Our Catholic identity is inseparable from our mission to “enable each child to develop as a well-integrated human being: spiritually, intellectually, socially, physically, and emotionally.” This is because the full development of the child demands spiritual development. It is a need that is innate to the human person. Our model is Christ Himself, who as a child under His parents’ care and guidance “grew in wisdom and stature before God and men.” (Lk 2:52). This means every aspect of Jesus’ personality grew – His mind, His will, and His heart. The Catholic identity of this school is oriented to engaging the mind, will, and heart of the child. Our methodology is based on Montessori education and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. In offering this form of Catholic education, “far from imposing something that is foreign to him, we are responding to the child’s silent request: ‘Help me to come closer to God by myself.’ ”
The Educational Climate
It is the task of our Catholic school community – teachers, students, staff, parents – to “always and everywhere” translate the inspiration of Jesus into real terms: in the classroom, in the church, in the atrium, in the hallway, on the playground, in the meeting room, and in the countless informal gatherings and conversations that make up the life of the community.
“Let it be known to all who enter here that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes, the model of its faculty, and the inspiration of its students.”
• Jesus present in the sacramental life: This includes weekly Mass, seasonal reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration, liturgical celebrations, and sacramental preparation.
• Jesus present in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: The experience of the child in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is strongly Christ-centered.
• Jesus present in the daily cultivation of virtue: A virtues program, appropriate to the different ages and development of the children, emphasizes the personal qualities that enable us to make the presence of Christ real in our daily lives and interactions.
Personal and Community Formation
A Catholic school offers more than education. It offers Christian formation, a formation that touches every capability of every student, includes the religious dimension, and recognizes the help of grace. Since they are active agents in their own formation process, students’ cooperation is essential. The entire spirit and pedagogy of Montessori education is oriented toward the students’ participation in their education, and is imbued with a spirit of deep respect for the child. It also orients the child to a global sense of connection to the entire human family as citizens of the world called to universal holiness.
Thus, the educational process is not simply a human activity; it is a genuine Christian journey toward holiness and perfection. In establishing a school culture permeated by the spirit of the Gospel, a guiding principle is: “No human act is morally indifferent to one’s conscience or before God.”
This has clear application to life in a school, both for the individual and the community as a whole. Gospel values and moral principles are applied in daily work and interactions, as well as corporate actions and decisions. Any activity under the school’s authority should be consistent with the teachings of the Church in faith and morals.
The Family and the Universal Church
Recognizing parents as the primary educators of their children, GSCM seeks an active partnership between school and home, a partnership based on faith and the importance of the Ecclesia Domestica. This partnership is realized through the following: an active program of school-home communication, a variety of parent education opportunities, and recognition of the primary role of parents in sensitive issues regarding sexuality and sexual morality education.
GSCM places its mission in the heart of the activity of the Catholic Church and recognizes the Holy Father as the center and the measure of unity in the entire Catholic community. When making decisions, board members, staff members, and school committee members look to Church teachings for guidance when appropriate. With children, we celebrate the annual cycle of the liturgical year.
An awareness of Mary’s presence can be a great help toward making the school into a “home.” GSCM honors its patroness, Mary Queen of Angels, through Marian devotions and celebrations.
Faith and Reason
Faith and reason are both complementary and necessary to achieve the proper education of the child. The following principles serve as guidelines in the illumination of knowledge with the gift of faith:
• Orientation of the learning process toward the integral formation of the person; faith and reason are both essential for the integrated development of each person
• Careful rigor in the study of culture and academic disciplines
• Development of a critical sense
• Respect for the autonomy of academic disciplines and the rules and methods proper to them
• Recognition that such disciplines are not to be seen merely as subservient to faith
• Proper autonomy of culture has to be distinguished from a vision of the human person or of the world as totally autonomous, implying that one can negate or rescind from spiritual values
1. “The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School,” Congregation for Catholic Education (The Vatican: April, 1988).
2. “The Religious Potential of the Child,” Sofia Cavalletti. (Chicago, IL: Liturgy Training Publications, 1992), p. 45.