Few things are more heartwarming than the sound of children singing. When they are singing Church hymns, however, the future somehow seems brighter. And that was how the special Mass commemorating Catholic Schools Week began – with students from the School of Our Lady singing and participating in a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin Vann. Supporters of Catholic education within the Diocese of Orange, as well as students, teachers and family, filled Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Santa Ana on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The celebration coincided with the feast of St. John Bosco, as Bishop Vann noted in his homily. While St. John Bosco lived in a different time period, the bishop said, it was also a difficult time. St. John Bosco “gave them (children) homes and schools,” Bishop Vann said. “He wanted to give young people hope and faith in their lives.”
After Mass, donors and supporters were invited to a special breakfast in the school hall where Orange Catholic Foundation leadership welcomed and thanked them.
“All of you are helping us create a legacy of faith and excellence,” Hank Evers, director of development and communications for the Orange Catholic Foundation, told attendees, adding that the event celebrated not the brick and mortar Catholic schools, but the institution of Catholic education itself.
Orange Catholic Foundation Executive Director and President Cindy Bobruk provided a progress report, sharing that $2.1 million in tuition awards were provided this past year to the Catholic schools in the Diocese. Also funded were upgrades to air conditioning, investments in technology, an endowment for the Marian Alliance to benefit three Catholic schools in Santa Ana, and much more.
Greg Dhuyvetter, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Orange, said, “Catholic schools are the best thing we do as a Church for our culture.” It’s also the best way to keep students connected to their faith, he said. “It’s the best way for students to stay with, or return to, the Church.”