Training Catholic Leaders

Dr. Edward Mulholland is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern Foreign and Classical languages at Benedictine College, where he teaches Greek and Latin. He also co-runs an interdisciplinary “Great Books” course sequence at the College.

Where are you from?

I was born in the Bronx, NY and baptized in the parish where Yankee Stadium is. I grew up on Long Island, and went to high school at Regis High School in Manhattan. I have lived in Spain, Italy and down south in Georgia before moving to Kansas. My bride Valerie and I (20 years this September!) have six kids (five boys and a girl, ages 8 to 18) who point us toward holiness on a daily basis.

Why did you decide to teach here?

After teaching at the high school level, I was eager to teach at the college level again, which I had done in Spain and at a seminary in NY. I was impressed by the community at Benedictine and how it is an extension of the two founding monastic communities. Now that I am in my fifth year here, I am even more impressed, and feel called each day to contribute to this great community.

Benedictine has had a lot of summer programs for 
high-schoolers this year – what programs have there

We hosted a large LifeTeen conference and soon Casting Nets, an apologetics camp, begins next week. We have also run our own programs, BCYC (Benedictine College Youth Conference) and our own academic camp, Cathedral (Catholic Education Rally).

What has your involvement been with them?
I have taught at the Cathedral program since its inception. I helped design the program back in 2011 together with the incomparable Miss Cassie Goodman.

What is Cathedral’s mission? 

The idea behind Cathedral was to have an academic camp in a solidly Catholic atmosphere that also had enough built-in fun for the kids to know it was summer. Hence the three aspects which form the name: Catholic, Education, and Rally (the fun part.) But the overarching idea we want to impart is to look to those often anonymous Catholics of the Middle Ages who built the great cathedrals. They left a mark on culture, a mark that bears the stamp of their faith. It is as if the seal of their baptism in Christ found expression in the world. I like to challenge young people when they are old enough to understand and very eager to pursue lofty ideals (high school is the perfect time for this): What mark will you leave behind? How can we all together leave an expression of our faith in our culture, that will last centuries like the great cathedrals? It doesn’t have to be a building, of course, but maybe a great work of art, an institution, a tradition, an effective enterprise, a way of spreading the faith. The ways are as endless as the talents God gives and the grace He provides. Young people need to think of their lives in terms of how they can fulfill the plan of God that was written into their genes, so to speak, in their talents.

What are the short- and long-term goals of Cathedral?

The short-term goal of such a program is to have the kids experience what a community of faith and scholarship is all about. We would of course love to see them come to Benedictine College as undergrads and live it out for four years and not just a few summer weeks. But wherever they end up, I want them to know that each day, metaphorically speaking, they are placing a stone on an edifice that will either give God glory for ages or crumble in ruins. That is the long-term goal – to help young people see their lives as part of God’s plan, that they live out in the Church, strengthened by the truth of her teaching and the grace of the sacraments. While the world preaches a relativistic individualism that leads to depression and dissatisfaction in a quest for a “real you” that is an illusion, I often tell young people that “the real you is saint you.” God knows the truth of who we are, and the fullness of our potential is found in personal holiness and the fruitful living out of his gifts in our lives for the good of others.

Cathedral has added a track for Catholic leadership training. What Catholic leader inspires you?

Pope Francis inspires me by his insistence on simple realties and the need to encounter other people. It’s that one-on-one interaction where we show we value other people (whether or not we can “get” anything from them), where we witness to their God-given dignity and the Blood of Christ which redeemed them. I can read Italian and Spanish, so I read pretty much everything Pope Francis says. His message is extraordinarily consistent. I have learned about God’s mercy from his words and even more so from his example. I hope I am mirroring this mercy to others in gratitude for all God has done for me.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.