Recently, Currents News interviewed Father John Cush, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn who is currently serving as a professor and as the Academic Dean of the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City-State. During the conversation, he mentioned who he felt, as an author and as a teacher, were his biggest influences.
Father Cush mentioned that it was his fifth- and sixth-grade teachers at Holy Name of Jesus Grade School in Windsor Terrace who taught him religion and his freshmen and junior high school teachers at Cathedral Prep in Elmhurst.
Father Cush, who teaches theology on a graduate level, said that those who taught him religion on those levels were even more important than those who taught him in international pontifical universities.
When asked why, he responded simply: “The teachers at Holy Name and Cathedral Prep taught me how to love the Lord and the things of the Lord.”
That’s what Catholic school teachers do, and have done, in Catholic schools, academies, and high schools, all through the Diocese of Brooklyn, in the boroughs of Kings and Queens. What Father Cush experienced all those years ago in the 1980s is experienced daily by thousands of young women and men who are taught by good, happy, holy women and men, those who are lay, religious, and clerical.
They teach in Catholic schools not for advancement, but out of love for their students, for the Church, and for the Lord. During this year’s Catholic School Week, let’s take a moment and thank the Lord Jesus for the countless unsung heroes and heroines who labor daily in our Catholic schools, academies, and high schools.
Often, these women and men are not appreciated for their labor, for the amount of effort, and personal expense that they have to give in order to engage in this job, which is, for them, so much more than simply a job, but a true apostolate.
It is certainly uplifting when we see how much parents and students, the prime beneficiaries are our teachers’ efforts, acknowledge their incredible contributions. In this edition of The Tablet, you can read about the way parents of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy students joined efforts to help Emily Espinal, a third-grade teacher whose home was partially destroyed by a fire.
The parents were helping their children’s teacher, and at the same time, they were teaching their children a lesson in solidarity and kindness. In an increasingly secularized world, our Catholic schools and academies offer a high-quality education rooted in Christian values. Not only the Catholic community but society at large benefits from the solid formation our children and young people receive.
During the last decades, due to the diminishing number of brothers and women religious, laymen and laywomen have taken on the mission of offering thousands of students a Catholic education.
Let it be known to all who enter our schools that Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever-present teacher in its classes, the model for its children, and the inspiration for its staff.