By Kathy Almazol
Superintendent of Schools
In a recent Pastoral statement, the Bishops of California asked Diocesan Superintendents of Catholic Schools to let our communities know of their commitment to continuing Catholic education in their dioceses even as we face grave challenges related to affordability and enrollment. The Bishops have committed to working with all stakeholders: pastors, principals, parents, donors, and local community members. As we begin Catholic School’s Week 2018, the week of January 29 through February 21, please take a moment to read what the California Bishops believe is important work for all of us!
“Our Catholic Schools in California: A Stellar Past, a Robust Future”
Reflecting on these words, Our Catholic Schools in California: A Stellar Past, a Robust Future, are true for all communities, the bishops note that they are especially meaningful across California: Catholic schools do create true communities from common effort in order to provide for the common good.
They go on to write: “As the bishops of California, representing the twelve dioceses of our state, We commit ourselves to fostering the ongoing development of Catholic schools in each of our dioceses. Now, more than ever, we are convinced of the importance of Catholic schools and We are committed to forming new disciples of Jesus Christ, to passing on the faith we have received to the next generation, and to educating the whole person through quality education that integrates religious truths and values while respecting the integrity of each academic discipline.
We are committed to further developing the Catholic identity and environment of our schools and to assuring parents of the sound teaching their children receive.
We are committed to filling every desk in every Catholic school and to educating as many Catholic children as possible.
We are committed to making our schools as accessible and affordable as possible for the diverse multi-cultural and multi-lingual communities that comprise the Catholic Church in California.
We are committed to forming and educating Catholic leaders for the Church and for society.”
The Bishops also directed pastors: “We direct all pastors and parish religious education directors to identify students from their parish programs who are likely candidates for a Catholic school and invite their families to consider enrolling their children. Pastors should seek to provide financial assistance, if necessary, to such families and encourage enrollment in their own parish, if there is a Catholic school, or in a neighboring parish if there is not.”
In the Diocese of San Jose, pastors and principals in all of our parishes, and particularly those parishes with schools have worked together to identify parishioners who would like to attend the parish school, but do not have the resources to do so. We know that there are many families still seeking to enroll; however, it is a huge task to connect with these families. We ask you to assist our pastors and principals to identify parish members who may seek Catholic elementary and secondary school. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our Catholic schools. Together we can make the Bishops’ description, “Our Catholic Schools in California: A Stellar Past, a Robust Future,” a reality in the Diocese of San Jose.
As we commemorate Catholic Schools Week in the Diocese of San Jose, it is important to recognize the efforts of the volunteers and donors, who have contributed to our success. On January 29, we will celebrate those that have given their time, talent, or treasure to our Catholic Schools by holding a reception in their honor at Archbishop Mitty High School. Demonstrating his commitment to Catholic Education, Bishop McGrath will be there to personally thank all who have participated in the strengthening of our schools.