by Heather Nelson
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Administrators from Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas gathered Jan. 28 at Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s home here.
Each year during Catholic Schools Week, the archbishop hosts a gathering for school administrators. The evening includes Mass, dinner and a social hour. The archbishop also discusses with his guests the successes and challenges he sees facing archdiocesan schools.
Father Tom Schrader, O.Carm., president of Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas, is new to the archdiocese. He said that his first experience of the event gave him new insight.
“I’ve been an educator for 25 years — I realize how special time with adolescents is,” said Father Tom. “It’s a time to be able to discover yourself through the context of Christ.”
Father Tom said that Archbishop Naumann emphasized the importance of Catholic education — it not only shapes young people into disciples for Christ but, even greater, it saves souls.
Monika King, principal at Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison, said she looks forward to the yearly gathering.
“It gives me another opportunity to meet with the other administrators,” King said. “I’m not in the Kansas City area. It’s tough.”
King said that it’s helpful to hear from others who share similar challenges — it’s a reminder that she’s not alone.
“We’re able to have laughter and conversation with people. We’re there to support each other,” King said. “It’s like a big family dinner.”
Rick Strecker, president at Hayden High School in Topeka, shared a similar experience.
Strecker said the archbishop opened up discussion between the administrators, which allowed them to share their insights. It was beneficial, Strecker said, to interact with Archbishop Naumann and the other administrators.
“The understanding at each school is that we share similar successes, but we’re all unique,” said Strecker.
The Hayden principal and the other administrators reported many positive impressions from the gathering.
“The consensus is that the Catholic schools are doing a wonderful job at passing on the faith,” Strecker said. “We’re prepared for the challenges.”