Partly because Friars look at the world through ‘faith-colored’ glasses.
By Fr. Richard LaPata, O.P., President Emeritus
Why do parents send their children to a religious-sponsored school such as Fenwick? There may be more than one reason why they do so. For example, our school has the reputation of preparing a child well for college.
Or, it is felt that a Fenwick diploma guarantees a student getting into a good college or university? Perhaps it is the knowledge of well-qualified teachers present on our faculty. Possibly a first visit has impressed the visitor with Fenwick’s welcoming, friendly atmosphere. They see how much Fenwick appreciates diversity and the sense of family, and that these qualities are continued in the lives of our alumni.
Into this mix of motives, I hope boys and girls are seated here for the main reason why Dominican Friars founded the school: that is, to encounter and learn all about the faith and beliefs of the Catholic Christian community.
Like any other educational institution, Fenwick forms the students in their knowledge of the world through instruction in the arts and sciences, but it adds another dimension to the student’s awareness of that world. This is done through the study of theology, which looks at everything in its relation to God. Theology presents what we believe and how that belief throws light on whatever else we may know about the universe. There is another resource of learning, and that is our Christian faith. Contrary to what some people think, God’s gift of faith does not constrain or restrict human knowledge, nor does it diminish all other true knowledge but adds to our understanding of all things.
Again, it’s like looking at the world through faith-colored glasses. This faith-view sees God as present and working in the world, and that we have a relationship with God as Creator and Parent. And, so, what Fenwick attempts to do through its Theology classes is to enlighten the student, answering for him/her the ultimate meaning of life.
Whatever reasons move parents to send their children to Fenwick, I hope a deep understanding of the faith may be one of them.
Father LaPata is a 1950 graduate of Fenwick High School.