We shall celebrate Catholic Schools Week this Sunday. National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week (January 25 - 31) Schools typically observe Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open house and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities and our nation. I would like to extend my love and gratitude to Chris Caban, our Principal and to his team of administrators and faculty who manage CTK school professionally. Catholic Education is one of the most important ministries in the parish. Blessings to all our teachers and students.
There were 7,000 Catholic schools in the U.S. in 2010, down from 13,000 in 1960, according to the National Catholic Education Association. The decline, rooted in the migration of parishioners to the suburbs and the secularization of Catholic culture, has been dubbed the “closure crisis” within the church. In the book, “
Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America,
” by Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett, the authors ask and answer whether or not a Catholic school has an appreciable effect on the social capital of the neighborhoods they serve, not just the students. And, the answer is yes, they do, and the effect is not only appreciable, it is positive. There is plenty of documentation about the success of Catholic schools for those students who attend them. They have higher graduation rates. More of their students get into college and more of them graduate. Down the road, those students are likely to have more stable marriages, better jobs, be more involved in their community, in short, they will acquire higher levels of “social capital” than those students who attend often failing public schools in urban America.
Pope Francis underscored that educators must speak to be understood by the younger
generation. “Every educator – and the Church as a whole is an educating mother – is required to change, in the sense of knowing how to communicate with the young.” He laid the responsibility of expressing “the living presence of the Gospel in the field of education, science
and culture” on Catholic education institutions, adding they must “know how to enter, with courage, into the Areopagus of contemporary cultures and to initiate dialogue, aware of the gift they are able to offer to all.”
Catholic parents have a particular duty to send their children to Catholic schools whenever this is possible, as well as to give Catholic schools all the support in their power, cooperating with them in their work for the good of their children. CTK is gearing itself for their school auction in February. There are multiple ways in which we, as a parish can support our school. I would like to invite all of you to visit the classrooms during the Catholic School week and extend your support in ways you can do. One of the goals of the diocesan capital campaign is the well being of Catholic Schools in the diocese. I attended Catholic Schools in India for free until I graduated High School and college. I am deeply indebted to the Salesians of Don Bosco for deep catholic and religious experience. I was happy to graduate with doctorate in Catholic Education from the University of San Francisco, which did not come free, but the experience of the Jesuit spirituality is something that I treasure even today. I truly loved the experience of learning in a Catholic ambiance surrounded by priests, nuns and very sincere and dedicated catholic men and women. Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote, “What you are is God's gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” One cannot underscore enough the formation in character bequeathed through Catholic education. May God bless our school and everyone who part of this great edifice.