WHY OUR STRONG CATHOLIC IDENTITY IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR CHILD
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy has been recognized by the Diocese of Brooklyn as an exemplary school in our efforts to establish and maintain a strong Catholic Identity. This distinction is extremely important to both parents and students. The years each student spends at OLGCA are the foundation of their lifetime of faith and achievement.
As we are all aware, modern culture and peer pressure can be potent forces in adversely influencing our children and their relationships with others. These contemporary issues facing parents are addressed from a Catholic perspective at OLGCA. We strive to develop our students both intellectually and spiritually, in a nurturing yet challenging environment. Our aim is to guide our students to a sense of responsibility, self-discipline, and appreciation for each persons uniqueness. Our priority is to instill in our students the dignity and selfworth of all people.
This is put into action through the following:
– Catholic Community: A concerted effort is made to integrate sacraments into the daily life of our students. Through weekly Mass, daily morning prayer, sharing each others personal intentions in the schools Prayer Box, weekly Religious Instruction classes with our pastor, 7th and 8th grade participation in the Good Friday Passion Play, our Annual Christmas Concert, and service projects throughout the school year, the students of OLGCA experience and belong to a strong and vibrant Catholic community.
– Theology of the Body: Presented to our 7th graders as an enhancement to their Religion curriculum. Using the teachings of Saint John Paul II, our students are encouraged to discover who they are in Christ, as they discover the true meaning of love and relationship. Gods truth about love, identity and sexual morality has the power to fulfill us, and our young people are hungry for this truth. Class meets once a week for 8 sessions, proceeded by a parent meeting explaining the program.
– Buddy Program: Every student at OLGCA has a buddy in a different grade, which encourages older students to nurture and assist younger students.
CATHOLIC IDENTITY TEAM
The OLGCA Catholic Identity Team (CIT) was formed in 2008 as part of a diocesan pilot program in which the former Our Lady of Grace School was invited to participate. The programs purpose is to regularly assess and consistently work to strengthen the Catholic Identity of all schools within the Brooklyn Diocese. When the academy structure was established by the diocese in 2009, this pilot program was instituted diocesan-wide. OLGCA was among the first academies established that year, and the already established CIT enabled OLGCA to maintain and further nurture its Catholic Identity as a priority amidst the integration of the new academy structure. The Catholic Identity Team consists of our principal, our pastor, representation from the OLGCA faculty, the Our Lady of Grace Parish Director of Religious Education, and OLGCA parent representation from every grade.
Based upon a parent and faculty survey at inception, the CIT established and continues to work towards the following three goals:
– Nurturing Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life.
– Increasing School Family Attendance at Sunday Mass.
– Strengthening the Relationship between OLGCA and Our Lady of Grace Parish
The Catholic Identity Team has sponsored events and activities to achieve these goals, typically through the planning of an annual Catholic Identity Celebration. Events have included:
– A Vocations Fair featuring representation from twelve religious orders.
– Special monthly Sunday Buddy Class Masses, each having a reception afterwards which featured speakers sharing their experiences in different vocations, such as the priesthood, religious life, and marriage.
– Priesthood Sunday in which all priests currently and previously assigned to OLG were invited.
– Diaconate Sunday in which OLGs own Deacon Alex Breviario was invited to speak while also receiving a surprise presentation from OLGCA as well as OLG Religious Education students and parishioners.
– Mother-Children Rosary Brunch which is anticipated to become an annual event.
The team is also responsible for submitting an annual Catholic Identity assessment to the Diocese which measures the progress toward the three goals.
The CIT also assists in any way possible to strengthen the Catholic community at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy, such as:
– Setting up Nativity displays both inside and outside of the school building.
– Institution of the Cube of Love as an anti-bullying program and The Theology of the Body program for the 7th grade class.
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Identity Team
Fr. Marc Swartvagher, Pastor
Dr. Jerry Antonino