June 23, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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In wake of tragedy, pastor, parish offer thanks for prayers, support

Following the murders of the members of the Covarrubias-Valdez family, St. Philip Neri Parish was swamped with calls from many, many people expressing their prayers, support and asking how they could help.

On behalf of the people of St. Philip Neri, we thank you. 

This senseless crime has deeply touched our parishioners and will affect us and our neighborhood for years to come.

But your calls, offers of support and contributions to the Covarrubias-Valdez family fund are a light in this darkness.

As we mourn this loss, we ask your continued prayers for healing.

-Father Carlton Beever, pastor, and the members of St. Philip Neri Parish, Indianapolis

Book offers ‘eye-opening’ history of Catholic education

As a frequent reader of your newspaper, I would like to share with your readers a most enjoyable book that I have just read.

The last few years have witnessed unprecedented negative press coverage of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, recent events at Catholic universities, like the University of Notre Dame and others, has made many Catholics curious about what constitutes a Catholic college or university.

Last month, I read Catholic Higher Education: A Culture in Crisis by Jesuit Father John J. Piderit and Melanie M. Morey, which was published by Oxford University Press.

Father Piderit is the former president of Loyola University in Chicago and now directs Catholic After School Academies in the New York metropolitan area. Open to all Catholic children, these programs are designed primarily for Catholic students attending public school whose parents need daily after-school care.

Father Piderit and Morey give an eye-opening history of Catholic education in the United States. In fact, the third part of the book deals with the collapse of congregations of religious women and the devastating effect it has had on all levels of Catholic education over the last three decades.

The pair is right on target when they credit Catholic nuns for creating the strongest Catholic culture in the United States. It made me realize how lucky past generations were to have had so many nuns ready to serve in educational capacities.

For me, I am always mystified when I read about things similar to the recent events at Notre Dame, such as colleges allowing pro-choice commencement speakers as well as internal policies that show disregard for Catholic values.

The authors give a thorough and thought-provoking examination of such events and offer firm strategies that will be essential for keeping Catholic colleges and universities “Catholic” in years to come.

Although the book contained much information, all was presented in a fast-flowing and easy-to-read style reminiscent of a John Grisham novel.

Catholic Higher Education was a definite breath of fresh air for me at a time when the Catholic Church and Catholic culture is under attack from all sides.

-James Fernandez, East Lyme, Conn.

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