The Culture of Life at Chesterton Academy
“We are asked to love and honour the life of every man and woman and to work with perseverance and courage so that our time, marked by all too many signs of death, may at last witness the establishment of a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love.” John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium vitae No. 77 (March 25, 1995).
The culture of any institution is an expression of its deepest convictions. At Chesterton Academy ours is a culture of life, which is born of the Gospel and sustained by Our Lord’s words: “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). This conviction is not only a gift of faith but the hope that faith brings, an expression of who we are and what we believe as Catholics.
As Christian educators we understand the tremendous role we have. We are entrusted with young men and women by you, their parents and primary educators, to embrace the Gospel of Life and give witness to it in all that we do—every activity: class, lesson, prayer, work or play. In this one “Way” and “Life” we joyfully serve, faithfully learn, and courageously grow to be who He made us to be.
If the animating principle of a thing is the soul, as the classical philosophers thought, we can rightly say that our school’s soul is its culture of life, which we not only nurture as a loving mother but also protect as a faithful father. It is our prayer that everyone who enters our home, both teacher and student alike, will grow in appreciation for the priceless value of each human soul, made in the image of the Immortal One, and the awesome gift of life from the moment of conception until natural death.
The culture of life at Chesterton Academy is more than a belief; it is a lived reality. Practically speaking, our students regularly pray for men and women, unborn children, families, and the poor. We listen to lectures, host events, and work with other pro-life groups in order to foster a true love for human life.
In our own time, Divine Providence has blessed us and the world with St. John Paul II, a truly great pro-life pope whose teaching, writing, and faithful witness continues to inspire not only our daily work and the mission of Chesterton Academy but countless others in their life with Christ.
If you are a parent or student considering Chesterton Academy, consider the following words from Pope St. John Paul II.
At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: “Woe to me if I do not evangelize” (1 Cor 9,16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1,16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Math 10,27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis.” It is you who must “go out into the byroads” (Matth 22,9) and invite everyone you met tot the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.1
You are called to stand up for life! To respect and defend the mystery of life always and everywhere, including the lives of unborn babies, giving real help and encouragement to mothers in difficult situations. You are called to work and pray against abortion, against violence of all kinds, including the violence done against women’s and children’s dignity through pornography. Stand up for the life of the aged and the handicapped, against attempts to promote assisted-suicide and euthanasia! Stand up for marriage and family life! Stand up for purity! Resist the pressures and temptations of a world that too often tries to ignore a most fundamental truth: that every life is a gift from God our Creator, and that we must give an account to God of how we use it either for good or evil.2
- Homily given on World Youth Day, August 15, 1993, the Solemnity of the Assumption.
- Homily at Central Park, New York, October 7, 1995.