Vatican Taps Los Angeles Catholic Educator, Textbook Founder for Historic World Congress on Catholic Education

LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed., headmaster of a Top 50 ranked Catholic school and founder of the Catholic Textbook Project publishing company, has accepted an invitation by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education to participate in its World Congress on Catholic Education. This invitation-only Congress will be held in Rome, November 18-21, and aims to formulate and refresh core education principles, guidelines for Catholic schools and universities.

"The aim of this Congress echoes everything I've strived for in my work—from teaching and leading as a principal," says Van Hecke, "to the formation of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education; to the launch of a new Catholic Textbook publishing company. The issues of this Congress are the same issues I've been discussing with colleagues, superintendents and bishops for years."

The work of the nonprofits Van Hecke founded has taken off the past few years, illustrated by the rapid expansion of Catholic Textbook Project textbooks. These fresh, new and accurate history textbooks—written specifically for Catholic schools—are now in more than 50 dioceses in North America, and overseas.

"People are desperate to know how to revitalize Catholic schools," explains Van Hecke. "Our Catholic schools need something truly defining in not just our Faith, but in the manner and matter of our schools—elements that derive from our glorious educational patrimony. We need to again educate from a standpoint of Christian anthropology or we spin our wheels."

Even so, Van Hecke points out that there are virtually no resources available.

"In these few short years," he explains, "the Catholic Textbook Project and the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education have become the organizations to go to for help. We feel we have an important voice in the discussion of the future of Catholic education. I am grateful for the Vatican invitation and look forward to the November Congress and its international discussion. I hope that others might benefit from the experience we have gained from our work with Catholic schools here in North America."

Clearly the Vatican agrees.

For information on the Catholic Textbook Project, visit For information on the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, visit


About the World Congress on Catholic Education: Themed "Educating Today and Tomorrow: A Renewing Passion," the Vatican Congress aims to re-energize the Church's commitment to education by focusing on (1) understanding and analyzing the challenges of today's rapidly changing and fractured society and its search for firm reference points, and (2) bringing the light of Christ and the Catholic intellectual tradition to bear on these challenges, educating students in the principles that underlie a daily-lived appreciation for the eternal dignity and inestimable worth of each human person, mercy, mutual respect and the unhampered pursuit to know and embrace the fullness of truth.

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Source:Catholic Textbook Project