Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. has shared a new message about the importance of Catholic schools, reminding us that “Catholic schools have and do make a difference in the lives of Catholic students, and their families, and have contributed historically and mightily to the Catholic Church in our country.”
Walk into a Catholic school. Sense and experience the atmosphere, the “feeling.” Observe the Catholic school students and their interactions with teachers and one another in and out of the classroom. Do they sense they are a part of something larger than themselves? Talk to Catholic school administrators, faculty and staff. Do they have that same sense? Ask them why they are there and not working in some other school where the salaries and benefits might be more lucrative. Do they have “job satisfaction?” Do they consider their work “just a job” or, rather, a “calling?” […]
Some Catholic schools may not survive in their present form, unfortunately. That is the sad reality. Enrollments may continue to decline and revenues may diminish as a result. Costs may continue to escalate to the point where parishes or even the Diocese cannot afford to keep them open. Other burdens that families encounter may force them to make other, hard choices. Perhaps even – and this is the saddest admission – contemporary culture will render the Catholic faith less relevant and easily replaced by secular values and preferences.
But, for those Catholics who do believe that Catholic education and Catholic schools do make a difference, who want Catholic education and Catholic schools to survive and thrive, who need Catholic education and Catholic schools to help strengthen, grow and hand on the Catholic faith, Catholic schools will continue to be our “best and greatest inheritance,” a treasure to be preserved and prized, a “beacon of faith and hope and love” in a world that seems to be losing its way. Catholic schools echo the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel to his Church: “go and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19).” Let’s continue to do that through our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton.
To read Bishop O’Connell’s message in full, click here.