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University symposium to recognize innovative Catholic schools

(7-5-2000) Nearly 100 Catholic educators from across the US and Canada are expected to convene tomorrow at Boston College for a three-day symposium on integrating the social teachings of the Catholic Church into Catholic schools.

The annual "Conversations in Excellence" symposium is part of the SPICE (Selected Programs for Improving Catholic Education) initiative, an ongoing effort co-organized by Boston College and the National Catholic Educational Association to identify, honor and disseminate information on successful K-12 Catholic school programs.

Highlights of the symposium will include a keynote address by Rev. J. Bryan Hehir of Harvard Divinity School tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. and a Mass on July 8 at 4 p.m. celebrated by Rev. Richard Malone, auxiliary bishop of Boston. Following the Mass, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will offer comments and present certificates of recognition to representatives of the programs being honored this year.

Among the schools being showcased is Boston College High School and its "Visions and Values Curriculum," an academic program integrating senior-year students' literature and writing assignments with both their religion course on Social Teachings of the Church and their service requirement. Another area school, Xaverian Brothers High School of Westwood, is being honored for its Xaverian Leadership Institute, a five-day summer retreat designed to help seniors discover their talents and utilize them in service to others.

"We hope to provide participants with practical methods and models for assisting Catholic educators to form students who assist with building a just and peaceful society," said Regina Haney co-director of SPICE and executive director of NCEA's National Association of Boards of Catholic Education.

"This conference presents an opportunity to expand upon the Lynch School of Education's Catholic character, especially in terms of its commitment to social justice," said SPICE CO-director Assoc. Prof. Joseph O'Keefe, SJ (LSOE).

The symposium also will include a number of addresses by notable figures in the field of Catholic education and social justice. Asst. Prof. Douglas Marcouiller, SJ (Economics), will deliver a speech on "Global Economic Issues and the Church's Social Teaching" on July 8 at 9 a.m. That day's events will conclude with a banquet featuring a talk by Georgetown University Professor Bill Byron, SJ, on "Integrating Social Teachings into the Life of Educational Institutions."

The conference will end on July 9 with a panel discussion of educators that includes Sister Ann Dominic Roach, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Boston, among others.


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