Catholic School Mission Toolkit

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all things mission in Catholic schools.

What to do when you take a new job in Catholic school leadership

Patrick Felicetta, president of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, shares some lessons from his journey as a Catholic school leader -- including some practical steps you can take early on in a new leadership role.

The importance of cultivating the arts of language

Andrew Pudewa, founder and director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, makes the case that teaching students first to listen builds a foundation for cultivating their writing skills.

The all-important principal-pastor relationship

Alison Dahlman, associate director of educational quality and excellence at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, explains how a Catholic school principal can form a dynamic leadership duo with the pastor at his or her parish.

Windows of Opportunity: How Child Development Can Help us to Present the Right Content at the Right Time

Is there a “right time” to discover particular faith concepts? Recent discoveries in brain science, paired with research in social, cognitive, and moral development, suggests that there are particular “windows of opportunity” – developmental periods when children and teens will be most engaged as they encounter specific material and concepts. Clinical psychologist and education expert Dr. Joseph White explains how this work applies to faith formation as we explore how the science of human development can help us prepare learners for a lifelong journey of faith.

Trusting in divine providence

Fr. Michael McClellan, chaplain of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership, reminds educators that God is always watching over us — no matter how well or how poorly things might be going at home or in the workplace.

Cultivating a life of prayer as a Catholic school leader

Fr. Vander Ploeg, director of spiritual formation at The Saint Paul Seminary, dives into what a rich prayer life looks like -- and how to build it into the sometimes-hectic pace of Catholic school leadership.

Catholic education and vocation:

Fr. Kyle Etzel, recently ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, explains the difference between the universal vocation all Christians share and each individual's particular vocation -- and how this is central in Catholic education.

The importance of friendship:

Dr. Alex Lessard, Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership professor, shares why and how friendship can -- and indeed must -- play a central role in forming the whole person.

Catholic education and the law:

John DeJak, lawyer, instructor at The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership and headmaster at Chelsea Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, breaks down the theological and practical importance of law when it comes to running a Catholic school.

Hiring well in a Catholic school:

The advancement of a Catholic school's mission is only possible when the right people are in the classroom. Dr. Kevin Ferdinandt, headmaster of St. Agnes School in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers helpful insights on hiring practices and processes.

What it means to be a human person:

What does it mean to be a human person? A loaded question, to be sure, that's difficult to answer in a 10-minute video. But Dr. Christopher Thompson, Academic Dean at The Saint Paul Seminary, breaks down the relationship between human and person and how these two facets of our nature are always in "lively tension." This has great implications for the Catholic school leader, who must always ensure his or her school is in line with true teaching about humanity while upholding the dignity of each and every person.

The meaning of Catholic school mission:

What is Catholic education? What is it for? Why is a school's mission central to answering these questions? Dr. Pamela Patnode, Director of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership, dives in to the Church's teaching on education -- which is a lot more than just memorizing facts and taking tests.

Patnode bases much of this presentation on Vatican II's Declaration on Christian Education.

Interested in becoming a Catholic school principal, but not sure what steps to take? Learn more about The Saint Paul Seminary's Institute for Catholic School Leadership.

More resources

Videos, articles and official Church documents

Declaration on Christian Education

Gravissimum Educationis, a summary of Catholic education, straight from Vatican II.

Playbook for Schools During the Year of Parish Revival | National Eucharistic Revival

Four invitations for school administrators and teachers to implement in their classrooms and greater school community to strengthen their Eucharistic culture and share the gift of the Eucharist anew.

The Identity of the Catholic School for a Culture of Dialogue

An "in-depth and up-to-date reflection and guidelines on the value of the Catholic identity of educational institutions in the Church."

The Lost Tools of Learning

An address by Dorothy L. Sayers applying the study of grammar, logic and rhetoric to a student's developmental stages.

Curriculum Development in a Post-COVID, apostolic age

Dr. Pamela Patnode, Director of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership, discusses why mission, identity and understanding must come first when putting together a Catholic school curriculum.

How the history of Catholic education can help guide us toward the future

Dr. Michael Naughton, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, joined The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership for a discussion of how Catholic education’s past can help us shape its future.

Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Pastoral Letter: 'You Will Be My Witnesses'

Archbishop Bernard Hebda's post-synodal pastoral letter features concrete steps to renew the faith in the Twin Cities and beyond -- and has important implications for local and regional Catholic schools.

Meeting with Catholic Educators: An address from Pope Benedict XVI

In 2008, late Pope Benedict XVI shared his vision "regarding the nature and identity of Catholic education today."

Education and Imagination

Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership graduate and principal of Ave Maria Academy in Maple Grove, Minnesota Justin Shay reflects on the beautiful relationship between education and imagination in "STAR: St. Austin Review."

Scroll to Top