ACE missioning sends new life and hope into America's classrooms

by William Schmitt

ACE Missioning Mass

The annual culmination of summertime studies in the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) programs on July 22 and 23 saw hundreds of new teachers and school leaders join the mission of Catholic education in schools and classrooms from coast to coast.

About 250 participants in the ACE formation programs for Catholic school teachers and leaders ended their coursework and prepared to fan out to serve in under-resourced schools during the upcoming academic year. But before leaving, they were missioned with the help of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Bishop Thomas J. Curry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Bishop Rhoades addressed the program participants at a prayer gathering at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on Thursday evening. A vocation to work in Catholic education is “a noble mission, a holy mission,” he said. Complimenting the ACE participants, he said such Catholic school teachers “recognize the mind, body and spirit” of children.

On July 23, a Missioning Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart by Bishop Curry, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) committee on Catholic education. Praising ACE’s contributions to the Church and American society, he described as “beacons of hope” those being missioned to work in hard-pressed schools at the invitation of various dioceses.

“You are in the forefront of the movement for reform, for change, and for excellence in education,” Curry said.

The congregation receiving his blessing included some 180 current participants in ACE’s Service through Teaching formation program, which since 1993 has combined community living, spiritual growth, and a rigorous master’s degree curriculum to prepare teachers to serve in Catholic elementary and secondary schools.

Also in the congregation were some 48 participants in the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, a master’s degree program that prepares aspiring leaders to be principals and superintendents for Catholic schools. Additionally, the congregation included members of ACE’s English as a New Language (ENL) certificate program for teachers, plus educators from the Diocese of Tucson, Az., participating in a rollout of the Notre Dame ACE Academies program that engages whole schools in the use of ACE professional services.

ACE also conducts a certificate program called Teaching Exceptional Children (TEC) and provides a number of other professional services to dioceses and schools. ACE is part of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.

Contact: Bill Schmitt, Communications/Media Specialist, IEI, 574-631-3893