My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
is the purpose or goal of a Catholic school? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
succinctly answered this question when he addressed a gathering of
Catholic educators during his pastoral visit to the U.S. in April 2008.
The pontiff said, “First and foremost every Catholic institution
is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his
transforming love and truth.” In a Catholic school, all
dimensions of education are understood and presented in light of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. The purpose of a Catholic school is not
primarily to provide a better education than that which is offered in a
public school. Everyone wants all students, whether they enroll in
Catholic, private or public schools, to receive an excellent
education. The goal of a Catholic school is to offer its students a
different kind of education, one rooted in and imbued with perennial
wisdom about the human person, a wisdom that derives from the Catholic
Church’s tradition of faith and morals. A Catholic school
education seeks to educate not only the mind with a love for the truth
but also to touch the hearts and form the consciences of its students
with a desire and commitment to pursue what is good, right & just.
The academic excellence of our Catholic schools relies on several factors. The competence and dedication of our teachers and administrators, the overwhelming majority of whom are lay people, contribute significantly to our schools’ successes. Our
educators see teaching not only as a profession but as a ministry.
Often at great financial sacrifice, these talented women and men commit
themselves daily to helping their students grow in knowledge and
story of the quality and success of our Catholic schools should be told
often and to as many people, especially parents, who will listen. At
the heart of the story is the commitment of our Catholic schools to
teach as Jesus did, that is, to teach with an authority that comes from
the truth about the dignity of the human person who is made in the image and likeness of God. What Pope Pius XII stated years ago about Catholic schools is as true today as it was in the past and will be in the future: “Catholic schools in the United States are the pearl of great price.”
I am pleased to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude to the countless numbers of parishioners and benefactors and ask for your continued generous support for the collection to be taken at Masses on the weekend of September 24. It is through this giving that we are able to make the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Worcester true models of Faith, Academics and Service.
With every prayerful wish, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, S.T.D.
Bishop of Worcester