The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

Catholic Schools Week

Everyone has a specific vocation in life which should contribute something good to the world. It takes years of preparation and guidance to achieve what you are called to do and to be. And it would not be possible without good education. Education begins at home and is reinforced at school. Education is the key to success for everyone. The Irish poet, William Buther said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” A fire that helps us see the good, the truth, and the beauty in people and the world. The Catholic Church lit that fire centuries ago and the mission of educating our children is to keep the flame burning in the world.

Today we celebrate Catholic education. Saint Catherine Labouré parish school is a wonderful community of families proud to be part of that mission. But it is not only the parish school that is part of the mission but also the Religious Education program. Children who don’t attend our parish school have the opportunity to be taught by our wonderful RE catechists. Catholic education is about values but, most of all, it is about a vision and a passion for making a difference in the world.

The history of Catholic schools in this country is significant. Our schools have educated millions of young people over the years. The success of Catholic schools in handing on the faith, generation after generation, is a bright light in the history of the Church in the United States. Catholic schools located in urban settings, small towns, and rural communities continue to challenge students to use their gifts. Teachers in over 6,000 Catholic elementary and high schools in the United States do an excellent job preparing over 1.9 million young people a year for the challenges of higher education in a competitive world.

A holistic education aims at the formation of the human person in the pursuit of her/his ultimate end, which is the fulfillment in life. In order to achieve the aims of a true education, the Church freely establishes schools that intentionally promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the purpose of forming good Christians in the world. Catholic schools should be in dialogue with culture, providing contributions through a Catholic worldview, forming a personality through the respect for the dignity of the human person, developing intellectual and moral virtues, and fostering the formation of Christian discipleship through the sacraments and the Catholic liturgical tradition. The orientation of a life centered on Jesus Christ is the filter of the quality of a Catholic school.

In addition to helping students to succeed academically, Catholic schools are intently concerned with teaching young people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This takes place in an environment that communicates a love of learning and the excellence of the good moral life as taught in the Catholic tradition. This is accomplished through developing excellent habits of mind and heart, a respect for the dignity of the human person, and the love of the sacramental life of the Church. This is how the church tries to integrate the best in education. The task of the Church is to help parents and families to provide a solid foundation for living as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Saint Catherine Labouré Catholic School has an amazing history. Our school opened on January 3, 1962 with our first principal; Sister Mary Louise, O.S.F. The pastor, Fr. Buckley also welcomed the School Sisters of Saint Francis to be part of the faculty. They served our school and parish and educated so many of the children from our community. They left behind an invaluable legacy, which our current faculty continues to build on. Principal Jodi Reuter and all the staff at the school have kept up the level of education for a competitive world. In fact, our students’ test scores fall in the upper 5% of all schools in the nation. Students from our parish school graduate with a solid Catholic identity, strong academic skills, a desire for a life-long learning, and an understanding that service to other is a hallmark of maturity. We are confident that our students are prepared to excel in high school and beyond.

The task of educating our children comes with some challenges and areas for continued growth. In our competitive school district, we need to offer a curriculum that helps our students with their holistic development. Although our current enrollment brings some financial constraints for our operating budget, we are blessed with unconditional support from the parish community at large. The tuition of each student does not cover the whole expense of educating a child, but the parish helps with the cost because we believe in the value of Catholic education.

I invite you to learn more about Saint Catherine Labouré parish school. The mission of our parish school is to educate our children with Christian virtues by the integration of culture with faith and of faith with living.

Fr. Lara