Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When Catholic Schools were first established in the United States, their primary functions were to offer formation in the faith and, at the same time, to make a rigorous academic curriculum available to all. For more than two centuries, these principles have served as “guiding lights” for Catholic Education, whether in parochial elementary and secondary schools or other free-standing schools operated by religious communities of women and men.
Recent years have seen great attention focused on pedagogical methodology that have propelled many of our schools to a new standard of excellence. And this is wonderful; however, if Catholic Education is to succeed in the twenty-first century, it must still pass the test of affordability. Our schools were founded for the children of immigrants; they should still be available for newly-arrived families, just as they are for others.
This Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate our commitment to making our schools available to all who would choose them for their sons and daughters. We also celebrate and thank the historic efforts of many parish communities who have made Catholic Education possible. At the same time, we encourage school parents to renew their commitment to those very same parish communities and to the formation in faith of their children, a process that begins and ends at home.
I am aware that the vast majority of the families in our parishes do not or cannot choose a Catholic School for their children. I encourage you to avail yourselves of the fine catechetical and family faith formation opportunities that your parish offers.
I do not want to pass on the opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Kathy Almazol as she prepares to end her term of service as our Superintendent of Schools. The Diocese has been well-served by her leadership and her wise counsel. Please join me in wishing Kathy well in her retirement, which begins at the end of this academic year.
Realizing that the family is the first school of Christian Education, I entrust you all to the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, whose feast we celebrated a few short weeks ago. May your children, like the Lord himself, grow in wisdom and grace, and may God bless you all.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose