We function in the Oratorian tradition, which mirrors the humility and perseverance of St. Philip Neri, and we enjoy the heritage of classical liberal education expressed by John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O.2 After the model of the Congregation, we employ a consensus form of governance.
In pursuit of the fullness of the truth, we rejoice in the Magisterium of the Church, we are obedient to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, we respect the leadership of our Pastor and we work with the Office of Catholic Education of the Archdiocese. St. Francis Xavier School shares in the tradition of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, which has the pastoral care of the parish. Our Pastor is elected by the Congregation and approved by the Archbishop. We are united in the apostolate of Catholic education.
Our school community, the Congregation of the Oratory, and most importantly, our families realize that we are heralds of the Faith. The Church is the family of God, and as part of that family, we exercise the priest-hood of the baptized in reaching out to all people of good will so that they may discover the truth of the Catholic Faith. “The eleven disciples made their way to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had summoned them. At the sight of him, those who had entertained doubts fell down in homage. Jesus came forward and addressed them in these words: ‘Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.'” (Mt. 28:16-20)
View Of The Student
Every child has an infinite value and personal dignity because that child was created in the image of God who in the person of Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose from the dead for us. The fundamental end of Catholic education is to know, love and serve God.
We recognize that each child is unique with natural gifts to be challenged and developed according to that child’s capacity. We want to stir in our children a desire to strive for holiness, while discerning the vocation given to each of them by God for their salvation. Children will be encouraged to live lives of gratitude. All gifts are given by a loving God for His honor and glory, for the spiritual and temporal good of the child, and for the service of one’s neighbor, especially the poor.
The daily example set by parents and teachers as they witness in their lives to the truth of Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church will bring out the best in our children and give them the tools to fulfill the vocation God has prepared for them. Our children will then be secure in this close and most fundamental collaboration.
Our goal is to provide a cheerful, safe and loving environment where children may live an authentic Catholic life as an extension of their lives at home. The school will aid parents in their responsibility of nurturing and protecting the souls of their children.
We recognize the Church’s teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children. St. Francis Xavier School will work closely with the parents of our children in maintaining and encouraging our families to be centers of living and radiant Christian Faith. The primary commitments of parents will be their practice of the Faith, their support for the academic program and the faculty, and their close involvement in service to the school. Obviously for education to be successful, it is essential that what is taught in school is also taught and supported at home.
Therefore, parents are expected to be part of the life of the school as volunteers. This not only provides services for the children but also provides a continuity and commitment to the spiritual and academic education of their children.
The Oratorian Heritage
After the models of St. Philip Neri and the Venerable, John Henry Cardinal Newman, we share a Catholic heritage of classical liberal education. This is a statement of unity. We are a faculty and administration which is at the same time devoutly Catholic and ever seeking academic excellence. In this personal unity, we grow together in our Faith and in academic expertise by the continuous communication we all enjoy so that we encourage one another in our desire for holiness, and we share the expertise of our subject areas to become better teachers. The richness of one interest or subject area will always improve the appreciation of another by our communion in service.
Therefore, our students will learn that truth is one, greater than an individual subject area, and evidence of the Creator who is truth itself. We are a school that does not simply present a series of separate subjects. Faculty and administration who are at the same time devoted Catholics and excellent teachers present the fullness of the truth by whom they are and what they teach in communion with one another. The Catholic Faith is not just a gloss brushed over separate subjects or a part of the curriculum but rather, a principle of unity which teaches first of all, the infinite goodness of the Creator. There is one truth manifested by His Creation, in His Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit. An excellent academic program and the Catholic Faith are not separate systems but one truth.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1655, 1656 and 1657.
“An assemblage of learned men, zealous for their own sciences, and rivals of each other, are brought by familiar intercourse and for the sake of intellectual peace, to adjust the claims and relations of their respective subjects of investigation. They learn to respect, to consult, to aid each other. Thus is created a pure and clear atmosphere of thought, which the student also breathes, though in his own case he only pursues a few sciences out of the multitude. He profits by an intellectual tradition which is independent of particular teachers, which guides him in his choice of subjects, and duly interprets for him those which he chooses. He apprehends the great outlines of knowledge, the principles on which it rests, the scale of its parts, its lights and its shades, its great points and its little, as he otherwise cannot apprehend them. Hence it is that his education is call ‘liberal’.”
— Newman, John Henry, C.O., The Idea of a University, Discourse V
“Summing up, gentlemen, what I have said, I lay it down that all knowledge forms one whole, because its subject matter is one; for the universe in its length and breadth is so intimately knit together that we cannot separate off portion from portion, and operation from operation, except by a mental abstraction; and then not satisfy me if religion is here, and science there, and young men converse with science all day, and again, as to its Creator, though He of course in His own Being is infinitely separate from it, and theology has its departments towards which human knowledge has no relations, yet He has so implicated Himself with it and taken it into His very bosom by His presence in it, His providence over it, His Impressions upon it, and His influences through it that we cannot truly or fully contemplate it without in some aspects contemplating Him.”
— Newman, John Henry, C.O., The Idea of a University, Discourse III.
“Here, then, I conceive, is the object of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in setting up universities; it is to reunite things which were in the beginning joined together by God, and have been put asunder by man. Some persons will say that I am thinking of confining, distorting, and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical supervision. I have no such thought. Nor have I any thought of a compromise, as if religion must give up something, and science something. I wish the intellect to range with the utmost freedom, and religion to enjoy an equal freedom; but what I am stipulating for is that they should be found in one and the same place, and exemplified in the same persons. I want to destroy that diversity of centers which puts everything into confusion by creating a contrariety of influences. I wish the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles of philosophy and shrines of devotion. It will not satisfy me, what satisfies so many, to have two independent systems, intellectual and religious, going at once side by side, by a sort of division of labor, and only accidentally brought together. It will lodge with religion in the evening. It is not touching the evil to which these remarks have been directed if young men eat and drink and sleep in one place, and think in another: I want the same roof to contain both the intellectual and moral discipline. Devotion is not a sort of finish given to the sciences; nor is science a sort of feather in the cap, if I may so express myself, an ornament and set-off to devotion. I want the intellectual layman to be religious, and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual.”
— Newman, John Henry, C.O., Sermons Preached on Various Occasions, “Intellect, the Instrument of Religious Training”
Catechism, op cit.
Classical Education – The Movement Sweeping America, Gene E. Veith, Jr. and Andrew Kern, Capital Research Center, 2001, p. 13.
The Educated Child – A Parents Guide from Preschool through Eight Grade, William J. Bennett, Chester E. Finn, Jr., John T. E. Cribb, Jr., Simon & Schuster, 1999, p. 94.
Ibid, p. 188-189.
Ibid, p. 195.