06Nov

An Ancient but Contemporary Mission

Dear Families, Last week I was blessed to witness the confirmation of many of our young people.  With the transition to the restored order of sacraments in our diocese, many parishes have experienced larger confirmation classes than usual. In this instance, Our Lady of Fatima (New London), was proud to host Bishop Libasci for two separate ceremonies, featuring over 100 young people! I was proud to see so many of our own students present. I was also proud to see so many of our own Mount Royal community members there as well: parents, siblings, sponsors-- witnesses all. To see the overlap of...

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30Oct

All Saints' & All Souls'

Dear Families, This is the time of the year when the pace of life seems to really ramp up. It isn't even that the first two months of school are any different, but I think we all sense the increased rhythm of the academic calendar as we turn to November. Dr. Kalpakgian always taught me the needs resulting from the rhythm: there has to be an element of dance, play, and leisure - even sometimes unplanned - in order to rejuvenate the soul and make us more free to focus on and love the good things that are always happening around us - even when we aren't looking closely enough. Our liturgical cal...

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24Oct

Many Parts, One Body

Dear Families, I am privileged to teach catechesis here at Mount Royal Academy. I am even more privileged that I have been able to teach (and learn) with the same group of students for three years in a row. We are able to dive more deeply and quickly into discussions, to offer one another more critical feedback in an honest manner, and to truly experience the joys of helping one another along the path to heaven. In Catechesis III (eighth grade) we just finished our first unit. The featured themes of solidarity, family, common good, and community were striking. We contextualized these topics fr...

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18Oct

Right Anthropology Equals Right Education

Dear Families, In astronomy class yesterday, one of those moments happened when the teacher-- which was me-- and the students could all clearly see that together we were not tackling the question as we should. It was quite humorous to observe all of the students chime in with parts of the answer, but unable to coherently complete the correct answer (our minds are all in need of a little fine tuning). An adage that I often recite to the students explaining the expectation goes as follows: "Complete sentences come from complete thoughts, which come from a completely functioning intellect....

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09Oct

The Fallacy of Outcome Based Education

Dear Families, “Sir Francis Bacon exhorts us to conquer nature by applied science. The efforts in schools, in general, are based on the false assumption that man is malleable, and that the school can shape man into anything it needs to solve its social problems.” - Steve Rummelsburg. While listening (again!) to the Pints with Aquinas episode Mr. Tremblay referenced last week, this quotation kept coming back to me again and again. Mr. Rummelsburg discussed with host Matt Fradd, his views on the historical purpose of schools, the contemporary shapes this takes, and the modern problems resulting...

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02Oct

Do we want our children to be happy or good?

Dear Families, The simplest questions are always the best ones to answer. In my own youth, these questions were not present in the forefront of my own thinking, due in large part to the type of education I received. Later on down the line, these simple questions became downright fascinating to me.We can start with the first, most obvious question: What is education? G.K. Chesterton coined this response: "Education is the transmission of culture." What is culture we might ask? Culture is living in common, or communion with others. The root of education means to lead forth (Latin, educ...

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25Sep

Why do good?

Dear Families, A question that keeps running across the invisible ticker above my forehead that notifies me when I need to re-calibrate my thinking or adjust my own preconception runs as follows: what truly motivates a person to choose the good; what sustains that very motive to do the right thing over time and every time? The most common distinction has been carved since the question was first pondered by the great philosophers: what good is most captivating to the human person? Is the good somewhere on the outside, an extrinsic and future possibility that may provide some sense of gratifica...

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18Sep

Education in True Freedom

Dear Families, As we return to school in this beautiful time of crisp, fall mornings and changing leaves, I find myself often explaining to friends, neighbors, family members, and more exactly what makes Mount Royal Academy such a special place. It is easy for them to understand our focus on virtue, and our emphasis on learning to know and love God; after all, we are a Catholic school. That is to be expected. It is much more difficult for them to understand what we mean by “liberal arts” or “classical” when discussing our curricula and pedagogy, our mission and values.  That is why I was exci...

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11Sep

A Eucharistic and Patriotic Mission

Dear Families,I would honestly much rather prefer that our inaugural school newsletter not fall on this particular date. I shall try my best to communicate how exciting it is to be back in school in the midst of this solemn occasion.We are very grateful to announce that the newly assigned pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Newport - Fr. Michael Sartaroi - will be serving the students and staff in a school chaplaincy position for the duration of the school year, a first ever role here at MRA. This entails celebrating Mass twice a month on campus, in addition to a chaplaincy visit that will incl...

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12Aug

Virtue is its Own Reward

"Virtue is its own reward, and brings with it the truest and highest pleasure; but if we cultivate it only for pleasure's sake, we are selfish, not religious, and will never gain the pleasure, because we can never have the virtue."

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