Catholic schools are more important than ever

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

On these two pages, you will see a snapshot of the Catholic schools in our archdiocese. I think you will find the numbers impressive. Catholic schools are a significant investment for our parishes, the greater church and parents. Yet, from my perspective, they are also providing a significant return on that investment and are well worth it.

Now more than ever, our world needs individuals who understand and respect the dignity of the life of all human persons, and Catholic schools witness this. As Pope Francis teaches: “One cannot speak about Catholic education without speaking of humanity, because Catholic identity is precisely God who became man. . . . Educating in a Christian way is raising young people, children, in human values in every reality, and one of these realities is transcendence.”

Thus, our schools exist to serve the reality of humanity on earth now, but also our schools are called to assist our students in reaching our ultimate goal: to live eternally in union with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How do I know this is occurring in our schools?

I see it in the commitment of our teachers not only to be excellent educators, but witnesses for Jesus and his Gospel. I see it in the enthusiasm of our students:

  1. participating in the March for Life
  2. serving and encountering Christ in the poor on mission trips
  3. asking for the opportunity for eucharistic adoration to give thanks for Our Lord’s blessings and to be renewed in his peace.

I see it in the reverence and participation in the Eucharist during all school Masses. I can see the face of Jesus in our schools, and I know that we must be getting our mission right because everything else — high academic achievement and excellence on the playing fields and in the auditoriums — flows from that. Thus, I am pleased with what I see in our schools because I see us forming young people as disciples of Jesus Christ and his church.

My prayer is that any parent who desires a Catholic school education for his or her child would have that opportunity. I realize that we do not have Catholic schools readily accessible in all parts of the archdiocese, but I know that in the areas where there are Catholic schools, the school leaders would welcome new students. Please do not let financial concerns deter you. You can see from the information in this feature that there may be resources available to assist you.

I invite you to visit our schools so that you can see what I see. I am confident that you, too, will be very pleased!

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Leaven-Catholic Schools Week 2016

Come see how we measure up, invites superintendent

by Kathy O’Hara
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

“I just love everything about this place.”

That statement from a young student in one of our Catholic elementary schools was captured in video by the Catholic Education Foundation. I think I will remember the image and the sentiment for a very long time. The student was asked what she liked about her school and she began a long list of people, things and activities. Then she stopped, looked intently at the interviewer and, in a very calm and almost reverent voice, said that statement above. What is gratifying to me is that she is not alone in her feelings about her Catholic school. When I visit our schools, I am amazed and inspired by how many students and teachers tell me the same thing. They love their schools, and it shows in the joyful spirit in the build- ings.

While we are pleased to present the information on these pages, I wish the numbers could tell the whole story. The numbers demonstrate that our faculty, staff and students do, indeed, develop their God-given talents. The
numbers demonstrate that we have dedicated, quali ed teachers who ensure that students succeed academically. More importantly, these teachers not only teach about our Catholic faith but also serve as witnesses to it. However, the numbers do not show the true “why” behind our success.

What is behind the joy and any success we have is Jesus Christ. Long before I came to serve in the of ce of Catholic schools for the archdiocese, the overarching mission statement for the schools was this:

“Be it known to all who enter these schools that Christ is the reason for these schools, the unseen but ever-present teacher in our classes, the model of our faculty, the inspiration of our students.”

Thus, how we define “success” is much more significant than the measure used by secular schools. If Jesus is “the model of our faculty” and “the inspiration of our students,” then we must look to him when we attempt to measure our success. Why did Jesus teach? So that we could have eternal life.

Although we work hard to achieve in the way other schools do, we know that achievement is not the “end of the story.” It is the journey toward eternal life that is most important . . . and the most difficult to measure! After all, how can we capture, “I just love everything about this place,” with numbers printed on paper?

I invite you to visit our schools to experience how well we “measure up” to our true mission.

¡Vaya con Dios!

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