Daniel Blout

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2004


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gary Shank

Committee Member

Helen C. Sobehart

Committee Member

Mary Frances Grasinger

Committee Member

Phillip S. Boggio


Ministry, Religious Education, Spirituality


This qualitative study participates in this ongoing scholarly conversation regarding the value of Catholic schools in the life ministry of the Catholic Church. By examining the understanding that lay teachers have of their responsibility to the Catholic identity and the faith formation of students in Catholic schools as articulated in the literature of leadership of the Catholic Church, this study examines some of the ways that lay teachers help maintain the Catholic identity of the school and how these teachers engage in the religious mission of Catholic schools. This qualitative study was purposely designed to engage and invite the 58 Catholic high school teachers of two Diocesan Catholic high schools in southwestern Pennsylvania to express their inner thoughts, feelings, and ideas regarding the various aspects of their "ministry". By documenting the reflections and insights of these Catholic high school teachers this study brings to light some of the ways that they experience and understand their vocation of "ministry" within the complex educational practice of teaching within the unique setting of a Catholic high school. Self-reflecting essays and audio-recorded data from two focus groups were analyzed with a particular focus on identifying the various aspects of the spiritual life of these lay teachers. The data is presented in the form of a journal organized around four spiritual dimensions: The Call, The Mission, The Community, and The Spirit. Each dimension is introduced and concluded with a scriptural or inspirational quote identified by the teachers as being significant to their life as a teacher in a Catholic school. The journal forms a rich description of the ways the spiritual life of a lay Catholic high school teacher manifests itself in the ministry of teaching. Its four dimensions serve as a basic model of the spiritual life and ministry of a lay Catholic high school teacher.