Pray for all students and Catholic schools Print E-mail
Bishop's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison   
Thursday, Jun. 02, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

As we come to the end of the school year, it strikes me as a wonderful time to reflect on Catholic schools.

Of course, this is made all the more easy for me as I’ve also just concluded an outstanding Confirmation circuit. It was simply a joy for me to be with our young people from parishes and schools around the diocese, and I have to say that I was very impressed with the young women and men I encountered and with whom I prayed.

Gratitude for those preparing confirmands

I owe a debt of gratitude to so many parents, pastors, parish staff members, and volunteer catechists who have worked hard to prepare these students and who now will continue to foster the faith in these young people.

But, I also know that a number of these young women and men benefited greatly from what they have received and continue to receive in terms of formation and education at our Catholic schools.

The service provided by so many of our Catholic school teachers and administrators oftentimes takes on a character that can only be described as heroic.

So many of the women and men who are preparing our Catholic school students are not only dedicated, but selfless -- often working for far less pay than their peers, while serving our students with tremendous love and zeal.

Last week I signed “thank you” letters and notes of commendation for teachers who have served the mission of Catholic education for 10, 20, 30 years and more. It was inspiring to see.

Gift of Catholic education

The success and benefit of Catholic schools needs to be proclaimed and publicized in new and more fervent ways, because the people of the diocese (and, indeed, of our nation) need to be reminded what a gift and legacy we have in our system of Catholic schools.

At the most basic level, it’s clear that Catholic schools have continued to do far more with less.

Our Catholic school students continue to excel in overall academic achievement in comparison to their peers, and, in a particular way, Catholic schools continue to find ways to make certain all students, even those facing disadvantages, can succeed.

On average, Catholic schools enjoy far higher graduation rates and rates of college attendance by their graduates.

The real benefit of Catholic school education

But the real benefit and essential nature of Catholic schools is more than academic excellence.

Catholic schools aim at forming and caring for our students as a whole, encouraging them to success not only through achievement by worldly standards, but also by supernatural standards, recognizing in them a unique individual made in the image and likeness of God.

Our Catholic schools should inspire their students to chase after Truth -- not just information -- and they should serve to witness to students that there is a good and loving God, who created them and the world around them, and who has written on their hearts a law meant for their true happiness.

Building a community with Christ as the foundation

In that they teach students to respect those around them, both friend and stranger, our Catholic schools should help to build a larger community with the firmest of foundations -- Jesus Christ.

In these days when, in many government schools, the boys cannot use the men’s room or the girl’s the ladies room with any clear understanding of what sexual differentiation means, the Catholic school is a place of training in authentic human nature.

The prevailing government philosophy, promoted in government schools with increasing forcefulness, is that the nature of humankind is not to have a nature, and thus, in every regard, we are what we think we are. (Of course, this false notion is proven wrong in the end by the fact that no matter how intensely we think that we will never die, the mind is not capable of bringing that about.)

It’s mind-boggling to consider just how far and how fast our government and our government schools have fallen in terms of their willingness even to speak of such things as human nature, virtue, truth . . . even “right” and “wrong,” but it’s all the more reason to appreciate and to support what we have in our Catholic schools.

Let us pray for all of our young people -- in Catholic schools or not --and let us work hard to spread the good news about our Catholic schools.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. May God continue to bless you all -- especially our students, as they begin their summer break!

Praised be Jesus Christ!