This past Saturday, I had the privilege to journey with members of the Saint Albert School community as they reflected upon the Catholic Identity of their school: honoring their past, celebrating their present and pondering the direction of the future. The day was an opportunity for the participants to reflect upon their own experiences on what it means to be Catholic. A majority of the day allowed dialogue among different segments of the community to draw deeper meaning of those experiences and to focus them on being intentional regarding the Catholic culture of Saint Albert School within the larger faith community of the parishes of the Council Bluffs region.
As I reflected on the conversations throughout the day I was reminded of Joe Paprock’s latest book, Practice Makes Catholic, in which he lists 5 characteristics that point each of us into aspects that are essential for being Catholic.
- A sense of sacramentality – the depth and meaning of rituals and symbols as way of knowing God and honoring God’s presence in our lives
- A commitment to community – understanding what it means to be community in today’s culture and how to intentionally connect individuals and families to the Catholic community
- Respect for human life – Gospel values are grounded connecting how we think about the value of each person and treat one another with the fact that we are all made in the image and likeness of God
- Reverence for sacred scripture and sacred tradition – being diligent on knowing the core teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church: only then being able to put these teachings in action within the world we encounter
- Attitude of faith and hope – the movement from despair to comfort found in God’s love grounded within the parish/school community
Below is the video that was created for Saint Albert School and their Catholic Identity workshop. This video, found below, is a powerful example of what happens when people within the faith community name God’s presence in their lives and in the life of the community where people have shared their time, talent and treasure. The video interviews were shot with a small Sony digital camera and being put together in iMovie. Each person was asked, “How have you experienced your Catholic faith at Saint Albert School?” Pictures were provided by the Saint Albert Community. The editing took around 4 hours for a 23 minute video. For me, the video represents the very best found within our identity as Catholics lived out in community.