My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
“The mission of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn is to lead those entrusted to its care to find salvation in Jesus Christ.”
Catholic Schools Week is a time for everyone to celebrate the great success stories of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn. During this special week, we celebrate the significant accomplishments of the students entrusted to us, and we recognize the commitments made by our parents, the dedication of our teachers and staff, the leadership of our principals, the work of each board of directors and the spiritual leadership of our pastors and parish priests. Truly, the theme of Catholic Schools Week: Learn, Serve, Lead and Succeed, is evident in all of our academies and parish schools.
As a Church, we are the proud standard bearers of the rich Catholic tradition and mission set forth by those who walked before us. It is our obligation to nurture, foster, safeguard, and grow this most grand responsibility. Our Catholic Identity to the greater community is one of what I call “welcoming evangelization.”
This has never been more evident than in our academies and parish schools, which are effective and powerful vehicles for our deep commitment to the Gospel teachings. Being apostolates of hope, joy, and enthusiasm empowers us to serve as role models of faith, forming and molding the future. We strive to have a formative impact on the whole child.
– Spiritually: Our Catholic education is one of the greatest conduits to bringing the Good News of our Lord to the children, the future disciples of the Church.
– Intellectually: Our academies and parish schools are called to educate to the highest standard of academic excellence and rigor, and we deliver. Our benchmarks of excellence call for us to develop the unique God-given talents of each and every student placed before us.
– Socially: Never has it been more important to be beacons of light than in today’s secular world. Our students are equipped with the knowledge, faith, and confidence to go forth into society to be productive, spiritually influential citizens that can shape the future for generations to come.
Enrollment Is Essential
Essential to the ongoing success of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn, we must continue to maintain our enrollment. Last year, we lost 1,113 students, and 60% of those students left Catholic education because they moved out of New York City, specifically the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
We must continue to find ways to replace those students who have left the academies and parish schools. To that end, I have instituted the Evangelization Scholarship Process. Now entering its third year, the main goal of this scholarship is to encourage families within the Religious Education Programs in the parishes, to enroll their children in the academies and parish schools.
If you currently have a child in the Religious Education Program of the parish and would like to enroll them in the academy or parish school, you are asked to schedule a meeting with the Pastor or Catechetical Leader of the parish. They can facilitate a meeting with the Principal and begin the application process. For families in need of assistance with paying tuition, the Evangelization Scholarships may cover 25% to 75% of tuition based on the level of need.
The Evangelization Scholarship is administered by Futures in Education, the scholarship organization that supports our Brooklyn and Queens parish schools and Catholic academies. While the Evangelization Scholarship is for new families interested in Catholic education, we encourage all families that have students currently enrolled in the academies and parish schools, especially families in need, to participate in the Futures in Education Scholarship Process and the Be An Angel Program.
In addition to support from Futures in Education, through the development efforts within the academies, the Tuition Assistance Committees are asked to provide additional tuition assistance for families who apply for help. There are many scholarship programs and financial opportunities to assist all families. I encourage everyone who needs assistance to seek these opportunities.
Role Models of Faith
The most visible role models of faith to our children are the teachers. Through their ongoing commitment, untiring efforts and dedication, they work diligently to provide children with a quality Catholic education. Teachers arrive each day eagerly awaiting their students. They are full of excitement, knowing that they can truly shape the hearts and minds of those before them.
The conditions and climates within their classrooms reflect the true teachings of the Catholic Church. More importantly, however, our teachers are everyday witnesses and practitioners of faith who motivate not just through their words, but through action. Through their ongoing professional development, our teachers are provided with the latest innovations and educational methods to meet the needs of the students. Our partnerships with the colleges and universities continue to be a source of support for our principals and teachers.
A Solid Structure
Our Board of Directors in the academies brings their expertise to further enhance the mission of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn. Through their untiring efforts, each Board of Directors works diligently in the areas of finance, marketing, development and recruitment of new students.
Essential to the success of the Academy Governance Model is the establishment of the Committee Structure and the engagement of parents through the Home Academy Association. With parents as our partners in Catholic education, parents need to be engaged in the development and marketing committees. The Home Academy Association is a great way for parents to collaborate with the Academy Principal. Being a Director of an Academy is a new ministry for them, one which inspires, guides, and affects positive change.
The Primary Educators
Our parents are the primary educators of their children. By choosing our excellent academies and parish schools, they are placing in us a most sacred trust by giving us the privilege to educate and form their children. Their desire to have their child educated in a Catholic school tells us they are seeking much more than just an academic curriculum.
They make great sacrifices for their children. It is our responsibility to give these parents every tool available to build that foundation of faith within their home.
We empower our parents to become effective evangelizers on their own. Fostering attitudes of prayerful and faith-filled living. To provide never-ending opportunities to participate in the life of the Church, to worship on Sundays as a faith-filled
community, to seek atonement for sin by the Sacrament of Penance, and to experience the power of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Saint John Paul II succinctly and clearly outlined that the mission of Catholic education is all of our responsibility, it is a team effort. All people of faith are called to ensure that our mantle of faith, hope, and love are resoundingly heard.
All of those involved in the Mission of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn put out into the deep each and every day. I ask you to join me in celebrating the many success stories associated with Catholic education. During this Catholic Schools Week, we remember the continuation of our pledge of commitment to the Mission of Catholic education and to keep the flame of God’s love for us burning brightly here in Brooklyn and Queens.
We must always remember that our academies and parish schools provide guidance to all students to: Learn, Serve, Lead and Succeed.