Fr. Jonathan Loop, Principal of Immaculate Conception Academy, wrote this letter to parents before the 2019-2020 school year started, explaining the Academy's Mission. We are sharing Fr. Loop's letter since the principles he articulates correspond directly to the overall mission of the Society of Saint Pius X's schools.
What are we trying to accomplish at Immaculate Conception Academy? Why do you send your boys to this school? Ultimately, it is to ensure they receive a sound Catholic education. As we saw last year in these parents letters, a true Catholic education is very extensive, and touches on many facets of their lives.
However, if the goal is to ensure that the boys become good Catholics, this raises another question: what is the place of the various “non-religious” subjects at our Catholic school? There are two possible errors that can lead us astray when we strive to answer this question.
On the one hand, we can think that all subjects besides catechism are superfluous and can be neglected. Thus, homework in any class (math, literature, history, etc.) becomes at best a necessary evil and at worse a waste of time.
There is however another - and perhaps worse - error that can arise. We can come to think these classes are wholly independent of the child’s religious instruction, and thus derive their value from what they contribute to his future capacity to get a job and provide for a family. Given the prejudices of our modern world, this often causes us to think that the most important subjects are what are known as “STEM;” i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math. History, literature, and philosophy come to be viewed as secondary topics that are to be endured, if not neglected.
Each of these points of view misses a vital truth: every subject which we present here at Immaculate Conception Academy is intimately linked by one common factor. To a greater or lesser degree, each is meant to help unify the different parts of each young man’s soul in the pursuit of his highest goal as a man, which is to become another Christ. Therefore, every subject contributes to the formation of a Christian.
Now, since every subject contributes more or less directly to this goal, this gives us the key necessary to judge which classes are more important and deserve a greater investment in time, attention, and energy by teachers and students (as well as their parents). My goal this year will be to work with you to understand more clearly and deeply the relative hierarchy of all the subjects which we present to your boys at Immaculate Conception Academy. The more you as parents can grasp and appreciate this order, the better you are able to assist your children to direct their energies in the most appropriate and beneficial manner.
I have included a basic outline of this year’s letters. The order of presentation of the different subjects is derived from that topic’s relation to the final goal of true education. Thus, those classes which contribute more directly to the formation of a Christian outlook and attitude are presented earlier in the year, while those which are more remotely linked to this end are presented towards the end of the year.
Please be assured of my prayers as we prepare to begin another school year. Once again, I look forward to working with you and your boys!
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Jonathan Loop
October: Philosophy (Metaphysics – Reality above man)
November: Philosophy (Civics – Human reality)