As I write this greeting for Catholic Schools Week, it is January 4, the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. St. Elizabeth one of the founders of Catholic Education in the United States, meaning, Catholic Education in this country proudly carries a 200+ year tradition. Just as it was a tremendous sacrifice when St. Elizabeth began educating young children in the Baltimore area, it continues to be today.
But, we also know that sacrifice is also a part of our Catholic tradition, and when it is appropriately associated with the cross of Jesus Christ, we know it leads to life eternal. What more could any parent want for their child than to help them know and follow Jesus Christ in this life to the life that is eternal? This is the primary benefit of Catholic Education.
The early tradition of Catholic Education recognized that education was a solid foundation to help break the chain of poverty. Many religious communities and parishes along with families made huge sacrifices to educate their children. Thus, a standing hallmark of Catholic schools through the generations has been and continues to be academic excellence. The academic achievement of our Catholic schools continues to rank in the highest percentiles of the nation.
But more than anything, Catholic Education provides human formation in virtues and values that are the true core of human success. Catholic Education more than anything takes place in an environment where young people can come to know Jesus Christ. Catholic schools form young people to be life-long disciples of Christ.
One thing that has consistently impressed and inspired me over the years about Catholic Schools is the quality of people associated with them. Our Catholic School administrators, teachers, families and volunteers are some of the most selfless, dedicated people I know. Their personal integrity says a lot about the kind of people we want our Catholic School graduates to become.
If your children are already enrolled in a Catholic School, you know the truth of what we are striving to achieve. If your child or children are not in one of our Catholic Schools, I encourage you to make a visit to talk with the principal. See what your local Catholic School is providing in terms of faith formation, education, service opportunities and human formation. I guarantee you will be impressed; maybe even surprised!
Enrolling your child in a Catholic School not only gives your child a great formation for their future, but your presence and support will continue to assure that our Catholic schools will continue this important ministry of faith formation and education well into the future.
Saint Elizabeth as a founder of Catholic Education in the United States is also the model and goal of Catholic Education. Simply put, we are forming future saints for our Church and world. Come join us!0