EDITORIAL – Catholic Schools Week highlights our successes and contributions

Catholic schools will once again step into the spotlight from Jan. 31 through Feb. 6 as they celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

It is an annual celebration of Catholic schools, their students, their teachers and the people that support them in so many ways. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the impact Catholic schools have on their communities by educating and forming the citizens who will be leaders in their neighborhoods, at work, in their faith communities, and in untold other settings and ways.

Education has long been a central mission of the Church, opening a path to salvation. Christ himself was called teacher. And it was from the Church that sprouted the first universities.

The role of Catholic schools at every level remains vital to the Church’s work of evangelization. In its document “Gravissimum Educationis,” the Second Vatican Council said, “Holy Mother Church must be concerned with the whole of man’s life, even the secular part of it insofar as it has a bearing on his heavenly calling. Therefore she has a role in the progress and development of education.”

In its 2005 document “Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church. … By equipping our young people with a sound education, rooted in the Gospel message, the Person of Jesus Christ, and rich in the cherished traditions and liturgical practices of our faith, we ensure that they have the foundation to live morally and uprightly in our complex modern world.”

The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Nashville are meeting this mission, offering academic excellence and a spiritual formation that provides a firm foundation in the faith. Our Catholic schools also are educating our children to be people of service to others.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Catholic schools have overcome many challenges to provide an education that best serves the students and their families. It is a tribute to the professionalism, skill, adaptability and determination of our teachers and administrators.

Catholic schools still face challenges. Finding ways to provide a Catholic education that is accessible and affordable is always a priority.

To meet the challenges and to add to the successes of Catholic schools will take the support of the entire Catholic community. So join in the celebration of Catholic schools during Catholic Schools week and support them in any way you can.