This week, Catholic schools throughout our diocese join with others across the nation in celebrating Catholic Schools Week. It marks an appropriate time to reflect on the many blessings our schools provide to our families, children, staff and entire community.
Since the inception of our diocese nearly 137 years ago, a high priority has been placed on our schools — and that remains the case today. Catholic education is a treasure that has been shared by hundreds of thousands over the years, and is one that is needed as much or more by young people today.
Excellence has long been the hallmark of a Catholic-school education. At the center is the core belief that all children want to succeed and deserve the opportunity. An effective partnership between the school and family results in consistently higher New York state test scores, significantly better high-school graduation rates and greater levels of college graduation for Catholic-school students as compared to averages for public-school counterparts.
These academic achievements, while certainly important, are not the only reasons parents choose Catholic schools for their children. They choose them because not only are their children given an outstanding foundation in core subjects, but also because they are engaged in a curriculum that integrates faith and learning, faith and life. This results in students being well-prepared to contribute and to succeed in a world that is growing more and more complex.
Noted scholar Andrew Greeley cites a research study comparing the characteristics of women and men who have attended Catholic schools for eight or more years. According to the study, these people demonstrate, among other things:
* greater levels of happiness and higher morale
* more confidence and trust in other people
* greater awareness of the complexity of moral decision-making
* higher intellectual achievement
We thank the parents and guardians who have chosen Catholic schools for their children and vow to keep working with them to help each child reach his/her potential. They have made an investment in their children’s future that will serve these young people throughout their lifetime and will make a difference in our world as well.
For those of you not yet familiar with our schools, we invite you to make Catholic Schools Week a reason to find out more. There are activities scheduled throughout the week that highlight the many positives our schools offer. All will also host open houses on Monday, Feb. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., enabling you to see the difference for yourself. If that is not a convenient time, just call the school of your choice to arrange a personal tour. We are confident that you will like what you see!
May God continue to bless you and your families,</P
‚Ä† Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester,
Elizabeth Meegan, O.P, Superintendent of Schools