In many Catholic schools, you will often find this quote posted prominently in school offices and classrooms:
“Let it be known to all who enter here
that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school,
the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes,
the model of its faculty,
and the inspiration for its students.”
For me this encapsulates the sense of purpose, dedication and mission that is essential to what a Catholic school is all about. What makes a Catholic school distinctive is simply this, that Christ is at the heart of everything. From the obvious – daily instruction in the Catholic faith, to the less obvious – how we treat each other with courtesy and respect, a Catholic school aspires to be ordered by Christ and the way of life He calls us to in the gospel.
I have been profoundly shaped by my own experience of Catholic education. I am deeply grateful for the hard work and many sacrifices by my parents to ensure that me and my sister were able to attend Catholic schools when I was growing up. In addition to the examples of how my mother and father lived out their faith in our home and in our parish, attending Catholic schools afforded me frequent opportunities to grow in the knowledge and practice of my faith and to discern my own call to serve God as a priest. It was on the bulletin board in the back of my 7th grade classroom that I noticed a poster inviting young men to consider a vocation to religious life and the priesthood. And it was because of the support and encouragement of my parents, teachers and classmates that I entered the seminary.
While pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Anchorage and in almost a year as Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese, I am thankful to see the passionate support there is here for Catholic education on both the primary and the high school level. As the teachers, administrators, parishioners and parents of our Catholic schools know, striving for excellence in Catholic education requires time, dedication, sacrifice and sufficient resources. I admire your commitment and you have my support and prayers in the work that you do.
I encourage all our parents to consider enrolling their children in one of our Catholic schools in the archdiocese. Our pastors, principals, teachers, and staffs are ready to provide all students with an excellent Catholic education. Enrollment is now open for the next school year. I thank you for your consideration.
“Let it be known to all who enter here, that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes, the model of its faculty, and the inspiration for its students.”