By Gordon Mullis
I don’t know how to genuflect. I am not even sure if I am spelling it correctly.
The sign of the cross? I know I start with my forehead, go down to my chest, but still get confused about whether it is the left shoulder then right or the other way around.
I don’t know “Hail Mary,” except as a last second pass into the end zone in football.
They call what I know as the Lord’s prayer an “Our Father” and don’t finish it the way I was taught. So confusing.
So why would I send my non-Catholic daughter to Sts. Peter & Paul, a Catholic preK through eighth-grade school?
The answer is really easy, and easily the best decision I have ever made.
The answer is a faith-based education. But what does that mean?
Faith has different meanings to us all, but to me, it transcends a particular religious affiliation.
It is more than a label.
It means a shared sense of values. Respect for yourself, for others, tolerance and wanting to build your community and share it with others.
This is what you get from a Catholic education, even as a non-Catholic.
I felt it the first time I walked into the building at Sts. Peter & Paul. I feel it at every visit, at every event.
I think I even felt it in car line, which is truly amazing.
You feel it because those values permeate each and every day in a Catholic school and guide every interaction – between student and teacher, between teacher and parent, between the staff and among the entire community.
Yes, your child will attend mass. Yes, your child will take religion classes.
But that does not translate into “indoctrination.”
As a non-Catholic, your child will not be taking CCD classes (I think that’s what it is called) or having his first communion.
Does that mean your child is “different” or an outsider? Not at all.
I say this because our family has lived it.
At Sts. Peter & Paul, a full 20% of the students are non-Catholic. So, instead of an outsider, your child becomes part of a family – the school family.
This Catholic education comes at a price, of course.
Catholic schools are private, not free and non-Catholics pay more in tuition.
That may sound unfair, but Catholics who get the “Catholic rate” tithe to their local parishes, which in turn provide financial support to the school.
So it all evens out in the grand scheme of things.
I am a product of public schools. I received a fine education there through the support of my teachers and strong parents.
So, I am not denigrating their efforts at all. But what I can say is that my daughter is getting a rigorous, well-rounded, faith-based education by attending a Catholic school.
Our family does make financial sacrifices, but the cost has been worth every penny as we see her thrive, mature and grow into the person she can be.
All of this is made possible by the unique school environment that a Catholic school provides.
I offer a challenge, or really, an invitation. Go visit your local Catholic school.
Walk into the building and get a sense of the real difference of what Catholic schools offer.
It is amazing. You won’t regret it, Catholic or not.
Gordon Mullis serves on the Sts. Peter & Paul school council and has a child who is an alumna of the school.
Photo: One in five students at Sts. Peter & Paul is non-Catholic