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Understanding Catholic Education

Epiphany is very proud to be a Catholic school. However, what does this mean? What does it mean to be Catholic? What is Catholic education? These basic questions importantly lead us to understand and appreciate our identity and how we distinguish ourselves from other non-Catholic educational approaches.

The roots of the word Catholic literally mean “universal” or “whole.” Consequently, Catholic education seeks to form students in wholesome and well- rounded ways in order to help them maximally explore, understand and manage the broad dimensions of their past, present and future life. To attain this goal the Catholic approach concentrates in nurturing four basic areas of capacities in a child: 1) Intellectual; 2) Spiritual; 3) Ministerial; and 4) Integrational. These can be referred to as the four essential pillars of formation.

Intellectual formation pertains to the development of cognitive skills nurtured through the realm of academics. Therein Catholic education strives to incorporate a pedagogical approach which is dynamic and integrative at all grade levels and which seeks to create a joyful and adventurous learning environment in which students are challenged to discover, develop and master foundational knowledge of varied subject areas, critical thinking skills, and relevance of curricular material to life outside the school.

Spiritual formation is oriented to the development of a relationship with God, neighbor and life. Guided by the tenets of Catholic Church teaching, Catholic education assists students in progressively understanding, appreciating and celebrating the sacredness of God, people and life. This is attempted not only by learning religion in the classroom every day, but also by enacting opportunities for prayer, the celebration of the sacraments and the carrying out of works of charity.

Ministerial formation, sometimes referred to as pastoral formation, concerns itself with the promotion of life giving skills in students. Catholic education emphasizes that a person achieves maturity and fulfillment, not only when his or her needs are met, but when he or she is sensitive to the needs of others and responds to them. The development of personal outreach reaching its culmination in a future life calling and practice of a career is thus emphasized, fostered and exercised through classroom studies, diverse activities and daily interaction with others throughout the school year.

Integrational formation, sometimes described as human formation, focuses on the management of self, interactions with others and life circumstances. Catholic education emphasizes the need for the blossoming of discipline and appropriate boundaries in order to healthily integrate the handling of these realities. Foundational to a happy and well-ordered life, this highly important developmental capacity is particularly cultivated through a highlighting of observance to rules, as well as facets of curriculum, varied activities and mature assimilation of the realities of daily life in school.

As such, Catholic education seeks to form students in the image of Jesus who modeled these wholesome and universal qualities in his very life. Inspired by his example and teachings, Epiphany Catholic School faithfully strives to implement this educational approach and values in its students while trying to help them discover the broadness and wonder which lies within God, themselves and life.

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