The efforts to begin a new Catholic school in the Diocese of Wichita, one grounded in the classical liberal arts tradition, are advancing to fruition at a slow but determined pace. Just before Advent of last year, we held a public symposium at Blessed Sacrament parish to make the project more widely known. Additionally, in early December, representatives of our project met with Bishop Carl Kemme to discuss the future of the project.
The symposium of November 15th at Blessed Sacrament Parish* met its goal of introducing the project to a broader audience (a little over 100 people were in attendance from across the city). The main talks can be viewed online here. The symposium providentially took place on the feast of St. Albert the Great.
The goal of the school is to carry forward the Catholic tradition, which provides all human society a “moral and spiritual imaginative vision,” as Msgr. Shea notes in the opening pages of From Christendom to Apostolic Mission. “Much of what it means to be converted in mind,” he writes, “is to receive and embrace the Christian imaginative vision of the cosmos: to see the whole of the world according to the revelation given in Christ, and to act upon that sight with consistency.”
Mr. Isaac Traffas gave the first presentation, an overview of the plans and hopes we have for the new Catholic school. Drawing from our Vision Document, he gave various examples to illustrate how the curriculum would work in practice. The keynote presentation was given by Mr. Howard Clark, reflecting on a life spent devoted to Catholic education. In the first portion of the presentation, he described his experience as a student at the Integrated Humanities Program at KU, before telling of his time as teacher and headmaster at Gregory the Great Academy. He concluded by articulating several principles to guide the project of founding the new school, the centrality and implications of a Christian anthropology, piety, gymnastics and music (the muses of education), and leisure.
On December 9th, representatives of our group met with Bishop Carl Kemme and Janet Eaton about carrying the project forward. We presented the results of our efforts, both working in private and speaking with local families in public, and discussed ways to realize the new school. The bishop assured us that he considers ours a worthy project, is very interested in it, and wants to help from a diocesan standpoint.
As a result of the meeting, our group plans to move from the theory and vision of the new school towards a practical proposal. We are currently gathering members of a Founding Committee to present an actionable plan to Bishop Kemme for his consideration, and we hope to open a school based on our project and Vision Document by August 2023. The Founding Committee will secure funding, find a location, and determine the governance model of the school. Our work will begin in earnest in January 2022.
Please keep us and the project for a new Catholic school in the Wichita diocese in your prayers!
* Our program flyer neglected to note, and we correct it now, that as host, Blessed Sacrament did not thereby endorse or affiliate itself with our project.