How About a Good Catholic Story?

I'll bet you could use one.  Here's one in the WSJ today about the Cristo Rey success story, something of which we Jesuits are inordinately proud (or at least as proud as we're allowed to be):

On June 10, Cristo Rey High School in East Harlem will graduate all of its 50 seniors. All come from families near or below the poverty level. All will attend college. Most were accepted into seven colleges.


Begun in 1996 with the goal of making its students ready to attend college, the Cristo Rey Network now has 24 high schools teaching some 6,000 students in the U.S.—in big cities like Chicago, L.A. and New York; in Sacramento, Portland, Waukegan, Detroit and elsewhere. Virtually all the students in the network's schools are Latino or African-American. St. Martin de Porres High School in Cleveland, my hometown, is near St. Clair Avenue and 55th Street, a hard neighborhood. Its college-acceptance rate this year was also 100%.

The Cristo Rey system is often associated with the Jesuits, because they started the first school on Chicago's Lower West Side. But the system's operation and support now includes many Catholic orders and communities: the Congregation of the Passion, Dominican Sisters, Sisters of Charity, the Christian Brothers, the Clerics of St. Viator, the Basilian Fathers, the Salesians, the Vincentians—29 in all. There is no requirement that applying students be Catholic. About 60% are.

Cristo Rey high schools are not charters, which take public money. These are private schools, financed with a clever, innovative system, which I will describe in a moment... Read the rest here.

And the Cristo Rey website is here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
we vnornm
8 years ago
Wow! Even the students in the back have their hands up! And everyone is waiting in respectful silence. Just the picture says alot. Congratulations! bill
8 years ago
Another good Catholic educational story are the schools that are supported by the Christian Brothers.  I am familiar with two of them in the Philadelphia area, San Miguel in Camden and LaSalle Academy in North Philadelphia and there are others around the country.
If anyone has some extra dollars at the end of the year and wants to help inner city kids get an education in a Catholic environment, they may want to consider schools like these as well as the Cristo Rey schools mentioned in Father Martin's story.  I have reduced my donations to colleges and instead my wife and I are giving more to Catholic grade and high schools.
I have one major objection to Father Martin's opinion piece.  I do not have to look very far for great Catholic Stories.  It is the essence of the Catholic Church and what I have seen continually since entering first grade in Catholic schools quite awhile ago and I apologize to no one for being a Catholic and am extremely proud of my Church.  That he should make the comment about needing a good Catholic Story is telling.  
Thomas Piatak
8 years ago
An excellent piece. Thanks for posting it.
8 years ago
Great post, Father Martin. What a shame that such pieces are so few and far between when we know that there are millions of good things being done by the Church and Catholics on a daily basis. What wonderful stories could be told about my own little parish.
Kate Smith
8 years ago
Great story.
 And it super sucks to turn a great story into a reminder about the problems in the world...
 The Jesuit provincial who allowed the Jesuit perp who sexually assaulted me to return to public ministry and teaching  - that Jesuit provincial, Tim McMahon - was named the president of Arrupe Jesuit High School in Colorado, which was founded in the Cristo Rey tradition, starting this summer.  This happened even though McMahon is a law breaker - violated a signed legal agreement - and puts known perps back into ministry and teaching.
 And it super sucks to have to be the one to tell the people at Arrupe High in Colorado that they  got the wrong guy for president.  Like, imagine Cardinal Law, perp protector, at a school.   Tim McMahon should be excommunicated from the Catholic church, but instead the Jesuits assigned him to where he wanted to go.   How does that make sense?
 So, does anyone want to correct this situation for me?   I can have some beer and handle any hard situation, but I will let someone else handle this one before I try (because there is way too much hardship).    Any takers?
Kate Smith
8 years ago
Fr. Nicolas said this in a different Jesuit situation, but I think it applies to this too:
''While respecting our traditions and relying on the wisdom we have received from those who have gone before us, we must also recognize our need for new wineskins if new wine is to serve the Society’s mission in the United States as effectively as God’s people deserve.”
The Jesuits have a sore need to understand better what they do in human encounters and what it means to make commitments.  New wineskins are needed.
I was lied to, in a situation where I placed ENORMOUS trust in Jesuits after I was found credible re an abusive Jesuit and the most painful story in my life.   The first provincial bound all of his successors to the agreement he made.   The very next provincial violated the agreement.  The current provincial does not give a damn that that happened.    I'm talking about the Missouri province, but my instinct says there are others with the same Jesuit problems of not giving a damn, and so what.    After all, it's just survivors of clergy sexual abuse who placed enormous trust in Jesuits.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, is passing by a 2-1 margin with most of the votes counted.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.