Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In our parish school, we just finished our celebration of Catholic Schools Week. It was a great week filled with a lot of fun. Just to share some of the highlights: Monday was student appreciation day, with free pizza and a book fair; Tuesday was a choral assembly and science fair exhibits were set up; Wednesday the students had the chance to take part in an awesome game show; Thursday was pajama day, where students lay out all over the school on blankets and spent some time reading their favorite books; And Friday we ended the week with a Mass to thank God for the gift of our school and for the part He plays in forming our students into well-rounded young men and women of faith.
We certainly have a good reason to celebrate our school here at Notre Dame, because in a time where so many schools are struggling, ours is still strong in every dimension. We have a good enrollment, our academic results are outstanding, our Catholic identity has remained vibrant, and all students are accepted into Catholic high schools (many with scholarships) with many going on to great colleges. We have been blessed with excellent principals, teachers, and staff who have invested so much of themselves into mentoring and caring for the children of our community. In addition, as many of you may have heard, the diocese is partnering with the Marianists who run Chaminade and Kellenberg to reexamine the school system across the diocese. I expect many positive recommendations and opportunities will arise from this partnership which will only further strengthen our school.
Nevertheless we cannot sit back idly. We all have the job of spreading the good word about our school and encouraging parents to consider Catholic education. While I do not wish to put any school down, and I know parents have a number of reasons for choosing the school they do for their children, especially in our times it is hard not to share enthusiastically the benefits of education in a Catholic school. While any school can teach the sciences and math, while many schools in our area do so very well, it is only in a Catholic school that we can really focus on forming the whole person. Our students find here a safe and structured environment, where they learn discipline and respect, as well as an appreciation for the part that faith and good values play in one’s life. The nurturing and challenging atmosphere sets our students on the path of success, not just by giving them information, but by training them in the virtues which allow them to develop a strength of character they will bear with them for the rest of their lives.
Our task then as parishioners is to firstly pray for our school, our faculty, our students, and all of our many young families in this parish. As we see in them the future of our Church, we encourage them to become more deeply involved in the parish, whether it be through our wonderful religious education program, or through our school. Many parishioners have been very generous in financially supporting our school, and this assists us in providing scholarships to students in need and allowing us to offer Catholic education to everyone regardless of their financial situation.
I hope we all take a moment today and think of those young Catholic families we know in this area. Can we invite them to Mass or to attend one of our Families Giving Back events? Can we encourage them to send their children to youth ministry? Can we urge them to consider our school, confident that their children will be blessed with an education that forms them above all into holy sons and daughters of Almighty God.
Yours in Christ,