Q&A: We want to build missionary disciples, says new superintendent Elías Moo

Elías J. Moo, principal of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Academy, reflected on his life, career and mission after being named Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Denver. Moo obtained a master’s in education from the University of Notre Dame and began working at St. Rose of Lima in Denver as a teacher 11 years ago. He shared his aspirations as superintendent with the Denver Catholic.

Denver Catholic: You have attended Catholic school from kindergarten to college, what has that experience meant for you?

Elías Moo: My Catholic education has been a tremendous blessing for me and for my family. The reason why I have the opportunity to be superintendent is because of my Catholic education. To be able to partake in it as a teacher, principal and superintendent, continues to affirm what I think has been God’s call in my life: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

My formation as an academic, but most importantly the formation of my soul as a follower of Christ, all point to one direction, and that is to follow him and make disciples of all peoples. In this capacity, I’m looking forward to supporting our schools in becoming epicenters for the evangelization of our communities.

DC: What is your vision for Catholic education in Denver?

EM: My vision is that our Catholic schools be the best; not the best in the world or the best in terms of receiving accolades. We definitely want our schools to be successful and have strong academics. Yet, more than anything, we want our schools to be known as the best for the world, as shining examples of what education should be for all children.

We want to be that beacon for the world of what it means to form human beings in an authentic manner: In a way that directs our students to understand that their role in the world is to build the kingdom of God, be Christ for others and seek the common good in society.

The hope is that if our schools are the best for the world, the fruits are going to be missionary disciples: Men and women who are unafraid to give witness to their faith, to truth, and who form their intellect and soul for the greater glory of God and the salvation of the world.

New Superintendent Elías Moo seeks to make schools epicenters of evangelization. (Photos by Cari Devlin | Denver Catholic)

DC: How do you value your experience as a classroom teacher and principal at St. Rose of Lima School as you take on the role of superintendent?

EM: I feel privileged to have been able to serve at St. Rose during all these years. The experiences that I’ve had as a teacher and building leader have enabled me to get a good sense of the daily work of this ministry. I am a better leader because I was a teacher.

The experiences I’ve had at St. Rose have taught me to build a community and get to know the people I’m serving, whether that’s the smallest student or the volunteers that come in your building, or benefactors. Catholic education is a labor of love on behalf of many people and it’s a team effort.

I’m looking forward to getting to know intimately the other school communities, so that together we can work on making our schools the best for the world. My desire is that our schools look to the Office of Catholic Schools as a source of support.

DC: As a Hispanic and son of immigrants, why is it important to reach out to the Hispanic community in Catholic education and what can it contribute to the school system?

EM: When my parents came to the United States and started their family, they knew right away that they wanted to be able to give us the greatest inheritance they could possibly leave us, and that wasn’t money, it was a Catholic education. They knew it, even if it meant sacrificing luxuries. I think many of our Hispanic families yearn for the same thing. We would like to get to a point where we can say that finances are never an impediment to enrolling children in our Catholic schools.

Also, in many ways, God has brought the Hispanic community to our schools and Church because he needs the gifts they have to offer to help sustain and strengthen our communities: Their dispositions toward family, faith life, the devotion that is present to our Mother Mary and the unconditional support that is present for the children. These are all gifts that our Catholic Schools can benefit from, and by extension, our entire Church.

DC: What are you most grateful for in this opportunity in your life and career?

EM: I’m grateful for the confidence that’s been shown and given to me on behalf of the Church community and Archbishop Aquila. I’m excited and looking forward to serving the Church in our schools in this capacity. I would only request that our entire archdiocese and school communities pray for me, so that I may be faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and transformed into a true image of Christ for the good of our Catholic schools and Church.

COMING UP: Denver Catholic schools superintendent accepts new position in Archdiocese of Detroit

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Kevin Kijewski, superintendent of Denver Catholic schools, has accepted a new position as the superintendent of archdiocesan schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He begins his new post Dec. 4.

”I want to thank everyone for their support of our Catholic schools,” Kijewski said. “Additionally, from the time I arrived here in Denver, everyone in the archdiocesan family has embraced me with open arms. For that, I am forever grateful. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the success of our students and our school system.”

Kijewski has served as superintendent of Denver Catholic schools since 2015. Prior to that, he was associate superintendent of secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

During his tenure as superintendent in Denver, the Office of Catholic Schools launched two vision documents, “Worthy of the Name” and “Worthy of the Investment,” and they also opened a new school in the Thornton area, Frassati Catholic Academy.

Of his time in Denver, Kijewski is grateful.

“It has been a joy to work with so many intelligent, passionate and genuinely caring colleagues,” he said. “I look forward to even greater success for the Archdiocese of Denver Catholic Schools in the years to come.”

Associate superintendent Adam Dufault has been named as interim superintendent for Denver Catholic schools following Kijewski’s departure.