Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Sep
  • 19

Give to your school

Posted By September 19, 2014 | 10:46 am | Lead Story #1
st anna 066

Bishop McManus, in a letter to the people of the diocese, asks that they help support local Catholic schools by giving to the Catholic School Appeal on Sept. 27 and 28.
There are envelopes for the Appeal provided in the parish offertory packages and in the 2013-14 annual report from the diocesan Catholic schools office.  Contributions also can be made on line at www.worcesterdiocese.org/schools, according to Delma Josephson, diocesan superintendent of schools.
Donors may designate the school to which they want their donation to go, she said.
“It is important to help the parish school in their area,” she said. “Each school can use it in ways that best continue the mission of the Church.”
Some schools use the money for scholarships, some for professional development of teachers or wherever else it is needed, she said.
In his letter to the people of the diocese, which also appears in the annual report, Bishop McManus said that educational experts who evaluate schools across the country “always come away praising Catholic schools. Usually, they point to academic achievement and the enviable graduation rates which are typical of Catholic schools. They often speak of an ‘added value’ that’s present in Catholic schools although they experience great difficulty in articulating exactly what they mean.
“There is, in fact, an added value in Catholic schools which is crystal clear to Catholics. The added value is that Catholic schools are grounded in the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ. They are completely Christ-centered. They attract teachers, administrators, staff, and volunteers who regard their work as a special calling. Their dedication and nurturing spirit creates faith-based Catholic schools that inspire excellence in every detail.”
The annual report states that “Catholic schools are faith-based communities where belief in God is a part of the total school environment. Daily prayer, the sacraments and sacred images are constant reminders of the message of Jesus through the Gospel.”
There is a different learning environment in Catholic schools, Superintendent Josephson noted.
“The faith aspect is the key,” she said in an interview this week. “You can’t duplicate what we do if you take faith out of the school.”
In a letter accompanying the annual report, she said that “Catholic schools are models of true liberal excellent education. Every effort is made to insure that each student knows his own mind, exercises virtue and becomes a thoughtful participant in civil society. In keeping with the teachings of Jesus, students are encouraged to seek academic excellence while learning about what is true good and beautiful in their own lives and contributing to the well-being of others.
She said that Catholic students also receive instruction in science, technology and mathematics, along with classical literature, the arts, music, drama and athletics.
”We are not constrained by national standards,” she said in the interview. “We are not required to accept anything that is contrary to our Catholic values.”
“While students in Catholic schools are tested,” she wrote in the annual report, “testing does not drive the schools. It is not enough to meet minimal state and various national standards. Catholic schools are called to go well beyond and they do.
“Compare our graduation and college acceptance rates with those of the urban and suburban communities in which we have Catholic schools. The comparison in achievement is impressive.”
According to the annual report, Catholic schools in the diocese have a graduation rate of 98 percent in the 2013-14 school year and an annual acceptance rate in two-and four-year colleges of 98 to 100 percent. The  graduation rates in towns in the diocese with public schools ranges from 69.7 percent to 97.5 percent, the report says.
“Catholic schools are centers of faith and good works. Community service and outreach to the poor develop an awareness of social responsibility intended to last a lifetime,” she wrote.
She expressed her gratitude to past and current benefactors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Last year the appeal raised $106,779.01, she said.