Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week in the United States, we begin the celebration of “Catholic Schools Week.” Such an important aspect of our culture could not be celebrated only in one day. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize the value, importance, and contributions of Catholic Education to our society. Here is a brief explanation of the history of Catholic Education, taken from the website of the USCCB:
“Catholic education in the United States goes back to at least 1606, when Franciscans opened a school in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. Further north and a bit later, Jesuits instructed such dedicated Native American students as Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680). By the latter 1600s, English colonists had set up their own public schools, often with a heavily Protestant, if not blatantly anti-Catholic cast. Even in Catholic-founded Maryland, Catholics were a minority, and in 1677, in Newtown, the Jesuits established a preparatory school. In New Orleans, the Franciscans opened a school for boys in 1718. Ursuline sisters arrived there from France in 1727 to open an orphanage, school for street girls and health facility. This was the first formal Catholic charity in the present United States. Catholics in Philadelphia in 1782 opened St. Mary’s School, considered the first parochial school in the United States...Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, set up a school for poor children in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1809 and made the creation of parochial schools a lifetime cause.”
In our parish we have the privilege to have a Catholic School. Founded on 1910, it has shaped the lives of thousands of boys and girls. Often parents are concerned about the college education of their children. However, it is the lower grades that build the foundations of their character and their values. In the case of our school, we go beyond that. With great teachers and administration, we help the children to be first and foremost Holy, good students, loving, and eager to serve one another. This focus is central to our schools Mission Statement: "The Immaculate Conception Parish School Community’s mission is to nurture the development of the whole child in faith, academics and service within a Catholic, Christian learning environment."
Currently we are having some financial difficulties with our school. We are serving some families who are not able to pay full tuition, but they do want to provide their children with a quality Catholic education. We have taken a leap of faith by accepting these students. Now, we want to take a greater leap accepting even more students. However, to offer a Catholic education to more students we need your help. We will create a program in which parishioners, alumni, and people of good will can help the parents who want their children to attend Immaculate Conception School and provide a quality Catholic education for their children. With our help, we can bring our mission of development of the whole child in faith, academics and service within a Catholic, Christian learning environment to more children. For those who can attend, I invite you to come to the school Mass we will have on Monday, January 27th , at 9am in the upper Church. Please come and see the students in action. We need your help. They need your help. Catholic schools were first created and flourished with the support of the people of God. Now we also need your support.
Father Steven Clemence