The gift of Catholic education is being celebrated across the nation this week during the annual Catholic Schools Week. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards,” and supports the recent launch of the National Standard and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools that ensures the effective operation and responsible governance for Catholic schools nationwide, thus promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity.
Thinking back to my own personal experience with Catholic Schools as a young child, I feel blessed by the example that my teachers demonstrated to me of the importance of being close to the Catholic Church. And, I think it was significant that my teachers taught me that lesson aside from just learning it from my parents.
Although it’s essential for parents to be the domestic church and instill the foundation of stewardship and love of Christ into their children, there is something powerful about those lessons being reinforced at their school. It shows the child that what the parents are instructing them lives elsewhere, and it also allows the children a vehicle to express their faith in their religious classes, as they celebrate the Sacraments, and are able to pray with their peers.
Stewardship is fully alive in a Catholic school setting because you are able to learn about God through the Catechism curriculum. Unlike a public school, learning about God and talking about God is not only allowed, but is encouraged. One of the most important lessons I learned while at Catholic school is that God is in charge of our lives. Even more so, I learned that God loves us every moment of our lives. The more I learned about God in school, the more I realized how very much he loves me.
Attending Catholic schools helps to build a foundation of stewardship at an early age so that it becomes a part of your core self. Some parents argue that the cost of tuition is too steep and they cannot financially afford to send their children. Although that is true for some families, I believe that anything worth doing comes with a cost – whether it’s your time or your money. In my opinion, Catholic schools are worth the cost because God isn’t present in the public schools and if God is truly the center of our lives we need their schooling to also demonstrate that. It doesn’t much matter if you learn how to read, write, and do math if you don’t learn about God.