public school counterparts, and in math the rate was 12 percent higher.

      Similar statistics are seen at the high school level, according to this month’s newsletter from the Council for American Private Education. CAPE reported that of this year’s private high school graduates who took the ACT, on average 24 percent more met college readiness benchmarks in English than public school graduates, 22 percent more did so in reading, 20 percent more in mathematics, and 19 percent more in science. Catholic school students far and away make up the largest segment of private high school students.

      So it should be no surprise that right here in the Diocese of Gary, our Catholic schools have produced tens of thousands of graduates who have made a difference in their families, in their parishes, in their communities, in their fields, in the world.

      They are true difference makers, paying forward the gift of a Catholic school education they received as they strive to live the Gospel message en route to the kingdom.

      So this Thanksgiving, many of us have so much for which to be grateful. My wife, Kelly, and I are grateful to have been blessed with six children, all of whom have attended our diocesan schools.

      And I have often been asked: With six kids, how could you afford to send them to Catholic schools?

      My response is simple: With all that’s at stake, how could I afford not to!


Paul Mullaney is the president of Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .