My dear brothers and
sisters in Christ:
I hope that you are enjoying the special coverage of our Catholic schools in this month’s Catholic Courier. Beginning on January 31 and continuing through February 4, our Catholic schools throughout the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester are celebrating Catholic Schools Week. The week is filled with events in which teachers, parents, staff and especially our students express their pride in being part of a school system that continues to successfully combine faith, values and academic excellence. The Masses celebrated with our students during this week are the heart and center of all the observances.
Catholic Schools Week is still another opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who help make our schools such special places, especially our wonderful and dedicated administrators, teachers and staff. To the parents and guardians who make countless sacrifices to give their children the gift of a Catholic education, we once again extend our heartfelt appreciation. You have made a sound investment in their future, which will serve these young people throughout their lifetimes.
During these very challenging times brought about by the coronavirus and its variants, I have been deeply impressed by the safety protocols that our schools have put into place to protect our children and to create a healthy environment, while continuing our children’s academic and spiritual development devoted to the development of the whole person. In providing in-person education, our school administrators, teachers and staff, in cooperation with the students’ families, have evidenced an extraordinary generosity of time, talent and cooperation.
If experience has taught us anything about Catholic schools over all these years, it is that their foundation in the faith and reputation for academic excellence is evident. One only has to look at our parishes, communities, businesses, and institutions throughout the Diocese to see that Catholic-school graduates have become priests, religious and deacons, and served and continue to serve in leadership positions in the Church, civic office, education, law, medicine, as first responders, in the arts and so many other service-oriented professions. Our Catholic-school students not only benefit from excellent academics that will lead to fulfilling vocations, careers and life-fulfilling occupations, but they also gain the spiritual and moral guidance necessary to be successful in life and the strength to follow the call of Jesus: “Come, follow me.” Please God, their voices will be heard in the New Evangelization, proclaiming Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
If your children are not already enrolled in a Catholic school, please consider giving them the gift of a Catholic school education. You can find a listing of our schools at www.dorschools.org.
I also wish to acknowledge the heroic efforts of our parish religious-education programs and to the devoted faithful who serve as directors, teachers and staff to continue the ministry of Catholic education in all the areas of our Diocese, especially where there are not nearby Catholic schools. They, too, have worked diligently to transmit the faith in these difficult times, mirroring the dedication of our Catholic-school communities. They also merit our gratitude and prayers and cannot ever be forgotten.
May God continue to bless you and your families.
Invoking the intercession of our Patron, St. John Fisher, who sacrificed his life to teach the Truth, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend
Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester