Today, united with all the Catholic Schools throughout the United States, we being our annual celebration of “Catholic Schools Week.” It is a week of activities as we celebrate our identity and what a Catholic education has to offer. It is a special week for us at St. Joseph Parish, as we are blessed to have a school as part of our parish mission.
The theme for this year is, “Catholic Schools: Faith, Excellence, Service.” Catholic schools have a specific purpose to form students to be good citizens of the world, love God and neighbor and enrich society with the leaven of the Gospel and by example of faith.
As communities of faith, Catholic schools instill in students their destiny to become saints. Academic excellence is the hallmark of Catholic education intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person — body, mind and spirit. Finally, service is fundamental to Catholic education and the core of Catholic discipleship. Service is intended to help form people who are not only witnesses to Catholic social teaching but also active participants through social learning.
One can ask what is so different about a Catholic education over one in the public schools. The most important thing is that we not only provide an education for our students, but we form them to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. The entire school day is permeated with the presence of the one Teacher, Jesus Christ. All of our classes are taught from a Christ-centered perspective.
Our teachers fully understand that they stand in the person of Christ the Teacher. They teach from faith, in faith, and with faith. This certainly has a major impact on our students and how they live their lives. In reality our school is a House of Learning and Formation. We take a holistic approach to education and formation, helping the students to reach their full potential by becoming who God has created them to be; that being, fully human, fully alive!
The Catholic school, like the Catholic Church, is not a building or an institution, but it is the people. As the People of God, we work together to bring the Kingdom of God to earth and raise up the next generation to do the same Teachers and students form the foundation of the school and they are active people of faith who serve others.
Yes, our parish school is a treasure beyond words in our midst. As we celebrate this gift may we always be mindful of the vision of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the parochial school system in the United States. We carry on her legacy by providing a solid Christ-centered education and formation in the faith. The gift of a Catholic education is priceless, and the seeds planted here sprout and grow over a lifetime, bearing rich and abundant fruit for the Kingdom of God.
St. Joseph, pray for us!
– Fr. Dennis, January 31, 2021