Video message from a Bishop to Catholic teachers as the school year begins

Here is a video message from His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino to Catholic teachers in the Diocese of Madison.

As teachers workshops wind up around the country, and as schools begin again, and as this Year of Faith continues, how many Catholic school teachers receive a message like this?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StJude says:

    What a good man.
    Wish I could have sent my son to Catholic school.

  2. Ben Yanke says:

    I just love this.

  3. ray from mn says:

    I find it incredible how few Catholic grade and high schools require that their students, and teachers, attend daily Mass. I’m sure that I am a practicing Catholic today because of those 12 years of daily Masses.

    And frankly, I would think that it is most important that daily Mass be a requirement in the really expensive schools, where the students have lots of attainable choices in life. They really will need the graces.

  4. jameeka says:


  5. benedetta says:

    A fantastic start to the academic year for Catholic teachers. Really took to heart his message about conveying the joy of the Lord to our students.

  6. AA Cunningham says:

    Bishop Morlino is a true credit to the Society of Jesus.

  7. Bob B. says:

    ray for mn: What the norm is where I live is K-8 go to Mass once a week, while high school go once a MONTH. (I’ve had a principal cut Stations of the Cross in the Church during Lent because “it wasted time”). I agree with having daily Mass – but because diocese’s set time requirements for each subject, going to Mass every day would be the only Religion students would receive.
    The people at the diocese haven’t quite gotten used to the fact that teaching our Faith is the prime job teachers have. Instead they are more concerned with paralleling public schools and what they do (e.g., Common Core, too).

    St. Jude: I couldn’t send my four children through Catholic schools either, though I was teaching in Catholic schools, I never received a financial break, either (and was receiving 80% of what public schools received and few of their benefits).

  8. Marlon says:

    One reason Catholic School children do not go to daily Mass is that children are not allowed to just go to Mass. Each Mass is “planned” by a class. The class provides readers, someone to do an introduction, someone to read the petitions, and someone to bring up the gifts. Then they all have to practice ahead of time. To do the on a daily basis is impossible. Hence the idea of “active participation” has actually reduced participation at Mass.

  9. Bob B. says:

    Marlon: I’ve taught at different schools and each has done Mass in different ways. One had each class responsible for a school Mass each month, while the whole school normally went to Mass on Thursdays. Another only had Mass at the regular morning time on Mondays. In both places, they had “Mass Buddies” (e.g., an 8th grader with a Kindergartener, etc, through 2nd grade). At the high school, Mass was only once a month, period (and they needed to practice).

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Anyplace where a parochial school shares buses with the public school district, you’re going to end up having Catholic school end an hour before or an hour later than public school. Usually it’s later, because the public school district ends up having to pick up a lot of kids really early in the morning. So unless you’re going to give the bus drivers and teachers a LOT of overtime, by making parochial school hours run two hours later than public school so the kids are in school an hour more than public school kids, or unless school Masses are really close (ie, a chapel inside school) and really fast (like 20 or 30 minutes), there won’t be enough time to have Mass every day. (And if Mass is always first thing in the morning, a lot of kids won’t have fasted long enough, since kids running late eat in the car or (surreptitiously) in the bus/parking lot.)

    Even from before Vatican II, I’ve never heard of a parochial school that had daily Mass. Once a week, yes. Convent/monastery/order schools with priests resident sometimes had daily Mass, I think, but I don’t think they had to worry about bus schedules. Maybe urban parochial schools, where everybody walks or takes the subway, also have time to have daily Masses.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Btw, I forgot to say that that message was AWESOME. Practical, idealistic, and pointed straight at Jesus.

  12. I’m reminded of a an article written by David Clayton regarding Catholic education in the wake of the Sacra Liturgia conference held in Rome earlier this summer, where he states (emphasis added):

    It seems to me that Catholic education is directed towards deepening our active participation in the liturgy. Our speakers told us that this is possible. Most of their discussion, given the audience at this conference was directed at the education of priests in their celebration of the Mass and the liturgy. Nevertheless, the same principle could as easily be applied to lay people in accordance with their particular vocation.

    I suggest that if a teacher or a school cannot justify a subject placed on the curriculum by virtue of what it contributes to this liturgical end then there is no purpose to teaching it all. Furthermore, such a college cannot really legitimately call itself Catholic. Every student should understand clearly why they are learning what is taught, again with reference to the liturgy. For Sacred Liturgy is the summit of all that we do. If our formation directs people to the Sacred Liturgy in the right spirit making the worship of God the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit the central focus of all that we do, then the fruits will ensue, as God chooses to bestow them and to the degree that each person cooperates with God’s grace.

    Related questions:

    • How many Catholic-school religion classes focus on the proper celebration of the liturgy on the part of the laity? (This does not count “liturgy-planning” sessions, which have tended to be opportunities for deforming the liturgy.)
    • If for some reason a school cannot celebrate Mass on a particular day, what is to impede the regular celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours?

  13. Adam Welp says:


    Your statement about Catholic schools partaking in the public school bus system is not 100% accurate. In my hometown, in Southern Indiana, the two Catholic elementary schools have the same start and end times as the public schools and use the public school bus system. The public school corporation designs their bus routes as if the Catholic schools are part of the corporation and plans accordingly. Only a handful of students at each of the Catholic elementary schools have to leave school 10-15 minutes before normal dismissal each day so they can be taken to the one public elementary schools that acts as a hub for the bus system where they can connect to buses that run in their neighborhood, usually on the opposite side of town from the Catholic schools.

    Now, in Louisville KY, where my wife is a Catholic school teacher, I don’t think there are enough school buses in all of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to bus the JCPS and Jefferson County Catholic students to school each day. The public school system alone has over 97,500 students and there are just over 17,000 students in Jefferson County Catholic schools. I would agree that this data supports your observations, but in much smaller communities it is possible for public and parochial schools to share a transportation system and have the same daily schedule.

  14. Ben Kenobi says:

    “I find it incredible how few Catholic grade and high schools require that their students, and teachers, attend daily Mass. I’m sure that I am a practicing Catholic today because of those 12 years of daily Masses.”

    Couple reasons. 1, not all of us teach fulltime. We don’t teach everyday. 2, not all of us live close to where we work. I used to but because I can’t afford to live in the area, I have to live where I can afford to live. 3, some of us have to take schedules that don’t mesh well with daily mass and when it is offered. I teach evenings and much prefer it so that students (and parents), who also prefer that schedule have this option. Mass is in the morning. For me to drive in the morning, stay all day, stay all evening, is close to 12 hours. 4, I have to work two jobs to keep my head afloat. It’s the reality for most young people these days. Full employment is hard to find.

  15. One of those TNCs says:

    Suburbanbanshee – I love the juxtaposition of “practical” and “idealistic,” especially when so many people think they necessarily are antonyms.

    The bishop’s message was humbling and empowering at the same time.

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