Wednesday July 1, 2015

2015 Catholic Education Summit Reflection

Our 2015 Catholic Education Summit was held last Wednesday, June 24th at the University of Dayton River Campus. We had over 160 people in attendance including participants, vendors, presenters, and our own Center for Catholic Education (CCE) staff.

Being a first time attendee of the Summit as the intern for the CCE, I can honestly say that it was a day enjoyed by all as the presence of the Holy Spirit was alive in that building. I am an Undergraduate Teacher Education student so I have not been to many summits or conferences such as these yet but I do think that it will take a lot to top the environment and overall joy that came out of this day. The staff of the CCE has been working incredibly hard for months now in order to prepare for this day and, although I know they were all exhausted, they were present at the Summit with just as much enthusiasm for the topics as the other participants. The connections and bonds that became present throughout the day after hearing presenters, engaging with other participants, and sharing ideas was amazing to me. After 8 hours of listening and discussing, traveling from room to room, everyone that was in attendance seemed to be more alive and vibrant when it was time to leave. This is because they were on fire with Christ and they were all ready to accept the challenge of going out in the community to spread that fire to their students as well as other educators.

One of the things that I especially enjoyed about this day was that it was not all about education and becoming perfect teachers/administrators. While it was definitely so impactful to learn ways to improve our roles as educators, it was also quite impactful to be able to relate that calling to our relationship with Christ as a whole. This day was not about presenting facts and step-by-step instructions for teaching; it was about sharing our stories and gaining inspiration from those stories that will naturally improve our leadership in our communities. One of the themes that I identified in listening to the different presenters throughout the day was our journey with Christ. In her opening remarks, Sister Angela Ann Zukowski spoke about the art of accompaniment. She said that we all have suffering that needs to be healed by the Holy Spirit. We all came into that building to attend the Summit with suffering and hardships weighing on our minds. Sister Angela Ann pointed out that the purpose of us being there today was to “go on a pilgrimage with one another, healing one another”.  What I took away from her words was that we were all called to be there as a part of our journeys with Christ and we were called to cross paths in order to build connections with the other people that were there. Our journeys with Christ and with our vocations are not meant to be one way, single-lane roads; they are meant to be shared with the people that we encounter so that a mutual sharing of stories and inspiration can be exchanged. After the journey that we were to experience that day, Sr. Angela Ann mentioned the words of Pope Francis saying that we are to go out and “make present that fragrance of Christ”. What each of us took away from the Catholic Education Summit 2015 is not meant to be kept in our own heads and hearts. Christ calls us to share our experiences with others.

Watch for a post coming up in the next couple of weeks where we will have participants from the 2015 Catholic Education Summit sharing their experiences from that day with you!

Written by: Victoria Schoen

Edited by: Susan Ferguson, Barbara Miller, and Regina Lloyd

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