A Catholic Teen’s POV: Being a Catholic at a Catholic School

You’d assume this would be easy. “You’re a Catholic at a Catholic school, what’s so difficult about that?!” But my answer to you would be, it’s actually very difficult. Before you wonder how knowledgeable I am about this topic, let me tell you that I’ve been attending a Catholic school ever since Kindergarten…So, yes. I do know what being a Catholic at a Catholic school is like.

There are definitely positive aspects of going to a Catholic school as a Catholic; Mass is offered once a week or a couple of weeks, theology classes, freedom to openly pray, and the list goes on and on for awhile. But, it’s not always positive being a Catholic at a Catholic school. The majority of teenagers that I know at my school have grown to the point where they simply don’t understand Church teaching, and are living in a state of “I’m Catholic, but…”

Just yesterday I witnessed classmates criticizing how the school would not let a same gender couple be in the Grand March if that happened. I heard the very popular, “It’s 2016 now! I don’t understand, they (the Church) need to change.” If you know me somewhat well, you’ll realize that I didn’t leave that alone. Afterwards, I remarked on how the Catholic Church does not need to “change with the times,” as if two thousand years doesn’t testify to the fact the Church does not need to get with the times.

So, what exactly am I trying to pull out from that experience? At my specific Catholic high schools, and possibly others, are either not doing a good job of catechizing the students or there’s something wrong with the students themselves and their faith. But no, the second option would totally make sense simply ifΒ many are not able to be catechized well in their Catholic schools. From my own experiences, kneeling during the Consecration might obtain reactions entirely negative, even from the campus minister, too!

I’ve tried to speak to those in charge of campus ministry at my school, and they simply do not listen! All I’ve been hearing is “trust me, I have a lot of experience in liturgy.” But does experience equal correctness? It’s as if I played a piano piece for ten years, but always played it incorrectly. Over time, motor memory would prevent me from correcting the mistake or even realizing I made the mistake. To take in the perspective of the students that you’re serving in your ministry is something that should be the highest in your list of things to do. Disregarding students’ opinions or questions is simply another form of pride, one of the seven deadly sins!

Whenever I speak out in defense of the Catholic Church at my school, half of the time I get eye rolls or sarcastic remarks. No, I am not trying to be “holier than thou,” but because I invest the majority of my time into learning my faith and trying to live it out, I can’t help myself defending the faith when I see it attacked by other students at my Catholic school. From my experiences with other classmates, there’s only about ten to twenty percent of students who are actually invested in their faith to the fullest, although there are others who are somewhat interested, but simply are afraid to do so because of peer opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, my school joins together for the Mass once or twice a month as one school community. There tends to be a lack of reverence at these Masses, and although I’ve brought up these concerns, no one seems to care. Although there is a morning mass before school, there’s about 3 or 4 students that go every time, including me. Since the chapel has windows all around, it’s easy to make judgement about those on the inside. Other people probably label me as a judgmental, traditional, and close-minded Catholic obsessed girl…but, I don’t care about their opinions necessarily. The one opinion that I spend my life worrying about is God’s. That’s why I follow God’s moral laws, not the laws or social norms of the world.

There’s a chapel located in my school as mentioned before. Some students take some time to go in there to pray, while others on the other hand do not. I’ve walked by the chapel seeing couples go in there just to talk with one another or go on their devices. But…they don’t pray. One of my best friends and her boyfriend go in there to pray, and I’m thankful for their beautiful witness to the faith! That’s not the only thing, everyone passes by the chapel every day when the whole school gathers together. Students walk past and across the chapel with no sign of recognizing the Blessed Sacrament is indeed present in the tabernacle located in the chapel. I’ve recently began to bow my head every time I pass, or genuflect if there isn’t a lot of people walking down the hallway.

This might just be a first part since this problem cannot simply be explored in one blog post that I write. Being a Catholic in a Catholic setting today is something that is quite difficult depending on the environment. I’ve been a Catholic school student for twelve years, but not all of those years have been easy since I’ve had to dealt with negative reactions and commentary from those who are supposed to lead me in my faith, not disagree with me when I ask for more reverence, or when I try to promote vocations (maybe another blog post for later)!

And I’m definitely not saying this is something that all Catholic students go through at their Catholic high school. These were just thoughts from my own personal experience of being at a Catholic school who typically focuses on sports and fine arts more than the faith of their students. Also, these were from the perspective of someone who is not as quiet when expressing their faith compared to those who are more subtle about their faith.

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12 thoughts on “A Catholic Teen’s POV: Being a Catholic at a Catholic School

  1. Yikes, those people need prayers. Though I’m homeschooled now, I used to be in a Catholic school and it wasn’t very strongly Catholic either, so I totally feel you. Please stay strong in the Faith! I hope some kind of miracle happens and your school changes, or something.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for understanding! I was definitely curious as to whether other people encountered the same issues, too. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers! πŸ™‚ I hope things change for the better as well!

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  2. Thank you for writing this. I had similar experiences at my Catholic high school which led my father to take my sister and I out because the tuition and the wishy-washy “God is love” theology classes simply weren’t worthwhile. I can definitely concur with your comments about the lack of reverence during Mass; one time, apparently my sister heard someone, who was a pronounced atheist, say that she took communion because it “tastes good.” It saddens me that they do not even bother stating that those who are not in a state of grace should NOT be taking communion. All are welcome, yes, but that does not entitle one who is in such a state to receive the Holy Eucharist! I apologize for the rant; it’s just so frustrating to think that people send their kids to Catholic schools simply because of prestige or academic rigor (which is the case for the Catholic high school I went to). Keep being a witness to the Faith. God bless you for your efforts!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can definitely relate to your concerns. My school is similar in the sense of academic rigor and prestige of name, too. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I realized that I don’t think other students and I have ever been taught how to receive the Eucharist and why we shouldn’t (non-Catholics, not in a state of grace, etc). I once confronted someone who I knew was not Catholic and received the Eucharist, but they shrugged it off and continued to receive communion at Masses. Obviously, there is a lack of knowledge on the Eucharist and how it’s truly the Body and Blood of Christ, along with other important understandings of the sacraments or dogmas! Thank you for your encouragement, I will try my best to defend our faith and the Truth! πŸ™‚

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  3. Like those who have commented previously, I can attest to what you described as well. I have attended three different Catholics schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and I graduated just a few weeks ago. I can’t tell you how excited I am to attend a serious traditional Catholic College next year! But I know exactly what you mean. You feel like an outcast at your own school simply for living out what you school is supposed to be. And religion class (don’t even get me started). Our religion classes have been called anything from “a second study hall” to “a joke of a class” every student and teacher in the school knows that the teacher doesn’t teach but no one stands up. When I tried by speaking to the Catholic Identity board they basically applauded me for coming to them then promptly forgot everything I tried to address. I did not have that teacher this year so it was better but it meant I had no voice for what was happening. It seems parents think that they do not have to teach anything because the “that’s the school’s job”. Love the piano example btw πŸ™‚ It is soooo true! They have a responsibility that they are not fulfilling and they will stand before God one day and know what they have done. And people not giving you the time of day because they think you think you are “holier than thou” I have experienced that from even a priest. Then Mass… the only time I dislike going to Mass is at school. But what drives me the most crazy is the sign of peace and how it is treated like 30 seconds of church talk time. I was even once told I was not allowed to kneel to receive communion (which they are not allowed say you can’t do) because “no one else does”. Anyway sorry for ranting… you struck a chord in me on a problem I want to work to help solve in the future for the youth of tomorrow. THANK YOU for writing this blog post. People need to know this stuff and that people notice these things… They need to see the frustration in order to know there is a problem! Keep up the good work and good luck the rest of your school year and next year! God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, nice post! *applauds*
    Catholic schools need lots of prayers. 😦 I’ve been in three (very) different Catholic schools in the past couple years. The first was online, and I loved how truly Catholic it was. The second was a small, new, classical Catholic school and it was such an amazing school! I was so happy to have a chance to be in that school, though I only got one semester. We got to go to daily mass and the Theology class was AWESOME!!!
    And then I moved and transferred to a Catholic school in my area. It wasn’t quite so bad as what you speak of, but it was quite the shock for me after the first two. First of all, the dress code is pants. I guess it’s not that big of a deal, but all of the girls seem to wear the tightest ones possible. And some of the sports have short shorts in their uniforms. What happened to Christian modesty? Also, some of the teachers played the popular teen songs…some had bad words in them. I’ve asked my mom to contact the school and see if they can do something about that. Oh, and the Theology class!! We basically just read the Old Testament every day and answered super easy questions.
    Sorry. Long post. I’ve just never had a chance to rant about this before! Point is, I know what you mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Thank you for liking this post πŸ™‚ My school has the same issue with the dress code! The pants are always way too tight and some just end up wearing leggings. I seriously agree though, it seems as if Catholic schools have forgotten mostly about Christian modesty, or at least never enforce it after speaking about it. I’m sorry to hear that the teachers would’ve played those songs, I’ve had friends tell me that the school dances had bad songs, too but the students were the dj’s. I really do wish that theology classes went more in depth! Theology classes should not be thought of as an “easy A” class! No apologies necessary, I totally agree with you and am so glad to read your comment! I think my blog posts most of the time are rants of mine, too haha! Thank you for understanding, God bless!

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  5. I heard a priest once say “send your kids to Catholic school, they lose their faith. Send them to public, they learn to defend the Faith.” I only went to Catholic school for 4 years, and the rest was in public school. Defending the Faith is an accurate statement, and unfortunately, so is the other statement. I have family who have spent 12 years in Catholic schools and they left the Faith. Keep doing what you are doing and remember that actions speak louder than words. Making the sign of the cross when you pass a church, bowing your head at the name of Jesus, saying grace before meals, things like that, keep it up, you never know who is watching, and how many seeds you are planting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s unfortunate that our society has come down to this, but I have hope that future generations will carry on the faith the beautiful traditions. I think that in general, it has become easier to lose the Faith, but harder to defend it in our current world.

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  6. Pingback: A Catholic Teen’s POV: Being a Catholic at a Catholic School – Flight of the Butterfly

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