Galveston-Houston Catholic schools celebrate faith, achievements, communities

February 14, 2017

Catholic School students across the Archdiocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29 to Feb. 4.

HOUSTON — With a theme of “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” the 59 schools of the Archdiocese celebrated National Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29 to Feb. 4. Instituted by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the week celebrates faith and the exceptional standards of Catholic schools, as well as their achievements and communities.

It was also an ideal opportunity for schools to open their doors to parents interested in learning more about Catholic education for their children. Parents found that when they choose a Catholic school, they will provide their child with a foundation of faith which will carry them through their entire lives.

“Catholic Schools Week is an opportunity to celebrate our commitment to academic excellence, our students, staff and our faith,” said Dr. Julie Vogel, superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese. “We are so proud of how our schools encourage students to live out their faith as examples of Christ’s love daily. We believe an education focused on faith, love and service prepares our students to transform the world.” 

During the week-long celebration, the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese hosted a number of fun and unique events such as service projects, Saints Alive Jeopardy, a Living Museum of Book Characters, a Pajama Day and a Festival of Saints. 

“Catholic Schools Week is a time for special focus and celebration of the unique and distinctive standard of excellence in Catholic education,” said Susan Harris, principal at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Crosby. “It enables students, parents and the parish community to come together as one clear expression of unity and pride in support of Catholic Education. Each day offers a different celebration: a Family Mass, an Open House for prospective families, Career and Vocation Days, a Multicultural Evening as well as many other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members.”

Every school in the Archdiocese hosts their own activities. They typically include volunteer projects, educational contests, spirit activities, appreciation events, presentations and special Masses and prayer services. 

During the days leading up to Super Bowl LI, NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muños, a longtime collaborator with the Knights of Columbus (KCs), led a character camp sponsored by the KCs for at least 150 inner-city students, grades third to eighth, with their parents and grandparents at the JP McGovern Sports Recreational Center on Jan. 31.

The event began with the participating children running though some football skills outside, and then listening to a talk by Muñoz on the important role that integrity and faith have played in his life and his career in the NFL. Muñoz’ son, former college All-American player Michael Muñoz, also talked with the children.

Additionally, all schools have community service projects. At Sacred Heart in Conroe students volunteered and collected items for the Montgomery Food Bank, Conroe Soup Kitchen and Birthright of Montgomery. Some made goodie bags for patients at Veteran’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital.

St. Pius X High School and St. Rose of Lima Catholic School teamed up to hold a drive benefitting the Volunteers of America Texas’ Homeless Veteran’s Reintegration Program.

Organized by St. Pius X’s Students Serving Soldiers club, the drive for homeless veterans ran through National Catholic Schools Week until Feb. 3.

Donated items included gently used clothing, new undergarments and socks, toiletries, blankets and sleeping bags. Items were dropped off at St. Pius X High School or St. Rose of Lima Catholic School.

St. Pius X Students Serving Soldiers began in the fall of 2016 as sophomore Nina Martinez set out to help veterans in need.

“I just wanted to find a way to show some gratitude,” Martinez said. “It’s really personal because having veterans in my own family, if that (being homeless) were to happen it would be really heartbreaking.” 

Students at St. Mary Catholic School in League City created greeting cards which will be sent to area military hospitals while students at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Richwood made and sent St. Michael’s medals, thank you cards and treats to officers from the Richwood, Lake Jackson, Angleton and Brazoria County police departments. St. Thomas More Parish School participated in the Sugar Land Skeeters Reading Program, which aims to promote extracurricular reading while teaching the students valuable life lessons.

Every school hosted at least one Open House during which parents interested in learning about the possibility of Catholic education for their children came and toured their local school and had any questions answered. 

“Catholic Schools Week allows us to share our Mission with the entire parish,” said Carolyn Sears, principal at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School (SVdP). “We have so much to be thankful for at SVdP. This week allows us a time to say thank you to the parish, our volunteers and benefactors who do so much and offer such amazing support to our students and teachers throughout the school year. It also serves as a celebration of gratitude and acknowledgment of excellence in Catholic School education.”