This week is National Catholic Schools Week, and just as we have for many years, we will celebrate. We will give thanks. We will have some fun, and we will pray. We will pray for the continued blessings to our schools, our children, and our Church.
This week is also a time for all of us to remind our family, friends, parishioners and communities of the importance of Catholic schools. When parents are asked why they send their children to Catholic schools, a number of answers are mentioned. A “safe environment” and “quality academic instruction” are two of the top three. There are certainly a lot of studies to support that these two things are present in Catholic schools However, according to a recent study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University the number one reason parents send their children to Catholic schools is for “quality religious education.”
How does quality religious education impact the Catholic Church? Is the Church better off when we have high quality Catholic schools? In the same study at Georgetown University, researchers looked at a number of factors to try to objectively measure this, including: weekly Mass attendance; number of confirmations; and the consideration of religious vocations. The results of their study were telling, and highlight the importance of our educational mission within the Catholic Church. Below are some statistics from these studies:
Our parents share with our Catholic schools the responsibility for the religious formation of their children. While the academic and life achievements of Catholic school graduates are enviable, the formation of the entire human person is more profound and more significant, and this formation has a dramatic impact on our entire Church and world. So I ask you during this National Catholic Schools Week to join me in prayer for all of our nation’s Catholic schools.
For more information on the study mentioned above please follow the links below: