MCP Catholic Identity

Introduction

What makes Mission College Preparatory a Catholic high school? And what is it about being a Catholic school that makes a difference?

Christian education is intended to "make men's faith become living, conscious, and active, through the light of instruction." A Catholic school is a unique setting within which this ideal can be realized in the lives of Catholic children and young people. It is in such a school that they experience learning and living fully integrated in the light of faith. (To Teach as Jesus Did, 1972, # 28)

There are six characteristics that together indicate something distinctive about our Catholic identity at Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School. These hallmarks flow from our mission statement. Together, they form a unique constellation of beliefs and practices that sets us apart from other schools, and that demonstrates what a profound difference a Catholic education at Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School can make.
 

We are Catholic

We are a Roman Catholic High School in the Diocese of Monterey, California. We are a community of openness and inclusivity, modeled according to the self-sacrificing generosity of Christ. We demonstrate by our love for one another, as well as for our neighbors, that "...within the fundamental unity of the faith, there is room for a plurality of cultural differences, forms of expression, and theological views" (To Teach as Jesus Did, 1972, #18). Although MCP is a Catholic School, students of other Faith Traditions are most welcome and their participation and presence both complement and enrich the rest of the school community.

We are all religious educators doing the critical work of formation with our students. "[T]rue education is not limited to the imparting of knowledge; it promotes human dignity and genuine human relationships, and prepares the way for opening oneself to the Truth that is Christ" (Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #55).
 

We exist in community

"The Catholic school's proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity" (Declaration on Christian Education, 1965, #8). We are nourished in our relationships with one another at Mission College Preparatory, and ultimately, through our participation in the Eucharist. Individual successes depend upon the successes of every other member of our community. Through our commitments to one another, we grow increasingly into the Body of Christ. Here at MCP, individual successes are placed in service to the betterment of the whole community, and celebrated in that context.
 

We embrace every student as an individual

Catholic education presumes that every student is full of worth by having been made in God's image. At Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, we strive to draw out the inner vitality of every student. "It must never be forgotten that the purpose of instruction at school is education, that is, the development of man from within, freeing him from that conditioning which would prevent him from becoming a fully integrated human being" (The Catholic School, 1977, #29). The task of education, then, is to facilitate that voyage of self-discovery for the young person. This is ultimately what formative education in the Catholic tradition means.
 

We educate for excellence in: academics, athletics, the arts, and spirituality

Because we believe that the goodness of God is meant to be celebrated and embraced, our curriculum reflects the fact that we believe all aspects of experience are relevant for the fullest becoming of the human person - every aspect of God's good creation facilitates the reflection and experience of grace in our students, enabling them to become their best selves.

Education at Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School is formative; therefore, it fosters the whole student in all of the dimensions of life - artistic, athletic, intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional, civic, and social. "For these reasons, we believe that although 'School' is often identified with 'teaching'; actually, classes and lessons are only a small part of school life. Along with the lessons that a teacher gives, there is the active participation of the students individually or as a group: study, research, exercises, para-curricular activities, examinations, relationships with teachers and with one another, group activities, class meetings, school assemblies" (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, 1988, #47).
 

We partner with parents and other significant adults

In recognition of the sanctity of the family, we support parents and often grandparents and other significant adults in the lives of the students. We partner with families whom we recognize as primary educators in the crucial work of formation.

"Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Catholic schools collaborate with parents and guardians in raising and forming their children [to] ensure that they have the foundation to live morally and uprightly in our complex modern world. This unique Catholic identity makes our Catholic elementary and secondary schools 'schools for the human person' and allows them to fill a critical role in the future life of our Church, our country, and our world" (Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 2005, p. 3).
 

We educate for just leadership

"Since it is motivated by the Christian ideal, the Catholic school is particularly sensitive to the call from every part of the world for a more just society, and it tries to make its own contribution towards it" (The Catholic School, 1977, #58). At Mission College Preparatory, outreach to church and community is a sign of our identity. Adults and students work together, grappling with global issues, as well as with those issues that confront us closer to home. No human sorrow is a matter of indifference to our community. We work in myriad ways for the improvement of our lives. In this way, we strive to "form human beings who will make human society more peaceful, fraternal, and communitarian" (Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, 1982, #19).
 

Conclusion

Accordingly, we understand and embrace our Catholic identity at Mission College Preparatory. We believe that these hallmarks set us apart from other schools and demonstrate what a profound difference a Catholic education makes. It is our hope that this reflection will promote more meaningful involvement in the life and mission of Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School.