Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Schools Week’

NY Post: “Catholic schools’ secret: love”

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Here is a wonderful piece on our Catholic schools–during Catholic Schools Week–in the New York Post by Bill McGurn:

We don’t speak much about love in education, not even during Catholic Schools Week. Instead, we focus on more tangible measures of success: how 99 percent of Catholic school students get their high-school diplomas; how a black or Latino child is 2.5 times more likely to graduate from college if he or she has attended a Catholic high school; how Catholic schools manage to do all this at a fraction of the cost of public schools…

Back when he was playing for the New York Jets, Damien Woody sent his children to St. Vincent’s even though his family wasn’t Catholic. At a Christmas concert, a fellow parent asked him why. He answered, “My wife and I believe that a school where they love God will love my children.”

Read the rest here.

Grit, Pride, Love, and Determination: What Makes Our Catholic Schools Succeed

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

As we begin Catholic Schools Week, let me send an early Valentine to all our wonderful students, teachers, principals, staffs, volunteers, boards, benefactors, parents, parishioners, and clergy who, with God’s grace and the sound heritage we’ve inherited, keep them strong.

We’ve been through a lot of trial. Forty-five years ago, especially as it became obvious that we would soon no longer have the precious resource of a numberless supply of our beloved Sisters, Brothers, and Priests, many predicted the demise of Catholic schools.

My predecessors would not let this happen. Not only were Cardinals Cooke, O’Connor, and Egan personally fervent about the inestimable value of our schools, but they knew you were as well.

Our schools got their problems for sure. But, they’re still the best thing we got for passing on our faith and for providing a first-rate education. Everybody – - friend and foe alike – - acknowledges this.

I sometimes wonder if the trials and hardship that come with our Catholic Schools are actually what make them so good. When you’ve got boards, principals, and priests who have to scrape for every dime; when parents have to sacrifice luxuries and even some essentials to keep their kids in our schools; when grandparents and volunteers pitch in to paint classrooms and repair leaks; when you’ve got teachers who could make a lot more money elsewhere, but freely choose Catholic schools; well, then you’ve got grit, pride, love, and determination.

Hits keep coming. Two weeks ago, the renowned Sisters of the Sacred Heart made the deeply painful decision, in concert with their dedicated board, that their splendid Mother Cabrini High School would not be able to open next fall. And another high school that’s already fighting hard just to stay alive, Monsignor Scanlon, was damaged severely by fire.

Sometimes we feel like saying with St. Theresa of Jesus, “Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you don’t have very many!”

Yet, the signs of hope are radiantly there. Our regionalization, while still in first gear, is working. The boards that now govern our regional and archdiocesan high schools have brought energy, competence and a sense of ownership. Pathways to Excellence – - our strategic plan for Catholic education – - continues to be implemented, with special attention to renewed Catholic identity, strengthened academic performance, financial stability, and more effective marketing. And there seems a very good chance that Albany will finally come through and approve the Education Investment Tax Credit.

As Sister Diane told me a couple weeks ago when I spent the morning at Santa Maria school in the Bronx, “I love our kids. When I get, tired and discouraged, wondering if it’s worth the massive effort, all I do is look at them. It’s all worth it. We can’t let them down.”

Thanks, everybody, for not letting our kids down.

Celebrating Catholic Schools

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

If seeing is believing, than I wish the entire country could have seen what I saw on Monday when I visited Saint Raymond’s Parish in the Bronx to celebrate the beginning of Catholic Schools Week.  If they did, we would have a nation full of believers in Catholic schools, instead of too many skeptics and opponents.

Was I ever impressed and encouraged by what I experienced there!

We began the day with a Mass that was not only reverent and respectful, but also full of spirit and joy.  The church was packed with young men and women, ranging in age from 4 to 18, praying and singing with a sincerity and devotion that was palpable.  Formation in the faith is obviously a top priority at Saint Raymond’s.

It’s equally obvious that academic achievement flourishes at Saint Raymond. After Mass, I had the opportunity to visit both the elementary school and the girl’s high school.  (Although I didn’t make it to the boy’s high school, as the faculty had a day-long retreat, I did meet a contingent of the young men who were there to welcome me.) The halls are spotless, the atmosphere bright and welcoming, the classrooms are in perfect order, and the teachers and students work together to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and learning.  It was easy to see why Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese graduate 98% of their students, with 95% of the graduates going on to colleges and universities.

As impressive as those statistics are, I was much more impressed by the people I met.  The kindergarten children who led the congregation at the Mass in the “Alleluia” before the Gospel; the dedicated faculty, led by their principals, Sister Patricia Brito, Brother Daniel Gardiner, and Sister MaryAnn D’Antonio; the girls who are about to graduate from high school, many of whom had been at Saint Raymond’s since pre-k, and who had tears in their eyes as they contemplated the end of their years as Saint Raymond’s students; the elementary school students who prayed the Hail Mary and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, as they do every morning.

I am well aware of the challenges that must be faced concerning our Catholic schools.  We will need to plan, to work, to sacrifice, in order to keep our Catholic schools open.  We must seek new ways to strengthen our schools, to market and promote them, to make certain that they are strong in their Catholic identity.

How we will face these challenges is a question that must be addressed if we want Catholic schools to survive. To me, the answer is simple: Yes, Catholic schools must not only survive but thrive.  Here’s why.  During my visit, I was given three checks – one from each of the three schools – totaling more than $24,000 that the students had raised for the relief of their brothers and sisters in Haiti.  What a magnificent outpouring of generosity – and this from kids hardly wealthy or even middle class!   If, as Jesus teaches, “by their fruits you will know them,” then this Catholic school, and Catholic schools across the archdiocese and throughout the country, are responsible for young men and women who are educated, loving, respectful and faithful.

Catholic schools. We need them now more than ever.

Happy Catholic Schools Week!

State not living up to its obligations to Catholic schools

Monday, February 1st, 2010

“State not living up to its obligations to Catholic schools” is the title of an excellent op-ed article written by James D. Cultrara, director for education of the New York State Catholic Conference. This article was published last week in The Journal News, making this especially timely as we celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

Here’s a quote I especially like from Jim’s article:

“We are not new to the struggle of keeping Catholic schools affordable. What is new, however, is that our efforts are being aggravated by the failure of state lawmakers and agency officials to reimburse religious and independent schools for 100 percent of the costs they incur in complying with state mandates and participating in state programs — seemingly in direct violation of the state’s 35-year-old Mandated Services Reimbursement statute, which requires the state to reimburse religious and independent schools for complying with administrative mandates.”