A message from Msgr. Thomas Cahalane, Pastor at
Our Mother of Sorrows, to parishioners:
Catholic Schools Week: During this week each year we acknowledge the gift of our parish school during national Catholic Schools Week. The contribution of Catholic schools to the Church in the United States gives us much to celebrate and be thankful for. The long term spiritual effect of Catholic schools education on children has been validated again and again in a number of sociological studies during the past forty years. A school in a parish is a challenging blessing, more so in some parishes than in others. Maintaining our very quality school at Our Mother of Sorrows is a blessed challenge from one year to the next.
Catholic School Dividends: The dividends to the Church and a parish through its school are numerous. Participation of young families and new families through the school program are a welcome blessing and constant source of freshness and vitality. Parents who place their children in the school are witnessing, in a special way, to their faith and their values by their very act of doing so. Sometimes their testimonial is very sacrificial, as it stretches their family budget to a maximum. Our Mother of Sorrows parish has been in a consistent partnership with the school since the parish and the school were built concurrently more than fifty years ago. School families and the parish are in a relationship of mutual love and support. They are in a shared partnership of formation and education together.
Fr. Greeley and Catholic Schools: The following are some quotes from a paper delivered by Fr. Andrew Greeley on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the National Catholic Education Association several years ago. My good friend who died in June, makes the strongest possible case of the value and positive impact of Catholic schools.
• On the basis of four decades of research, Catholic schools are among the very best things American Catholicism has done.
• Catholic schools do things that American culture values. Tony Byrek’s work shows that the explanations for Catholic schools’ success with the disadvantaged is based on stronger educational demands and more communal and personal support. One can legitimately raise the question of whether higher levels of communal support might be linked to a more communal imagination.
• Catholic schools, the late James Coleman once argued, are rich in social capital because of overlapping networks. He also suggests that communal imagination is at the root of different educational policies.
• Another accomplishment of Catholic schools is that they have the greatest education impact on the multiple disadvantaged.
• The schools began as a harbor of refuge for the children of immigrants who might have a hard time in the so-called common school. I suggest that this now largely unselfconscious style of education continues to work with the more recent urban immigrants.
• Catholic schools do what American culture wants - assemble social capital and enable the
immigrant dream to come true.