by Kathy O’Hara
Dear friends of Catholic schools, Each of the columns I write for The Leaven this publication year will focus on one hallmark of Catholic schools in our archdiocese. This was a suggestion made to me by Anita McSorley, managing editor of The Leaven, and I think it is a great idea. In the course of sharing this information, I pray that even more families will choose Catholic schools as a result.
I recently have heard three stories about Catholic schools that I thought would be appropriate to share in this “Back to School” column.
The first is the story of a family who transferred their child at the start of the 6th grade to a Catholic elementary school in our archdiocese. The student then enrolled in a Catholic high school. The parents of this student credited the Catholic schools with “saving [the] child’s life.” The parents described the welcoming community and the kindness and compassion that their child was shown in our Catholic schools that made such a positive difference for their entire family.
The second story is from a former Catholic school staff member who now works in a public school system. This individual is ready to come back to Catholic schools because of the same community strength the previously mentioned parents experienced.
The staff member said, “It’s not that the public school isn’t a caring community; it’s just that the Catholic schools offer so much more.”
When I asked about the “more,” the individual said, “It’s the freedom to pray openly for each other. The public schools can’t do that, and it makes all the difference in the world.”
The third story is about a family who was considering relocating to the Kansas City metro area for a job opportunity. Before they committed to the job, they wanted to know more about our Catholic schools.
To make a long story short, they toured at least seven Catholic schools in the archdiocese and were so enthusiastic about what they saw: excellent leadership, very strong Catholicity, and extremely high-quality programming. The parents commented that they came away from their visit excited, but also confused — how would they choose?!
These are stories that those of us who serve in the ministry of Catholic schooling love to hear. We strive to create the type of Catholic communities in our schools that these three stories illustrate, but it is always affirming that, through the grace of Our Lord, our efforts appear to be bearing fruit.
Please join me in praying also for a successful school year — one in which all in our school communities feel the touch of Jesus.
¡Vaya con Dios!