By Liz Sullivan
It was a day to give thanks; thanks for Catholic School Education.
The Diocese of San Jose kicked off Catholic Schools Week 2017 on January 30 with the traditional Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph. Later that evening, the day concluded with a Donor Thank You event at Archbishop Mitty High School.
“I went to Catholic School and so did many of the priests, who are with us at this Mass,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath during his homily. “It was there that we deepened our knowledge of Jesus and the love that he has for each of us. It was there that we were prepared to receive the Lord in Holy Communion; there that we were readied for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. In the Catholic School, we not only learned about Jesus, but we came to really know him. Truly, the Catholic School reinforced the lessons our parents taught us about Jesus’ great love for us and how we can follow his example of love for each other.”
The Diocese of San Jose is home to 28 elementary schools and six high schools. It delivers a Catholic education to about 16,000 students every year.
“You are our greatest gift ever,” said Superintendent of Schools Kathy Almazol addressing the dozens and dozens of students assembled in the Cathedral for Mass.
During the evening event at Mitty attendees heard from two graduates of Catholic elementary and high schools in the diocese.
When Daisy Albarran arrived at Saint Catherine of Alexandria in Morgan Hill as a kindergartner she knew no English. She went on to graduate from Notre Dame San Jose High School and is a recent graduate of Santa Clara University.
“I am an example of the benefits of Catholic school,” Albarran said. “It has helped me stay grounded. For me, my Catholic education fuels my passion for education and learning.”
Myra Pinero was the first member of her family to graduate from high school and will soon be the first to graduate from college. Her journey began at Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for Girls, progressed to Notre Dame San Jose High School and will soon cap off with graduation from the University of California at Merced.
“I believe in Catholic education,” said Pinero. “I believe you should make it available for everyone. As Catholics we are called to welcome the stranger and support our neighbor.”
There was a special remembrance of Sister Claude Power, PBVM, the first superintendent of schools for the diocese, who passed away on January 29. Current Superintendent Almazol said how coincidental it was that Sister Claude died on the first day of Catholic Schools Week.
The Bishop concluded the evening by again offering his thanks for all of those who support Catholic education in the Diocese of San Jose.
“Thank you everyone for your presence here tonight and your support over the years,” he said. “Without that support and engagement we would not be here. You have done amazing work to keep our schools affordable.”