In a statement commemorating Catholic Schools Week, Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., lauded Catholic schools for helping evangelize the nation.
“It is a challenging education in an atmosphere where Jesus Christ is
the center,” the chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Catholic
Education said Jan. 29.
“The unique atmosphere of our Catholic schools is a space and place
where the New Evangelization can reach out to parents and children in a
way that is respectful of the human person, presents the teachings of
the Church, and supports family life.”
He noted that Catholic Schools Week is an opportunity to “recognize and
support parents” as they exercise the right to choose Catholic schools
“to support the faith formation and excellent education for their
Bishop McFadden said that the more than 6,800 Catholic schools in the
U.S. reach 2 million students daily. He thanked the 151,000 people who
choose to give themselves as teachers at these schools, giving a
“witness of love and commitment to parents and young people.”
He said Catholic schools in the U.S. have a “rich history” in
supporting evangelization. The intention of Catholic education is to
offer “the life giving Word of the gospel in an environment that shows
respect for the human person, the virtues of good citizenship and
Catholic education, the bishop noted, has saved the country more than
$20 billion a year, and pointed out its successful graduation rates.
“In this Year of Faith it is important to remember that our Catholic
schools are centers for the New Evangelization for families of a variety
of socio-economic backgrounds and diverse cultures,” he said.
He said the ethnic diversity at Catholic schools, as well as the 15
percent of non-Catholic pupils, creates “a rich environment for
catechesis and cultural diversity.”
Bishop McFadden also used his letter to thank the parents who choose
Catholic schools and all those who support Catholic education.
“This important week reminds all of us that Catholic education is
needed now more than ever to be that place 'which gives life a new
horizon and a decisive direction,'” he concluded.