By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
HAVERTOWN – A fundamental reason for supporting Catholic schools is to nurture the faith of Catholic children as they receive their education. This point is brought home by large banners of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Children of the Father, a Havertown-based lay organization, is in the process of distributing at no cost to schools throughout the Archdiocese.
Across the top of the two-by-three-foot banners is the message, “The Reason for this School is to Serve Jesus Christ Our Lord & Savior.”
Every Catholic school is eligible to receive them, and so far approximately 175 schools have responded; 22 have already received them.
“Some asked for two because they have more than one building,” said Anthony Mullen, the founder of Children of the Father and a member of St. Andrew Parish in Drexel Hill. “They are a visual image of our Lord and they tell why the school exists.”
Founded in 1997, Children of the Father is “a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to equip Catholics to know and share their faith with others,” said Mullen, who in his secular life is a senior partner of Royal Star Properties, a firm that develops retirement communities.
Children of the Father is not a large organization; it has a six-member board, about 30 volunteers in the Philadelphia area and 500 members worldwide, according to Mullen. However, it is a major distributor of free books, pamphlets and tapes designed to assist Catholics as they deepen their spiritual life. Topics cover the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Spirit, the sacrament of reconciliation, the rosary and other devotions and apologetics, just to name a few.
“Our main charism is to equip Catholics to share the Gospel,” Mullen said.
While Mullen shies away from the word “evangelization” because many people associate it with Protestantism, Children of the Father is an evangelical organization in the true sense of the word. Its outreach through the spiritual works of mercy is complemented by the corporal works of mercy, which takes such forms as ministry to the imprisoned and distribution of Christmas gifts to poor families.
This latest initiative of the Sacred Heart banners was the brainchild of realtor Edward Morris, vice president of Children of the Father and a member of St. Norbert Parish, Paoli.
“People often make decisions based on signage,” Morris said, explaining why he thinks banners proclaiming the school serves Jesus Christ is important for parents to see as they enter a prospective school.
“We want to remind them that Catholic schools give a great education and a great religious education,” said Morris, who practices what he preaches – his six children attending, or have attended, Catholic schools.
“The banners, which were paid for through a golf outing conducted by Children of the Father, serve a further purpose,” Morris said, because the children also see them as they enter school and “it reminds them every day why they are in Catholic education.”
For further information about Children of the Father and materials available visit www.childrenofthefather.org or call (610) 853-9801
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.