The Catholic University of America

Campus Ministry

Schooling the Right Way

One of the more quotable quotes from Mark Twain on education goes, “Don't let schooling interfere with your education." What so captures our attention in this short saying is the discombobulated antithesis between schooling and education — that schooling does not necessarily form an educated person, and worse, that it can even be an obstacle to the proper formation of the person. How does one measure the quality of education? What makes schooling a good education? Such considerations become all the more challenging when we qualify it to be a Catholic education.

Reflecting on the nature of Catholic education, Pope Francis remarked that “Catholic educational institutions offer to all an approach to education that has as its aim the full development of the person, which responds to the right of every person to access to knowledge” (Papal address at the plenary session of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Feb. 13, 2014). In essence, Catholic education, when compared to other institutions, has the greater task of providing more than just an excellent academic program to students that can hone professional skills and in turn offer better employment opportunities postgraduation. Over and above the economic benefits of getting an academic degree, good education lies truly in the wholesome formation of a person. This kind of education, as Pope Francis said, involves “critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values” (Evangelii Gaudium, 64).

At Catholic University we are blessed with great professors who are true experts in their respective fields. At the same time, the classroom learning does not stop at the end of class. Here we offer more opportunities to grow in human formation through and through with the seamless blend of the academic and nonacademic programming on campus.

At the Office of Campus Ministry, our part in the Christian formation of the students is expressed in three ways: faith formation, prayer, and community service. Every week our office is loaded with possibilities to learn the faith through catechesis and Scripture reflection, to grow in prayer through the regular celebration of the sacraments and other spiritual works, and to serve the community both locally and internationally. We strive to form the conscience of our students as they engage in the activities that we provide and that kind of critical thinking that Pope Francis insisted on. Thus, with academic and religious learning on the right hand and its practice on the left, our students have the necessary tools to make their schooling an experience of education in its true sense.