By Samuel Torres
A wonderful new school year is underway in our Diocese. As I acclimate to the diversity and uniqueness of our individual schools, I am struck by the devotion, talent and skill that is daily applied in these settings, marking our schools with a spirit of Christian joy and love.
My goal during this first year as your Superintendent, is to visit each school, talk to principals and teachers, speak with students and parents, and visit with pastors. Listening and absorbing the culture of each campus, hearing what makes each special, and discussing the challenges that our schools face is integral for an authentic lay of the land, as we work together to develop the future of Catholic education in our Diocese.
Each campus is the guardian of its own story, laced with the traditions and historical treasures we hold dear for future students. Collectively, we represent a tapestry of communities devoted to our future Church. When I first arrive on a school visit, I first notice the presence of joy in our students, families, and staff. I am blessed to witness the gathering of eager young disciples filled with a desire to exhibit their faith through music, art, performances, academics or the celebration of the liturgy. I’m touched by their reverence for Our Lord and each other, as well as their appreciation for a Catholic education.
The dynamic of any school reflects the enthusiasm of its faculty, administration, parents, alumni and community at large. Many gifts are needed to consistently maintain and elevate our schools to best provide for our students now and prepare them for what lies ahead. Vibrant schools are energized environments that inspire all members of the community to celebrate achieving students. Together, we must continue to answer God’s call in supporting the children in our San Bernardino Diocesan Catholic schools. I am working with principals and stakeholders to protect that standard of excellence we expect for our children. A Catholic education is an opportunity and an invitation to grow in a life of faith, within a caring community; what a tremendous blessing this is for the children of our Diocese. I want to personally thank you if you are already involved with supporting your local Catholic school. If not, now is a good time to contact your local Catholic school and offer yourself in some way.
The world is moving at a faster pace than when most of us where in school. Taking the time to prayerfully and thoughtfully consider changes facing our students is an honest reflection that guides our purpose. On October 5th over 500 dedicated faculty and staff of our Catholic schools engaged in the Faith Formation Day at Riverside Convention Center to hear two excellent keynote speakers. Dr. Michael Horan, Professor of Religious Education and Pastoral Theology at Loyola Marymount University spoke on Your Favorite Teacher…Within. He shared that authentic teachers are true symbolic representatives of our faith. The second speaker, Steven Botsford, MBA, specializes in educational software and educational technology for blended learning environments. He addressed the issues of social media and technology. The formation day provided tools for teachers in educating our students in becoming informed and moral digital citizens.
San Bernardino Diocesan Catholic Schools are striving for a high standard of excellence. Let us all agree that our children deserve nothing less than our very best.