Our St. Joseph Parochial School is God’s given opportunity to us for growth intoA blessed and fulfilling future.
Last weekend’s brief article considered some pertinent facts as evidences of the success of Catholic Schools nationally, as it also speaks of our local reality. Aware of our successes, it is also essential to consider some important challenges that we face in crafting a future for our Catholic schools: the reality of an enrollment affected by demographic shifts, the rise of secularization in America, which it has misled Catholic families ofproperly appreciating the role of a consistent and deeper Catholic formation of our children. In addition, the increasing tuitions and the community’s insufficient funding as an evangelization investment of our common future, and the desired effective leadership (with lack of resources), which affects the vitality, identity and missionary evangelization of our Church.
Responding to these challenges is the responsibility of all of us, the entire Church. Catholic schools are a gift from God to our local community and to the nation, and our support and investments in it are needed to work together for their growth and continuous effectiveness.
Sometimes people say that the Church has a school problem, meaning that a parish school can be perceived as a burden to the parish because of its costs. There, however, is another side to that story. We could say that Catholic Parochial Schools have a Church problem.
Secularism has been and is on the rise in the world, but most especially in the United States. That is clear from the number of people who self-describe as “nones,” meaning “no religious affiliation” on surveys. Moreover, certain political leaders and political parties have been relentless in their efforts to use government to force religion out of the public square. Consider, for example, the efforts to advance “freedom of worship” over “freedom of religion.”
We know there is also a general decline in Mass attendance. According to research from CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, only 23 percent of self-identified adult Catholics attend Mass every week. The decline in Mass attendance reflects a general loosening of faith practice in the US and contributes to, and become a victim of, advancing secularization. This reality cannot help but have an influence on our educational mission. If nothing else, it should spur us to implement the New Evangelization with boldness, passion and urgency.
These challenges can be opportunities for all us to deepen our resolve to practice our faith and thus bless our children, families, community, and our future together with productive lives. Catholic schools make a difference.
Our St. Joseph School is experiencing exciting and commendable improvements. Please take time to find out what’s happening this school year. From strengthening leadership, administration, stewardship, development, religious efforts in faith infusion and Catholic identity, in-services for growth for students, parents and personnel, improved communication across the board, pastoral strategic planning, maintenance, beautification of facilities, etc. This is just the beginning. Supporting our school benefits All.