Sunday, January 29, 2012

Catholic Schools Week - 2012

This being the last Sunday in January heralds the beginning of Catholic Schools Week - the national appreciation of Catholic primary and secondary education.  Started in 1974, this annual celebration reminds us of the important role the Catholic Church plays in providing a value based education rooted in intellectual, spiritual, moral and physical development for the youth of this country.  The main purpose of Catholic Schools Week is to build community awareness of the importance of our Catholic Schools and to encourage personal involvement.
It seems all we hear or read about has to do with the closing of Catholic Schools – but the story is so much more complex than that.  It requires one to step back and take a brief look over the past 50 years to see where we came from and where we are headed.  The story is one of a broken model, rising costs, and a decline in the number of active Catholics.  At the same time it is also a story of incredible successes, benefits to the community and a need for great leadership.
So to celebrate Catholic Schools Week in my own way, this week I will blog each day on the different aspects of Catholic education and will provide some basic statistics that will raise at least an eyebrow or two.  I will talk about what is working and what is not…and possibly what happens if we (that is a collective we) do nothing going forward.
So I hope you will join me and take a few moments to read the postings. I encourage you to comment back in order that we can build a dialogue about the important issues surrounding Catholic education which will have a profound effect on the foundation for the future of the Church.


jw said...

As a gaurdian of a fourth grader in the first regional school in our area (bucks, pa), I can tell you this blending of four schools was one of the hardest and most rewarding experieces for our family. We have lost some loved teachers and students for various reasons, but gained so much. Our new school has more to offer our kids, honors, language and so on. But more importantly it taught them that putting God first and preserving the gift of a catholic education, was more important than staying in a comfortable situation. We are called to be brave, to go into the world, into new and uncomfortable situations for Jesus and this change has prepared us all for years to come.

Jim said...

Many thanks for your thoughts Julie. Indeed there has been a growing number of parish schools merging into a 'regional' school. This has many advantages and if done correctly is a great model, which I will address later in the week!

Blessings - Jim