"More emphasis must be placed on teacher Catholicity, and then one will be able to see the progress in our students, in their search of Jesus in their lives." (Luciano Novia)
St. Edmund Campion Secondary School Chapel
In light of Catholic Education week I will be focusing Sacred Sharings primarily on Catholic Educators. My inspiration for this began in the chapel at St. Edmund Campion Secondary School.
Over time I have come to observe the 'regulars' who attend morning Mass held at Campion. I am delighted when I see students before beginning their school day, and also a few educators from St. Edmund quite regularly.
There is one gentleman in particular who caught my attention for some time. He is there without fail and is the daily lector at morning Mass. Despite all of the criticism that seems to surround Catholic Education I feel it is important to highlight some of the seeds of hope that are undoubtedly present. I chose to walk up to this man (thankfully he was quite pleasant) and asked him if he would like to share some of his sentiments about Catholic education in an interview for my blog, he agreed. I came to learn that his name is Luciano Novia. I also learned a whole lot more about his faith life and here is some of it below...
What are among your most memorable moments growing up in the Catholic education system?
I was part of the catholic and public system through the 50’s and 60’s. My Catholic education in the primary system is one that I recall to this day; the catholic environment was woven into the delivery of the curriculum and into our daily education for us all, and not a façade that many seem to employ today. Charity, faith and sacrifice are all tools of a catholic educator, but one that many fear to employ and practice. Mass, Eucharist, fund raising brought us all together as a community to share in our catholic faith and dimension. Through these school activities we built relationships with staff and students and the value of charity; part of Pope Francis’ papacy. For 30 years I have organized or directed our schools food drives, though taxing it allowed me to see the many students and families that truly share my vision of community and Christ.
How long have you been teaching in the Catholic Education system?
30 years. I started teaching with the implementation of full funding in 1984 and had the opportunity to teach in both the private and public sector. The latter allowed me to see the different dimensions of catholicity in action.
Why is it important for you to teach in a Catholic school?
For me, I believe that my teaching in a Catholic school was a directive by God and not a choice. Though I had 6 teaching opportunities upon graduation, I prayed to God and asked for his guidance and direction. I chose, with Christ to be an instrument of His Peace and the Spirit to guide me on my journey of faith. Without a Catholic dimension in my teaching, my role and efforts would be lost. I try to lead and teach with God’s love, compassion and understanding. Though at times I may wonder, I always pray and return to the One who comforts and guides me to do His will. I love to talk to students about Christ in my life, through the good and tough times and how He provides me with the means to survive and profess His faith.
How do you make the faith accessible for non-Catholic students?
Accepting their faith and traditions allows us to see them as equals and that we are all children of the same God. When students are asked to present themselves in their faith and I in mine we share community through our acceptance of each other’s beliefs and teachings. When we listen tentatively to their beliefs, they will reciprocate the same in return. We are not better, but different. Acceptance is the first step to self-recognition of one faith.
How do you seek to be more involved with the faith with co-workers?
When we leading by example and ask others to be part of our personal faith journey, we allow others to share in Christ’s message of hope and salvation. When they see your conviction and dedication to the faith and love of Christ in all that you do, they do not question but rather co-celebrate in His message of hope and salvation through giving of oneself. Your personal presence and involvement in the schools Catholicity through the Eucharist allows for His presence to become prevalent and forthright in the daily functions of school life.
What are things (if any) you’d like to see changed?
Monthly mass for all staff; religious retreats and prayer vigils for staff and students; class teacher-student retreats for all and not only religion teachers. Mandatory prayer and participation for all teachers in Teacher performance appraisals. Talk the talk and walk the walk of Christ.
A special thank you to Mr. Novia for taking the time to share his faith with me. +JMJ