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Meeting them where they are

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

February 1, 2023

There were only a few of us, and we ranged in ages from 15 to 18. If my memory serves me, we met for a couple of hours each week for around six to eight weeks.

For most of my youth, my home parish had a priest from a religious order, a Dominican. He was an experienced teacher.

During those few weeks, we met with him and discussed portions of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, a rather heavy document (both figuratively and literally – it’s generally separated into several books) referred to by one Catholic publishing company as Aquinas’ “brilliant synthesis of Christian thought.”

That Dominican priest talked to us – then a bunch of teenagers – like we were capable of understanding that heavy material. My friends and I struggled at first, but we eventually got it. We made it through only a section or two of the Summa in the six to eight weeks, but we understood those sections fairly well.

For a period of my life, I used that short course as an example when I would talk about what I considered good religious education. As I’ve aged, though, and especially as I became the mother of a teenager who sometimes struggles with abstract concepts, I became acutely aware that it was only a good course because it was targeted at the right audience – teens who could thrive in a traditional academic setting.

My son, a 15-year-old boy who is on the autism spectrum, probably would’ve struggled and felt lost in our lecture-based class. He learns well in other ways – through engaging stories, through activities, through repetition.

Our Catholic schools get to know their students, providing them individualized and targeted instruction. Our Catholic schools support students, meeting them where they are academically, emotionally and spiritually and helping them grow in all three areas. Our Catholic schools support families. The schools offer events to help families create fun and community, and they connect families in need with available resources.

Support also comes up in another way. It’s critical that we support Catholic education. Enroll your child/grandchild in a Catholic School. Donate time or talent to a school. Pray for a school.
Happy Catholic Schools Week!

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