Is CBA Catholic?

Feb. 3-9, 2005
Is CBA Catholic?
By Patricia Callahan/ SUN contributing writer
Christian Brothers Carry Out Lasallian Tradition at CBA

DeWitt — Is CBA Catholic?

Absolutely! It is typical for many to take such things for granted, having been associated with the institution for a number of years. But in the last few weeks several people have asked, “Is CBA a Catholic school?” On the occasion of Catholic Schools week 2005, it certainly seems appropriate to address the question.

Christian Brothers Academy is a member of a worldwide group of institutions, founded by the Christian Brothers, who have dedicated their lives to the principles of St. John Baptist de La Salle. St. John is the patron saint of teachers. He lived in 17th century France, was born into a wealthy family, became a Catholic priest and spent his life and his wealth working to improve the education of children. In particular, he focused on the critical role of teachers. When he established his first school in Reims in 1679, he infused the teachers with faith and zeal and they became the first Christian Brothers.

Some of the revolutionary ideas St. John Baptist de La Salle implemented were intensive teacher training, group lessons, and instruction in the native tongue rather than Latin. He was successful in implementing these and other ideas by making them practical and effective and by employing a group of dedicated religious teachers – all in a Christ-centered environment. The heart and soul of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Lasallian charism he established is expressed in the following lines, familiar to all members of the CBA family:

St. John Baptist de La Salle….Pray for us. Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever.

Anyone in the presence of a group of CBA students, alumni or faculty, can recite the first half of each line and know the response will be automatic. The work of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers who succeeded him has evolved into a worldwide system of educational tradition referred to as “Lasallian.” The system follows the tenets of St. John which are an integral part of today’s Catholic education at CBA in Syracuse and around the world. The twelve virtues of the Lasallian educator, espoused by all CBA teachers, are prudence, silence, wisdom, seriousness, reserve, patience, zeal, vigilance, prayerfulness, generosity, gentleness and humility.

How do these virtues play out at CBA? The caring atmosphere is palpable. The first day of school after Christmas break, CBA students were clamoring to identify how they could assist with the tsunami relief efforts. Their concern, their connectedness and their enthusiasm resulted in a very successful fund drive, matched by Save the Children. The Lenten project involves a student whose family is from Sri Lanka. The kick-off this special outreach is during Catholic Schools week, on Ash Wednesday. The entire student body will be involved in raising funds and awareness for an organization associated with a church in Sri Lanka, which will build emergency structures, including homes, in the stricken area.

These works of caring in the community are a natural result of the value driven, Catholic education experienced at Christian Brothers Academy. But even more important than the specific outreach, is the way the Lasallian tenets play out in every classroom every day at Christian Brothers Academy. The prayer lines above are recited at the beginning of each class throughout the day. Religion class is part of the curriculum for all students from junior high through senior year.

Thanks to the strong Catholic values instilled by the Christian Brothers and their lay counterparts, CBA students become generous, involved alumni. A worldwide network of Brothers stays connected and through their generosity build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities. Alumni donations have made possible a summer project to replace the 40-year-old wood bleachers in the gymnasium. Also in the works is a new laboratory for 7th grade science, made possible by the generosity of an alumnus of the school. The alumni and friends are also responsible for a strong and growing scholarship endowment which allows CBA to award both academic and need based scholarships and provide financial aid to hundreds of students.

CBA is pleased and proud to have identified and accepted the students who will become CBA’s Class of 2011 when they begin this September. They will become part of a 104-year tradition of Catholic college-preparatory education which is truly unique. Congratulations those students and welcome to the CBA family. Accepted students have visited the campus with their families and will soon take part in “Shadow Days” when they will partner with current 7th graders to experience a day in the life of a CBA student.

At the other end of the spectrum, CBA seniors are getting ready to move on to the next phase of their lives. Members of the CBA class of 2005 have been accepted at a wide variety of excellent colleges including the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Notre Dame, West Point and the Naval Academy to name a few. Successful alumni? There are many. Nationally ranked athletic teams? Certainly. An impressive array of college acceptances? Every year. A Catholic institution where the nurturing of each student is overseen by trained Lasallian educators? Proudly.

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