Our schools are a gift to the greater Boston community. Through our students, faculties and staffs we contribute to our community. We are providing well educated students who also have learned what it means to serve and to think in a manner consistent with Church teaching.
The following article appeared in the Jan. 23 Pilot's special section on Catholic Schools Week.
The national theme of Catholic Schools Week 2015 is "Faith, Knowledge & Service." The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston are blessed with an abundance of those qualities. As a recent transplant to the Boston area, my year thus far has been filled with school visits and introductions. I have met wonderful, curious, faith-filled students and educators who are the heart of the archdiocese. Often bad news travels far and wide, but the greatest stories are left untold. Today starts our efforts to tell our story.
I was given the opportunity to visit with a group of second graders and I asked them what they were learning. The first answer was, "About Jesus. He is alive in the Eucharist." A great lesson, well learned, one that will sustain that little girl for her life.
When visiting a Catholic high school I asked a student why her parents had decided to send her to a Catholic school. She smiled and said, "They like the rules." I asked why she liked her school. Her reply was, "I am learning a lot. I think it will help my future."
In another school I visited, I was told about a 10 year old student who shyly walked behind his mother as he visited his parish school. He is very petite and was not always treated well by his peers. After the visit, his parents decided to move him to the parish school. The result is a child who told his mother on a possible snow day, "I hope we have school tomorrow." The mother wept. She never dreamed her son would feel that way about school.
At another Catholic high school, I was walking around the building trying to find the main entrance. A student approached me and asked if I needed assistance. I told him my quest and he walked me to the correct entrance. He was a delightful young man and we had a good conversation. When we reached the door, he extended his hand, and said, "Thank you for helping my school." This student exemplifies the results we want.
These stories reflect some of the great things that happen in our schools each day. Our schools are a gift to the greater Boston community. Through our students, faculties and staffs we contribute to our community. We are providing well educated students who also have learned what it means to serve and to think in a manner consistent with Church teaching.
Students at Catholic schools in the archdiocese attend Mass on a regular basis, and prayer is a part of their daily lives. The values our students learn include the intellectual curiosity of St. Ignatius, the unwavering faith of St. Julie Billiart, and compassion for others demonstrated by St. Francis of Assisi. Our students are shown how to live the faith.
The wise men and women who teach in our Catholic schools challenge themselves every day to teach using the latest technology and proven educational techniques. Schools in the archdiocese are equipped with language labs and science and innovation centers. Students are receiving a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, the Arts and Math) education at some of our schools. Catholic high school students are visiting and learning in cities such as Barcelona, Beijing, and Paris through study abroad programs.
Each school includes service as an integral part of its mission and each student performs service projects each year. Our students are contributing tens of thousands of service hours annually. These projects include volunteering at food pantries, collecting goods for the homeless, and raising money. Schools also welcome new members to our parish communities, visit the elderly and infirmed and assist in their communities by raking leaves, planting gardens and picking up trash. We recycle and reclaim. We are living the words of Jesus through our works of mercy. In this special section of The Pilot, you'll read more about our wonderful schools. If you're a parent, I hope that you'll consider sending your child to a Catholic school. If you're an engaging, forward-thinking educator who is looking for a teaching position, I encourage you to apply at a school. And, if you are someone who has spare time and a desire to share your talents, I encourage you to become a volunteer! Together, we will develop the saints and scholars our church and community deserve and need.
KATHY MEARS IS THE SUPERINTENDENT OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON.
- Kathy Mears is Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston.