To Remember, Celebrate, and Seek

By Susan Ferguson

We gathered on June 24, 2016 to remember, celebrate, and share our journey as a faith community seeking God’s call to hope and to be love through Catholic education.  For twenty years the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education (UDCCE) has remained constant in its purpose.

Remembering our why

In our time Catholic education remains a beacon of hope for many.  Parents and family are always the first teachers of children.  The Church and the schools, pre-school to university, teach in tandem with the family to provide formation in faith and academic excellence.  These are the most fundamental tenets of Catholic education; therefore, these are most fundamental to the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education.

The weaving of faith formation and academic excellence have deep roots in the Catholic intellectual tradition.  It is – a practice of faith seeking understanding and understanding seeking faith – addressing the great human questions, aspirations, and challenges as they unfold across centuries and across cultures. The Catholic intellectual tradition and mission of the University of Dayton states, “As is evident in the New Testament, this tradition was initiated as the early Christians began to reflect upon and engage the Gospels and their experience of Jesus in a number of new cultures. Throughout their history, Christians have wrestled with and drawn upon the best of human knowledge to defend, explain, understand, and better learn to practice their faith.”


These deep roots support the Catholic Church and school initiatives now and for two millennia.  It is from this tradition that the concept of the Center for Catholic Education (CCE) was formulated through experience and practical wisdom.  The question upon which the Center came to be and continues to be is: What can the University of Dayton and other Catholic universities do to help Catholic elementary and secondary schools? 

See Our history


Celebrating what and how


Our 20th anniversary celebration emphasized our purpose and recognized the people who formulated the beginning of the Center, carried it for twenty years, and recognized the fresh and continuing Catholic education leadership growing through activities of the Center.  Clay Mathile, TJ Wallace, first director of the CCE, and Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M. were credited for the roots and vision for the Center.  Sister Angela Ann Lydon and Brother Ed Brink, past directors, established the Urban Child Development Resource Center (UCDRC) and Lalanne.  These faith filled leaders understood mission and created vision for these long established primary programs of the Center.  In the last ten years the Center collaborated with the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives, the St. Remy Initiative and the Center for Early Learning at the University of Dayton.  Multiple professional development initiatives including the Catholic Education Summit were noted for impact and inspiration.  Communication had improved through our electronic newsletter and social media avenues. 


Seeking with mission and vision


The end of the evening provided a window to the Center’s growing vision.  The UCDRC reinvented its method of services while never straying from its mission to mitigate non-academic barriers to learning faced by students in Catholic schools, particularly children and adolescents of poverty.  The UCDRC changed its name to ECHO to better recognize the organization’s ability to Empower Children with Hope and Opportunity.  We completed the evening with prayer offered by Lalanne teachers and former interns to the Center, Catholic education leaders of tomorrow…

Loving and gracious Father, thank you for the work of the Center for Catholic Education.  We praise you for all those inspired by your love to found the Center.  Their vision has stirred religious imagination and promoted excellence in the academic life of Catholic schools.  We are grateful for the example to teach as Jesus did and to be graced through the Holy Spirit by a dedicated and committed team who work tirelessly to form partnerships, to adapt and change, and to serve to bring justice, forgiveness, and peace.  Please continue to bless the work of the Center that it may be centered in faith, filled with courage, and open to the needs of all of your people.  We ask this through the intercession of Mary, mother of your precious Son and our savior, Jesus.


Edited by Barb Miller & Ben Swick