Renew commitment to Catholic schools Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

My 12 years attending Catholic schools -- eight in elementary school and four in high school -- definitely helped shape the person I became in life.

I received an excellent academic education in the Catholic schools I attended, but I benefited from much more than that. My teachers -- clergy, Religious, and lay -- also taught me about my faith and how to live it out in daily life. I learned the importance of service to others and how to be a leader. And all of these things helped me succeed in life, not only professionally but as a person.

The theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week being observed January 28 through February 3 points to those very things: “Catholic Schools. Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”

Renewing our commitment

Catholic schools play such a crucial role within the Church and society. That’s why members of the Church should renew their commitment to Catholic schools.

“Young people are a valued treasure and the future leaders of our Church. It is the responsibility of the entire Catholic community -- bishops, priests, deacons, Religious, and laity -- to continue to strive towards the goal of making our Catholic elementary and secondary schools available, accessible, and affordable to all Catholic parents and their children, including those who are poor and middle class,” said the U.S. Catholic bishops in a 2005 document called Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium.

The bishops said, “All Catholics must join together in efforts to ensure that Catholic schools have administrators and teachers who are prepared to provide an exceptional educational experience for young people -- one that is both truly Catholic and of the highest academic quality.”

What the bishops said in 2005 is still true today. All of us need to help Catholic schools stay strong and vital.

What we can do

Here are some suggestions on what we can do:

Consider getting involved as a volunteer and/or supporter at your parish school. Why not drop in at some of the activities happening during Catholic Schools Week.

Support the schools you attended. Even if you have moved away, these schools would appreciate your financial support. Keep in touch by sending news and attending alumni gatherings. I enjoyed attending the 50th anniversary of my Class of 1967 at Aquinas High School in La Crosse last year. My husband, also an Aquinas grad, and I continue to support our alma mater.

Support new Catholic schools. Yes, new schools are starting these days. They often need volunteer and financial support.

Contribute to scholarship funds to help disadvantaged youth attend Catholic schools.

I  join the Catholic bishops in urging Catholics to recommit themselves to Catholic schools. As the bishops said in 2005, “Our vision is clear: our Catholic schools are a vital part of the teaching mission of the Church. The challenges ahead are many, but our spirit and will to succeed are strong.

“We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, in cooperation with the total Catholic community, are committed to overcoming these challenges. Adversity often brings out the best in men and women. We must respond to challenging times with faith, vision, and the will to succeed, because the Catholic school’s mission is vital to the future of our young people, our nation, and most especially our Church.”