I am a public high school teacher in a highly populated Catholic district (roughly 35 to 40% of student body). I have read some not so encouraging feelings about many Catholic colleges and how they are not “Catholic” enough for many people’s tastes. Some call them anti-Catholic. I think this is absurd. I went to Catholic universities and loved them (both undergrad and grad). My faith has grown due to these schools. Just this year, I have had four male students embark on their collegiate journeys to Notre Dame, Boston College, Dayton, and Xavier, and MANY more begin their college lives at Ohio State, Indiana, Penn State, Kentucky, Cincinnati etc… My students who are attending Notre Dame and Boston College are discerning (very seriously by the way) the priesthood. The Notre Dame student is one of the most devout Catholic young men I’ve ever known and is considering the Congregation of the Holy Cross. The BC student is considering Diocesan priesthood. My former student, who now is at Xavier (Cincinnati), was a very lapse Catholic in high school. He now is working toward his minor in Catholic cultural studies. The U. of Dayton student was a very devout and dedicated Catholic as a high schooler. His faith too has grown and he loves his college theology classes because they allow him to “think” and “analyze” the truths of his faith. My students who are at state universities (besides a very select few) only go to Mass when home with their parents. When I ask about their Newman Center they kind of shy away and usually say that they don’t even know where it is. How sad (although I’m not saying that these schools aren’t great in their own way…they just don’t carry a Catholic tradition with them).
However, last week, when the BC student stopped into the high school, I asked him if he attends Mass every week. He enthusiastically replied, “of course, there’s a church next door to my dorm!”. I was overjoyed. I have seen very dedicated Catholics venture off to secular schools and become lazy Catholics…still loving the Church but just lazy about Mass and the sacraments. I honestly cannot say this about any of my students attending Catholic colleges. They all seem to take part in liturgies on campus…the four students that I mentioned are just a select group. We’ve had students attend Georgetown, St. Francis (PA), and a few others. I even have a Jewish student who is now a junior at the University of Dayton attend the university’s Ash Wednesday Mass because she was so interested in the tradition. She also mentioned to me that she, every now and then, stops into their chapel because it is so “peaceful”.
I am letting the public know that these Catholic universities (which are unrightfully slandered by many) are doing wonderful things, and although they may not be perfect (what academic institution is by the way?:shrug: ), they are producing MUCH more good than bad. I am proud of these schools. Not only are they showing my former students the way, the truth, and the light, their academics are also second to none!