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Dominican Association of Secondary Schools Asks:
How Do Students Make Moral Decisions?

Mundelein, IL - November 12, 2008-- The third convocation of the Dominican Association of Secondary Schools (DASS) took place this past weekend at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein. Administrators, teachers, and board members from 21 Dominican high schools attended.

The theme of the gathering was “Our Continuing Search for Truth.” Participants explored perspectives they could provide their students about critical moral and ethical issues of contemporary society.

Father Charles Bouchard,OP, (St. Albert) President of Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO. was the keynote speaker for the weekend event and spoke about morality in the Dominican tradition and the rediscovery of virtue in our lives.

Bouchard pointed out that morality is generally based on two questions: “What ought I to do? And what kind of person I ought to be?”  These questions can be answered in many different ways. The Catholic approach, rooted in Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas relies on a goal that is two-fold: happiness (natural and rational) and happiness which is supernatural. In this view, holiness does not then mean becoming someone else, but becoming more fully who I am and who God has called me to be.

Sister Mary Carol McCaffrey,SSJ and Karen O’Neil

The responders to Father Bouchard’s talks were: Sister Angelo Collins,OP,(Sinsinawa) Executive Director of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation in Moorestown, NJ and Sister Ellen Gaynor,OP, (Sinsinawa) an Oncologist at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, IL.

Sister Mary Carol McCaffrey,SSJ and Karen O’Neil, both experienced high school teachers then introduced the participants to a classroom model for ethical and moral decision making.

The final speaker for the weekend was Robert Ludwig, PhD from Loyola University in Chicago who spoke to the group about “Youth and the Church: Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Promise.” Professor Ludwig noted that young people today “hunger for spirit, service, and community.” They, however, live in “a culture of choice.” and the work of those who minister to teen-agers and young adults is truly “a work of evangelization.”

The weekend concluded with a liturgy celebrated by Father DePorres Durham,OP, President of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL.

The next convocation of Dominican high schools will take place in the fall of 2009 at Mt. St. Dominic Academy in Caldwell, NJ.


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