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Why Do Catholic Parishes Have Catholic Schools?

Last night we celebrated Mass for the beginning of the new school year followed by a dish-to-pass supper.  As the new pastor, it was my privilege to preside and preach at this Eucharist.  I would like to share my thoughts from the homily with you.  I hope these words speak to you of why any Catholic parish would have a parish school. 

We gather today to mark a new beginning, specifically the beginning of a new school year.  There are students here that are new, most especially the entire Pre-K3 group but they are not the only ones who are new.  For these students, everything about Immaculate is new.  

For the rest of the students who have been here before, most things might be the same but there are changes.  In addition to the new students there are new teachers & aides.  The returning students are in different classrooms and might have different schedules.

We also have new faces in the business office.  Lastly, we have a new pastor, namely me!

So, I’m sure that everyone here is experiencing something new.  For people like me who don’t like change, new things can be something of a challenge.

But I also think it can be a source of new hope.  Being an optimist, I like to see the changes as an opportunity for new hope, hope that Immaculate will become a better school because of these changes.

So, as we begin this new school year, we should think about what it means to be a Catholic School.  We send our children to school to learn math, science, writing, and history (among other subjects).  This is knowledge and is taught in any school. 

As a Catholic School, we do not limit ourselves to this academic subjects in the classroom.  We work to develop not just the information in our children’s brains but to develop them as whole “persons”, mind, body, and spirit. 

So we also teach faith and values.  What does it mean to be a good person.  We teach our students to help each other.  God calls us to care for each other.  I saw that in our school opening day.  When time came for Morning Prayer, I saw the older students go “the wrong way” to the gym.  I say the “wrong way” until I realized what they were doing.  They went to the younger students’ classroom and then walked with them to prayer, helping them.  When I came this morning for prayer, I saw them do the same thing.  Helping people is something we can do everyday.

At this point in the homily I asked the students who teaches us right and wrong, good and bad.  I thought they would say their parents and teachers but the first answer I got was Jesus.  Of course, ultimately this is the right answer.  Jesus teaches us through our teachers and parents but it is God who says what is right and wrong.

All of this is what makes us a Catholic school.  All of this is what we are about, making good people.  I believe we have something special here.  With hard work, I believe we can have the best school there is.

Hard work by who?
* Students – you need to do the work the teachers ask of you so you can learn and become better people.
* Teachers, Miss Oravec, Aides & other staff – I ask you to put forth the effort to treat our children as special and help them become great people* *Parents – parents are the primary educators, children learn best when their parents are involved.  Our school becomes better with your help
* Advisory Board
* And me!

Yes, I need to do some hard work.  I promise to do what I can to make this year a great year.  I ask that you do the same.

So, as we celebrate this Mass we pray for God’s blessing upon our school, our children, teachers, staff, principal, and parents to make this a great year.


Fr. Jeff

One Comment

  1. Ann Argetsinger says:

    I support what you are saying. A much needed group under the “Hard Work by Who?” are parishioners. Is the school an asset or a liability? I believe the school is the greatest asset of Immaculate Conception parish. Others must feel likewise, or, why would we continue to sustain a school. Financial support alone is not enough. If we as a parish believe Catholic Education is important for the future of our faith and Christian values essential for tomorrow’s citizens, then it becomes the task of all of us in the pews (no matter what our age) to embrace the school, its faculty, families and the children.

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