The Latin program at St. John Paul II Classical School is absolutely central to its academic and spiritual mission.
Why study a “dead language?” Let me let you in on a little secret, Latin is not and does not have to be “dead.” Indeed, at St. John Paul II Classical School, the students encounter Latin in conversation and in the different disciplines (literature, history, geography, science, math, theology, etc.). They learn Latin through recitation, memorization, integration, games, songs, and stories!
As one so eloquently put: Hebrew is the language of God the Father; Greek is the language of God the Son; Latin is the language of the Holy Spirit. As the Catholic Church is the living breath of the Holy Spirit, her official language is Latin. Latin is holy, beautiful, and powerful (it is the only language effective in exorcisms).
As far as Latin’s “usefulness,” this language is so well-ordered and consistent, it boasts many practical benefits.
Latin is important for three reasons:
- Vocabulary building: Did you know that more than 60% of academic English is Latin based?
- Understanding of grammatical structure: Indeed, students work a little harder at a foreign language’s grammar than they do their own.
- Critical thinking: In Latin, the students must simultaneously analyze and synthesize in order to translate. Much like math, this refines their abilities to problem solve with freedom and creativity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgWGHFDS11k&feature=youtu.be
A common mistake in modern education is to think that we study things only in so far as they are useful. The classical curriculum lauds the search for Beauty. Students who are fully engaged in a classical curriculum do not merely study things only in so far as they are useful. More than that, they study things because they convey Beauty, the expression of Goodness and Truth.
For further information on the importance of Latin in a full education, please view the following lecture produced by Hillsdale College and featuring one of their outstanding Classics professors, Dr. Joseph Garnjobst.
St. John Paul II Classical School has chosen a wonderfully ordered and consistent Latin program from Memoria Press.
“Memoria Press’ award-winning Latin programs are designed to teach your student to master the Latin grammar through an easy to use, step-by-step process that brings out the logical and systematic nature of this language, the mother tongue of Western civilization. In studying Latin, your student will gain an academic vocabulary, a mastery of English grammar, and will develop the critical thinking skills that come from the study of a complex, inflected grammar.”
The goal of this program is to propel students into a love of the Latin language and to prepare them for reading the greatest works of Western Civilization in their original language, including the Vulgate Bible, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, papal encyclicals, Vergil’s Aeneid, the works of Cicero, and many more.