Thursday, November 20, 2008

Every parish should have a Catholic grade school

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, October 16, 2008, on implementing a decree of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884).
What I do mean is that every parish, even if it does not have its own school, should claim a neighboring one. That parish would then encourage their children to go there, help them pay tuition at the school, and support that school with financial help and volunteers as if it were on their own property.

At St. Al's, I've heard parish staffers say we should close the school because it uses too much of parish resources. My response these days is that based on the relative effectiveness of use of those resources, it would make more sense to keep the school open and close the parish.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Since most of those schools are not really Catholic, why throw good money after bad? How many times to they go to Mass each week? How often are confessions heard? Do they have Adoration? Other devotions?

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  2. aquinas11:31 PM

    My experience is that my parish school attempts to be Catholic despite the pastor. Parents have been beating the drum for a clearer "Catholic identity" for a few years now, and most of the teachers do the very best they can, knowing that the pastor cares very little. There are no separate confessions for the kids in the school ("We offer the sacrament of reconciliation for a half hour every Saturday afternoon; few take advantage. What would be the point?"), Adoration once a year (grudgingly), teachers are seen in the church during Lent leading their classes through the Stations, and October and May find kids praying the rosary. This all due to the initiative of parents and teachers. And most of it has happened only in the last two or three years. The parish has been assigned a couple really solid seminarians over the last couple years. They've given us great hope for the future. The pastor, however, is a non starter.

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  3. Anonymous, are you seeing a parish school or schools that are in such condition despite a pastor's efforts?

    Aquinas, at my parish the school parents have been pushing to have their kids sacramental preparation in the school rather than in the Christian Formation program. As a catechist, I'm not surprised that it's reported that the school kids are the ones who can actually answer questions in sacramental preparation classes. I see the same thing when there's a graduate of the parish grade school in my Christian Formation class. At a parish council meeting I happened to attend a few years back, the issue was raised and one of our DREs opposed the change on the ground it would be "divisive". Hence my non-divisive proposal to have everything done by the school.

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