Catholic Schools Week to emphasize education, leadership, service

Compiled from reports

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton will be joining their counterparts across the nation in recognizing their identity as institutions of faith and education as they celebrate the 46th annual Catholic Schools Week Jan. 27-Feb.2.

This year’s national theme is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”

In signing a proclamation designating Catholic Schools Week in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Catholic schools provide students an education that “emphasizes the formation of moral values and a commitment to community service. The welfare of the state requires that this and future generations of school-age children be assured ample opportunity to develop to the fullest their intellectual capacities.”

Dr. George V. Corwell, director of the Office of Education for the New Jersey Catholic Conference, noted that the governor’s proclamation continues the tradition of recognition afforded Catholic schools in New Jersey by the executive branch of state government.

“The Catholic schools of New Jersey represent an investment in New Jersey’s future, and the sacrifices made by Catholic school parents save the state’s overburdened public school system – and local tax payers – over $1.3 billion annually,” Dr. Corwell said. “We hope that all residents of New Jersey recognize the dedicated efforts of Catholic school teachers, which contribute to the overall success of our schools. Truly, Catholic schools represent a significant opportunity for parental choice in education.”

Over the coming days, a variety of activities are planned at both the diocesan and local levels to highlight the achievements of Catholic schools, including a Jan. 31 trip to the State House by Catholic school student representatives and their chaperones.

“Young people today need Catholic education more than ever,” said Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catholic Education. He also stressed that “being rooted in faith does not endanger the academic quality of Catholic schools, but in fact is their very motivation for excellence in all things.”

In a statement released for the observance, Bishop Barber said, “Following Christ’s example of loving and serving all people, Catholic schools proudly provide a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. Since the inception of Catholic schools in our country, we have always sought to welcome families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity.”

Nearly 1.8 million students are currently educated in 6,352 Catholic schools in the United States.

Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States, sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association and the USCCB’s Secretariat of Catholic Education. Schools typically observe the annual weeklong celebration with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members.

For the second year, the NCEA will lead an online campaign called the “Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools” Jan. 29 to Jan. 30 with FACTS Management Co., which helps with tuition management at schools. The 24-hour period, which begins at noon (EST) Jan. 29, is one way to support development programs in Catholic schools throughout the country.

Last year, more than $850,000 was donated to 539 participating Catholic schools, six dioceses and the NCEA. Information about the campaign is available at www.ncea.org/csw/manygifts.

Catholic News Service contributed to this report.

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