Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta is a cut above the rest in its focus and commitment to participate in the New Evangelization. Holy Spirit Prep is on the Cardinal Newman Society Honor Roll and is known as the most faithfully Catholic prep school in Atlanta. The board is comprised mostly of faithful parishioners and parents who place Catholicism in its honored primary place in a Catholic School.
The headmaster Kyle Pietrantonio is a passionate, faithful Catholic who has a strong interest in forming consciences for a faithful citizenship. Mr. Pietrantonio requires the teachers and faculty of Holy Spirit Prep to sign an oath of fidelity to live and abide by the tenets of the Catholic Church. Teachers are expected to be a Catholic example to students including demonstrating their faith as a practicing Catholic (which includes regular Mass attendance).
The Lower School Principal Peter Schultz is a model of Catholic leadership and worship. Mr. Schultz has implemented daily Mass on campus and weekly participation in the Rosary. He knows the value of prayer and reflection and provides time and resources to his teachers and staff to help them understand more deeply how to instill a love of Christ in our children and to develop a love for Christ in their personal lives. And finally, Faith Rummelsburg, the director of the preschool, has worked tirelessly to ensure that all activities revolve around the incarnational Christ.
Perhaps the most profound source of the New Evangelization at Holy Spirit Prep is the priestly and religious presence on our campuses. We have a near constant presence of two wonderful and faithful priests, Fr. Juan Hernandez and Fr. John Klein. They work tirelessly with all our students doing bible studies, celebrating the Holy Mass, visiting classrooms, administering the sacrament of reconciliation, counseling, and evangelizing. The same can be said for our religious community of consecrated women headed by Beth Van De Voorde and Amanda Eckhert. Also, the Legionnaires of Christ and Regnum Christi usher a steady stream of missionaries through the school who also build wonderful and evangelizing relationships with our students.
With aspects of solid leadership like this and the tremendous religious presence, it is no surprise that every year several non-Catholics come to the Body of Christ. This February 28th, 2018, there are a record six baptisms taking place with students from the lower school. It is perhaps the most joyful of all Catholic things to see new souls come to the Body of Christ. As Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” If leadership at the pre-school, lower school, headmaster and board continue to participate so vigorously in the New Evangelization as they have these last few years, there is no doubt we will see even more baptisms next year.
The authentic Catholic school is and ought to be a driving force for bringing souls into full communion with Holy Mother Church. The USCCB proclaims that indeed, the “Catholic School is the heart of the New Evangelization. They are instruments of grace, sacred places where the Gospel comes alive daily—and where children and families encounter (and, not infrequently, re-engage) the faith.” This glorious proclamation is suffocated by the demands of modern education and ideologies which diminish the ground upon which our mission must take place. In Educating Together in Catholic Schools, the Congregation for Catholic Education identified the essential goal of the Catholic school as one of “forming the person in the integral unity of his being.” This is certainly the universal call for the Catholic school, to assist the domestic church in attaining to full integration with Holy Mother Church, not only by encountering the unity of its being, but to help children grow towards communion with the saints and the incarnational God Himself. Tragically, in most Catholic schools, this is not what we may find.
The Catholic schools have become the grounds of a hotly contested spiritual battle. Almost every primary, secondary, and post-secondary Catholic school in the land is under attack by worldly entities being used by the real enemies, Satan and his demonic forces. This is the battle to which we were called and the stakes are no less than the hearts, minds, and immortal souls of our very own children. The greatest difficulty for our cherished Catholic schools lies not in the external worldly attacks from an increasingly secularizing society, but from within the very walls of the Catholic schools by many unwitting ambassadors for the father of lies trained up in educational pedagogies antithetical to the image of God.
Far too many teachers and administrators who roam the halls of our treasured Catholic schools have been indoctrinated in the ideological ways antithetical to our mission. These ideological enemies, such as scientism, skcepticism, utilitarianism and subjectivism play out in insidious ways. However, we must remember as St. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 6:12 “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We must remember that although we may never be free of these internal attacks, it is not the people themselves who are our enemies, but Satan and his minions enjoying impressive swaths of real-estate and increasing numbers of supporters in the modern world. Still, to carry out the New Evangelization, we must do our level best.
Holy Spirit is perhaps the best Catholic School in Atlanta, and perhaps the place where the spiritual combat is most hotly contested compared to many schools that have acquiesced almost wholeheartedly to the demands of the dark powers. Thanks be to God for the spiritual warriors like Kyle Pietrantonio, Peter Schultz, Faith Rummelsburg, Fr. Juan, Fr. John, Beth Van de Voorde, Amanda Eckhert and the other faithful warriors who put the immortal souls of our students above the demands of the secular ideological state. Please pray for this school and all the other Catholic schools in dire need of the spiritual sustenance to gain back the ground to make our beloved Catholic schools the instruments of the New Evangelization we need them to be.