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A message from Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.
It’s that time again
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., wrote this message to students, parents and educators as they prepared to embark on the 2016-17 school year:
Three words dominate the thoughts of most families this time of year: “Back to School.” As hard as it is to believe, summer is over! Where did it go? For kids, time sometimes seems to move slowly. For parents and teachers, it flies by. Once again, we trade in the bathing suits and barbecues for backpacks and buses. The good news for kids is that they get to see their friends again. The good news for parents is “that they get to see their friends again!” Back to School!
Whether our children attend parochial or public schools, the fact is — apart from those who are home schooled — they spend most of their week outside of their homes. We hope that they take something of “home” with them: a strong sense of being loved and supported by their parents; an encouragement to succeed in the things that fill their day and a desire to learn; a respect for others, including those who are different from them them; a spirit of cooperation with their teachers, coaches and staff; a knowledge of the difference between right and wrong; a desire to be the best they can be. These things are not the subject of textbooks and classroom instruction. They are life lessons imparted by parents, the first and most important teachers, in the family home, the first and most important school. Children live what they learn, the saying goes. And it’s true.
But there is something more that our kids need to take with them to school: their Catholic faith. That, too, depends upon parents and families. If parents and families don’t give witness to faith at home, don’t bring them to Mass and the sacraments, our kids won’t give witness to their faith to others in school — parochial or public — in the classroom, in the halls and cafeteria, in the gym and playground or after the last bells rings. It really should not come as a surprise to anyone that children DO live what they learn. They not only look like their parents … they act like them. Parenting is an awesome responsibility with consequences that last a lifetime. Catholic schools or, for those who attend public school, religious education programs, can only succeed when faith is firm and lived at home. The report card for that is the way kids approach life and its challenges, in and out of school.
Yes, it’s that time again: “Back to School.” Let’s make it a good trip. The rest of life is right around the corner.
Click HERE to read this special issue.
Click on links to view stories and photo galleries included in the Back-to-School issue of The Monitor:
More Back-to-School news HERE >>
Too often our schools are “Best Kept Secrets” in which the value that they bring is known only to the families whose students are already enrolled. We aim to change that.
Just for starters, here are some things you should know…
Across Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, there are nearly 17,000 students in Catholic schools sponsored by their local parishes or by the Diocese of Trenton. These schools are strong and vibrant — many are well enrolled; some with waiting lists for certain grades.
Our schools continue to distinguish themselves as places of extraordinary academic advancement; robust science and technology resources, and the best in athletic development and competition, all the while forming young Catholics in their faith and providing opportunities for them to put this faith into action. Our schools provide an educational experience that can be found in no other setting.
We encourage members of the Catholic community to get the good news of Catholic schools by exploring one near you, and to stay connected with this website. Here, we will share new information and resources about our schools on a regular basis.
View the video message above from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton.