On this Lord’s Day, Catholic Schools Week begins. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.
Pope Francis certainly knows the importance of these four dynamics of Catholic education. In speech last year to college-aged students from Chile, he recognized that those in Catholic education – students and teachers alike — play a prophetic role in the world today as it forms the next generation of the faith and citizens in the world. Speaking to the students he said:
“You are challenged to generate processes that enlighten contemporary culture by proposing a renewed humanism that eschews every form of division that reduces a person below their God-given dignity.”
The Catholic Schools of our local community – Saint Joseph Academy, Cathedral Parish School and the Cathedral Parish School Early Education Center – are well equipped to assist students to be formed in this hope of our Holy Father. It’s not just that religion is taught on a daily basis in our schools. It’s also how our Catholic faith forms a foundation that envelopes every aspect of campus life – the classroom, the playground, the cafeteria, sports and extra-curricular activities as well as socializing.
On more than one occasion over the years I’ve been a priest, I’ve heard parents say that, despite tuition, they’ve come to realize that they are “giving a priceless gift” to their children. One said recently after their child’s graduation, “I realize now that I was kind of paying it forward.” What wonderful insights as we celebrate in this week all the good that Catholic Schools do.