Integrating Social Justice Teachings with Service In the Catholic Elementary School

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Douglas, Becky
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
As I have been a teacher or Coordinator of Faith Formation at St. Andrew and St. Rita Catholic Academy in Indianapolis for the last twelve years, I have had the opportunity to take part in many activities relating to the Catholic identity of the school. One aspect kept troubling me. Some of our students seemed to not care about fellow classmates. There was a lack of respect for one another and even the teaching staff. We had several incidents of verbal fighting, and even a few physical fights. As a people of God, these outbursts were not reflective of our faith. Previously, I had had several conversations with the school principal in which we discussed our concerns that many of our students did not show a caring attitude or interest. This was a failure to care not only for those people and devastating situations that took place in their neighborhoods and community, but also for their own classmates with whom they were present day in and day out. As the principal and I agreed, there seemed to be a lack of empathy on the part of the students in our school. Therefore, I chose to make this the focus of my pastoral project.