Mission of Cardinal’s Circle shared by all faithful in local Archdiocese

November 10, 2015

HOUSTON — Founded in 2010, the mission of The Cardinal's Circle is to help Inner City Catholic Schools maintain a high standard of excellence in all facets of education.

"Members of The Cardinal's Circle have answered the call to assist us educate the whole child — mind, heart and spirit," said Dr. Julie Vogel, superintendent of Catholic schools. "With this financial support, we have been able to provide access, programs, infrastructure, experiences, materials and much more for our students."

The Cardinal's Circle members invest in the lives of these students through an annual commitment of $5,000. The generous donors form a "giving circle" committed to Inner City Catholic Schools in recognition of a shared responsibility to educate future generations — each gift is an investment in the future of students in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

Outside of individual donors, Cardinal's Circle welcomes parishes and organizations who would like to be part of this worthy cause. St. Michael Church in Houston has been a member of The Cardinal's Circle since its inception.

"Though we have our own parish school which needs financial support from parents and parishioners, it is extremely important that our parish financially participate in a program that enables Catholic parents in other parts of the city to send their children to their parish school," Monsignor Frank Rossi, the pastor of St. Michael Church in Houston, said. "We all share the responsibility of the next generation of Catholics and St. Michael Church's participation in The Cardinal's Circle is one small way in which we can make a meaningful impact in the lives of Catholic children. We are proud to be a member of The Cardinal's Circle."
In areas where there is economic hardship or higher crime, a Catholic school is "an oasis where a child can learn in a safe and sacred environment," Monsignor Rossi said.

"Due to several factors, many families sadly are not able to afford the full tuition to send their children to a Catholic school," Monsignor Rossi said. "The Cardinal's Circle is a tremendous blessing to these families for it provides much needed funding to keep open and operating our Inner City Catholic Schools, while allowing financially struggling families to pay a reduced but still sacrificial tuition rate."

As a founding member of The Cardinal's Circle, Christ the Redeemer Church has taken great pride and joy in seeing that opportunities for Catholic education are made "more and more accessible to more and more children," according to Father Sean Horrigan, pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church. "There are many fine schools, public and private, in Houston, but in a particular way Catholic schools transform the world for students by educating the mind through the heart of faith," he said.

In its second year of operation, Christ the Redeemer Catholic School has already proven to be a "blessing beyond compare" to the parish community, said Father Horrigan — a blessing he would like to see all Catholic school communities witness.

"The Cardinal's Circle is a way that our parishioners, staff and students can share the blessing with other Catholic parishes so that they too might know the joy that a thriving, active school provides to not only students and their parents, but to the entire community," he said. "When a Catholic school is supported well, and the students are engaged in learning and service to God and neighbor, there is no limit to the great things they can accomplish."

Contributions to The Cardinal's Circle support the unique needs of each school, including tuition assistance, professional development, technology and curriculum upgrades and teacher salaries. Circle members have made a substantial difference in the capability of these schools to keep pace with the rapidly changing requirements for student information and learning.

"The Cardinal's Circle provides an opportunity for us to live out Jesus' mandate from the last chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 28) to ‘go and teach what I have commanded you,'" Father Horrigan said. "We are all modern-day disciples who are commissioned to spread the good news of the Gospel, and one way we do that is through teaching and passing on the faith to the next generation. The Cardinal's Circle offers us a way to do so by providing young children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn in the context of our Catholic school system."

To learn more about The Cardinal's Circle, call 713-652-4417 or visit choosecatholicschools.org/support.

Inner City Catholic Schools provide students...

• High academic expectations for all.
• Daily encouragement to develop their God-given talents.
• Moral formation through the constant example of those who surround them and involvement in projects to help others in their community.
• Perseverance to succeed in tough times in an atmosphere of safety and trust.
• A commitment to allow each student to develop a relationship with God and an understanding of their faith that will serve them well for a lifetime.