Column: Boiling the ocean one scholarship at a time

by Michael Morrisey

Making Catholic education a reality for all who seek it is like trying to “boil the ocean.” Realistically, it can’t be done. Idealistically, that’s what the Catholic Education Foundation is striving to do.

Thanks to the generosity of over 400 donors, the CEF is helping a record 1,055 kids with scholarships to attend Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. If not for CEF, Catholic education would be beyond the reach of many of these children.

I had the privilege of meeting the parents of some of these students recently at a special dinner at Archbishop Naumann’s home. In no uncertain terms, a Catholic education for their children is a priority for each of these families. They truly understand the importance of the concept of teaching the whole child, of a family-learning atmosphere, of a safe school environment for their children, and of the academic excellence provided by our Catholic institutions. Numerous times they thanked us for the assistance our foundation was providing. We thanked them for their commitment to their kids and to Catholic schools.

Many people in today’s world take Catholic education for granted. These parents don’t! Because of current economic conditions, the “ocean of need” has now grown larger. There are more single moms working two to three jobs, more dads laid off and looking for a way to put food on the table, more families living on unemployment, and more families struggling to just make ends meet. During difficult times, the need for help is increased. Yet through all this, these parents are doing whatever it takes to keep their kids in a school that gives them hope — hope that their children will be able to further their education and break the current cycle of poverty. This hope comes from our Catholic schools.

Our economic conditions will improve with time. As time moves forward, the cost of a Catholic education is going to increase. As a result, the need for more scholarship assistance will increase as well.

Providing scholarships for children in need is a daunting task, but one that assists in shaping the future of the Catholic Church. Through the fiery compassion and warm hearts of our donors, CEF will boil that “ocean of need” — one scholarship at a time!

Michael Morrisey is the director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

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