Catholic Schools Week celebrates communities of faith, knowledge, service
January 12, 2016
HOUSTON — Catholic schools around the nation will band together to observe the contribution that these institutions of education make to the world around us. Along with many U.S. Catholic schools, the Archdiocese will celebrate Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. This year’s theme for this annual occasion is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
Each year, schools in the Archdiocese have many events and programs to bring to light the unique and valuable impact that Catholic schools have not only on our children but on the community at large. The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has daily themes that each school can follow to bring to light how students and teachers are communities of faith, knowledge and service.
The daily themes are:
• Sunday, Jan. 31 — In Our Parish
• Monday, Feb. 1 — In Our Community
• Tuesday, Feb. 2 — In Our Students
• Wednesday, Feb. 3 — In Our Nation (National Appreciation Day For Catholic Schools)
• Thursday, Feb. 4 — In Our Vocations
• Friday, Feb. 5 — In Our Faculty, Staff and Volunteers (Teacher and Principal Appreciation Day)
• Saturday, Feb. 6 — In Our Families
In the spirit of showing their faith, knowledge and service, schools in the Archdiocese are hosting several events and open houses for families and the community to know what makes Catholic education different.
St. Helen Catholic School in Pearland is focusing on ministry and service to compliment the week’s theme. Students will participate in days filled with presentations about Church ministries and providing service. Some activities include an open house, a Catholic Schools Week Mass, Family Day and a pep rally to celebrate Catholic schools.
Raquel Wood, advancement coordinator at St. Helen, talked about a couple of events the kids are really looking forward to.
“To ‘seed’ the call to a Church ministry, students will receive actual packets of seeds for planting in the spring,” Wood said. “A children’s author will also read one of her Christian-themed books to our primary students and discuss her call to ministry in writing the book.”
Sister Anna Laura, O.P., chair of Religion, Ethics and Culture, and the English departments at Frassati Catholic High School, is especially looking forward to their guest speaker.
“We feature guest speakers who bear personal witness to Gospel living by placing their gifts at the service of others,” Sister Anna Laura said. “This year, our featured guest speaker is Shawn Carney, one of the youngest and most inspirational pro-life speakers in America. Over the past 10 years, he’s traveled to more than 400 cities speaking and working on the frontlines of the culture war. The title of his talk for our school community is ‘The Universal Call to Holiness.’”
Also welcoming guest speakers, Christ the Redeemer Catholic School is hosting a vocations panel.
The panel will feature a priest, deacon, married couple, seminarian and single person discussing their commitment to the Church at their place in life. Speakers will visit with the younger students and will participate on the panel for upper grades.
An especially exciting event to showcase the true community of Catholic school is that Christ the Redeemer and St. Theresa Catholic School choirs will be joining forces for a music performance.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, the students will sing Vespers, including the Magnificat, an experience that will bring the students, parents and parishioners together to celebrate Catholic schools. Ben Geier, music teacher and choir director at St. Theresa, has been working with Mary Ann Addis, Spanish, music and art teacher at Christ the Redeemer, to share ideas on how to improve the music programs in the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.
At St. Anne Catholic School, Catholic Schools Week events always revolve around the idea that every person is a part of their community. Dawn Martinez, assistant principal and director of advancement, gave a synopsis of events that show how the school is bonded together in community.
“We have a Doughnuts with Dad and a Muffins with Mom event to thank the parents for the gift of Catholic education,” Martinez said. “We have a day where the students write thank you cards to members of the faculty and staff to tell them how much the students appreciate what these various members of the community do for them. Then, on that Friday, we have a school picnic. The highlight of the picnic is that the students go around and give their handmade cards to all these people. The kids usually thank a favorite teacher, the security guard, the nurse or the receptionist. All of the unsung heroes seem to be honored on that day.”
For more information about Catholic Schools Week and Catholic schools, visit choosecatholicschools.org.