WASHINGTON—National Catholic Schools Week 2017 will be observed in dioceses around the country January 29–February 4. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” focuses on the important faith-building, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education. “Catholic schools are integral to our nation’s character – serving the common good, strengthening local communities, and building the Kingdom of God on earth,” said Bishop George Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Education.
In response to increased conversation around parental choice policies at the state and federal level, Bishop Murry added, “The Catholic education community’s commitment to empowering parents’ decision-making and the incredible witness our schools provide means we cannot be silent in the conversation over education policies.”
1.9 million students are currently educated in 6,525 Catholic schools in cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for higher education, a competitive work environment, and most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society. “For centuries, Catholic schools have provided a well-rounded education to disadvantaged families, new arrivals to America and to all who seek a seat in our schools. We have always tried to accommodate families of all backgrounds while maintaining our principles and teaching in a spirit of charity,” Bishop Murry said.
The observance of Catholic Schools Week began in 1974. Schools and parishes around the country will hold activities such as Masses, open houses, and pot luck gatherings to celebrate the communities they represent. The week also highlights the educational and community successes of Catholic schools around the county. One example is that an estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school and 86 percent of Catholic school graduates attend college. This percentage has been consistent over the past 20 years.
More information on the Committee on Catholic Education and other resources are available online: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/ and www.ncea.org/our-services/catholic-schools-week.