The Cardinal’s Circle provides ‘salvation’ for Inner City Catholic School families

February 27, 2018

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo visits with students at Holy Ghost Catholic School in Houston. The school
is in The Cardinal’s Circle, which supports tuition assistance and school improvements for Inner City
Catholic Schools in Galveston-Houston. Photo by the Office of Development.

HOUSTON — Jane Bemko is a long-time member of The Cardinal’s Circle, which provides tuition assistance and school improvements to the Inner City Catholic Schools of Galveston-Houston. A former teacher at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School and St. Mary of the Purification Catholic School, the 81-year-old Bemko has seen firsthand what kind of impact that level of support has on families in the Archdiocese, referring to it as “the salvation for this generation.”

“Inner City Catholic Schools have kids who really need a good education. They just need a boost,” Bemko said. “My theory of giving is that this is not our money or our goods. As St. Luke states in his Gospel of seeking a donkey for Jesus and the owner is told, ‘The Master has need of it,’ that is our spirit of stewardship.”

Founded in 2010, the mission of The Cardinal’s Circle is to help the schools maintain a standard of academic excellence in curriculum and staff. Through an annual contribution of $5,000 each, members of The Cardinal’s Circle invest in the lives of students at the 13 Inner City Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

“These schools are incubators of opportunity for urban children and their families faced with incredible financial challenges,” Daniel Cardinal DiNardo said. “Donors are giving our students the opportunities for academic, spiritual and communal success.”

Cardinal DiNardo said that the generosity of The Cardinal’s Circle donors “enables us to preserve the treasure the (Inner City Catholic Schools) represent to the students, the families and their neighborhoods.”

As an Inner City Catholic School, Queen of Peace Catholic School “would not exist without Cardinal DiNardo’s support and all of the support from donors of The Cardinal’s Circle,” said Father Michael Minifie, CC, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church. “Those donations help us to pay our teachers a living wage so we can keep our best and brightest.”

“The Cardinal’s Circle support acts as a safety net for our school,” said Principal John William Bates V of Assumption Catholic School.

The Cardinal’s Circle assists Inner City Catholic Schools like Assumption in meeting the financial needs of the school community.

“We have been able to provide tuition assistance for families that were negatively impacted by recent circumstances in their life, and we were able to rebuild our technological infrastructure (cabling and wireless) to better serve the needs of students,” Bates said. “The infrastructural updates will also provide us an opportunity in the future to expand the use of technology in the classroom.”

With help from The Cardinal’s Circle, Inner City Catholic Schools are able to serve communities that seek a Catholic school education but typically cannot afford such opportunities, according to Bates.

“Our campuses provide excellent academic programs, provide extra-curricular programs that meet the interests of our children, and foster the growth of the individual spirituality of each child. These programs, however, cannot exist without the support of mission-minded individuals that want to support Catholic education for all children,” Bates said. “The individuals that support The Cardinal’s Circle recognize the value of Catholic education and understand the need for the Church to serve all of God’s children. Without their generous support, our schools would not be able to serve our communities as well as we do.”

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