As we conclude another academic year in our Catholic schools and academies, we should stop and thank God for the blessings that He has truly bestowed on us as a Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens. Our schools are, by and large, strong and vibrant. We can point to the success our graduates are able to gain, both academically and in life.
No success for our Catholic schools and academies, though, is more important than being Catholic. The reason we educate our students is not only for learning; it is not only so that they can be successful young women and men, future leaders of our American culture and society. No, it is also so that these young people and their families will be able to know the faith and to live the faith. It is so that these young women and men will be able to know that they are part of a Church that loves them and cares for them. The education they receive is also for the education of their souls.
True, Catholic schools and academies are not only for Catholic people, but they are a way – a key way of evangelizing – and serving all God’s people. Catholic schools, as we well know, are a cooperative effort among parish priests, school administrators, educators, parents, families, students and indeed, the entire parish community.
We especially encourage Catholic school teachers to see their role not just in terms of educating their charges academically, but in the formation of the whole person – and that includes the development of their human character and in their spiritual life.
The volunteers who join our academy boards also deserve praise for their yeoman efforts at keeping Catholic education alive. Hopefully, the summer will serve as a time for them all to recharge their inner spirits as they strive to remain creative and resourceful so that a quality education will continue to provide an alternative to the public system and a choice to parents who seek a religious setting.
The old adage rings true – “Nemo dat quod non habit” – “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Our educators and academy board members need to be not just great pedagogically, but true exemplars of faith and integrity.
This summer, we give thanks for another great year and we pray for a healthy, happy, holy summer for all involved in the ministry of Catholic education.