Why Martin Saints Marches

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Here is our group of Martin Saints students, faculty, parents, and Holy Martyrs parish members getting ready for the 2019 March for Life, paused for a minute on the steps of the Basilica at Catholic University. (Wondering about those scarves? They're to keep track of everyone in the crowd!)

It's a long day to get everyone to Washington and back for the March. Generous and apparently indefatigable teachers, parents, and Holy Martyrs parishioners make it possible. Thank you. We had Mass at 6:30am, made the journey, and were back at school around 10pm. All that for a short walk in a city far away, with several hundred thousand of our closest friends.

Why bother? Because there are times when we all need to stand up and testify to the truth.

At the Mass before we left, Deacon Roberts offered a brief homily explaining our reasons for going. We're offering that homily, below, for those with time for a little more detail. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Deacon Roberts’ Homily

March for Life

Friday, January 18, 2019:

Five men are central characters in today’s Gospel. One man is paralyzed. The other four lower the paralyzed man through the roof so that he can meet Jesus. One man’s dependency and disability brought them all together. When these men embraced the opportunity to help, Jesus was waiting to meet them all.
Friends, Jesus is waiting for us to go and do likewise. We are created in the image of God. God is love. When we love and serve one another, we begin to realize our dignity. The men lowering their paralyzed friend to meet Jesus – this is the kind of co-operation and communion that begins to explain why human beings were created. We were made for this.
This theology also explains why we march today. If God is love, if human dignity is rooted in the image of this God, then it means, despite what pride and selfishness tempt us to think, that being helpless and dependent is no obstacle to human dignity. Remember this paralyzed man. Behold a baby in the womb. Spend time with somebody who has Down’s Syndrome. Befriend an elderly person suffering with an illness. Every life is an occasion to give and receive love, and therefore precious, no exceptions.
Today we march in Washington to remind ourselves of this truth. We march to insist that the truth is visible in our culture. We march to testify that in a world where all of us are vulnerable to lapsing into selfishness, the Gospel of Life is nevertheless real.
It is no accident that we begin today with Mass. The first steps of our March are from these pews to this altar to receive the Eucharist. Our faith, our identity, our dignity, and today’s March – they all begin with the love and the sacrifice enacted on this altar.

2018 - A Year in Pictures

2018 was our first full year as a school. Thank you for your support. We could not have done any of this without God's grace and a wide circle of prayer partners, volunteers, and donors. Thank you for being part of this beautiful team. Here are just a few photos to represent many blessings and memories this year:

In January, we marched for life in Washington:


In February, we made lunch for Project H.O.M.E.:


In the spring, a scene from theology class with Deacon Roberts:


In April, parishioner Fran Szlachta gave us Easter bunnies:


Later in April, after a trip to the orchestra, music teacher Sean Wood debriefed with students over a picnic in Rittenhouse Square:


Just after Memorial Day, the Martin Saints navy explored the Schuylkill River canal, with MSC dad Rob Post in the lead:


In September, we started the new school year with a camping trip along the Delaware River. Father Michael Moriarty came along so that we could have Mass, Benediction, and confessions:


In October, we made a pilgrimage to St. Rita's in South Philly:


Later in October, we distributed food and gardened for New Jerusalem Now, an addiction and recovery center:


In November, it was time to bake bread in craftsmanship class:


In December, we enjoyed the Pennsylvania Ballet's Nutcracker:


And finally, the end of year faculty Christmas lunch. Thank you Martin Saints moms for looking after us!


Please remember Martin Saints in your end-of-year charitable giving. You can give online, or via our mailing address.

You can email headmaster, Mr. Adam Dickerson, or our board president, Deacon Christopher Roberts, anytime. They are eager to hear from you with your questions and suggestions.

Our next admissions open house will be February 21 at 7pm.

To all of our friends and supporters, parents and students, volunteers and staff, please accept our best wishes and prayers for 2019!

Guiding Students Through a Catholic College Admissions Process

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Martin Saints Classical High School will be hosting a college night series, consisting of two nights full of information about discerning and applying for college. The plan for each evening is different, and they will complement each other. The series is designed with our MSC families in mind, so it is very important in particular that our 10th graders and their families attend. But the event is also open to the community - all are welcome! Anyone interested in the practicalities of the college admissions process, and how to do it in a Catholic way, will find it helpful.

The first part in the series is on Monday, October 22 at 7pm. Mrs. Carol Sargeant, our college counselor, will give a talk entitled "Fortitude not Frenzy: Demystifying the College Admissions Process." Her talk will:

  • Outline the general sequence and steps of the college admissions process

  • Explain what admissions offices look for

  • Explain where to find information about financial aid

  • Explain her long term plan to work individually with students to help them think through their interests and what they want to get out of college

On November 5, we will conclude the two-part series with a panel discussion with representatives from a spectrum of campuses. The focus here is how to find faithful Catholic community at different types of colleges, so that our students can begin to discern what their lives might look like after they graduate from MSC and how they can find Catholic support as they step out into the wider world. 

The panelists are Fr Shaun Mahoney from the Temple Newman Center, Dr. Daniel Cheely from the history department and the Collegium Institute at Penn, Dr. Thomas Smith from the Honors Program at Villanova, and Miss Monica Clarke, a Regina Coeli teacher and recent graduate of Christendom College. Each will describe what Catholic life is like on their campus. They will take questions, and discussion will be encouraged.

Martin Saints is not a "feeder" for just one type of university. From the very beginning of the college application process, we want to establish a culture of discernment and openness. Whether a family discerns that their child's best fit is a public university, a private one, a Catholic university, or a Catholic liberal arts college, we want to hold open the possibility if you're wise and astute about it, faithful and fruitful Catholic life is possible at all of these places. Each place has its own potential and its own pitfall, its own strengths and challenges. 

Both evenings together are the foundation of the Martin Saints plan for college counseling. However, any Catholic family thinking about college, from any school, or anyone from the general public, is welcome to attend. We are eager to share what we know. Planning for college is a moment that requires both practical and spiritual skills. It's a moment to be in the world, but not of it. You are warmly invited to come see how we do this at Martin Saints!

Please come join us for this 2-part event!

Click here for the event flier

Listen to our radio spot for this event below:

From the deacon’s desk: why classical education matters

A colleague pointed out to me that our friend Rod Dreher quoted me today on his blog. Rod was making a theological point, explaining why clear thinking about sexuality is so important, and what is at stake in today's debates about human nature. In doing that, he mentioned briefly something that I wrote a few years ago. This is important stuff, worth reading carefully, to help understand what is happening in our world and in our Church today.

But here's what struck me afresh today: at much greater length, Rod also quoted another old friend, Michael Hanby. In theological circles, Dr. Hanby is an internationally famous professor, but here at Martin Saints, we know him as one of the leaders of St. Jerome Academy outside Washington DC. St. Jerome's is a sister classical school, and a leading light in the national renewal of classical education.

Today, Dreher, Hanby, and I were discussing human nature and sexuality. But on another day, the same group of friends could just as easily been talking about the excitement of classical education. It made me pause for a moment: how interesting that these writers, all of them interested in holiness and sexual morality, are also investing themselves personally in the revival of the classics. Why would this happen?

And after half a second, I realized: because it's the same battle. To put it mildly, not everything in today's culture (or in today's Church) is wholesome like it ought to be. Faithful Catholics need to say "no, thank you," to much that our culture takes for granted. We write about sexuality because we need to be discerning about what is changing in our world and why it matters. And we build classical schools, in part, to create oases of sanity in a culture that has, in many ways, lost its mind. We build classical schools in order to teach a true and faithful vision of human nature.

Whenever Catholics have to say "no" to something in life that would divert us from God's path, we should be clear that underneath the "no" is an even deeper "yes," a "yes" to a vision of beauty and truth. Our curriculum emphasizes the classics because through these great books, we can initiate our students into a tradition of wisdom, a tradition of discernment, so that here and now in the modern world, the students are free and able to live for what is good, true, and beautiful.

When a student graduates from a classical school - if we have helped our students learn the art of paying attention to the right things in the right way - then we believe our students will be better at prayer. If we have formed students who are receptive to goodness, truth and beauty, then we will have done all that we can to co-operate with grace. A Martin Saints graduate will be fully alive, equipped to embrace the faith for him or her self.

Prayer Walk to Bless Martin Saints Campus

Jillian Buhl and Deacon Roberts lead the prayer walk

Jillian Buhl and Deacon Roberts lead the prayer walk


Friends of Martin Saints Classical sometimes ask: how can we help? How can we get involved? Here's one example: Jillian Buhl is a friend who leads many prayer ministries in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Last week she visited the Martin Saints campus. Along with Deacon Roberts and Martin Saints dad Jay Oberdorf, they walked the perimeter of our school, praying the rosary, litanies, and prayers of protection. Next they visited the classrooms and prayed over several faculty and administrators.

Wherever you may be reading this post, please include Martin Saints in your prayers. These are hard times in the wider Church, and we're lighting candles to fight the darkness. Please consider contacting Deacon Roberts to support Martin Saints practically, spiritually, or financially.

Jillian Buhl with Martin Saints Algebra teacher, Keara Mooberry, and future Class of 2034 student!

Jillian Buhl with Martin Saints Algebra teacher, Keara Mooberry, and future Class of 2034 student!


Martin Saints will always need donors who believe in our mission and who want Martin Saints to flourish as an offering for the wider Church.