Catholic Schools Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This coming week is “Celebrate Catholic Schools Week”, a time set aside to reflect on, celebrate and commit to strengthening Catholic schools. Early in our nation’s history, many Catholics feared that public schools, in a primarily Protestant new world, would lure their children from the faith. Catholics were also skeptical of the premise of public schools, that put the onus for education on the state rather than on the family.
Knowing the necessity of education, but also wanting to preserve and pass along their faith to their children, Catholics built elementary schools and procured Catholic sisters to teach in them. The first Catholic schools in our country were founded by religious orders, usually communities of religious sisters. Great figures like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann did much to advance parochial schools in the U.S.
Catholic schools today are blessed with both excellence in academic studies as well as excellence in religious, spiritual, and character formation. The Catholic tradition has always understood education to be not just about intellectual formation, but about the formation of the whole person. Catholic tradition also holds that parents should be the first, and hopefully the best, teachers of their children. Schools, not even Catholic Schools, can be a substitute for a parent’s nurturing formation.
While parents are the first teachers of their children, and some take on this important task by choosing to home-school their children, many parents turn to the Church for help in the formation of their children. Parents desire that their children grow up to be well educated, balanced, loving and faith-filled adults.
The Church can help in a variety of ways, but the best tool that the Church has to offer parents is a Catholic School. While no school is perfect and every student presents a unique set of formational challenges, Catholic schools provide the environment, dedicated staff, academic excellence and the mission focus to form the whole person in the light of Gospel truth.
Please pray for those who work in Catholic Schools and do what you can to support and foster quality Catholic education in our parish and in our archdiocese.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,