UP Catholic 01 15 2016 E Edition Page 3

T he New Year has begun as families are settling into post-holiday rou- tines and children return to school. For Michigan fam- ilies with children in Catholic schools, January also marks the celebration of Catholic Schools Week. The annual event, observed this year Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, highlights the unique contribu- tions of Catholic schools. The theme for 2016 is Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Each day of this special week highlights the value of Catholic educationfor students, the parish, the community, and the nation. This year, while celebrating Catholic Schools Week, there is also an oppor- tunity to reflect upon a vital education document in the Catholic Church, Gravissimum Educationis (also known as the Declaration on Christian Edu- cation). Last October marked the 50th anniversary of the document, which provided an outline of the value and purpose of Catholic education. Much has changed about education since 1965, especially with new technolo- fies that allow knowledge to be easily accessed and shared. Yet the purpose of education, and specifically Catholic education, remains the same. All education should be oriented toward helping students grow aca- demically and socially, regardless of their background, family income, feographical location, race, or gen- der. Catholic education, as outlined in the document, has an additional purpose of helping students become more aware of the gift of faith and teaching them to serve God with their lives. The Church, specifically, is called to inspire the spirit of Christ in all students and to build a world that is more human. In an address to the American bishops in November, the papal representative to the United States, Archbishop Carl Vigano, called Catholic schools an essential means for the Gospel message to be woven into the very fabric of our peoples existence. Catholic school students learn to apply their knowledge to the world around them. They are learning to view others in the community as brothers and sisters in the greater hu- man family. And they are learning to become involved in public di- alogue and promotion of the common good. Michigan Catholic Conference, as the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan, supports policies that allow parents education- al options for their children and allow all Michigans children access to a quality education. One such measure became law last month when Con- fress replaced the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. The new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, directs federal education aid in an equitable way to- wards all students in need, regardless of the type of school they attend. This act improves the consultation require- ments between public and private schools regarding the use of federal funds and other conditions connected with providing educational services and benefits for students and teachers in religious, private, and independent schools. Likewise, MCC will continue to call for school choice options for all families and for the elimination of discriminatory language in the state constitution against non-public schools. As Michigan is surrounded by states that allow and promote greater educational opportunities, it lags be- hind every one of them in educational achievement. Michigan must adopt 21st Century education policies if it hopes to compete economically. With Catholic Schools Week draw- ing nearer, let the celebration be more than a blur of school uniforms and activities. Instead, let us take the time to recognize the contributions of Catholic schools to the community as Gravissimum Educationis outlined, especially as a place that helps fami- lies find identity, meaning, and nour- ishment in a new world (Vigano). The Word from Lansing is a regu- lar column for Catholic news outlets and is written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC January 15, 2016 3 (USPS 916-360 ISSN 10634525) THE U.P. CATHOLIC The Newspaper of the Diocese of Marquette Publisher: Most Rev. John F. Doerfler Editor: John Fee Assistant Editor: Jamie Carter Advertising Manager: Deacon Stephen Gretzinger Administrative Assistant: Sheila Wickenheiser Direct all news, correspondence and changes of address to: 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851. Postal authorities direct Form 3579 to: 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, MI 49855. The U.P. CATHOLIC is the official publication of the Diocese of Marquette. All notices and regulations, appointments, assignments, etc., issued under the caption 'Official' are to be regarded as official communications of the Diocese of Marquette. Opinion columns, letters to the editor and advertisements that appear in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by The U.P. Catholic or the Diocese of Marquette. The diocese is prohibited from endorsing candidates for public office. Office of Publication: 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, Michigan. Periodical postage paid at Marquette, Michigan, 49855 and at additional entry office. Published Monthly in January, April, June, July, August and November. Published semi-monthly all other months. The U.P. Catholic is provided to all registered U.P. parishioners. The cost for subscribers who are not registered members of a parish in the Marquette Diocese is $25/year. Advertising is $14.86/col inch unless specified otherwise. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The U.P. Catholic, 1004 Harbor Hills Drive, Marquette, MI 49855-8851. FOR CHANGE OF ADDRESS or SUBSCRIPTION QUESTIONS CALL (906) 227-9104 Telephone: (906) 227-9131 Toll Free: 1-800-562-9745 (ext. 131) FAX: (906) 225-0437 ADVERTISING Toll-Free: (866) 452-5112 E-Mail: Editorial - editor@dioceseofmarquette.org Advertising - upc@new.rr.com A t one time in my life, I joked that I was aller- fic to lifting weights. I enjoyed exercise, but it was more of the cardio-vascu- lar, outdoor sort. Why stay inside and lift weights, when I could outside be riding my bicycle or cross-country skiing? Alas, as middle age has come upon me, I realize how important weightlifting or strength training is. Without it, I lose strength and be- come weaker. Similarly, if we do not regularly engage in moral strength training, we can easily grow weak in the moral life. We need to increase our fortitude. In my last message, I reflected on the virtue of temperance. In this message, I would like to reflect on the virtue of fortitude, which is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pur- suit of the good. (CCC, no. 1808) It is not always easy to be good. Thus, we need a program of mor- al strength training to grow in the virtue of fortitude, which gives us the strength to be good, even when it is difficult. It is hard to do the right thing when we are the only one, and we might face ridicule from the group of people we are with. It is difficult to speak up in the light of injustice, when it is easier to remain silent. In- stead of continuing to try to be good, it is easier to slack off and coast. It is not always easy to resist temptation. How can we grow in fortitude? Just as regular weight lifting and gradu- ally increasing the amount of weight to be lifted can make us stronger, so also regular moral strength training increases the virtue of fortitude. We can find this daily strength train- ing in bearing our daily crosses for the love of God and the salvation of souls. As Jesus said, If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). At the end of a day, write a list of all the difficulties and frustrations you en- countered in the day, from bitter cold weather, to frustrations at work, to settling a fight among your children. Each day has enough of them. Pray about each challenge and ask Jesus to help you carry the cross. Then when crosses come the next day, try to embrace all of them with the simple prayer, all for you, Jesus, and the salvation of souls. Each cross so lifted flexes and strengthens our moral muscles to do good, even when it is difficult. Moral strength training JOY OF THE GOSPEL Bishop John Doerfler Catholic schools contribute to society THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long SIMILARLY, IF WE DO NOT REGULARLY ENGAGE IN MORAL STRENGTH TRAINING, WE CAN EASILY GROW WEAK IN THE MORAL LIFE. THE CHURCH, SPECIFICALLY, IS CALLED TO INSPIRE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN ALL STUDENTS AND TO BUILD A WORLD THAT IS MORE HUMAN.

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