I went o Catholic school 1st through 6th. The religious ed was spotty. There were basic things I think I should have learned and had a solid understanding of by the end of 6th grade. When I went to public school starting in 7th grade, students got out of class for “Wednesday school” and in high school we had R.E. in the evenings. Even though we were confirmed at the beginning of 10th grade attendance for R.E. in 11th and 12th was pretty decent even though there are only about 2 or 3 of us, out of about 65, that are still practicing Catholics and that includes the kids I went to Catholic school with.
I did not go to Catholic school, but I know many people who did.
It really depends on a few factors. Not all Catholic Schools were created with the same goals.
- How Catholic are the parents, i.e. do you practice the faith at home and attend Mass every weekend?
- How Catholic the school is: Some Catholic schools are dedicated to preserving the Catholic Faith and Catholic identity. For example, there are the Regina Academies here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia http://www.reginaacademies.com/ that are dedicated to Classical, Catholic Education. Other schools like there are members of the http://napcis.org/
- What was the org mission of the Catholic School: to simply provide academic education, to provide education to poor youth, to provide a boarding school like education for reach and gifted students, to provide a Catholic First education, to provide a classical education, to reach out to non-Catholic children, etc.
- How Catholic are the teachers - I’ve heard of some Catholic School teachers who don’t go to mass, even though they are Catholic. I’ve also heard of some Catholic School teachers who publicly preach against Catholic teaching. While, I also know of Catholic School teachers who are very involved and participate in committees with their parishes and are youth ministers on weekends.
I began attending Catholic school in the 5th grade and continued through graduate school. Religion/Theology classes seemed to come easy and I recall being pleasantly surprised with myself when in undergrad business school I had to take Intro to Catholicism and Intro to Scripture, and I did quite well. The material came easy to me and/or I recalled a lot of my elementary and high school education. Between undergrad and grad school after grad school I volunteered as a Confirmation Catechist. During an economic down turn in the early 2000s I was laid off and wound up being hired as an Asst DRE at a large parish. This led to more training that came easy and I thoroughly enjoy my job.
Saint John Vianney, San Jose, California 1957 to 1965. Overall education was quite well. Religious training was very basic. I often compare it to my knowledge of football. I knew enough about football to play it with the neighborhood kids in the middle of our street but did not understand why on fourth down, less than a yard to go they punted. And what is a left tackle or a fullback. It took forty years of my own studying to find out about football and my Catholic faith.
Generally speaking, I think my generation (boomers) didn’t receive the greatest education. We may have been catechized, but we weren’t evangelized. I should add, that I was born and raised in small town middle-America to a middle-class family. My mother was a devout catholic, while my father was born and raised Presbyterian who did not convert to Catholicism after marriage. We attended mass with my mother every week and daily in the summer.
I went to Catholic school from first grade (kindergarten was not compulsory) through college. I had the Sisters of St. Joseph in elementary school, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in high school, and Jesuits in college (though numerous lay teachers in high school and university.) I was the only one of four children who went to Catholic schools all the way through (the parish school closed a couple years after I graduated) and am the only one still practicing the faith.
To this day, I credit the Sisters of St. Joseph with my outstanding education in English, history, geography, science and math (though math has never been my strong suit.) It was a very thorough education in those basics that many folks seen to have missed. Catholic religious education was an integral part of our daily activities in elementary and high school, with Mass and the sacraments offered and encouraged. The Jesuits taught us how to think and raised my awareness of social justice issues. Mass was offered daily in several venues on campus with numerous opportunities for helping others.
Our two daughters attended our parish school and the local Catholic high school. We have always been pleased with the education they received. Their Catholic high school is known for producing a fair number of vocations, and our archdiocese has more seminarians than many much larger dioceses/archdioceses. They each attended public universities for undergrad and graduate school. One daughter met her husband through the campus Catholic student center. They are both active, practicing Catholics. Our oldest grandson has just started kindergarten at the same parish school - in the very same classroom - as his mother and aunt. Mass and the sacraments are an integral part of his education. The school is a national Blue Ribbon School.
So, Catholic education certainly did “work out” for us.
The schools in my province weren’t Catholic per se but, if enough students were Catholic, religion was allowed to be taught. The same board administered schools that taught religion and those that didn’t.
There were two schools in my village. An English one at one end where most of the Anglophone Protestants lived and a bilingual one (English/French) at the other end, next to the church, where most of the Francophone Catholics lived. For some reason I’ve never understood my mom attended the English one though she was Francophone, Catholic. and lived about equidistant from each. Dad attended the bilingual one.
At the bilingual one students were taught in their own language and the Catholic kids were taught religion. While I went there, the first grade and ninth grade teachers were usually religious sisters, with the ninth grade teacher also the principal. The pastor sometimes dropped by for religion classes.
We had a question and answer Catechism based, as far as i can tell, on the Baltimore Catechism. Teachers didn’t seem to need to know anything to teach it, you memorized, spit back answers and if you had any questions they referred you back to the question and answer in the book. But, we had regular confessions, visits to the church, and lots of encouragement to attend daily Mass, particularly during Advent and Lent.
I was homeschooled for 12 years. My Mother used the Didache Series https://www.ignatius.com/promotions/highschool/
I believe it was superior instruction compared to the local Catholic schools. It definitely beat the parish CCD which was egregious.
That sounds like my experience with the Baltimore Catechism. We learned the rules and regulations of being Catholic. Not a lot about how to live our faith. I was educated by the Franciscan Sisters in the late 40’s til 56 for elementary school. There were many young sisters at that time, and there were no regulations about who could teach. Many of these sisters had entered the convent right out of high school and had no education beyond that. In high school, as I look back, it seems that most of the sisters had degrees, or were working on degrees. A great education for high school.
I went to a Catholic elementary school.
In my town, there was a strong Catholic community that made up the majority of the demographic. The public schools in contrast were poorly funded and overpopulated.
I thought the education was excellent but I remember very little religious teaching. Maybe it just wasn’t an interest of mine when I was a kid. But we still had close relationships with our teachers and between ourselves. Going on a retreat was a significant event and turning point for many. I attended a grade 8 reunion a few years back and people still talk about it.
On a side note, one particular priest for our school was a rockstar. All the kids loved him. Whenever he visited the school, he was swarmed to the point that you couldn’t get near him. Children were hanging off his arms. It was madness.
I attended a high school which had been run by the Christian Brothers until the year before I started to attend. My first year there ('68-'69) religion was still taught but by the next year those classes were gone, if they had existed before at that level.
Religious sisters still taught there. My Math & History teachers were sisters (no longer in habit by that time) and the substitute Math teacher was an amazing sister who still wore a modified habit, and would show us how to solve a problem on the blackboard in record time, always ending with a flourish and the words “And that’s all there is to it!” At that point I always wanted to ask, “Er, Sister LeCouffe, could you do that again from the beginning??”
I went to a Catholic school from 1st grade all the way through college. The only reason that I didn’t go to Catholic school for kindergarten is because there was none available at the time.
I am originally from the rural Midwest, so my classes were very small. My grade school class had only 6 students in my grade! But my teacher was very good, and I remember her fondly. In fact, she helped me with my cake when I got married this past summer.
High school was also good, although we unfortunately went through several principals, which was a bit of instability. But outside of that, the classes and religious instruction was good and always provoked interesting discussions.
My parents always emphasized the importance of going to Mass on Sundays and holy days and maintaining a Catholic identity outside of the classroom. This was, as others have mentioned, the factor that kept my brothers and I involved in the Church. Many of my other classmates went to Mass, but it was merely going through the motions and never really seemed to go any deeper than that.
My Catholic education experiences were excellent and I am so grateful for them. I never wanted to go to the public schools in my area, even if the Catholic schools had been watered down. Thankfully, they were all good experiences.
Catholic grade school. The sisters were for the most part great, but they had no equivalent of TAG, and I had classmates who caused classes to be dragged out, leaving me way too much time to day dream. High school was much more dynamic.
Born in 1956, I was rejected for Catholic school enrollment, the local parochial was completely full when my mum went to sign me up. Instead of fighting them, my parents sent me to the local public school which she could see from the house- so it worked out fine. My mother felt better that it was close enough that she could make it there in case of emergency (she didn’t have a car).
We lived on the very edge of the parish, and the school was centrally located- it would have been a bit of a trek, although a lot of the other kids in the neighborhood went there.
Walking in a line from one classroom to another. Sister Mary Ellen with a ruler to keep you in line
We did the same in public school, however without a nun running herd over us. I think that was taught in all schools of education.
The long lines (we had 50 kids in the class) to get milk, use the bathroom, etc.
Yes catholic school was where the 7 grade boys got together to talk about girls!
And our changing bodies. Sex education was not a classroom study
Went to parochial school for 8 years 60’s-70’s. Mostly taught by nuns. Very good education. It helped me in high school. As far a religious education goes it was pretty much like the OP said. We were never really taught the bible per se. Mostly the do’s and dont’s.
I went to a Catholic elementary school from grade one to grade eight. Some of our teachers were nuns. I have fond memories of my experience in school.
I cannot think of the Catholic School I attended, St. Rita, without including the context of
my family life of the 50’s. They were interwoven as Jesus said it should. Holy water fonts(home and church), votive candles(home and church), making the sign of the cross, reminding other children, and of course being reminded by them also, that a sin had been committed and confession was needed, etc. Homilies at mass went straight to the point and no ambiguities. Group praying was done at home with the family as well as the school. Reminders that it was Saturday and confession at the church that night. Media had Catholic content and we watched Ab, Sheen on the B&W, and the Rosary on the big floor radio on our knees with the family.
It only invokes feelings of wholesomeness and there was too. Christmas my friend, was a real Christmas. Focus was always on the Nativity, and the angel was placed on the top of the tree by the youngest child held by a parent. There was Santa and gifts and the usual, but less in a commercial way. We went to see Santa at Sears, but we never took it real seriously. We actually knew how Santa tradition came about. Presents were OK, but we also knew that they were gifts given to parents by God to us. The poor were always considered first.
We were told that Catholicism had to be lived, and for certain in my family it was. The Holy Spirit shone on Catholicism of those days. Happy memories, except maybe one year when I had a nasty matron for a teacher. But I know now she had problems, and God allowed her to suffer her inner problems so that she could be drawn to him for help.
A wonderful time of my life and I feel so sorry for the children today for the loss of that infrastructure.