Catholic Schools Week
As we begin a week dedicated to Catholic schools, I should confess that I am a public school kid. My parents could not afford Catholic education. My first experience in a Catholic school was the University of Notre Dame as a freshman, then eventually seminary at Saint Charles in Philadelphia, and finally more graduate studies at the Catholic University of America. Yes, as my godmother is fond of reminding me: I am over-educated. So it is.
Catholic education will not make your children good or successful or particularly holy. Frankly: that all begins in the home. Good homes, with God at the center, form good and holy people. In the Rite of Baptism, we pray that parents will be the first and best teachers of the Faith.
Catholic education is a piece of the puzzle, as is PREP. Teachers and catechists are charged with the responsibility and privilege of assisting parents to cultivate lasting Christian values. Catholic schools excel at educating the whole person: body, mind and spirit. Our time together in the classroom grants us the freedom to integrate the Faith into the curriculum and to apply it to life. We can teach our children who the human person truly is, the importance of life lived for others, and help them see that our culture does not always support the values and priorities that lead to genuine fulfillment. All of this is possible in a Catholic school, but again, it all starts at home.
At my first Mass, my dear friend and mentor quoted from Fr. James Navagh’s book Apostolic Parish. The words still ring in my ears: “A parish is not a religious service station. It is not a display room for baptisms, marriages, and funerals. It is a militant outpost of a militant church engaged in a desperate, never-ending struggle with the powers of evil....The parish is the stronghold of the Church, it is the outpost of Heaven in this world.”
The Catholic School is an extension of that outpost. It is a battlement against the sea of secular tides. It is a harbor where children can learn without confusion about what is true, beautiful, and good. It is a wonderful garden where the abundant life Jesus promises flourishes. A Catholic school is an oasis of truth, beauty and goodness in a sea of secular culture, especially today.
To our parishioners - thank you for supporting our Catholic School! To our parents - thank you for the honor of sharing in your familial duty to raise your children in the Faith. To any prospective school parents - we welcome the opportunity to become part of your family. To any alumni - please support our school and express your gratitude to those who made it possible for you to have a Catholic education.
May God bless you!