Bishop Luers Theology Faculty Interview With Justin Aquila

Forming the Faith of the Knights- Justin Aquila, Bishop Luers Theology Faculty

Mr. Aquila, in his first year on staff at Bishop Luers, brings strong Catholic roots to his position as a theology teacher, currently responsible for teaching the course “Morality” to students in their junior year. He has been involved in Catholic education and ministry for 11 years, including work at the local parish and Diocesan levels, and, most recently, as Campus Minister for the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne.

Mr. Aquila seeks to emulate Saint John Bosco, employing the Saint’s “preventative way” discipline style, which is an effective and gentler approach to guiding students in the classroom. He enjoys many aspects of teaching and described his favorite parts of the job as “getting to know the students- their joys and challenges, and lesson planning! I really enjoy tweaking the content of my lessons to make them more effective, based on the response of my students. I also really enjoy the topic of Morality, and the process of reacquainting myself with the material.”

With over a decade of experience spent working in Catholic education, Mr. Aquila sees the importance of the unique education that Catholic schools provide. He states, “First, when you look back through the history of Catholic education in America, we see from the beginning that Catholic schools offered a safe place to learn- both for Catholics, who were typically persecuted in American society, as well as members of the general population in serious poverty, often immigrants. A Catholic education is unique in that it seeks to form the whole person, not just the intellect. Promoting human dignity and care for the mind, body, and spirit of the person, is the cura personalis, meaning ‘care of the person.”

“My own family has an immigrant background, and I credit Catholic schools for giving my parents and other family members the tools to succeed. I would not be here if it weren’t for my parents’ Catholic education and the legacy passed on to me.”

Why are religion classes an important part of any students’ the high school experience?

“The classes offer students, Catholic or not, an opportunity to hear Jesus’ message addressed to them personally. Whether or not they become Catholic, or accept Jesus’ message fully, students develop, and leave with, a greater respect for human dignity.”

Mr. Aquila now has a full semester completed at Bishop Luers. How does he define the “Luers Spirit” he has experienced thus far? “Luers Spirit creates a feeling of safety and comfort. Students feel safe to express themselves and learn in the classroom. They also look out for each other, which again, highlights the Catholic focus on human dignity.”

Thank you, Mr. Aquila, for your commitment to Catholic education!