On Monday, Feb. 8, Cardinal O'Malley met virtually with Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, chancellor of UMass Boston and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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This past weekend, we concluded our observance of Catholic Schools Week. We were glad that many of our schools were able to participate in different activities for Catholic Schools Week.
This has been a unique year in so many respects, and we are all proud of what our Catholic schools have been able to accomplish despite all the challenges of the pandemic. We are grateful to our superintendent of schools, Tom Carroll, who has worked so hard to equip our schools and the Catholic Schools Office to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
The National Catholic Education Association noted recently that the enrollment at Catholic schools around the country is 1,650,000 students attending about 6,000 schools. They also pointed out that 22 percent of those students are from racial minority backgrounds and 24 percent are from non-Catholic families. These figures point to the extraordinary contribution Catholic schools are making to our country.
I certainly want to encourage everyone to learn more about our Catholic schools in the archdiocese and hope they take advantage of the fine education and religious formation that they offer.
On Monday, I was very happy to talk with Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, who is the chancellor of UMass Boston and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. He reached out to me, and we had a virtual visit. He is a sociologist who came to the United States to study during the Dirty War in Argentina and has written a great many books on immigration.
One of the things he wanted to discuss with me was legislation that has been enacted in California and other states that allows DREAMers, undocumented children who were brought to this country by their parents at a young age, to be eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges. Without such a measure, undocumented children are treated as foreign students and therefore are charged out-of-state tuition. Having a law like this in Massachusetts would certainly allow many more DREAMers to continue their education.
I thought it was a wonderful idea and told him that it was something that I would certainly present to the Massachusetts Catholic Conference for the consideration of the bishops of the state as the kind of legislation we might promote.
Interview with Teresa Pitt Green
On Wednesday, I participated in an interview with Teresa Pitt Green to be used in one of her upcoming online conferences. Teresa is a survivor of sexual abuse who heads the wonderful organization Spirit Fire, which promotes reconciliation and safeguarding.
During this time of the pandemic, the educational efforts around safeguarding have, on the one hand, been hampered by our inability to gather people together, but on the other hand, we have been very successful in reaching large numbers of people through online efforts. This has been the experience of organizations such as Spirit Fire and our own Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
In fact, as part of our efforts to increase digital outreach, the commission has recently launched a new webpage about our work, TutelaMinorum.org. I invite all of you to visit it and read more about our work.